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    The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

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    mudra

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat May 17, 2014 4:05 pm



    The following is a wonderful text that a person I do not know left as a comment on a blog I was passing by.

    There are beautiful phrases that slip through those anonymous relations that we weave on the grand tapestry of the internet.
    Thank You Chrystel347. Who ever you are I salute your being with respect.

    Now let me translate this for you as the original text in in french.


    At twelve, I was a pure product of the Toulouse musical cultural society.

    At the heart of Montpellier garrigue, I was asked to go pick thyme.
    I didn’t know how to recognize it. An attendant brought me to the desired plant and taught me how to distinguish it from the rest. I was about to pull the plant to win. My guide stopped my gesture: “ Why do you want uproot the plant, and thus kill,  while you only need to cut some strands. If you do not have enough look around you. Full of feet around you, in which you can take a few strands. Thus you have your harvest without weakening the plant and in the future, it will still be there when you need it.

    The discourse gave me the effect of a shock as I pushed the argument further still: I decided that day that I will adopt this gesture , not only for my future profit  but also led by  a naked intent, devoid of  interest, so that the plant can live. Extended to “ the sense of the Earth “as Nietzsche once put it. This orientation of the mind has allowed me to opt for a low profile: see the fauna , flora and all the rest without being seen, to observe without disturbing, that the noblest that I found of Homo Sapiens Sapiens posture.

    The best proof of Love that we can give to our world: go cross it without leaving more of a trace than a ship on the sea.

    I thank daily human beings as Hubert Reeves to exist. Mister, you rock my
    wonder for this Earth since… 30 years. You also comforted me to be part of a devastating living species which, however, has all the gold in the world in its hands for it to be otherwise.
    So again thank you!



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    mudra

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat May 31, 2014 5:58 pm

    Water in Gaza - total collapse draws ever nearer

    After suffering devastating winter floods, Gaza now prepares for a long, dry summer of acute water shortages, declining water quality and a collapsing sewage system, as its coastal aquifer faces permanent damage from over-use and seawater contamination.

    "The majority of water resources are concentrated in the hands of Israel, while the Palestinian population endures significant water deficits."

    The consequences of a dry winter in the Middle East are being studied particularly closely in Gaza, where the area's 1.9 million residents already face a number of largely man-made threats to water security.

    The following round-up of recent publications by think tanks, analysts and human rights organizations highlights the close link between water security and electricity supplies, and the near exhaustion of Gaza's coastal aquifer.

    A power crisis in the territoriy has reduced the availability of running water in most households, according to a factsheet produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with more than 30% of homes in Gaza receiving running water for just 6-8 hours every four days.

    Immediate action needed to avert 'irreversible damage'

    In March, a petition signed by nearly 13,000 people and organised by the Emergency Water and Sanitation-Hygiene Group (EWASH), a coalition which includes national and international NGOs and UN agencies, was handed to the European Parliament to urge action to end the water crisis in Gaza.

    "The scale and severity of the water crisis facing the Gaza Strip is enormous, and unless immediate action is taken, the damage to Gaza's natural water resources will be irreversible", says a factsheet produced by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).

    At least 90% of the water supply in Gaza is contaminated with a combination of nitrate (NO3) or chloride (Cl), according to the PWA. It says water quantity is also an issue, with average consumption of 90 litres per person per day, below WHO's recommended guidelines for minimum health requirements of 100 to 250 litres per person per day, say EWASH.

    In the coming years, the population of Gaza is expected to continue growing, creating increased water and power needs. The power supply required to operate current water and wastewater facilities, currently 29 MW (megawatts) is expected to rise to 81.5 MW by 2020, according to PWA, as the population grows and new water projects are built.

    'Significant water deficits' loom

    According to an OCHA factsheet on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), "The insufficient supply of electricity and fuel to operate water pumps and wells has caused a further reduction in the availability of running water in most households. This has increased people's reliance on private, uncontrolled water suppliers and lowered hygiene standards."

    Israel is the main source of electricity in the OPTs, with 4,702 gigawatt hours purchased from Israel in 2012, constituting 89% of its total energy purchases.

    The Gaza Strip, specifically, is supplied with electricity from three sources: purchases from Israel (120 megawatts) and from Egypt (28 MW) and production by the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) (currently 60 MW). According to OCHA, this supply meets less than half of the estimated demand.

    In a recent report on water in the OPTs, Friends of the Earth says: "Water injustice and inequitable allocation of water to Palestinian people has seriously deteriorated the overall economic and social well-being of the people ...

    "The majority of water resources are concentrated in the hands of Israel, while the Palestinian population endures significant water deficits."

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2414449/water_in_gaza_total_collapse_draws_ever_nearer.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:19 am

    When I Look at Candy, All I See Is Petrochemicals and GMO




    I’ve seen it all over Facebook. PETA is sharing a picture of candy that illustrates exactly where the gelatin in much of it comes from — and person after person after person in the comments is talking about how “amazing” all these processed candies are and how they don’t really care at all where their “food” comes from.

    PETA is right on this, for the record. Not only is that exactly where non-vegetarian gelatin comes from (the majority in America is said to come from pig skins, but it can also come from other animals including cows and fish), but due to the nature of the way the leftovers are collected, the production of gelatin has been known to be somewhat…inconsistent, to say the very least.

    But that’s not even the point. People were clamoring over themselves to talk about how they “don’t care” what’s in candy, they just love it. I don’t know how many comments I read with the words “don’t care” and some quip about how they were going to run out and get some candy right now.

    Apparently candy companies could literally piss in these people’s candy and they’d be fine with it if it tasted the way they expect it to.

    Regardless of one’s stance on PETA, the attitude of not caring where our food comes from is part of why giant corporations are able to give even less of a crap about what they put in our food. They know very well that the blissfully ignorant masses just don’t care, so they can totally get away with using low-rent, synthetic and nutritionally void ingredients.

    The truth is, I don’t even see candy anymore when I look at that picture, or really, when I look at most conventional candy packages at the grocery store. You know what I see?

    A potential chemical assault on my body.

    GMO sugar beets and dextrose from GMO corn, both courtesy of Monsanto, a company that produces and sells poison for profit.

    Modified soy protein that likely also started there, but because it is in its “modified” state, it could also be a hidden name for MSG, a potent neurotoxin and excitotoxin.

    High fructose corn syrup, (which we can’t even really say is “fine in moderation” like the propaganda commercials try to reassure us it is because HFCS is in so many things, it’s hard to avoid let alone moderate) that is probably made in a chlor alkali plant with mercury cell technology because we still have those here, meaning it’s likely tainted with the neurotoxic heavy metal mercury.

    Artificial colors dyes made of coal tar, aka nothing more than a byproduct of the petroleum industry. Things that are banned in other countries because they cause behavioral problems in children are in the majority of foods which are straight up MARKETED to children here (like candy, cereals, snacks, cheap sugary drinks etc). Some of these dyes have also caused tumors in lab studies.

    Are Artificial Colors Causing Your Kid to Act Like a Cracked Out Psycho?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2aijflL8tA


    read on:  Arrow http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/look-candy-see-petrochemicals-gmo.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:03 am

    Iraq: the biggest armed robbery in history?

    Mike Whitney
    7th June 2014

    Mission accomplished in Iraq? It is now, writes Mike Whitney. A million deaths on, a once peaceful, independent country has been transformed into a petro-economy of never ending civil chaos and terror, where multinational oil corporations rule supreme.

    These are the 'best of times' for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here's the story from the Wall Street Journal:

    "Iraq's oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country's efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect."

    As Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst at Al Jazeera said, "Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq's oil market.

    "But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973."

    Mission accomplished? It is now ...

    You bet. But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we've learned in the last couple weeks. Here's the story from Al Jazeera ('Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq', Dahr Jamail):

    "While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

    "On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal. Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq's giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.

    "Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala.

    "Iraq's supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq."

    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2413633/iraq_the_biggest_armed_robbery_in_history.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:42 am

    Effects of Canadian Tar Sands explained in 3 minute animated film.

    Animated sequences from the feature documentary H2Oil explain, in a nutshell, the issues and problems associated with Canadian Tar Sands . You can view the full film here.

    What are your thoughts on Canadian Tar Sands?

    Via http://forestethics.org. the Canadian Tar Sands are one of the largest industrial projects on the planet, and its environmental footprint is growing by the second. At a time when the world needs to transition to cleaner energy, the tar sands is the poster child of what we should not be doing. It’s time to put a healthy environment above corporate profit and the endless drive for more oil.

    At each step of the process, turning tar sands into oil undermines the local and global environment. First, the Boreal forest’s rich ecosystem must be ripped open to expose the tar sands sludge. Then, otherworldly trucks as tall as apartment buildings dig up four tons of earth for every single barrel of tar sands sludge they extract.

    Next comes the resource-intensive process of using very hot water to separate the sludge from the sand and ‘cleanse’ the sludge of unwanted toxins. This creates huge quantities of water pollution. It also burns so much energy that the tar sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of global warming pollution.

     Arrow http://overgrowthesystem.com/effects-of-canadian-tar-sands-explained-in-3-minute-animated-film/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:56 pm



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:33 pm

    Thank-you for the hard work, Mudra. I've been preoccupied with my own little troubles, so I haven't spent much time on this thread -- but I always feel a bit guilty when I go directly to the thread I've been working on. I need to take a long, hard look at Brook's, Carol's, and Your Threads (among others). I keep wondering what happens to people between incarnations -- and who determines who everyone reincarnates as??!! What are the criteria?? Do the Top One-Percent reincarnate as the Top One-Percent OR Might the Top One-Percent reincarnate as the Bottom One-Percent??!! Might the Bottom One-Percent Reincarnate as the Top One-Percent?? What if Reincarnation is sort of like the movie Trading Places??!! I keep thinking I need to start a thread contrasting the Top One-Percent with the Bottom One-Percent!! I get the distinct impression that this world has been based upon the single principle that "The Bottom-Line is the Bottom-Line" for thousands of years. Am I right or wrong??? I'm attempting to conceptualize creating a Dynamic-Equilibrium of "The Golden-Rule and the Bottom-Line". I call this "Responsible-Enterprise". That's the theory -- but I can't balance my damn checkbook -- so what the hell am I talking about???
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:48 pm

    Fracking - 95% of oil and gas shales underlie drinking water aquifers

    The Ecologist

    3rd July 2014




    A study by the British Geological Survey and the Environment Agency reveals that almost all the the oil and gas bearing shales in England and Wales underlie drinking water aquifers, raising fears that widespread water contamination could occur.

    Almost all the potentially frackable rocks in England and Wales lie under aquifers - and their exploitation could their contaminate drinking water supplies.

    The British Geological Survey (BGS) in partnership with The Environment Agency (EA) have published a maps which show the depth to each shale gas and oil source rock below principal groundwater aquifers in England and Wales.

    Along with the maps, the BGS/EA draws attention to the fact that almost half of the Principal Aquifers, most important for drinking water supply, are underlain by shales or clays that could be used for oil or gas production.

    But it fails to mention the most striking fact: that almost all the potentially frackable rocks in England and Wales lie under aquifers - and that their exploitation could their contaminate drinking water supplies.

    Where there's oil or gas, there's water


    The BGS/EA do not reveal the actual figure, but a simple inspection of the two main maps released today (see image) shows that there is a strong correlation between the presence of oil and gas bearing rock, and that of aquifers.

    Only about 5% (by visual inspection) of the frackable resource is in areas without aquifers, in an area centered on Leeds - but even this area is closely fringed by the most important 'Principal Aquifers', whose contamination would pose a severe threat to drinking water supplies for millions of people across the North of England.

    Groundwater from aquifers provides 30% of drinking water in the UK and up to 70% of the drinking water in South East England making it one of the most important natural resources in the UK - a resource that needs effective long-term protection.

    EA: 'it's all perfectly safe'


    The Environment Agency requires fracking operators to produce detailed geological assessments, and hold 'groundwater permits' unless there is no significant risk to groundwater.

    "Developments will not be allowed to go ahead if they are too close to drinking water sources", says the Environment Agency, and it "will not permit the use of chemical additives in hydraulic fracturing fluid that are hazardous to groundwater."

    However the hazard to groundwater does not arise just from chemical additives, but also from the rocks themselves, which often contain heavy metals and radioactive isotopes of thorium, uranium, radium and radon.

    Dr Alwyn Hart, Head of the EA's air, land and water research team said: "We have strong regulatory controls in place to protect groundwater, and will not permit activity that threatens groundwater and drinking water supplies. These maps will help public understanding of the separation between groundwater and potential shale gas sites."

    But how safe is it?


    The experience of fracking in the US shows that fracking operations can contaminate aquifers by three main routes:

    the spillage or deliberate dumping of contaminated fracking waste water which can infiltrate into groundwater
    leaks in the sides of boreholes
    geological faults deep underground which permit the passage, under pressure, of fluids and gases from the shale rock into higher geological levels.


    The first two potential causes are relatively easy to control, but the third is essentially uncontrollable as the existence of these deep faults is generally unknown until the contamination is detected.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2463567/fracking_95_of_oil_and_gas_shales_underlie_drinking_water_aquifers.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:30 pm

    Wild heart of the Yukon in gravest peril

    Jill Pangman

    3rd July 2014




    Next week the indigenous peoples of the Yukon challenge their Government in the Territory's Supreme Court, writes Jill Pangman. At issue, its plans to open the Peel watershed, a vast unspoilt ecosystem rich in wildlife and cultural meaning, for industrial development.

    Places like the Peel are a treasure on a global scale, and they need to be honoured as such, not sold off to corporate interests.

    My canoe surges through the water, spray flying off its bow, as it careens through a series of standing waves. I let out a whoop of joy, as I glide over a sea of coloured stones shimmering in the translucent shallow waters of the Wind River.

    A great arc of limestone peaks frame a jagged skyline that soars at least a thousand meters above the valley floor. And in the midst of it all a golden eagle circles, a distant speck framed against a deep blue sky.

    I'm on a two-week river journey into the Peel Watershed, North America's largest constellation of wild mountain rivers, tucked in the northeast corner of Yukon, Canada, straddling the Arctic Circle.

    Healthy populations of caribou, sheep and grizzlies and a host of other species roam freely across these 16 million acres of road less tundra and forest seeing so few people that most have not yet learned to fear humans.

    Around one tight bend I happen upon a bull caribou, with a massive rack of antlers, eyeing me as I ease past the patch of gravel where it's temporarily perched. I dip my paddle into the current only to the degree necessary to keep me on course, lest it bolts.

    But it remains there, perplexed by the sudden appearance of this strange object drifting past.

    A vast, intact ecosystem in peril

    The Peel watershed, at close to 70,000 square kilometers in size, is a vast and intact wilderness ecosystem. It's rich in rare species that have flourished in these unspoiled waterways and mountains since long before the last ice age.

    It's also rich in oil and gas, coal, uranium and gold, and other precious metals, placing it at the heart of a far too familiar fight over resources and wild spaces. The deep pervading silence, the curious wild creatures, the untouched, raw beauty could all too quickly become a distant memory.

    In January, despite seven years of consultation-driven land-use planning and widespread public support for Peel protection, the Yukon government announced its own unilaterally-developed plan to open more than 70% of the watershed to industry and roads.

    This is a land that has sustained not only untold numbers of wild animals. Hundreds, if not thousands of generations of people have been nourished by it as well. First Nation families have been harvesting game for food and clothing, gathering plants for medicine, and fishing from these fresh wild rivers since time immemorial.

    Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/campaigning/2445522/wild_heart_of_the_yukon_in_gravest_peril.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:48 pm

    The Human Cost of the FIFA World Cup

    s the world watches the 2014 FIFA World Cup, people are protesting the cost and the human rights violations being committed by police and security forces to protect this corporate investment.

    Working people in Brazil are understandably frustrated with the public cost of the World Cup, an estimated $14 billion. When compared to spending on social services, the cost of the World Cup is the equivalent of 61% of funding for education, or 30% of the funding for healthcare. Private companies, including those in the services and construction industries, will be the main beneficiaries of this public money. Adding to this cost is the forced evictions of the poor living in the favelas (slums) and the dispossession of indigenous people from their lands to build stadiums and parking lots. [1]

    Over one million people in Brazil have protested the cost of the World Cup, the cutbacks and increased costs of social services, forced evictions, and other human rights violations.

    The state security services have cracked down viciously on all anti‑FIFA demonstrations across the country. At least a dozen or more people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested. On the first day of the World Cup, 47 people were arrested, and police shot rubber bullets at medics helping the wounded. The state security services have been accused of killing of the poor and homeless, including children, to “clean up” the favelas prior to the start of the World Cup. To justify this violent response, the federal government has pushed to pass legislation that would criminalize all anti‑FIFA protests as “terrorism”, with 12 to 30 year prison sentences for those convicted. [2]

    The state has deployed more than 200,000 troops, armed with such weapons as Israeli drones, German anti‑aircraft tanks, and rooftop missile defense systems, to protect the World Cup from protestors. The infamous American mercenary company, Blackwater, known for its role in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, is allegedly in Brazil helping with security for the World Cup.

    The financial and social cost of events like the World Cup and the Olympics to working people are enormous.

    During the London 2012 Olympics, 10,000 police officers and 13,000 troops, more than all British forces in Afghanistan, along with ships in the Thames, fighter jets, and surface‑to‑air missile defense systems, were deployed to protect the $11 billion event. At a time when 2 million are unemployed, 27% of children live in poverty, and austerity budgets are being forced on working people, $11 billion came at a significant cost to working people. [3]

    The Sochi Winter Olympics cost a staggering $51 billion, even though 18 million Russians live in poverty and migrant workers were paid less than $2/hour to build the necessary infrastructure.

    read on: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-human-cost-of-the-fifa-world-cup/5390001

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:07 pm

    Some 2,500 earthquakes in Oklahoma linked to fracking

    The last five years have seen Oklahoma experience more than 2,500 earthquakes – the vast majority of which are being connected to the oil and gas exploration process of fracking.

    Although past studies have also suggested Oklahoma’s earthquake spike is related to fracking, this is the first time scientists have pinned such numbers to the controversial procedure. Notably, they found that fracking could also be responsible for earthquakes occurring nearly 20 miles away from drilling and waste deposit sites.

    According to Scientific American, Oklahoma has seen more than 230 earthquakes registering magnitudes of 3.0 or higher in this year alone. Before 2008, the state only averaged one of these earthquakes a year.

    In a report published by the journal Science, researchers from Cornell University and the University of Colorado found that roughly 20 percent of all the earthquakes that occurred in the central and eastern United States were caused by activity at just four fracking wells situated near the town of Jones, Oklahoma.

    “It really is unprecedented to have this many earthquakes over a broad region like this,” study co-author Geoffrey Abers said to the magazine. “Most big sequences of earthquakes that we see are either a main shock and a lot of aftershocks or it might be right at the middle of a volcano in a volcanic system or geothermal system. So you might see little swarms but nothing really this distributed and this persistent.”

    Although the new research highlights the connection between fracking and seismic activity, it’s not the oil extraction process itself that is to blame. In order to release underground oil and gas, fracking involves the injection of highly pressurized water, sand, and chemicals into layers of rock, but it’s actually the next step that’s causing concern among geologists.

    After a well is fracked, the leftover wastewater is then injected back into the ground and stored in deep wells, some of which are placed along fault lines. This process is believed to alter the stress levels on existing fault lines to the point where they fail and cause earthquakes.

    read on: http://rt.com/usa/171092-2500-fracking-earthquakes-oklahoma/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:55 am

    Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)

    Bandi Mbubi: Demand a fair trade cell phone

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPxg6bRgPhE


    Bandi Mbubi has conflicting feelings about his cell phone.

    On the one hand, Mbubi — who fled his native country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a student activist fearing for his safety — has seen firsthand the ability of cell phones to connect people in the formerly cut-off part of the world. In this moving talk from TEDxExeter, Mbubi reveals that cell phones have allowed for himself and his children to have a relationship with his parents, who are still living in the Congo.

    But at the same time, Mbubi sees cell phones as intrinsically linked to the war in the Congo. It all comes down to one mineral, tantalum, which is used in cell phones, computers, video game consoles and other electronics. The mining of this mineral funds armed conflict in the war-torn country.

    “What you hold in your hand has contributed to unimaginable human suffering. Over 5 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, countless women, men and children have been raped, tortured or enslaved. The quest for extracting this mineral has not only aided but fueled the ongoing war in the Congo,” says Mbubi in this impassioned talk. “Why should we allow such a wonderful, brilliant and necessary product to be the cause of unnecessary suffering for human beings?”

    As Mbubi points out, “We demand fair trade food and fair trade clothes. It’s time to demand fair trade phones.”

    ...

    To help inform consumers about the human cost of their cell phones and other electronics, and to apply pressure to companies to comb their supply chains and carefully chart the sourcing of their tantalum, Mbubi has created the non-profit CongoCalling.org. And if you waited in line for an iPhone 5 last night, know that Apple is one of the companies Mbubi is hoping to affect with the campaign. While Apple does have a policy on sourcing conflict-free minerals, and is currently conducting audits of its supply chain, Congo Calling hopes that consumer awareness will bring about swifter change.

    Below, a few ways that you can help the push for fair trade phones.

    Alert your politicians to the situation. Congo Calling would like to see governments, especially those that are large international aid donors, pressure both phone companies and the Congolese government to take action on this issue. For residents of the UK, Congo Calling has a template for a letter you can send to members of Parliament, as well as a resource to find out the name and contact information for your member of Parliament. For residents of the United States, GovTrack.us is a great way to find information on your representatives in Congress.
    .
    Recycle your old electronics and keep your current electronics longer. As consumers with spare income, it’s hard to resist getting out the credit card when a new shiny gadget appears on the market. But our constant updating of devices is part of the problem here, as each new phone and tablet requires minerals. While this article from IPS News notes that recycling alone won’t meet the worldwide demand for tantalum, we can make a difference by putting more space inbetween our electronics purchases. (Need further convincing to hold off on that iPhone 5? Read this article from Tech Insights which shows that producing the phone only costs $169. Read more at Apple Insider and Mashable.)
    .
    Sign a petition for Tim Cook of Apple. The creator of this petition on Change.org, Delly Mawazo Sesete, writes, “I want an iPhone for the holidays this year, but having monitored mining sites in eastern Congo for several years documenting human rights abuses, I have seen firsthand the rape, violence, and devastation being fueled by the trade in minerals found in electronics products. Join me in asking Apple to create a conflict-free product that includes conflict-free minerals from eastern Congo that help Congolese communities by the 2013 holiday season.” Congo Calling hopes the petition could urge Apple to accelerate their research on mineral sourcing.
    .
    Ask Samsung to change its policy. In order to avoid using minerals tied to conflict, Samsung has stopped trading with suppliers in the Congo altogether. Congo Calling suggests writing or calling the company to urge them towards informed trading rather than no trading.
    .
    Write HTC and ask for a policy on conflict-free minerals. Congo Calling also has its eye on HTC, theTaiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets, because they currently have no policy on sourcing conflict-free minerals. Again, the organization hopes that consumer pressure — through emails and placing complaint calls — will nudge the company to pay more attention to mineral sourcing.
    .
    Ask your employer or university to start a campaign. Congo Calling applauds the efforts of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The University has asked Dell, Apple and HP to provide a “conflict free guarantee.” See a video students created explaining the guarantee below.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:25 pm

    First of Its Kind Map Reveals Extent of Ocean Plastic
    There's less than expected on the surface. Scientists are trying to find where in the ocean it's gone.




    When marine ecologist Andres Cozar Cabañas and a team of researchers completed the first ever map of ocean trash, something didn't quite add up.

    Their work, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, did find millions of pieces of plastic debris floating in five large subtropical gyres in the world's oceans. But plastic production has quadrupled since the 1980s, and wind, waves, and sun break all that plastic into tiny bits the size of rice grains. So there should have been a lot more plastic floating on the surface than the scientists found.

    "Our observations show that large loads of plastic fragments, with sizes from microns to some millimeters, are unaccounted for in the surface loads," says Cozar, who teaches at the University of Cadiz in Spain, by e-mail. "But we don't know what this plastic is doing. The plastic is somewhere—in the ocean life, in the depths, or broken down into fine particles undetectable by nets."

    What effect those plastic fragments will have on the deep ocean—the largest and least explored ecosystem on Earth—is anyone's guess. "Sadly," Cozar says, "the accumulation of plastic in the deep ocean would be modifying this enigmatic ecosystem before we can really know it."

    But where exactly is the unaccounted-for plastic? In what amounts? And how did it get there?

    "We must learn more about the pathway and ultimate fate of the 'missing' plastic," Cozar says.

    Plastic, Plastic Everywhere

    One reason so many questions remain unanswered is that the science of marine debris is so young. Plastic was invented in the mid-1800s and has been mass produced since the end of World War II. In contrast, ocean garbage has been studied for slightly more than a decade.

    "This is new mainly because people always thought that the solution to pollution was dilution, meaning that we could turn our head, and once it is washed away—out of sight, out of mind," says Douglas Woodring, co-founder of the Ocean Recovery Alliance, a Hong Kong-based charitable group working to reduce the flow of plastic into the oceans.

    The North Pacific Garbage Patch, a loose collection of drifting debris that accumulates in the northern Pacific, first drew notice when it was  discovered in 1997 by adventurer Charles Moore as he sailed back to California after competing in a yachting competition.

    A turning point came in 2004, when Richard Thompson, a British marine biologist at Plymouth University, concluded that most marine debris was plastic.

    Research on marine debris is also complicated by the need to include a multidiscipline group of experts, ranging from oceanographers to solid-waste-management engineers.

    "We are at the very early stages of understanding the accounting," says Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association, based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  "If we think ten or a hundred times more plastic is entering the ocean than we can account for, then where is it? We still haven't answered that question.

    "And if we don't know where it is or how it is impacting organisms," she adds, "we can't tell the person on the street how big the problem is."

    Read on: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140715-ocean-plastic-debris-trash-pacific-garbage-patch/?rptregcta=reg_free_np&rptregcampaign=20131016_rw_membership_n1p_us_se_w

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:46 pm

    Bethlehem: 'No matter how many olive trees they destroy, will will plant more!'

    Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

    18th July 2014




    Since 1967, Israeli soldiers and 'settlers' in occupied Palestine have destroyed 800,000 olive trees in an attempt to force Palestinian farmers from their land, writes Megan Perry. 'Our response to this injustice will never be with violence, and we will never give up and leave.'

    The destruction of these ancient trees is the destruction of both the history and future of the Palestinian people.

    Olive trees in the Holy Land are a renowned symbol of peace. Known as blessed trees, they are a lifeline for Palestinian subsistence farmers, providing for around 100,000 families.

    But more than this, the olive trees provide a tangible link between Palestinians, their ancestors and their land.

    Sadly, however, many of these trees are being violently destroyed as a form of collective punishment, in an attempt to force Palestinians from their land. Despite this desecration many Palestinian farmers are using farming as a form of resistance to fight for peace.

    Since 1967, the Israeli military and illegal settlers have destroyed at least 800,000 olive trees. Some of these trees are nearly 1,000 years old - they are irreplaceable.

    Ripped out of the ground by monstrous machines

    Soldiers or settlers arrive with little warning and bulldoze or burn the trees, sometimes using chemicals. Anna Baltzer, a Jewish American activist, witnessed this destruction, and describes how, by the time she arrived,

    "The owners were hysterical. They kept screaming 'hamil!' as the ancient trees were ripped from the ground by the monstrous machines. 'Hamil' is a word that can be used to describe trees during the time that they bear fruit; it means 'pregnant'."

    She says that watching this made her feel sick - she points out that not every olive tree can be 'hamil', as it takes over 20 years for olive trees to bear fruit. These trees have been patiently tended and cared for by generations of Palestinians.

    As Baltzer says, the destruction of these trees is "the destruction of both the history and future of the Palestinian people."

    Violence with a purpose

    Numerous attacks on a wide variety of trees have already taken place this year. In May, the Tent of Nations farm near Bethlehem saw the destruction of 1,500 fruit trees by Israeli soldiers, who bulldozed the land and buried the trees under mounds of soil to prevent them being re-planted.

    A BBC report by Daniel Adamson describes how "Branches reach out from inside a mound of earth, the bark stripped and mangled, unripe almonds still clinging to the trees."

    In April 2014 the village of Ras Karkar, near Ramallah, had 100 olive trees uprooted by settlers. In March 2014 settlers destroyed around 200 trees in the village of Kafr Qaddum. Last October, 129 trees were destroyed by settlers from Shavei Shomron. The list goes on.

    The bereavement felt from this loss emphasises the strong cultural ties and historical meaning the trees hold - an almost spiritual significance. Violence is often directed at trees because of this.

    But it is not exclusive. Farms more generally are also subject to attack. On July 2, 2014 settlers set fire to a sheep farm in the village of Aqraba, and several Gaza poultry farms were destroyed during the 2009 military siege.

    Farmers are also subject to limited and unequal water access, with Israeli settlers getting around four times more than local Palestinians.

    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/2481224/bethlehem_no_matter_how_many_olive_trees_they_destroy_will_will_plant_more.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:11 pm

    The Omo Valley tribes




    The Lower Omo River in south west Ethiopia is home to eight different tribes whose population is about 200,000.

    They have lived there for centuries.

    However the future of these tribes lies in the balance. A massive hydro-electric dam, Gibe III, is under construction on the Omo.

    When completed it will destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.

    Salini Costruttori, an Italian company, started construction work on the Gibe III dam at the end of 2006, and has already built a third of it. The government says over 50% has been built.
    The Karo (or Kara), with a population of about 1000 - 1500 live on the east banks of the Omo River in south Ethiopia. Here, a Karo mother sits with her children.
    The Karo (or Kara), with a population of about 1000 - 1500 live on the east banks of the Omo River in south Ethiopia. Here, a Karo mother sits with her children.

    However, China’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), has agreed to fund part of the construction of the dam, and in 2012, the World Bank agreed to fund the power transmission lines.

    After carrying out preliminary evaluation studies, both the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced in 2010 that they were no longer considering funding Gibe III.

    In March 2011, the Ethiopian government withdrew its request for aid credit from the Italian government. The request had raised great concern amongst many Italian NGOs, which urged the Italian Foreign Minister not to support the controversial dam.

    Survival and various regional and international organizations believe that the Gibe III Dam will have catastrophic consequences for the tribes of the Omo River, who already live close to the margins of life in this dry and challenging area.

    Download International Rivers Factsheet (PDF)
    Land grabs and forced resettlement

    In 2011 the government began to lease out vast blocks of fertile land in the Lower Omo region to Malaysian, Italian, Indian and Korean companies to plant biofuels and cash crops such as oil palm, jatropha, cotton and maize. It has started to evict Bodi, Kwegu, and Mursi people from their land into resettlement areas to make way for the large state-run Kuraz Sugar Project, which could eventually cover 245,000 hectares. The Suri who live west of the Omo are being forcibly resettled to make way for the ‘Koka’ oil palm plantation.

    Communities’ grain stores and their valuable cattle grazing land have been destroyed. Those who oppose the theft of their land are routinely beaten and thrown in jail. There have been numerous reports of rape and even killings of tribal people by the military, who patrol the region to guard the construction and plantation workers.

    The Bodi, Mursi and Suri have been told they have to give up their herds of cattle, a vital part of their livelihood, and may only keep a few cows in the resettlements, where they will become dependent on government aid to survive.

    Hundreds of kilometers of irrigation canals will follow the dam construction, diverting the life giving waters to the plantations.

    Download Human Rights Watch Report ‘What will happen if hunger comes’.

    No environmental or social impact assessments of the impact of the plantations and irrigation scheme have been carried out, nor have there been any consultations with indigenous people.

    Despite meeting Mursi and Bodi community representatives and hearing their accounts of serious human rights abuses, the UK and USA, the two largest donors to Ethiopia, have failed to investigate these allegations.

    Download Oakland Institute’s Omo Land Deal Brief.

    Ways of life

    The Lower Omo Valley is a spectacularly beautiful area with diverse ecosystems including grasslands, volcanic outcrops, and one of the few remaining ‘pristine’ riverine forests in semi-arid Africa which supports a wide variety of wildlife.
    Excited Hamar women blowing their horns and shouting taunts to the Maza men who will whip them. Women regard the scars as a proof of devotion to their husbands.
    Excited Hamar women blowing their horns and shouting taunts to the Maza men who will whip them. Women regard the scars as a proof of devotion to their husbands.

    The Bodi (Me’en), Daasanach, Kara (or Karo), Kwegu (or Muguji), Mursi and Nyangatom live along the Omo and depend on it for their livelihood, having developed complex socio-economic and ecological practices intricately adapted to the harsh and often unpredictable conditions of the region’s semi-arid climate.

    The annual flooding of the Omo River feeds the rich biodiversity of the region and guarantees the food security of the tribes especially as rainfall is low and erratic.

    They depend on it to practice ‘flood retreat cultivation’ using the rich silt left along the river banks by the slowly receding waters. 


    They also practice rainfed, shifting cultivation growing sorghum, maize and beans on the flood plains. Some tribes, particularly the Kwegu, hunt game and fish.

    Cattle, goats and sheep are vital to most tribes’ livelihood producing blood, milk, meat and hides. Cattle are highly valued and used in payment for bride wealth.

    They are an important defence against starvation when rains and crops fail. In certain seasons families travel to temporary camps to provide new grazing for herds, surviving on milk and blood from their cattle. The Bodi sing poems to favourite cattle.
    Young Hamar boys painted with white ash, Omo Valley, Ethiopia. The Gibe III dam that is being constructed will destroy their people's livelihood.
    Young Hamar boys painted with white ash, Omo Valley, Ethiopia. The Gibe III dam that is being constructed will destroy their people's livelihood.

    Other peoples, such as the Hamar, Chai, or Suri and Turkana, live further from the river but a network of inter-ethnic alliances means that they too can access the flood plains, especially in times of scarcity.

    Despite this co-operation there are periodic conflicts as people compete for natural resources. As the government has taken over more and more tribal land, competition for scarce resources has intensified. The introduction of firearms has made inter-ethnic fighting more dangerous.

    No voice

    For years the tribes of the Lower Omo Valley have suffered from the progressive loss of access to and control of their lands. Two national parks were set up in the 1960s and 1970s where they are excluded from managing the resources. Tourists can go on safari and hunt for game on tribal lands yet the tribal peoples themselves are banned from hunting. This has resulted in increased malnutrition.

    Help them and sign Petition or read on: http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/omovalley#actnow

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:28 pm

    A THREAT TO CAMBODIA'S SACRED FORESTS
    A beautiful short film by local filmmaker Kalyanee Mam

    In southwest Cambodia, at the foot of the Cardamom Mountains, is a single dirt road that meanders through the heart of the pristine Areng valley. Ten miles down this road, villagers have set up an encampment to stop a hydroelectric dam project that they fear will destroy their forests, livelihood and heritage.

    For 600 years the Chong people have lived in this valley. In March, a group of young monks traveled over 150 miles from Phnom Penh, the capital, to help them in their campaign to protect the forest, which they consider sacred.

    The Cambodian government intends to build a network of 17 dams, hoping that they will generate enough electricity to meet domestic demand, reduce energy costs and export surplus energy abroad. This goal of transforming Cambodia into the power plant of Southeast Asia may promise economic gain, but as this Op-Doc video shows, it also entails significant costs.

     Arrow http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000003025809/a-threat-to-cambodias-sacred-forests.html?smid=pl-share

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:39 am

    Fracking - US companies and regulators must disclose environmental data

    Kimberly Terrell, Morgan Tingley & Sara Souther

    4th August 2014




    Among the risks of fracking are fragmentation of wildlife habitats, groundwater depletion, surface water pollution. The risks are compounded by a failure among companies and regulators to record or disclose essential information - from the chemicals used, to the time and place of toxic spills.

    It's impossible to accurately predict the effects of environmental pollution if we do not know the identity and concentration of chemicals being released into soils and waterways.

    The rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has ushered in an era of intense drilling that has been called the great shale gas rush. Fracking allows oil and natural gas to be extracted from horizontal wells, thousands of metres below the Earth's surface.

    We tried to piece together the environmental impact of the great shale gas rush, and quickly discovered how little is actually known about the effects this booming industry is having on plants and wildlife.

    To help shed light on this area where there is little research, we convened a team of eight scientists with diverse expertise in plants, birds, amphibians, mammals, wildlife disease, hydrology, and public policy.

    Identifying the greatest threats ...

    Our study, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, examined 12 ways in which shale development can harm ecosystems. Using an objective ranking system, we identified the highest-priority threats for future research.

    Much of the public debate around shale development has focused on the technique of fracking itself.

    The above-ground footprint of each well is relatively small at between 1.5-3 hectares of land cleared per well, but many are drilled in close proximity and each is connected by a labyrinthine network of roads and pipelines which must be built and in place before the fracking can start.

    This can add up to many thousands of hectares of disturbed land, contributing to habitat loss and fragmentation, generating light and noise pollution, and affecting air quality.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2503450/fracking_us_companies_and_regulators_must_disclose_environmental_data.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:22 pm



    E-waste in Ghana: where death is the price of living another day

    Nele Goutier
    7th August 2014


    Attempts to recycle E-waste and donations of old electronic devices are harming poor people's health and devastating the environment, writes Nele Goutier. Agbogbloshie, once an idyllic landscape of wetlands and small farms, is now the most toxic place in the world ...

    "Eleven years ago Agbogbloshie was an amazingly beautiful place with rivers, a lagoon and many fish; a paradise.

    "Now the river is dead. The only things fishermen catch are computers and refrigerators", says Mike Anane, environmental journalist.

    He is right: Agbogbloshie market in Ghana showed no resemblance to the description in my book, that promised me "beautiful wetlands".

    Today, thick, black clouds hover ominously in the sky, blocking the sunlight for many kilometers and taking my breath away - literally. Because Agbogbloshie, home for 50,000 people, it is also biggest E-waste landfills in the world, where many old electronics from all over the world find their final destination under the cloak of recycling.

    It is the most toxic place in the world, reports the Blacksmith Institute: more toxic than Chernobyl.

    For over two decades, the dumping of electronic waste - and its highly toxic side effects - in poor countries has attracted the attention of media and policy makers.

    But despite 25 years of trying to decrease the streams, E-waste transportation is bigger than ever before. A global waste stream in which so many different parties and interests are involved, and about which such little awareness exists, turns out extremely hard to regulate.

    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2503820/ewaste_in_ghana_where_death_is_the_price_of_living_another_day.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:02 pm

    A koala returns home and finds what humans have done.

    Image via AFP



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:05 am

    What they don't want you to see

    CAFO Lots: Are We Allowed to See How Our Food Is Raised?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFDpsUDE27A


     Crying or Very sad 

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:29 pm


    Meat - A Benign Extravagance

    It's the book that every environmentalist is talking about - can we eat meat in an environmentally friendly way?



    As a vegan I approached this book rather warily on account of its title but as I read it I abandoned my caution and found myself nodding in agreement at most, if not all, of its key points.

    My veganism is not borne out of a rigid belief that humans are not meant to eat meat but rather it stems from a complete abhorrence of the cruelty and inhumanity that goes on in an effort to satisfy people’s enormous carnivorous demands, coupled with a growing despair that such activity will speed up our process of devastating the planet we live on.

    I was encouraged to see that the central tenet of Simon Fairlie’s new book was that ‘we can’t go on like this’! His reasoning is largely the same as mine. In the past, the amount of meat and dairy products that were consumed was more or less governed by the resources available. The number of pigs in a community would depend pretty much on the amount of waste food and crops available. Pigs are great food recyclers. The number of other animals would be restricted to the availability of land after staple crops such as wheat and vegetables had been catered for.

    But then came a change: Population growth, wealth and subsequent demand for animal food products outstripped the supply and broke the ‘permaculture’ type equilibrium. The result was that extra resources had to be put into rearing animals, and crops are now grown specifically to be fed to animals to give us food. It’s a very inefficient process energy-wise, resulting in about 10 calories of energy being put in to get one back out in the form of meat protein. Additionally, the intensification of animal farming reduced livestock to mere commodities that were treated with increasingly horrific methods.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.permaculture.co.uk/book-reviews/meat-benign-extravagance

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:55 pm

    THE RIGHT TO KNOW READER: OUR CURRENT LAWS DO NOT PROTECT YOU FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS

    Every day, just in the course of normal activities, we are exposed to an unbelievable range of toxic chemicals that we may not know about. Of the 80,000 plus chemicals that have been approved to be on the market in the United States, approximately 24,000 are “secret”. Literally, we don’t know what they are.

    From Bisphenol A in water bottles and cash register receipts, toxic flame retardants in furniture, and phthalates in food containers and air fresheners, to formaldehyde in hair salons that use hair-straightening products, it is nearly impossible to escape exposure to chemicals that have been linked to cancer, endocrine-disruption, liver disease and more.

    If you believe that our current laws and regulations protect you and your family from all these chemicals, you are mistaken.

    The main law that governs the safety of chemical products, the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), is woefully outdated and weak. Full of loopholes and provisions that protect chemical and product manufacturers instead of people, TSCA continues to be interpreted and implemented in a way that creates secrecy, not safety, in the chemical industry.

    How bad is the law? Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation banning virtually all uses of asbestos, a dangerous and well-known carcinogen, was struck down by the courts as not authorized because TSCA requires the “least burdensome” approach for the industry. This language continues to deter the EPA from protecting us from risky chemicals.

    read on:  Arrow http://earthjustice.org/blog/2014-august/the-right-to-know-reader-our-current-laws-do-not-protect-you-from-toxic-chemicals

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:06 pm

    Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

    Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

    Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.

    Some generate such profound effects on their new environment they are called 'ecosystem engineers'. This is a threat that has to be taken seriously and managed.

    Britain, like many countries, has already witnessed the establishment of many non-native species of plants and animals, and about 15% have become problematic and so termed 'invasive'.

    Some were deliberately introduced, for example plants brought for their attractive flowers such as giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), while others have stowed away on ships or escaped from captivity.

    These new arrivals can be considered one of the major threats to native biodiversity. Some prey directly on native species, compete for the same food or habitat, or bring with them diseases to which native species have no defence.

    Beware 'ecosystem engineers'

    Some generate such profound effects on their new environment they are called 'ecosystem engineers'. This is a threat that has to be taken seriously and managed.

    We brought together a group of experts to examine the changing landscape and predict what species may pose problems in the next 10 years in order to be better prepared.

    While our international group of ecologists covered potential threats from land, sea, and freshwater habitats, we looked only at the impact they might have on biodiversity.

    More often than not however, it's likely that new invasive alien species threats would have an impact on the economy too, and could have also an impact on human health.

    The top new threats

    Our experts drew up a list of species with the potential to arrive in Great Britain and become problematic within the next ten years. A total of 591 non-native species were considered, of which 93 were considered to constitute at least a medium risk to native biodiversity, and a final ranked list of 30 species was compiled.

    Seen as the most serious threat, at the top of that list is the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis). It was unanimously awarded the highest score for the threat it poses based on its arrival, its ability to establish populations, and the impact it has on its new environment.

    This ecosystem engineer is capable of dramatically altering the aquatic environments in which it thrives. Quagga mussels are extremely efficient filter-feeders, changing the chemical nature of the water, resulting in water becoming clearer.

    A seemingly simple change, this can have serious cascading effects that affect the vital phytoplankton and zooplankton upon which the food webs are based. This in turn could stimulate the competitive release of cyanobacteria which would lead to an increase in frequency of toxic algal blooms.

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) are another example of an ecosystem engineer highlighted as an impending threat. They form enormous super-colonies, with one such super-colony recorded as covering 6,000km from Spain to Italy.

    read on: Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2525339/confronting_the_threat_of_invasive_ecosystem_engineers.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:12 am

    Thank-you for this thread, Mudra. I frankly can't keep up with everything on this website. I mostly just fight my little battles in relative isolation. I continue to wonder about "Sinful Human Nature" relative to the present predicament of humanity?! I continue to wonder what the Universe was like before the Creation of Humanity?! I believe in some sort of evolution -- but I am leaning toward the idea that Mankind was Genetically-Engineered by someone (as a fairly recent development). I also keep wondering about the Competence and Legitimacy of the Management of Humanity (for thousands of years)?! I also wonder about who decides who we get reincarnated as -- and under what circumstances?! "The first shall be last -- and the last shall be first"?! Is Humanity getting-better or getting-worse?! I continue to think that Politics and Religion have Everything to do with the Price of Our Comfortable Lives -- but I'm honestly NOT a Bible-Thumper (despite some evidence to the contrary). Is there Too Much Freedom OR Too Little Freedom?! Why can't Purgatory become Heaven (without destroying most everyone and everything first)?!
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:56 am

    WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap



    A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour.

    (This article was taken down by The Nation due to an embargo, but it was excerpted at Columbia Journalism Review.)

    It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable:

    This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).

    Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year ... As of last year Hanes had 3,200 Haitians making t-shirts for it. Paying each of them two bucks a day more would cost it about $1.6 million a year. Hanesbrands Incorporated made $211 million on $4.3 billion in sales last year.

    Arrow http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/wikileaks-us-fought-to-lower-minimum-wage-in-haiti-so-hanes-and-levis-would-stay-cheap/

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