Wednesday, 23 December 2009

In the rush and noise of the last few days, please listen to this...



May God bless and keep you all...

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Copenhagen – Success or Failure?



Overall, it may seem as a failure, because the big polluters US and China wanted a weak agreement. President Obama was heavily constrained by Congress captured by lobbyists from a front group for the largest corporations in the polluting lobby, including oil and coal companies like Exxon Mobil. They were major backers of President George W Bush, and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars blocking Obama's attempts at change.

People were out in force in Copenhagen while polluter lobbyists worked in the shadows, their voices loud only in our politicians' ears.
US negotiator Todd Stern said that as far as the US was concerned the fact that climate change was happening as a result of emissions from rich countries had no relevance to the negotiations. You may have heard or read that the African countries walked out of the negotiations at one point, well this was due to the fact that the Danish hosts prevented discussion on the only legally binding agreement there is, the Kyoto Protocol.

"Copenhagen's failure was the inevitable result of rich countries refusing to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility for global warming" said Christian Aid's senior climate change advocacy officer, Nelson Muffuh.

So what good did come out of it?

There were world-wide demonstrations for climate justice, in London alone around 60,000 took part in a march, and I was one of them
100,000 marched in Copenhagen
Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a staggering 512,894 Copenhagen pledges to the United Nations in front of a crowd of thousands.
There were 3000 know climate vigils held in 140 countries.
As I write this an Avaaz climate petition now has almost 15 million signatories.
Faith groups combined under the Odyssey Network, these included Anglican, Buddhist, Hindu, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic.

As Edmund Burke was said to remark, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing” and in my books, as in the YouTube video above, good people have been doing and will continue doing much.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Faith Groups Unite at Copenhagen



Odyssey Networks is a UK coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith groups promoting tolerance, peace, and social justice through media production. The video above is of a joint initiative for climate justice by two young people, one Christian and one Muslim.

I found it inspirational, I hope you do also.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Carbon Trading & Cap and Trade can be likened to the person you love most paying someone to be celibate while having as many affairs as they like...

... so as you can imagine, it will appeal to some people...

If you would like to see an easy explanation of how this 'works', please click onto the attached lower link.

The Story of Cap and Trade

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Our Atmosphere Needs Protecting.



So, just how far away is 'space'? The Federation Aeronautique Internationale has established this to be an altitude of 100 km or 62 miles, NASA considers people to be astronauts once they've travelled higher than 80 km (50 miles).

Oxygen in the atmosphere runs starts to run low at 12,000 feet, about 2 ¼ miles and Mount Everest, you have to be very fit to climb her, is ‘only’ 5.497 miles high and many have died there without oxygen.

The NASA image seen on the left shows just how thin the earth's atmosphere is relative to the earths's size, evident in its radius. This scene captures the silhouette of several thunderstorms with their cirrus anvil tops spreading out against the tropopause, the first dark blue line over the earth. The height of this varies according to where it in Lattitude, it can be between 6 and 8 miles high and temperatures can be as low as - 80c.

It is the thin area below this that needs our protection and the reason why pollution control is so important in maintaining God's creation for future generations.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Good Environmental News









There are times when I wonder if the environmental movement in general looks at the environmental problems and forgets about the environmental successes. These are usually seen at a local or small level and yet often have a huge impact for the environmental cause. The following is one such local level initiative.

Our village had an allotment field (community garden) which is owned by the parish council. This had fallen into disuse over the years and had not been used for at least 20 years except to graze horses. With the increased awareness of environmental concerns generally and local food production in particular, one of the parish councillors thought it would be a good idea to get the field back into use again as individual allotment gardens.

After managing to get a grant and getting the work organised to reinstate the field in order to provide new fencing, gates, a water supply, marking out and initial allotment rotivating, the individual in question then held their breath, concerned as to whether or not the 12 allotment gardens would be taken up.

Within two weeks they all were and now the area is a hive of activity with some chickens as well as vegetables on the allotments. Last week I passed one of the allotment holders walking back from the allotment with the vegetables he was about to cook for dinner, food miles had been reduced to food yards.

Some are sharing their allotments; a group of three have got together and have formed a hen and egg syndicate on one allotment, and a local community has sprung into life. One of the allotment holders said to me recently that she had spoken to more local people in the last 2 weeks that she had over the last 20 years.

There is so much that is going on in the environmental field by such as you and I and from Transition Towns to planting a single seed each and every initiative is a success and I sometimes think that we do, at times, overlook them.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A Global Warming Warning Advert That Has Upset So Many... Why, could it be that the truth is inconvenient?



I must admit to being amazed by the response to this UK TV advert, especially from our U.S. cousins. The comments being made are that those that agree with the adverts sentiments are Nazis, Communists and Marxists, one individual suggested that we in the UK move to 'the land of the free.'

I am not a fan of the present UK government but when they get things right, and they do get things rights, just as Her Majesty’s opposition gets things wrong, then I am in support of their actions.

I have been involved in environmental concerns over the last 25 years and one of the causes for this is my concern about what kind of environmental legacy we are going to leave our children and grandchildren. This advert then gives a voice to all of my concerns and I was more than pleased that our government had the courage to have it made.

There are, of course, some scientists and experts who do disagree with those that consider the advert's science to be correct, just as there were indeed eminent scientists, doctors and experts that said that there was no danger of lung cancer from smoking... they were wrong as well.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Harnessing the power of the oceans and seas


Here in the UK we are surrounded by the sea, and yet the non-stop tides that are an unending part are seemingly ignored as a source of never ending carbon free cheap energy.

A way of harnessing this resource is an ‘energy island’. This is basically an outer ring, rather like an atoll, but with the inner area sealed off from the surrounding water. The island would use wind power to pump out the water from the inner area and then generate electricity by allowing water from the outer to again enter the inner via electricity generating turbines.
There are already wind turbines in the some offshore UK locations, as indeed there are all around the world, and the spare capacity they generate could, if this type of ‘island’ was constructed around them, mean that the potential energy in the trapped water would be the same as the trapped energy in a battery. Often the criticism levelled against renewable energy, especially wind energy, is that it may not be available at times of need, but with this Dutch system, that perceived problem could be overcome.
An attraction of this concept is that it potentially allows a large amount of new energy storage to be brought online quickly and, compared to nuclear or ‘clean’ coal, cheaply, and most importantly this storage would be along the world's coastlines, where most of the world’s population lives.

The power of the seas and the oceans are the most overlooked of the big renewable energy resources and yet they are there 24hrs a day 365 days a year.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

THE PROOF OF GLOBAL WARMING... On Blog Action Day.















As a part of Global Warming the world is experiencing many '100 year
only events. many of these are extremes in weather, extreme storms
are but one, and you can find more details of these HERE.














Rising sea levels threaten many low lying areas and countries are
facing disaster, the Maldives is one. For more details see
HERE.








The above is the breaking up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, for more
details, see HERE.














In Bolivia, the glacier melt water that many rely on for life has
all but gone. For more detail see HERE.







The picture above is of Terry Cochrane in the U.S., and the dock that he is
standing on should be on water 30 to 40 feet deep where he is. For more
details see HERE and HERE.














The above is Scotland in early September this year,for more
details see HERE.






In Kenya, the drought will effect millions and bring starvation
to many, for more details see HERE.

















Australia has been gripped in many areas by drought conditions,
as a result recent high winds have caused Dust Bowl conditions
in Sydney, for more details see HERE.














For more details of the demise of Lake Chad, one of the worlds
biggest inland seas, click HERE.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Save the Rainforests - The Prince's Rainforest Project



Due to destructive logging activity and the clearing of land for large-scale farming, both offer high financial returns, the world's rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and the deforestation threatens the many vital ecosystem benefits that these forests provide.

Cutting down and burning tropical forests to clear the land in this way enables rainforest nations to provide globally traded commodities, such as timber, palm oil, beef, cocoa, coffee, rubber, bio fuels and soy as well as mining and cattle ranching.

The world’s population is likely to increase from 6 billion to 9 billion over the next 40 years. This population growth, combined with rising incomes, will lead to a continual increasing demand for food, animal feed and fuel. And this, in turn, will lead to more destruction of rainforests – with devastating effects for everyone.

Rainforests benefit us all, not just those who live in the nations in which they are found. They store water, regulate rainfall and are home to over half of the planet's biodiversity, but most importantly, they absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2). So they play a critical role in helping to limit the amount of fossil fuel emissions (greenhouse gases) that build up in our atmosphere every year. To make matters worse, when they are cut down and burned as they are at the present rate, they are releasing more emissions than the entire global transport sector!

Rainforests absorb almost a fifth of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions every year. But tropical deforestation releases an extra 17% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. It is these emissions that are causing global warming. In simple terms, if we didn't have any rainforests to absorb CO2, the temperature of the earth would rise, as would sea levels.

Climate change is already happening. We can all see it all around us in the unexpected weather patterns, the flooding, even plants flowering earlier than usual. We are no longer in a position where we can reverse this process, but we might be able to slow the process down to manageable proportions, even if we cannot stop it completely.

In the past 50 years, a third of the world's rainforests have been felled and burned, and deforestation continues, now at the rate of 15 million hectares per year, the equivalent of approximately 8.5 million soccer pitches a year, or 23,483 a day. Although this deforestation averages a loss of less than 1% of the forests per year, it is believed that after the loss of 30-40% of a rainforest that the remaining forest ecosystem may become so destabilised that it will collapse.

In 2007 The Prince of Wales, following reports from the top climate change experts and scientists including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Inaugurated The Prince's Rainforests Project (PRP,)in order to promote the urgent need to take action against tropical deforestation. The Prince of Wales has long been concerned about climate change and about how destruction of the world's rainforests contributes to rising temperatures and sea levels and as a prominent public figure has often faced appalling sarcasm and criticism for his views.

I am a huge fan of the prince's environmental aims and opinions, as he has the courage to stand up and be counted for what he knows is right. For many of us his views may not have been new, but we are the very, very small minority and Prince Charles certainly reaches the parts of society that so many of us will never even have a chance get near.

In The Prince’s own words: "If deforestation can be stopped in its tracks, then we will be able to buy ourselves some much-needed time to build the low carbon economies on which our futures depend. I have endeavoured to create a global public, private and NGO partnership to discover an innovative means of halting tropical deforestation. Success would literally transform the situation for our children and grandchildren and for every species on the planet."

Please visit the site via this link and, if your are able, sign via the below.

Blessings.








Friday, 18 September 2009

UN Climate Change Conference, Climate Week and 'The Age of Stupid'.

The Age of Stupid Global Premiere Trailer from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

During the week of September 20th, 2009, hundreds of government and business leaders from around the world will converge upon New York City for a series of high-level meetings and events focused on the most urgent issue of our time: climate change. This takes place just seventy days before the UN Climate Change Conference.

This "Climate Week" starts off 7 days of events in New York. The summit's purpose is to get world leaders together in advance of the crucial UN Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

Climate Week will be a high-power event because UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for this emergency meeting, and both Barack Obama and Hu Jintao will be giving landmark speeches.

The film trailer above (it may take a few moments to load... please be patient) is for an unprecedented global film event, the eco-premiere of the critically hailed documentary THE AGE OF STUPID. This will be broadcast live from New York City's World Financial Center on Monday September 21 to more than 700 locations in over 50 countries simultaneously, uniting nearly one million people for climate change reform during Climate Week NYC, setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest single screen shared audience experience ever.

This film has already had vocal condemnation from some quarters, much as Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' did. I am always heartened when certain parts of the media attack something like this as I am then certain that my thoughts, opinions and ideas are correct.

The truth is just as inconvenient now as it was 2000 years ago, but it cannot be silenced.

Monday, 14 September 2009

TERRA PRETA – CARBON GOLD & CRABON CAPTURE




When plants grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Under the normal carbon cycle when plants die they either rot or are burnt and the carbon they absorbed is returned to the atmosphere but although this is better than using fossil fuels for compost or heating/light, the process does not remove carbon from the atmosphere. The same applies to Bio fuel. The crops from which bio fuels are made take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere while they are growing, but as soon as that bio fuel is used, the carbon is returned to the atmosphere through emissions. If, instead, waste biomass is turned into Biochar, it can be buried in the ground, locking in the carbon for hundreds or even thousands of years and have a positive impact on crop outputs.

I recently went to see a pilot system of making Biochar. The Biochar in this case was small branches that would normally be burnt or used for wood chippings. The project I looked at uses a sealed system so the gasses from the wood actually burn the wood, and 90% of the carbon is still locked in the Biochar.

But what then do we do with this material?

Scientists have known for years that adding Biochar could improve soil fertility. The early Amazonian Indians introduced Biochar to their soil over 3,000 years ago, forming the Terra Preta, black soil which remains fertile to this day. It is only recently that the reasons why this happened have been understood. Biochar is extremely porous; the surface is like a sponge. This encourages the growth of micro-organisms which produce enzymes that release the mineral ions trapped by the heat stabilized plant resins in the charcoal and make it available to the root hairs of the plant as nutrients. Furthermore, the resins within the charcoal act like an ion exchange resin, absorbing traces of mineral ions onto the charcoal particle surfaces from the rain water, and trapping it within the charcoal’s molecular structure. The trace minerals always present in rainwater actually act as a fertilizer - providing the nutrients needed by the crops, year after year.

Or as Johannes Lehmann - Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A said, “Important lessons can be learned from Terra Preta about development of civilization in the Amazon, basic functioning of soils, carbon sequestration, and sustainable land use”. I especially liked that last point, ‘sustainable land use’.

So we have a win-win situation, we create Biochar, locking the C02 away, and also create a proven fertiliser.

The systems to enable this are totally unsophisticated, as you can see. The materials are cheap and easy to obtain, a few building blocks, a sheet of metal and some oil drums. In the retort you can see in my photo’s the gas tight seal was obtained by a liberal application of Sussex clay, obtained from underfoot, while the trees that provided the wood grew around us. If you would like to know more about the Carbon-Gold project, please see HERE.

Genesis 1:12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

And not just good for beauty and food either it seems.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Let's dump the 'Disposable Economy'.

I was on holiday in France recently when I heard a couple discussing the price of disposable nappies/diapers. When our son was a baby we only used cotton items with a disposable (paper) liner and when they were no longer needed we sold most of them as they were still in perfect condition. We certainly never had any problems with rashes etc. In the UK it is estimated that, based on sales, there are 690,000 tonnes of nappy waste each year; most of which are land filled.

In the UK, Throwaway products arrived in the 50’s and sold as convenience items that would also boost the economy, in fact one products proud boast was “You use it once, then you throw it away!”

The trickle of items turned into a flood, and now it is hard to find the original items as paper has taken over from cloth for handkerchiefs, dish cloths, table cloths and napkins, plastic has taken over from glass for liquid containers, paper for wrapping and cloth for bags. It all has to go somewhere, as this place, ‘away,’ does not actually exist. In the UK it is estimated that the last landfill site will shut in 2020 and that those around London will be full by 2010. In addition to running out of landfill in the UK, the world is running out of the cheap oil needed to produce, through manufacture and raw materials, these throwaway items.
This problem is worldwide; China,India, and the other emerging economies also have problems because they now want the living standards of the West.

So now for the surprising figures!

If China and India had two cars for every family, the UK average, then China and India would have more cars than the rest of the world combined. By 2030 China is estimated to need, at the present rate of use, 98 million barrels of oil a day, so say goodbye to the Western lifestyle for your children and grandchildren.

The facts are obvious, the Western throwaway economy will not work for China nor for India, which by 2030 may have a larger population than China, and what of the rest of the world that wants the Western way of life, where will they get their oil, food and water from?

We all must work for a replacement economic way of life with renewable energy, and a reduced consumption of recyclable or multi-use products. What constantly amazes me is that we have the technology to do this now.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The World's Climate Tipping Point!

For those not in the UK, the Conservative party is one of our three main political groups and may well form the next government. I was reading a booklet from them about local government and the environment when the following sentence stopped me in my tracks.

“It is too late to avoid climate change but taking action now could avoid it’s more extreme and dangerous impacts”.

In plain language we have passed the point of no return, the tipping point so long warned about and yet so long ignored by the vast majority. We know the result of tipping points in nature, once a species numbers fall below a certain level it becomes unsustainable and numbers will dwindle to zero, the same happens in the worlds fishing grounds, numbers fall and the fishing grounds are fished out. Earlier civilisations have gone through tipping points. The irrigation-related salt build up in the Sumerian soil overwhelmed the capacity to deal with it and for the Mayans a time came when the effects of deforestation and then the follow on loss of topsoil were unmanageable. For more info see HERE

Social tipping points are not easy to define, but obviously the more developed parts of the world can, and does, have the resources to deal a new threat or threats far more effectively than the undeveloped countries. AIDS is the most obvious example of the ability as infection rates in the developed world are less than 1% in some undeveloped countries it is around 20%. Nearly 80 million people are added to the world’s population each year, yet the majority of them are born within in countries among the least able to support them. These ever increasing pressures on a struggling economy and infrastructure are leading to social breakdown.

Although for the developed areas water shortages are lawn threatening rather than life threatening in many countries this is not the case, in India and other parts of Asia The need to cut carbon emissions has been blindingly obvious for many years now, but so far there is not a single carbon neutral country. Technically possible, yes, but is it politically possible???

Oil abstraction has peaked, and although the ‘popular news media’ talks this threat down, I was amazed to find confirmation of this fact in the investment focused MoneyWeek where there was also the warning "The planet's metal supply is fast depleting, and the quality of what's left is lower, where 30 tons of copper ore once produced a ton of copper, it now takes 500 tons, even water's running out”. The number one issue is, of course food and water, the Sumerian and Mayan civilisations are the long-gone evidence of this.

The effects of the Climate Chaos we have no option but to deal with are now causing heat waves in various countries, but these will not only affect them, but also us as the Tropical Zone is now expanding, also see HERE and HERE.

The World’s tipping point is past, the next problem is in our countries political systems, can they pass the tipping point of understanding regarding Climate Change while we are still able to take , as the booklet I quoted from said “action now could avoid it’s more extreme and dangerous impacts”. We have the technologies available to enable us to stabilise the Earth’s climate, just as we have to feed the hungry and heal the sick, the question is though, is the political will of the voters there also?

In Revelation 21:1 we are promised a “new heaven and a new Earth.” I have often wondered if this is because the old earth has been damaged beyond repair. At the time of Revelation, when God looks at the damage that has been done to His creation and asks who is responsible I want to be able to say ‘not guilty’, are you going to join me?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Roof Top Gardens, when the only way is up!


At-risk teens who live at Covenant House, a Christian run open to all homeless shelter in New York, have decided that they want to make a change in the city they call home and have set about to create a citywide “skyscraper garden” across Manhattan.

The roof of a nine-story building in Manhattan is their first project that they have completed and was done in collaboration with ‘Seeding the City’.
Through the program they will be water and tending the seedlings that will be planted on other roofs around the city. The hope is that by the time they are done they will have help to create a rooftop garden that is spread across the whole city.

Covenant House began over 30 years ago when six young runaways were given shelter from a snowstorm, in Manhattan. Covenant House now has programs in 21 U.S. cities and in Latin America. More than 77,000 young people at risk are aided annually by Covenant House in its national and international programs and the New York centre deals with nearly 7,000 young people a year, providing safety, shelter, food, and a listening ear.

The goal of the project is to get the young people to think outside of themselves and about their community and their affect on the environment. In addition, with the national emphasis on green jobs, Covenent House staff wanted to raise the awareness of potential green job opportunities.

When on The Cross Jesus promised one of those with Him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." The meaning of the word 'paradise' in the the language Jesus used is a garden enclosed by a wall, created in order to encourage new life and enjoy its contemplation.

So this roof top garden certainly qualifies then, and in more ways than one.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Solar power cuts down pollution, and is part of the answer to Third World energy poverty.



The sun provides enough energy in one hour to supply the needs of the earth for one year. Those in most need of energy are those in the Third World, yet in the main they are in the areas where there are the most sunlight hours.

Solar lighting enables hospitals, homes and businesses in the third world to operate in safer conditions when it gets dark, as often the only other available source of light is from paraffin lamps which are fire hazards and give off toxic fumes. In India alone the average household without access to electricity uses around 120 litres of expensive paraffin a year, which equates to around 310 kg of carbon released into the atmosphere, multiply this by millions and I am sure you will get the picture. In the poorest and remotest areas of the world, where paraffin is not available, the inhabitants have to use wood for lighting as well as cooking and these are usually the areas where wood is a now a scarce resource. Were you aware of the fact that inhaling smoke from indoor fires is the fourth greatest cause of death and disease in the third world?

A UK based charity, Solar Aid, has the aim of fighting both global poverty and climate change by bringing clean, renewable energy to the world’s poorest people.

Please play the above video and see just what can be done for so little cost and wonder, perhaps, why governments are not involved.

Deuteronomy 4:19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

So the power of the sun is for all people and for such little cost, they can be enabled to share it...

Friday, 24 July 2009

This video was made in the Antwerp , Belgium Central (Train) Station on the 23rd of March 2009.

With no warning to the passengers passing through the station, at 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing 'Do, Re, Mi' begins to play on the public address system. As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances.

They created this amazing event with just two rehearsals.



If you have had a bad day or feel down or jaded, this will make you smile, and when it does, pass it on. After all, if you were in a group headed by someone that could turn water into wine, you would smile a lot.

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

“Why are you still an environmentalist?”

The question to me was well meant, after all I have been shouting about the environmental problems for well over 25 years now, but the next remark made me think deeply.

“Don’t you see that it is almost hopeless?”

My answer was that at first I thought that I could change people before it was too late for the environment, but even when I realised that this was a near impossibility I still had to go on.

“Why?” was the next question.

My answer surprised me; I had to carry on because even if I could not change people, what I certainly did not want, was for them to change me.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Funding for Climate Change and Global Warming deniers

Imagine the situation. YOU are the director of a large multi-national company that relies on the use or sale of of fossil fuel, say coal or oil, in order to pay your salary when along comes someone that points out that what you are doing, business wise, is destroying the future environment. What do you do, do you say ‘quite correct’, change things and risk shareholders wrath and risk losing your profitability, bonus and lifestyle, or do you rubbish the messenger calling him, her or them ‘long hair hippies’, ‘bleeding hearted tree hugging environmentalists’ or ‘religious creationist nutcases?’

OK, so you have taken the line of least resistance and gone the second route, after all, you have the advertising revenue and so control over much of the media. It all works to your plan, then along comes respected and influential Al Gore and says that the long haired tree huggers etc are right... what next?

Easy, you rubbish Al Gore and that way you also rubbish all those that agree with him!

Do you remember the cigarette industries promotion of those that said that smoking did not harm your health and criticism of those that said it did? Don’t lose sight of that image and read on.

To directly oppose the climate change lobby would seem, for an fossil fuel reliant company as being a tad incorrect, but how about funding bodies that oppose them? For instance, in the UK there was a film on TV called the ‘Great Global warming Swindle’ that was peddled as the answer to Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. This argued that most global warming over the past century occurred between 1900 and 1940. A pivotal point in the film was the use of a graph showing that there was a period of cooling between 1940 and 1975 when the post-war economic boom was under way. This showed, according to the film, that global warming had little to do with industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.

The program makers labeled the source of the world temperature data as "NASA" but it turned out that the graph was drawn from a 1998 diagram published in an obscure journal called Medical Sentinel. The authors of the paper are well-known climate skeptics who were funded by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing Washington think-tank.

Recently Al Gore, (and by implication all that agree with him) has been again attacked by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (a think-tank that had close links with the Bush administration) in the US with misinformation, ‘Greenwash’ and adverts in that fly in the face of the facts about the problems of Global Warming. With more than a $3 million annual budget, CEI is supported by both conservative foundations and corporate funding. Known corporate funders in addition to ExxonMobil include the American Petroleum Institute, Cigna Corporation, Dow Chemical, EBCO Corp, General Motors, and IBM.

Company accounts have shown that ExxonMobil handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to such lobby groups. In 2008 recipients included the National Centre for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas, which received $75,000, and the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, which received $50,000.

According to Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the London School of Economics, both the NCPA and the Heritage Foundation have published "misleading and inaccurate information about climate change." Examples given by Ward include a Heritage Foundation report that said: "Growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes a threat, including the fact that 2008 is about to go into the books as a cooler year than 2007". Scientists, including those at the UK Met Office disagree with this. Ward also cited that an NCPA comment that "while the causes and consequences of the earth's current warming trend is still unknown, the cost of actions to substantially reduce CO2 emissions would be quite high and result in economic decline, accelerated environmental destruction, and do little or nothing to prevent global warming regardless of its cause" was misleading and inaccurate.

For over a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming. While it did its own scientists were advising that the evidence was exactly the opposite. William O’Keefe, at one time a leader of the Global Climate Coalition was a senior official of the American Petroleum Institute, the lobby for oil companies.

Scientists and economists were offered $10,000 each by the AEI to undermine a major climate change report. Letters sent by them offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012.

A passage from the UN Development Program's 2007 Human Development Report stated that "Climate change is the defining human development challenge of the 21st Century. Failure to respond to that challenge will stall and then reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem."

CEI adverts state that a robust climate bill would cause "death on a massive scale" and "absolute disaster" in developing countries...

The words of Psalm 5:9 come to mind “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A dummies guide to Climate Change. (Even I can understand it)

The Earth's climate has always varied, so the term climate change is now generally used to describe the changes caused by human activity - specifically, greenhouse emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane, which build up in the atmosphere and trap heat.

Is it the same as global warming?

As human activity increases the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere far beyond their natural levels, means that much more heat is trapped. Hence, the term climate change is often used interchangeably with global warming but the term 'global warming' is most certainly not a technicaly accurate term, because 'global warming' causes more extreme weather conditions and these will vary depending on the location. The winters may be longer and colder in one country or countries while rain becomes heavier, causing floods in others. At the same time droughts will take place in other parts of the world. The problem is that people confuse 'weather' (local) with 'climate' (world-wide).

Can it be explained by natural causes?

Earth's surface measurement show that average temperatures have increased by 0.4C since the 1970s, scientists are confident this change can be blamed on human emissions because the increase cannot be explained by natural causes. Although natural factors such as changes in the sun and large volcanic eruptions are known to have warmed and cooled the planet in the past, these effects are not powerful enough to explain the rapid warming seen recently. Only an increased greenhouse effect caused by higher amounts of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere can explain it.

What is the main greenhouse gas?

Surprisingly for many, water vapour in the atmosphere produces the strongest greenhouse effect, but it has been in balance for millions of years. Human emissions have tipped that balance, think of it as being the last straw. Carbon dioxide is the chief greenhouse gas produced by human activity. It is produced when we burn the fossil fuels: oil, gas and coal and the carbon dioxide locked in them is released. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured in parts per million (ppm). Before the industrial revolution, the carbon dioxide level was about 280ppm; we know this because of ice core analysis. It is now 386ppm and rising by 2-3ppm each year. When other greenhouse gases such as methane are included, the total level in the atmosphere, known as the carbon dioxide equivalent, is closer to 440ppm.

What future temperature rise is expected?

Scientists say continued emissions will cause the planet to heat up further. To work out how much, they use computer models based on the programs used to predict the weather. These models are certainly not perfect. The more we know the more we realise that we have a lot to learn, but running different models and taking an average of the results, the predictions are that with emissions increase at the present rate, average temperatures will most likely increase by 4C by 2100. There are uncertainties, though - for example, the planet's oceans, forests and soils, such as the permafrost tundra could release their massive stocks of methane as the world warms, leading to much greater temperature rises than human emissions alone..

Why are warmer temperatures bad?

Most plants and animals live in a narrow ecological niche. Some are able to adapt or move to find their desired conditions, those that cannot will perish. Some animals, such as the penguin and polar bear, will have nowhere to move to. A warmer climate will affect agriculture and water availability. Increased temperatures are also expected to limit rainfall in some regions and bring more extreme weather events such as storms to others. Sea levels will rise - gradually at first as the extra warmth works its way into the oceans and makes them expand; more quickly if the gigantic ice sheets in Greenland and west Antarctica start to break up.

How can we tackle Global Warming?

It takes time for the heat to build up in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a long time and so there is a lag in the system, which means the effect of any changes will not be felt for decades. Put bluntly, we are headed for about another 0.5C of warming whatever we do. The global warming supertanker is, at present, still running on. Scientists say the only realistic way at present is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. How to do that - and where - is a political hot potato as this will involve unpopular government action and just how unpopular will be shown at the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, The Copenhagen Climate change talks.

So what are the Kyoto protocol and the Copenhagen climate talks?

The world's only existing treaty to limit emissions, the Kyoto protocol, had very limited success, and expires in 2012. Politicians are working to develop a replacement that would include countries excluded from Kyoto, such as China, and those that refused to join, such as the US. The Kyoto agreement was continually watered down and was eventually known as ‘Kyoto Light’. From December 7, environment ministers and officials will meet in Copenhagen to agree out a successor to Kyoto. This two week event is the crucial opportunity to create an international agreement on meaningful cuts in emissions that will prevent the worst consequences of climate change. This event is the world wake up call.

Can renewable energy help?

Yes! We already have the vast majority of the technology we need to bring down emissions significantly. These include renewable energy sources such as windmills, geothermal and solar panels, as well as more efficient cars and power stations.

What about carbon trading?

The idea of Carbon Trading is that a country or a group of countries (i.e. the EU) agree a maximum emissions level and companies are then given, or must purchase Carbon Credits. If a company does not use their Carbon Credit to the full, by cutting down on their pollution, they can sell the unused Credits on the open market. This may sound good, but in the EU the number of permits issued was so high that the resale value was minimal and so there was no incentive for business to cut down on pollution.

What about carbon offsetting?

I regard this as an excuse not to change our behaviour. The idea that you can pollute by flying then remove the effect of the high level pollution by paying someone to plant a tree is Alice in Wonderland environmentalism! In addition this is, in the main, an unregulated market.

What about storing the CO2 underground or blocking the sun?

One technology that would allow us to continue burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil without increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere is carbon capture and storage (CCS). This involves extracting CO2 at power stations then pumping it underground. OK, this sounds good, but does not, at yet, exist other than in small scale testing situations, although to listen to UK government ministers you may assume that it is already in place. A more drastic approach is so-called geo-engineering. These are major technological fixes such as seeding clouds to bounce some of the sun's radiation back into space or stimulating the growth of algae in the oceans to soak up CO2. These are much more speculative, but John Holdren, Barack Obama's scientific adviser, is contemplating them.

What do the real experts say?

The leading UK scientists are at the Met Office, and you can find their Climate Change information HERE, the Climate Projection page will show you what your children/grandchildren will inherit from this generation. The leading US scientists are at NASA and you can find their information HERE, and while you look at the NASA site, run you curser over the 'Vital signs of the planet'at the top of the home page.

What can I do about it?

Act locally, think globally. Turn off lights when you are not in the room and use energy saving bulbs. Turn off standby appliances, insulate, buy local produce from local providers and local shops. If you are in the UK do you really need green beans from Kenya in January or strawberries from Egypt in March?

If at all possible, grow your own food, cut down on car mileage, cut down on plastic packaging, avoid ready meals and the associated manufacture, packaging, storage and transport environmental costs. Recycle, Repair, Reuse, and Respect God's amazing creation, because when He first made it, it was good.

Just those few items above will make a huge difference to the environment, both local and worldwide, to your pocket, and to your health.

PS. The next post will be about the multinational companies that finance climate change denial groups, misinformation adverts and greenwash...

Monday, 22 June 2009

The Amazon, Chevron /Texaco and the rest... is this the true cost?



The Amazon basin covers over seven million square kilometres in nine countries, contains the world's largest tropical rainforest, houses nearly fifty percent of the planet's terrestrial biodiversity and is being devastated by deforestation in order to strip it unsustainably of its natural resources.

The in progress and proposed large-scale development projects, such as as new roads, power lines, oil & gas pipelines, dams, and massive timbering operations are financed by economic globalisation. These projects blight millions of hectares of pristine frontier rainforests and the lives of the indigenous people who depend on these forests for their physical and cultural survival.

To take one event of many that happen in the Amazon, just outside the Northern Peruvian town of Bagua, indigenous people were protesting against the free trade decrees issued by President Garcia under special powers granted by Congress in the context of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. This had been going on for 56 days without incident when, in the early hours of June 5th, police began to approach the demonstrators as they were sleeping along the Fernando Belaúnde Terry road and fired teargas grenades and live ammunition. Eyewitnesses report that police also attacked from both sides firing live rounds into the crowd as people fled into surrounding steep hillsides, many becoming trapped.

This resulted in 25 protesters confirmed dead and over one hundred wounded, although the actual figures may be far higher as many eyewitnesses in Bagua reported that they saw police throw the bodies of the dead into the Marañon River from a helicopter in an apparent attempt by the Government to underreport the number of indigenous people killed by police. Hospital workers in Bagua Chica and Bagua Grande corroborated that the police took bodies of the dead from their premises to an undisclosed location. Several people reported that there were bodies lying at the bottom of a deep crevasse up in the hills, about a mile from the incident site, but when the Church and local leaders went to investigate, the police stopped them from approaching the area.

So how was this reported in the West? The main report was in the LA Times under the headline ‘Insurgents threaten Peru's Stability’ and that ‘Protests by indigenous communities over oil drilling and mining in the Peruvian Amazon region turned violent Friday, leaving at least 13 people dead in clashes with police and subsequent rioting’.

It is difficult to report on events thousands of miles away and I have been checking this out as thoroughly as possible, hence the gap between posts, but the inescapable facts are that when both witnesses describe and readily available photographs show armed police in full riot gear on the ground and in helicopters firing teargas grenades and live rounds on unarmed protesters wearing shorts and t-shirts it is quite easy to work out what occurred.

There are more images of the above event HERE and details of the Chevron/Texaco involvement in the Amazon disaster HERE

I wrote this and remembered St. Paul’s words in Corinthians that “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres".

The events that I have described above, the killing young men, woman and children who are concerned enough to protest about their future and the destruction of their environment is simply 100% evil.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

It is the answer to our environmental problems.



“What difference can I make?” I hear this question on many occasions when the global environmental problems are mentioned. Another comment is “The problems are massive, I feel that’s it’s a case of ‘Eat Drink and be Merry, for tomorrow we die’, don’t you?”

Well, actually, no I don’t!

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? There is no way David should have won, but he did. What about Nelson Mandela, he was imprisoned for 27 years and yet ended up as South Africa’s first Black president. He supported reconciliation lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa and has been praised by many including former opponents. On a more recent scale, James Dyson took ten years to get his vacuum cleaner onto the market, because no existing manufacturer wanted to make it.

All the above did what they did because they knew what was right. To hell with what almost all believed was impossible they had right on their side and despite popular opinion and the odds that were stacked against them they were not going to give up.

Opinion Pollsters publish the results of their efforts and inform us what is possible and the environmental movement, we are told, is simply a ‘Green Bubble’. I wonder what the odds the pollsters would have given David’s chances against Goliath, or Nelson Mandela’s chances of becoming President Mandela, or of Dyson’s vacuum cleaner making it to production...

It’s the backyard vegetable gardener who is disparaged as ecologically insignificant by many, but the chaos theory shows how the flap of a butterfly’s wings can start a hurricane, and as Rosa Parks showed an individual action can start a chain reaction.

So, what if the backyard gardener believes that what is important is to do what is right, and by dedication and example in looking for a better way to live, for themselves and their families, others begin to question the way that they live? What if in their questioning others look closely at the way they live and the resources they use?

Believe in yourself, because while you you may not be a backyard gardener, you are the butterfly’s wings.

Please left click the picture because you are never to old or to young to start.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Roz Savage, environmental campaigner par excellence



I am a huge fan of this young woman (and not for simply the reason that may first come to your mind either) because this British ocean rower is an eco activist who came to prominence in 2005, when after 11 years as a management consultant, she embarked upon a new career by rowing solo 3,000 miles across the Atlantic.

It is an unlikely and amazing transformation from a late 30 year old office worker to a 40 year old ocean rower, but now Roz is attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, after this she will then walk from London to Copenhagen (no, you read that correctly... walk) armed with an environmental mission called 'Pull Together'.

This initiative aims to inspire people to take action on CO2 levels by walking more and driving less. Calling upon her supporters around the world to 'Pull Together', Roz will challenge them to match her 10,000 oar strokes each day with 10,000 steps. All the steps logged by participants around the world on the site will be aggregated and expressed by a number of laps around the earth completed during the challenge. For every 53 people that complete 1,000,000 steps, an earth lap will be added. Just before her 24 May launch, she provided the opening remarks to attendees of Al Gore’s Climate Project Summit and became a Climate Change Ambassador.

Her efforts will focus on the upcoming climate change conference in Co2penhagen in December. In partnership with 350.org, on 24 October -- a designated global day of action on climate change -- Roz and thousands of supporters will assemble at Big Ben in London and, over a period of six weeks, march more than 600 miles to Copenhagen to address the conference delegates. At this time, Roz will deliver the results of the initiative, essentially a walking petition, as a symbol of joint commitment to taking immediate, aggressive action to reduce global CO2 levels, for more info click on her website HERE.

Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere; both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases and this level needs to be 350ppm (parts per million). OK, so what is the C02 level now? It is 389.47... for more info click on to 350.org website HERE.

And while you are there, don't forget 'World Environment Day' which is Friday 5th June. If you want to organise an event or be involved in an event to coincide with C02penhagen in October then click HERE.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Bayer GM / GE Rice, the facts...

Rice is the world's most important staple food - with more than half of the global population eating it every day. It has been grown for over 10,000 years and is cultivated in 113 countries. Rice is also a key ingredient in a wide variety of processed foods ranging from baby food to the more obvious rice noodles, but all this is under threat as genetic engineering (GE/GM) continues to creep up on our most valuable food.

The German chemical giant Bayer is trying to sell a herbicide resistant variety of GM rice to countries - for commercial planting. Conventional and organic rice is at great risk from being contaminated by GM strains and controlled by multinational corporations and governments.

The rice made by Bayer (called LL62) has been genetically engineered to withstand high doses of glufosinate, an herbicide sprayed on rice fields to control a wide range of weeds; Bayer also makes the glufosinate so any use of the GM rice will boost their chemical sales as a consequence. While this will be good for Bayer, it places farmers, consumers and the environment at risk. Glufosinate is considered to be so dangerous to humans and the environment that it will soon be banned in Europe in accordance with recently-adopted EU legislation.

Genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. GM crops repeatedly failed under extreme weather conditions, and some GE plants yield consistently less than their natural counterparts. Earlier this year, GE farmers in South Africa, for example, lost more than 80,000 hectares of corn for unknown reasons. The best insurance policy against climate change and erratic weather conditions is diversity.

Glufosinate is used on potatoes in order to kill of the green crop above the ground, its residues are then found in the potatoes and these are not affected by boiling. When being assessed by an EU working group the conclusions were reached that it could pose a risk to the unborn child and to fertility.

Currently, Bayer is pushing for legal approval of its GE rice in Brazil, South Africa, the EU, India and the Philippines. In the USA, the Bayer GE rice has already been approved for commercial planting, although farmers in the US are reluctant to plant it as they fear the loss of important markets due to the risks of accidental contamination. This fear is not without reason as Bayer already has a history of causing damages that have been estimated at more than USD 1.2 billion to the global rice industry, when one of its experimental GE rice varieties accidentally entered global rice supplies in 2006.

To see just how environmentally dependent growing rice without chemical input is, in order to safeguard biodiversity, please see the amazing and 100% inspiring video link HERE.

As previously mentioned, Bayer field trials in the US lead to the worlds rice supplies becoming contaminated by GM rice. Contaminated goods were pulled from shelves world-wide as bans on US rice came into force yet Bayer claimed that they were not liable for this event as the incident was ‘An act of God’. Yes Bayer, the god of THIS world and age.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Speculation in the food markets

While most of the solutions to the current crisis of high food prices will require substantial reworking of our global, fossil fuel-dependent food system to create a more localized and organic one, one relatively easy solution could bring quick and significant reductions in world prices. Financial speculation in commodities’ futures markets has increased dramatically in the last 3-4 years, artificially driving up prices of a host of commodities, from food crops to oil and natural gas, to metals and minerals.

Commodities markets were formed because for farmers, selling grains was a very unpredictable and chaotic task. Individual farmers negotiated with sellers and faced widely varying prices and uncertainty. After this farmers agreed with a buyer to deliver grain at a specific date in the future for an agreed upon price, this is called a forward contract. Later futures contracts were created, these are similar to forward contracts, but instead of being directly between a producer and a buyer, are traded on an open exchange called the futures market where others can participate. Buyers on the futures market rarely, if ever, actually receive the physical product but are able to profit off changing commodity prices.

By the late 1800s, futures markets had been created for various products, with speculators betting on whether prices would rise or fall. But the influx of investors not actually involved in agriculture or food production was a problem. A casino-type atmosphere reigned with huge amounts of money entering the market procuring easy profits. Abuses, from fraud to spreading rumours in order to alter prices to buying inside information, were used to influence the market. Large fluxes in investments also affected food prices unnecessarily.

Financiers did not immediately invest in the food commodities markets as they provided lower profits than other areas of investment. This changed after the stock bubble burst in the year 2000 and the further deregulation of commodities futures markets in 2001. Investors pulled vast amounts of money from the stock market, deflating the bubble. Much of that money was placed in the housing market, thus creating a bubble in that market. As the housing bubble burst, many investors have now switched to commodities futures, and they are able to plough immense amounts of money in these markets.

Hedge fund manager Michael Masters recently testified before the US Congress on this issue. He said that institutional investors (pension funds, university endowments, sovereign wealth funds, etc.) have increased their investments in commodities futures from $13 billion in 2003 to $260 billion in March 2008, and the price of 25 commodities have risen by an average of 183 percent in those five years. He explained that “commodities futures prices are the benchmark for the prices of actual physical commodities, so when speculators drive futures prices higher, the effects are felt immediately in the real economy.”

Clearly these huge influxes of money are having dramatic effects on today’s rising food prices. One particularly troubling aspect of speculator demand is that it actually increases the more prices increase. We already see this happening as investment advisors increasingly encourage clients to invest in commodities futures. This would result in catastrophic increases in food prices.

If the financial markets devised a scheme whereby investors bought large amounts of pharmaceutical in order to profit from the resulting increase in prices, making these essential items unaffordable to sick and dying people, society would be justly outraged. This is happening now in our commodities’ system, driving up food prices worldwide, and the poor, especially in the Third World, are those that suffer the most.

The financial markets are making everything a commodity but food is not a commodity to be traded because food is a need, not a want. In trading food what is really being traded are lives.

In the Lord’s Prayer the first request after the salutations to God is “Give us this day our daily bread”. Food is one of life's essentials, not the chips in some surreal poker game.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Global Warming causes the Carteret Islands to be abandoned.



I would have thought (hoped) that this story would have been headline news throughout the world, but the news agencies have, in the main, ignored it, so here it is anyway!

The Carteret Islands are part of Papua New Guinea located in the South Pacific being a scattering of low lying islands in a horseshoe shape with a total land area of 0.6 square kilometers and a maximum elevation of 1.5 meters above sea level. You see the problem, 1.5m above sea level.

Some say that the islands' sinking is caused by them being located on shifting tectonic plates, but Australia's National Tide Facility has measured an annual rise of 8.2 mm in sea level on the islands in every year they have monitored the situation. Within the space of a generation, the islands' shoreline has receded over 60 feet. During storm surges, salt water washes away homes, destroys vegetable gardens, and contaminates fresh water supplies and for a population of 2,000+, largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, the impact has been devastating. The image that looks as though it is two islands, is actually of one that is now being flooded as sea levels rise.

So 2,000+ people are, as I write, in the process of being relocated to other locations. How ironic that the Carteret Islanders, people with a carbon footprint among the lowest in the world, are now among the first to have to abandon their islands because of rising seas caused by emissions from other nations.

The photos are used with the kind permission of www.SunComeUp.com and I would 100% recommend, ask, plead, that you visit their site HERE and view the film trailer as it tells the story of the islanders in their own words on their vanishing homeland. It may take a few seconds to load but this is worth any wait. If there are problems in linking from this then the environmental resource contacts at the left hand side also has a link.

The only mainstream journal to have covered this story in depth is The Ecologist, and you can read their on-line report HERE.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Can money make you content?




I am lucky, I remember what it was at one time to have little, come from families that had even less and so can appreciate what we have now.

In the West the appalling poverty and awful living standards that were the norm for my parents childhood generation have all but gone and are now but memories in books and black and white images such as you see, where men could sit up for a nights sleep and get a morning bowl of soup for a penny, the beds nearby cost three pence a night. Double left click on it to see what life in London was like for so many in years past.

Unlike those you can see in that image the vast majority of our people no longer exist in conditions and circumstances that mean they own only the clothes they stand up in and to say that since I have been born standards of living have risen considerably would be an understatement. The ‘fridge and freezer have changed the need for shopping from an almost daily event to a once a week or even longer event, the washing machine has eliminated the drudgery of the washing day my mother knew and the communications revolution has allowed mass access to information.

Women have, thank God, been given their unquestionable rights to freedoms that would have been inconceivable even when I was a child. The car has allowed mobility in a way that would have been in the realms of science fiction in my grandparents’ day and they would have likewise viewed the pill.

So what has gone wrong?

In the West alcoholism is on the increase, as are the use of drugs to relieve stress, depression and anxiety. Anti-social behaviour is no longer unusual, violence is increasing, aggression is the norm on the roads and suicides in the UK are now at their highest numbers in males aged 15-44.

Here we all are, enjoying a material prosperity such as the world has never seen before, yet we have witnessed the loss of a society and community that cares. Society now has unparalleled material wealth yet is the same society that has unparalleled discontent with its lot. Could this be because in the rush to acquire, to possess, there is little room for anything more in peoples’ lives? Could it be that having acquired that new possession the euphoria soon wears off and what was desirable now becomes the norm?

I have seen society change and the driving force behind this has been the acceptance of three principles.

Success is to be measured materially
Material success will bring happiness
Therefore in order to be successful (and happy) you must make your aim in life material goals.

OK, that's a tad simplistic but basically it is what many people believe and to go against this is to be in conflict with what we are fed daily. Look at any TV or newspaper and there will be the message that if you want to have a fulfilled life then you must consume. If you want success then you must possess and if you want status then do both in a highly visual way.

The fallacy is that money can produce contentment, when even the most casual observer can see that this is not true. I have become to realise that there is a far more addictive product than cannabis, heroin, alcohol or anything else available, and that is money.

There is, of course, nothing essentially wrong with money, the problem is that the bulk of our society is addicted to it 100%. For many it completely controls what they do and when things go wrong, more has to be printed for a society that is addicted, obsessed and in love with money. Some grow their own drugs, governments print money in order to satisfy societies major addiction, in fact when I look around today I do realise that “the love of money is a root of all evil” and that indeed “Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain”. **

I am privileged to be a frontline volunteer member of a suicide intervention team, and I can say from experience that “the love of money” and the damage caused by those “eager to get rich” has resulted in a lot of pain to many innocent others. **

Carl Marx once said that "Religion is the opiate of the people". He was wrong, money is the opiate of the people.

** Italics from 1 Timothy 6:10

Incidentally, the facilities you see in the images were provided by the Salvation Army in Blackfriars, London in 1902. The S.A. may be short in liturgy, but they have always been long in action.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Swine Flu – is this the reason why?

In the US state of Iowa there are almost nine times as many pigs/hogs as people and in 2005 (yup... 2005) the University of Iowa, (Centre for Emerging Diseases)warned that these intensive animal farms were a tremendous potential reservoir for the flu virus.

The source of the virus is yet to be fully confirmed but the facts are that near La Gloria, a village East of Mexico City, there are pig/hog farms that intensively produce almost a million animals a year. In La Gloria almost 60% of the inhabitants have been affected by flu symptoms and some have died.

Dr. Gregory Grey at the University of Iowa was involved in a major study that concluded that “virus-laden secretions from pigs may be more concentrated, and reductions in ventilation and sunshine exposure may prolong viral viability. Thus, a confinement operation worker’s probability of acquiring the Influenza virus infection may be increased compared with that of a traditional swine worker.”
The study warned that swine workers could “initiate epidemics” by mixing the viral strains which would then trigger a pandemic. “They may serve as a conduit for a novel virus to move from swine to man or from man to swine,” the study said.

The Mexican factories are alleged to have very low standards of hygiene and were owned and run by an American company Smithfield, who were at the heart of one of my previous postings.

There is a video on that post of Smithfields accepted practices. Please view it, look at the animals conditions, see just what those involved had to say about the effect the factories operations had on their health and draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Greed + global warming = 1,500 farmers in India recently committing suicide, (did you know about it?)



This is a complex issue, there are several causes but in the main they are drought, international trade agreements, and policies of international loan agencies (IMF, World Bank). The global warming aspect has meant that for farmers in some areas the water level has gone down below 250 feet where it used to be at 40 feet a few years ago.

The lack of irrigation water will be further influenced by increased global climate change which is expected to raise the Indian Sub-continent temperatures by up to 4°C by 2100 according to a report in The Hindu. This is expected to cause major problems with the monsoon season that is so critical to crop growth and ground water replenishment.

The international trade agreements are mostly influenced by the transnational corporations. A trade agreement between the United States and India, the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), was backed by Monsanto and other transnational corporate giants.

The World Bank loans to the poor countries pave the way for the transnational corporations to take control and exploit local markets and natural resources. In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open its seed sector to transnational corporations. This allowed for the seizure of India’s seed sector by Monsanto, its trade sector by Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, and its retail sector by Wal-Mart.

As a result of this, traditional farm saved seeds have been replaced with genetically engineered seeds. Their precarious situation was aggravated as a result of the aggressive marketing and subsequent disappointing results of Monsanto GM Cotton seed, marketed as disease resistant and high-yielding, when in fact it turned out to be neither.

This GM cotton seed is sterile and cannot be saved. The farmers then have to purchase seeds for each growing season, which is a costly investment for them. In most cases this has led to poverty and severe indebtedness. In order to relieve themselves of debt, some farmers have even sold their own organs.

Cotton farmers in Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have defaulted on bank debt, and then become further indebted to illegal moneylenders. When these attempts have failed to rectify their financial situations, many farmers committed suicide.

According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau records, there have been 166,304 farmers’ suicides in a decade since 1997 in India. Of these, 78,737 occurred in five years between 1997 and 2001. The next five years - from 2002 to 2006 – proved worse, seeing 87,567 take their lives. This means that on an average, there has been one farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes since 2002.

These suicides are an example of how global climate change and big business will affect the poorest in society first. Perhaps some of the shame of these farmers’ debts and suicides should be borne by those who over-consume and live for the bottom line only, while others actually pay the price.

For more information see HERE HERE and HERE

Thursday, 16 April 2009

This man is a Cyber Terrorist!



According to John Austin MP I had “engaged in what appears to be a campaign of cyber-terrorism, intended to crash my and the House of Commons IT system which threatens to prevent me dealing with the very urgent needs of my constituents many of whom are among the most deprived in the country”. Ignoring the fact that for 22 years I lived in his constituency, what is needed to become a ‘Cyber Terrorist’?

First of all you need to have a concern for the environment that transcends the concerns for the here and now, looks for the long term future and are not afraid to stand up and be counted and take some form of action. If that is you then you have qualified for the above title! I have come to the regretful conclusion that governments and big business, especially the UK government and big businesses, seem to regard environmentalist much in the same way that they regard terrorists. This may seem an overstatement but let’s us face facts, due to the Web and blogs such as this, there is no longer any hiding place for either, the truth will out... unless it is suppressed. This may seem a little paranoid so let me take it further.

The proposed Kingsnorth coal fired power station in Kent UK will emit as much C02 as Nigeria and so several thousand climate protestors peaceably camped nearby and were met by 1500 police in an action that cost £5.7 million. The police claimed that many of their number were injured in ‘containing the protest’ yet these injuries turned out to be wasp stings, headaches, toothache, diarrhoea and so on. To see just how the police handled these horrendously dangerous protesting individuals watch here and for a firsthand account (Adrienne Campbell's writing of her husband's experience of arrest and release) see here.

In London recently there were G8 protests. I will not condone violence from any quarter, but my friends who were there at the peace camp said that the police presence was frightening and oppressive, shades of Kingsnorth, but then Ian Tomlinson, a bystander with his hands in his pockets, simply walking home was attacked by the police and died later, you can see the attack here.

The police had been talking up the threat of violence at the G20 protests for weeks. They briefed journalists and companies in the City of London about the supposed intentions of the climate campaigners intending to demonstrate there, but refused to let the campaigners attend the briefings and put their own side of the story. They also rebuffed the campaigners when they sought to explain to the police what they wanted to do.

My new title of being a Cyber Terrorist was due to me emailing several MP’s about a possible third runway at London Heathrow (something which will flatten a local village and cause even more pollution) and which many others did at the same time.

I was a member of a Christian group that took part in a Climate Change Church service that then joined several thousand others on a march in London on 8 Dec 2007. I was walking down Whitehall, past Downing Street when a police officer a few feet away took a close-up video of my face and using one of those directional microphones listened in to the conversation I was having so I am obviously on a database somewhere...

I believe that the concern that is now apparent from both authorities and big business about people like you and I, who have concern for the future of this amazing planet, is that we now via the web have both information and community, and as such are seen as a threat. Does that sound farfetched? If you think so then see one of my previous posts here, it is anti Monsanto, a company that I regard as often quite evil in the way it does business, and who was the first to reply to this post... it was Monsanto! Some of the larger companies, and perhaps governments, must have a department that trawls the web to search out dangerous individuals such as me in order to repudiate their views and claims, but due to the web, there are now few hiding places.

If it were not for the web then the videos above and the concerns expressed would have never been seen or read, and what then? I have found out, to my cost, that the press and TV rely on their advertisers and proprietors in order to fund them and they are not likely to offend either, especially when the propriators and advertisers activities involve environmental damage that attracts the attention of environmentalists. When that happens the environmentalist concerns are usually rubbished by the media, have you noticed that?

So where do my Christian beliefs fit into this? Easy, we have to stand up and be counted when we see brutality and oppression, and if we do not condemn it, we condone it.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Alone in all creation a chicken cried out at the betrayal of God




Mat 26:34 Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you that this night, before the hour of the cock's cry, you will say three times that you have no knowledge of me.

They sure have been made to pay for it ever since....

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Just some of the places to visit before they go under the sea!


The Maldive Islands, they are on average just 1.5m above sea level.
Tuvalu, with its highest point just 4.5m above sea level.
Kiribati, just ½ m more and its arable land will be gone.
The Carteret Islands will be underwater by 2015 and it had 2000+ inhabitants in 2003.
Key West in Florida... although parts of the area are 6m above sea level, less than 1m and much will be flooded.

I wonder which is the one that will wake the world up when the flooding happens?