Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Continued Economic Growth Is Not Possible.

I am assured that we (the world it seems) are now back to a period of continued economic growth. I will happily accept the idea of continuing economic growth as soon as an economist demonstrates to me that the Earth will also grow at the same rate. Let’s face facts, indefinite global economic growth is unsustainable.

Let us imagine that an economy grows at 5% a year.

1st year 100%
2nd year 105%
3rd year 110.25%
4th year 115.76%
5th year 121.55%
6th year 127.63%
7th year 134.00%
8th year 140.71%
9th year 147.74%
10th year 155.13%
11th year 162.89%
12th year 171.03%
13th year 179.58%
14th year 188.56%
15th year 197.99%
16th year 207.89%

So, in the space of just 16 years our imagined economy is producing and consuming at over twice the rate it started at and at 20 years the figure is 252%. Isn’t this where our problems all started, when we put the word ‘gross’ (really gross) into "gross domestic product"?

Like the hampster below... it's impossible!

Monday, 25 January 2010

The world’s economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment.

Which is something that the majority of the world's economists, bankers and financiers somehow manage to overlook.

I was reading The Book of Revelation recently when I read with new eyes part of 11:15-19 where judgement is the subject.

"The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and those that reverence your name, both great and small and for destroying those who destroy the earth".

To use creation for selfish greed, desecrating the earth and so reducing its bio-diversity is not simply a crime against humanity it is blastpheny. It wrecks God's work of creation and blights not only those affected by Climate Change today, the poor and the vulnerable, it also blights the future of our children, grandchildren and those as yet unborn, and they are the ones that the present has actually been borrowed from.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Haiti; sometimes the world's events seem as so great as to defy comprehension...

Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal for Haiti after a major earthquake struck the country. Thousands of people are dead, many are buried alive and countless have been left homeless.

If you can help financially, however little, please click on HERE.

'The Widow's Mite'.
He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had." (LUKE 21:1-4)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Say It With Cans!

In the part of the US where keen environmentalists Andrea and Pete live, (Spokane, Washington) you can make some money by recycling cans. This young couple have decided to get married (great) but have agreed to pay for the wedding by earning money from recycling aluminium cans, now comes the problem.... they need to recycle 400,000 cans, about 5 tons....

Since in the US there are enough aluminum cans thrown away to build 8000 Boeing 747’s every year, this is a great idea and will focus peoples concept of waste in a way that is, so far, unique.

See HERE for more detail of this amazing couple!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Water; More Important Than Oil

The time of cheap and easy access to water is ending, posing a potentially greater threat to businesses than the loss of any other natural resource, including fossil fuel resources. The collapse of the world’s financial system are our warning because we live in a water 'bubble' as unsustainable as the bubble that burst in the world’s financial markets.

The Earth does not have an infinite supply of water. There is exactly the same amount of it available as there has always been. We are now, with some 6.7 billion individuals, sharing this same amount as the 300 million did at the time of the Roman Empire. Water use has been increasing per individual, during the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that it used increased nine times over. Almost 97.5 per cent of all water on earth is salt water, leaving only 2.5 per cent as fresh water. Nearly 70 per cent of that fresh water is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, less than one per cent of the world's fresh water is accessible for direct human use.

The Nile is the longest river on earth wandering for more than 4000 miles. Only two per cent of Egypt’s territory is arable along the Nile River and since the building of Aswan Dam, the discharge of the River into the Mediterranean has greatly reduced. The Tigris and Euphrates River system flowing through Syria and Iraq is being overused by the dams erected in Turkey and Iraq. The Kingdom of Jordan will need about 1.54 billion cubic meters of water to meet the needs of its population by the end of next year but will actually face a shortage of almost 319 million cubic meters. For the problems the Middle east faces, see HERE.

China’s Yellow River which flows some 4000 km’s through five provinces before it reaches the Yellow Sea, has been under mounting pressure for several decades. It first ran dry in 1972 and since 1985 it has often failed to reach the sea. China has built hundreds of water dams on the Yellow River during the last 50 years especially in the upper ranges. Thus record low water levels in the River have been witnessed in recent years.

The 2,900 km long Indus River, the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy is dying a slow death due to the shrinking Tibetan glaciers and construction of dams and barrages upstream. It also happens to be the main source of water supply to Pakistan’s major cities including Karachi. The drying up of Indus River has adversely effected the growth of mangrove forests as well as the fishing industry in Pakistan.

Friction between countries triggered by problems of water scarcity is on the rise. The regions of Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa are the most vulnerable in this regard. The armed conflict between Israel and Palestine over the Jordan river has been going on for more than 50 years and is getting worse by the day on account of increasing water shortage. Disagreements over water are also erupting along the Mekong River in Indo-China as well as around what remains of the Aral Sea in Eastern Europe. There have been longstanding disputes between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over the control of Nile River.

Lake Chad of Central Africa which supports some 30 million people has, due to global warming, shrunk to one-tenth of its former size over the past three decades. The conflict in Darfur owes its origin to decreasing water supply and the consequent shortage of pastures. In Kenya in January 2005 thousand of people fled their homes due to clashes over water in Kenya’s Rift valley.

Few years back, clashes broke out between two southern Indian states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over access to Cauvery River which flows from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka blamed Tamil Nadu of wasting water and expanding its irrigated land, while in the US, hydrologists have declared thirty-six states of the country as ‘water-stressed’ states.

There are some alternatives available for oil, but none whatsoever for water.