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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 Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:33 am

    Peru: Amazon tribes sacrificed to gas project

    27th January 2014

    Peru has approved the highly controversial expansion of the Camisea gas project onto the land of isolated Amazon tribes - who will be put at risk of a massive death toll or extinction from introduced diseases.

    The Peruvian Government has given permission for the Camisea gas project expansion onto the land of uncontacted Amazon indigenous communities.

    The decision was made despite international outrage, the resignation of three ministers, and condemnation by the United Nations and international human rights organizations.

    Peru's Ministry of Culture, tasked with protecting the country's indigenous population, has approved plans by oil and gas giants Pluspetrol (Argentina), Hunt Oil (US) and Repsol (Spain) to expand into a designated reserve for the protection of indigenous Peoples.

    They will now proceed to detonate thousands of explosive charges, drill exploratory wells and allow hundreds of workers to flood into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, located just 100km from Machu Picchu.

    No activity should be authorized

    Congresswoman Vanessa Mendoza commented: "No activity should be authorized in this highly vulnerable area without implementing the highest safeguards for the integrity of the indigenous peoples.

    "The Ministry of Culture has made its decision about the project plans without having first carried out an adequate anthropological study."

    The expansion could decimate the uncontacted tribes living in the reserve, as any contact between gas workers and the Indians is likely to result in the spread of diseases or epidemics to which the Indians lack immunity.

    As Peru's Ombudsman stated in 2006: "A rise in diseases such as syphilis, respiratory diseases and influenza has been reported, which in some cases have led to deaths in native communities and amongst indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact."

    Or as UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya recently argued: "It's clear that these peoples are extremely vulnerable, which is why the government and company must act with extreme caution and should not go ahead with the proposed expansion before first assuring conclusively that the (tribes') human rights are not at threat."

    And Pluspetrol admits as much ...

    Pluspetrol itself recognizes the devastating impact the expansion could have. In its 'Anthropological Contingency Plan' the company states that any diseases transmitted by workers could cause "prolonged periods of illness, massive deaths, and, in the best cases, long periods of recovery."

    "Given the impossibility of establishing direct contact with the populations in isolation in the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti Reserve it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the effects that the project could have on them.

    "In terms of evaluating the impacts (on the tribes), it is assumed that any activity different to that in their daily lives will generate fear, concern and changes in the ways they see and conceive of the world."

    In the beginning, there was Shell ...

    When oil giant Shell first started explorations in the area, it led to the death of nearly half the Nahua tribe. One Nahua man recounted:

    "Many, many people died. People dying everywhere, like fish after a stream has been poisoned. People left to rot along stream banks, in the woods, in their houses. That terrible illness!"

    The project violates Peruvian and international laws which require the consent of any projects carried out on tribal peoples' land.

    Tomás, a Nahua man, recalls the devastation that followed Shell's activities: "Many, many people died. People dying everywhere, like fish after a stream has been poisoned. People left to rot along stream banks, in the woods, in their houses. That terrible illness!"

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2254443/peru_amazon_tribes_sacrificed_to_gas_project.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:03 pm

    HOW TO PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR HEART IS


    I realize not everyone is a researcher, or considers themselves an activist, but everyone spends money and the fact is that every dollar is a vote for one kind of world or another. What kind of world are you buying?
    Most of the world’s problems are rooted in economics and consciousness — the consciousness that is based in scarcity and the economics that deliberately funnels financial wealth into the same few hands.

    I believe solving these problems requires integrity — and the willingness to live in accord with our values. What’s called for are strategic responses informed by inner guidance — actions based on self-knowing, self-reflection and self-correction.

    Following are some insights and strategies I’ve learned over the years in my own quest to be informed and to align my actions with my values. To learn more about following the money you can check out various links on our website. Meanwhile, here are some tips for how to “follow the money” so that you can honestly help create a better world.

    If you are supporting a charitable cause you can follow the money like this:

    Let’s say you are passionate about nature and protecting wildlife, and you are considering contributing to a charitable organization that provides protection of corridors for the animals to roam. If you give $100 to an organization that protects wildlife, and that organization banks with Union Bank of California, you are giving $900 worth of lending power to the bank and only $100 to the cause you support. Union Bank of California is owned by Mitsubishi, who is responsible for vast clear cutting, which is one of the major threats to wildlife. This happens because of fractional reserve lending, which allows banks to loan out about 9 times the money they have on deposit. So a contribution to an organization that banks responsibly is a very leveraged contribution, just as a financial gift to one that banks with the tapeworm twenty is going to greatly undermine the impact you are hoping to have.

    If you really want to help wildlife, or achieve any number of good changes promised by various organizations, then check to see where the philanthropic organization you support keeps their money. You can call them up and ask, or you can check their Annual Report, which is required to be available to the public. I suggest you speak directly to the people in charge of the organization you want to support. Many people are simply uniformed.

    It is also not an effortless process to move a large organization’s money — there are many perks from the banks and they will do a lot to keep big clients. Here is a link to some questions and considerations that can help them make the move. The more people do this the more competitive local banks and credit unions can become in terms of their services.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.thrivemovement.com/tips-how-follow-money.blog

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:35 pm

    World's largest whale shark slaughterhouse uncovered in China

    The world's biggest slaughterhouse for endangered whale sharks has been uncovered in southeast China, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. It's products are being traded across the world in health and cosmetic products.

    The largest slaughtering facility for Whale sharks ever seen has been uncovered in southeastern China by Hong Kong based WildLife Risk.

    The slaughterhouse, operated by China Wenzhou Yueqing Marine Organisms Health Protection Foods Co Ltd, is estimated to butcher over 600 Whale sharks - an internationally protected endangered species - every year.

    Alex Hofford and Paul Hilton from the organisation said in a joint statement: "How these harmless creatures, these gentle giants of the deep, can be slaughtered on such an industrial scale is beyond belief."

    Whale shark trade

    The trade with Whale shark products - a large part of which ends up in beauty products such as shark oil health supplements, lipstick and moisturisers in the West - continues.

    Despite international agreements The Pu Qi factory, which was discovered near Wenzhou - in China's southeastern Zhejiang Province - operates openly.

    A manager at the factory, whom they identified as Li Guang, said shark products were being labeled as tilapia, a commonly farmed fish.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2264657/worlds_largest_whale_shark_slaughterhouse_uncovered_in_china.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:53 am

    GM crops are driving genocide and ecocide

    5th February 2014

    The unfolding human and ecological disaster of GM agriculture in the Americas must send the EU a powerful message, writes Helena Paul. We don't want it here, and we should stop buying the products of GM-driven genocide and ecocide abroad.

    Repression and displacement, often violent, of remaining rural populations, illness, falling local food production have all featured in this picture.

    We currently face a desperate, almost farcical push for GM crops in the UK and Europe, characterised by hyperbolic and inaccurate claims.

    So rather than taking those claims on trust, let's look at the impacts of GM crops in countries that have adopted them. That means North and South America, where GM crops were first launched in 1996.

    Argentina and Paraguay

    The cultivation of herbicide tolerant crops in Argentina began in 1996 with GM soya and spread swiftly through the country. As Argentina's Grupo Reflexion Rural (GRR) wrote to the Vatican in April 2013,

    "The model was based on the political decision that Argentina, which had once been the grain basket of the world and a producer of healthy and high-quality foods, would be transformed into a producer of animal forage, firstly, to provide fodder for European livestock, and then for livestock in China."

    At first, herbicide tolerant crops seemed to simplify the farming process, especially for larger mechanised farms. Instead of skillful weed management, farmers applied large quantities of the herbicide glyphosate, mainly from the air.

    Small farmers driven to the slums

    Powerful groups of investors helped drive GM soya production. Small farmers could not compete and many have left or been driven off their land, often into urban slums.

    People who remain in the countryside and small towns find themselves bombarded from the air with increasingly complex mixtures of chemicals intended to combat the problem of increasing weed and pest resistance.

    Although GM crops were promoted as a means to reduce levels of pesticides used, pesticide use in Argentina has increased massively, "from nine million gallons (34 million litres) in 1990 to more than 84 million gallons (317 million litres) today".

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2267255/gm_crops_are_driving_genocide_and_ecocide_keep_them_out_of_the_eu.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:37 am

    WildLeaks launched - the WikiLeaks for wildlife
    The Ecologist

    7th February 2014

    A group of organisations fighting wildlife crime have come together to launch WildLeaks - the first global, secure online whistleblower platform dedicated to wildlife and forest crime.

    We hope that offering a secure platform for information that will be followed up will encourage those with inside information to let us know about it.
    WildLeaks, in collaboration with the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, has implemented a secure platform in order to allow sources to submit sensitive information anonymously and securely.

    "Wildlife crimes very often go undetected and unchallenged when people do not speak up about them", said Andrea Crosta, Project Leader of WildLeaks and Co-Founder of Elephant Action League.

    "Whistleblowers can play a crucial role in fighting back, creating awareness and supporting justice."

    Identifying criminals - while protecting sources

    "Our first priority is to facilitate the identification of criminals and corrupt governmental officials behind the poaching and trafficking of endangered species such as ivory, rhino horn, big cats, apes, pangolins and birds, as well as forest products", said Crosta.

    "But we also put a lot of effort into protecting the people who chose to send us information, not only by providing a state-of-the-art secure system but also by managing and using the information in the correct way."


    Fiona Macleod, editor of the Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalists, added: "Organized crime syndicates looting Africa's natural resources are extremely difficult to penetrate, and there are dangers for whistleblowers who expose them.

    "We hope that offering a secure platform for information that will be followed up will encourage those with inside information to let us know about it."

    Sophisticated intelligence

    One the information is received by WildLeaks it is evaluated by experienced professionals, investigative reporters and ex-law enforcement officers.

    In order to assess the information and decide on further actions, WildLeaks uses sophisticated intelligence methodology, a vast network of contacts and the latest technologies, Crosta explained.

    Files are encrypted at every stage. An 'anonymity' submission option enables a system based on the 'Tor' technology, which is integrated in the platform and allows the Internet to be navigated anonymously untraceably.

    A non-profit collaborative project

    WildLeaks is a not-for-profit collaborative project funded by the California based Elephant Action League (EAL) and managed by a small group of experienced individuals, including directors of environmental NGOs, environmental lawyers, accredited journalists, security professionals and ex-law enforcement officers.

    The group includes the heads of organizations like Elephant Action League (EAL), Oxpeckers Center in South Africa, EcoJust in the Netherlands and Global Eye that operates in Africa and South East Asia, and the award-winning author and journalist Bryan Christy.

    WildLeaks also enjoys the collaboration of the Environmental Investigation Agency in London (EIA UK) and of 100Reporters, a US-based award-winning investigative journalists network working with whistleblowers and citizen watchdogs to expose corruption and heighten public accountability.

    Wildlife crime - a $17 billion a year business

    Wildlife crime is the 4th largest transnational crime in the world, worth at least US$ 17 billion annually, after narcotics, counterfeiting, and human trafficking.

    It now the most immediate threat to many species including elephants, rhinos, big cats and apes. Forest crime, which is the illicit trade in illegally logged timber, degrades forests and destroys wildlife habitats. These crimes also cause a significant human and economic toll.

    Blowing the whistle on wildlife crimes, especially when criminals and corrupt government officials are involved, is a risky endeavor. But with WildLeaks a big part of that risk has been taken away.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:03 pm

    Diary of a Dying Country
    February 7, 2014



    A hand covered with wet coal ash from the Dan River -- seen swirling in the background -- as state and federal environmental officials continue their investigations of a coal ash spill -- Danville, Va., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Duke Energy estimates that up to 82,000 tons of ash has been released from a break in a 48-inch storm water pipe at the Dan River Power Plant in Eden NC on Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)



    As crude a weapon as the cave man’s club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life – a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no “high-minded orientation,” no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.

    – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    It has been snowing all day here, the biggest storm of the season to date. There is at least a foot piled atop the stacked cordwood outside my office window, the trees are frosted and everything is white and silent save for the hiss of flakes coming to rest. I am not one of those people who detests winter; in fact, I adore it, because it is beautiful. What I see out my window in the fading light of this late afternoon reminds me, again, how truly gorgeous this country is.

    And then I remember that it is being wrecked, poisoned, denuded and ruined for money and I want to go outside and sit in the snow and listen to it as it buries me until I am gone from this country that would do such harm to itself, brazenly and without restraint, for profit.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Duke Energy in North Carolina released a press statement announcing that somewhere between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash, which created some 27 million gallons of water polluted with heavy metals and other poisons, had been accidentally dumped into the Dan River, near the towns of Danville and Eden. Eden, because God, or Fate and definitely the coal industry have a vicious sense of humor. Duke Energy waited 24 hours to report the spill. They may not have said anything at all, but a security guard noticed an unusually low water level in what is called an “ash pond,” which is where this crud is stored. That low water level means most of the poison had escaped into the river by the time it was discovered.

    The Dan River is a source of drinking water for the region, as the Elk River was in West Virginia when the coal industry dumped poison there a few weeks ago. According to EcoWatch, “The spill is the equivalent of 413 to 677 rail cars of wet coal ash poured into a public drinking water source. If a freight train full of this toxic waste had derailed, there would have been immediate notification and quick news coverage in order to inform and protect the public.” It appears at this point to be the third largest coal ash spill in American history.

    This is what coal ash looks like. By Tuesday afternoon, the Dan River had turned completely grey.

    read on:  Arrow http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/07/diary-of-a-dying-country/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:16 pm

    Hunting the hunters
    Laurens de Groot



    In his new book 'Hunting the Hunters - at war with the whalers', Laurens de Groot recounts his adventures with Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean, saving whales from Japan's 'scientific research'.

    The crew are a motley bunch, but they're an incredibly passionate motley bunch. This is the life. There's nowhere I'd rather be.
    All of a sudden a voice comes on over the loudspeakers on deck. "Whales on starboard side."

    We all stop what we're doing and look to the bridge. Four guys rush outside and point to the water. "Whales. Whales!" the quartermasters yell excitedly.

    Everybody on deck hurries over to the bow to catch a glimpse of the animals. I've never seen a whale and work my way to the front. Two finbacks.

    A gorgeous rainbow

    Their elongated backs are visible as they glide through the water. As soon as the whales exhale, a blowhole expels a big cloud of water drops.

    Sunlight transforms the spray into a gorgeous rainbow hovering for several seconds above the giant mammals. This is the first time I've seen these enormous creatures in the flesh. They're more impressive than I ever imagined.

    Japan has fifty of these finbacks on its hit list. In addition, they're planning to harpoon 935 minke whales. They're also keen to capture fifty humpbacks, but may be willing to forgo this after diplomatic pressure from Australia.

    And all this under the guise of "science". Not all that long ago, the oceans were full of whales. The wonderful spectacle of whales frolicking off the coast was just as common as screeching gulls in the skies above the beach.

    Industrial whaling

    In open seas the gigantic mammals swam together in huge numbers, fulfilling their role in the fragile ecosystem of the oceans. That was until countries such as Japan, and many western European countries, discovered industrial whaling.

    They piled onto steamships and hunted the giant mammals in their droves. Everything was used: meat for consumption, oil for fuel, fat and liver oil for food supplements. Even the bones were used for things like cutlery, corsets and picture frames.

    But there was worse to come after World War II. Years of conflict had led to a shortage of fat and protein. Offering plenty of both, the gigantic whales were caught in huge numbers to provide hungry people with food.

    Finally, the moratorium

    Worldwide, the whale population declined at an extraordinary rate because stocks were not being replenished. In 1986, when it was almost too late, the international community introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling.

    While no species had become extinct yet, the huge mammals had all but disappeared off the coasts. Whereas most countries observed the fishing ban, Japan tried to find new hunting grounds.

    The country saw opportunities in the seas around Antarctica. More than two million whales had been slaughtered there over the past century, but Japan couldn't care less.

    After the blue whale had disappeared, the harpoons began targeting sperm whales. And when they'd all been killed, the finbacks faced a similar fate.

    'Scientific' whaling

    No species was safe from the predatory whalers. One after the other, the whale species around Antarctica were brought to the brink of extinction. And still Japan didn't care.

    In the Japanese hierarchy animals don't count. With the major whale species breathing their last, the Japanese government began to shift its focus to the minke whale.

    But because of the moratorium issued by the International Whaling Commission it had to come up with a loophole for the massacre. The answer: science.

    A clause in the fishing ban states that whales may be caught for scientific purposes. There are no limits on these so-called "scientific catches"; countries are allowed to decide for themselves how many cetaceans they want to catch.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/2267113/hunting_the_hunters.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:06 pm

    Fukushima leaks 23 TBq of radioactive water

    Tepco has announced the accidental leak of 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water from a storage tank at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.


    According to Tepco (Tokyo Electric), the contaminated water could have overflowed after a valve was accidentally left open.

    The company says it does not think the water has reached the Pacific Ocean - but ultimately there is nowhere else for the water to go as successive storage tanks are filled to the brim.

    "We are taking various measures, but we apologise for worrying the public with such a leak," said a spokesman. "Water is unlikely to have reached the ocean as there is no drainage in that tank area."

    Biggest leak since August 2012

    This is the biggest leak since August, when the plant leaked 300 tonnes of radioactive water. This was classified as a "serious incident" at level three on the 7-point international scale for radioactive releases.

    Following the original damage in March 2011 from an earthquake and tsunami, the plant has experienced a succession of problems and accidents, including three full reactor meltdowns.

    Recent measurements indicate that water under the reactors is now heavility contaminated, with large amounts of the beta-emitter Strontium 90.

    read on:  Arrow  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2291438/fukushina_leaks_23_tbq_of_radioactive_water.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:40 am

    Sochi Olympics' 'ugly environmental legacy' on a small village: Nahlah Ayed

    “I lost everything," says Ashtyr resident Alexander Koropov. "I became an ‘Olympic bum.’”

    Alexander Koropov has lived on the same, tranquil hill for 25 years. So when a train suddenly whistled past, practically through his backyard, he could no longer sleep.

    In fact, there has been much to keep him sleepless ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeded in convincing the International Olympic Committee to choose Sochi as the 2014 host city.

    Now, seven years later, the Olympics are nearly over — already time to consider how Sochi will move beyond the games.

    Sochi Olympics has Russians pining for a lost sporting glory

    CBC's Sochi Olympics site

    Will the Sochi Olympics ease the plight of Russia's gays?

    Koropov, meanwhile, is poorer, sicker, and more frustrated than ever. His land, once home to a thriving garden and surrounded by trees, is also worse for wear: now a hill of stubs, and a desiccated garden of weeds — where there were once apples, hazelnuts and figs.

    If he could afford it, he says, he would move, even go abroad to claim asylum, just to try to salvage something of his life.

    “I lost everything,” he says in an interview. “I am like a beggar now. I became an ‘Olympic bum.’”

    Koropov lives in the village of Ashtyr, population 120, give or take a few. Since the Olympics started, hundreds of thousands of people have been in a train or a car within metres of Ashtyr, but never saw it — so tiny, it is that easy to miss.

    Insignificant enough, it seems, that designers neglected to link it to the new highway and train line constructed for some $9 billion to move visitors between the two built-from-scratch Olympic clusters.

    So there is now only one way in or out of the village.

    And yet in more than one way, the Olympics and its infrastructure have been thrust into Ashtyr’s backyard. Including the punctual, blazing red train that regularly zips across the bridge that now shadows Koropov’s property.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/sochi-olympics-ugly-environmental-legacy-on-a-small-village-nahlah-ayed-1.2547148

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:07 pm

    Fairtrade: How What We Buy Shapes the World and Why It Matters
    Maddy Harland |
    Monday, 24th February 2014


    It's Fairtrade Fortnight. Maddy Harland explains what Fairtrade is and why it is at the heart of the third permaculture ethic, Fair Shares

    Every time we log on to Facebook or view other social media we are likely to see distressing photographs of homeless Orangutans driven out of rainforest habitats by the global demand for palm oil plantations followed by equally homeless tribal people.

    It doesn’t have to be like this and Francisco Van der Hoff Boersma (Father Frans), the co-founder of Fairtrade, shows us that we have the power to change it. We can shape the world from our pockets.

    In the 1970s, Father Frans had to flee Chile after a coup d’état and arrived in Mexico where he saw how individual coffee growers were being squeezed by middlemen fixing prices and selling on their crops to the big coffee manufacturers. He persuaded the ‘campesinos’ (Spanish for peasants) to form democratically run cooperatives that had the power to seek a fair wholesale price. Today, as a direct result of this model, a wide variety of Fairtrade products are sold directly to home and export markets worldwide at a fair price for both consumers and producers.

    Father Frans' set up a model that works like this: Instead of middlemen buying coffee from individual growers at the lowest possible price that kept the campesinos in poverty and reliant on charity, he helped them to organize themselves into a large coffee growers cooperative, the Union of the Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus Region (UICIRI). The co-op enabled them to obtain a fair price for their organic coffee that not only paid for their labour but also allowed them to maintain their environment and social structures.

    This simple trade mechanism, Fairtrade, makes perfect sense in an imperfect world. Growers are given a fair price for their crops, allowing small farms to be economically viable.

    Fair Shares?


    Fairtrade does two things. It creates a financial framework for growers all over the world and ensures there is no unfair price fixing. It is proven to lift people out of poverty, creating dignity and greater self-sufficiency in peasant communities. This buys health and education for the poorest peoples of the world and removes the need for western ‘charity’.

    Fairtrade also allows consumers to choose products with confidence that have been traded ethically. It does not have to raise prices for the consumer, although in the case of bananas being used as a commodity in the supermarket 'wars' to win customers, it should. Fairtrade can be an option for all, and not just an ethical choice for the affluent. It does not even substantially reduce profits for the manufacturer. It just cuts out an exploitative link in the chain.

    read on:  Arrow http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/fairtrade-how-what-we-buy-shapes-world-and-why-it-matters


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  magamud on Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:19 pm

    Good posts Mudra. You are everything in you and outside of you. Its best to see your world as a representation of what you think life is and what its worth.
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:26 pm

    magamud wrote:Good posts Mudra.  You are everything in you and outside of you.  Its best to see your world as a representation of what you think life is and what its worth.

    Life is made of these moments that when weaved together make heaven and then there are these other moments that show us the ugly side of things. Maybe these make heaven even more beautifull, something to tend, and care for as an eternal source of inspiration . I don't know ...

    Good to see you Magamud.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:09 pm

    China's looming water crisis
    Joshua Bateman

    25th February 2014


    One unintended consequence of China's spectacular economic growth is a growing water shortage, reports Joshua Bateman. As rivers run dry, aquifers sink, climate harshens and pollution spreads, he asks: can China solve its water crisis?

    In a report by the Chinese News Service, Jiao Yong, Vice Minister of Water Resources, said, "China has more than 400 cities short of water, some 110 of which are facing serious scarcity."

    A study by the China's Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China's 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have ... disappeared.

    According to Jiang Liping, senior irrigation specialist at the World Bank in Beijing, China is over-exploiting its groundwater by 22 billion cubic meters a year - yet per capita water consumption is less than one third of the global average.

    "China faces a severe water scarcity issue in water resources right now and it's getting more serious because of rampant economic growth ... Right now, the economy takes too much water from the environment so the ecological environment has been degraded."

    The Issue

    According to a 2012 joint UNICEF and WHO study, 593 million Chinese have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990. However, even with the increased access to cleaner water, China still faces a significant supply deficit.

    As more people migrate to cities and join the middle class, their water consumption increases. With urbanization, the use of toilets, showers, and washing machines increases as does the consumption of nondurable goods such as meat, alcohol, clothes and electronics, all of which require water for production.

    The Water Footprint Network reports that Chinese annual per capita water consumption is 1,071 m3. Data from the Ministry of Water Resources show that in 2008, agriculture accounted for 62% of demand, industry for 24%, domestic for 12%, and replenishment for 2%.

    However, industry and domestic will drive future demand. According to McKinsey data, in 2030 agriculture demand will account for 51%, industry 32%, and 16% will go towards municipal and domestic uses.

    China's water efficiency is another problem. Industry in China continues to expand and compared to other countries, is highly inefficient. Liping said, "water use efficiency and water productivity in both industry and agriculture are very low."

    According to Andreas Fruschki, Portfolio Manager of the $268 million Allianz Global Water Mutual Fund, "most emerging markets continue to rely on bottled water in plastic or tap water which is not potable and has to be boiled before consumption, which is expensive and inefficient."

    read on:  Arrow http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2291208/chinas_looming_water_crisis.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:27 am

    "Rivers like the Klamath and the Xingu are the bloodlines of every human on the planet."
    Indigenous youth unite for rivers

    Brasilia, Brazil – After an amazing journey deep into the Amazon we arrived safely in Brasilia with a hopeful feeling of urgency in the struggle to preserve the Amazon and its people. For our group – comprised mostly of indigenous North American youth – meeting our indigenous brothers and sisters, experiencing the Amazon's unique environment, and witnessing the destruction being caused by the Belo Monte Dam project is powerfully motivating,

    We are people who call the Klamath River home. The Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, and Klamath tribes are the protectors of the Klamath River landscape. The campaign to remove the dams on the Klamath has been a long fight, won through science, protest and defending the inherent rights of indigenous communities. All of us have prioritized protecting the Klamath River in our lives and many of us have been in the struggle since we were little kids. Seeing the Amazon Basin facing these threats has focused us on the fight to save the world's ecosystems and indigenous cultures. Through this experience, we have all become even more committed to the cause and will be warriors for life!

    16-year-old Yurok tribal member Mahlija Florendo stated today, "Rivers like the Klamath, the Xingu, and the Amazon are the bloodlines of every human on the planet. They are our life-givers and they all run with the same blood through all of us. We need to realize that we are all human and we all need to stand up for our rights, for our rivers, and our mother earth. These people from the Xingu are family and all our blood runs red."

    The similarities between the genocide and oppression of indigenous cultures happening now in the Amazon and continuing in the U.S. are frightening. Power, mining and logging companies are wreaking havoc on the Amazon, and their resource extraction operations are disrupting the ecological balance of one of the richest biological hotspots on the planet. They are displacing the lives of people, who have been stewards of their lands since time immemorial , protecting and enhancing their environment.

    Our interactions in the Xikrin-Kayapó village of Poti-Krô were profound. These people are facing a monster, the Belo Monte Dam. If the construction of Belo Monte continues we fear for the lives of the Xikrin, Kayapó, Juruna and Arara Tribes. The entire region is being affected, and the environment and inhabitants are being destroyed by this shortsighted venture.

    Already we see deforestation, pollution, and mining corporations like the Canadian company Belo Sun moving in. As temporary workers from other regions inundate the area for the short-lived jobs offered by the dam's construction company Norte Energia, the region's inhabitants are being pushed out. If the dam is completed these people will be forced to work in mines, log the rainforest, or move to the cities to live in slums. The livelihoods of people who have subsisted from fishing, hunting, farming, and even tourism will be lost through the destruction of the ecology of the Xingu River region. "It's depressing that the future of these kids depends on this company, which seems to have no idea what it's like to live and depend on the Xingu River" said Damien Scott, 16-year-old Yurok, Karuk tribe member.

    read on:  Arrow http://amazonwatch.org/news/2014/0223-rivers-like-the-klamath-and-the-xingu-are-the-bloodlines-of-every-human-on-the-planet

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:28 am

    Roundup Weedkiller Linked To Global Epidemic of Fatal Kidney Disease

    The mystery of what is causing thousands to die each year from a fatal kidney disease may now be solved, with evidence pointing to the world’s most heavily used herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) as the primary culprit.

    A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healthproposes a link between the herbicide known as Roundup (aka glyphosate) and a series of mysterious epidemics of fatal chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) affecting several poor farming regions around the world.

    The extent of the health problem is so massive that the Center for Public Integrity found that CKDu has killed more people in El Salvador and Nicaragua than diabetes, AIDS and leukemia combined, over the past 5 years on record.

    Titled, “Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka?,” researchers hypothesized that while glyphosate is toxic, it alone is not capable of destroying kidney tissue on the scale recently observed in rice paddy regions of Northern Sri Lanka, or in El Salvador where it is the second leading cause of death among men. They propose glyphosate becomes extremely toxic to the kidney when it mixes with ‘hard’ water or heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium, either naturally present in the soil or added externally through fertilizer inputs. Hard water contains ‘metals,’ such as calcium, magnesium, strontium and iron, along with carbonate, bicarbonate, sulphate and chlorides.

    The new hypothesis explains a number of observations connected with the disease, including why in afflicted regions like Sri Lanka there has been a strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of this special kidney disease, with 96% of CKDu patients having consumed hard or very hard water for at least five years.

    The image below shows how closely water hardness and the prevalence of CKDu overlap:



    read on:  Arrow http://www.wesupportorganic.com/2014/02/roundup-weedkiller-linked-to-global-epidemic-of-fatal-kidney-disease.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:14 pm

    Want to Hike Mount Everest? Bring Trash Bags



    In the difficult ascent up the world’s tallest mountain, being environmentally-friendly seems to be the last concern for most hikers. And even though Mt. Everest may tower 5 miles above sea level, its slopes are no longer free from the plague of garbage which is abundant in lower-elevation wilderness areas.

    Over 6,000 hikers have successfully ascended Mt. Everest in the last 60 years, but in that time Nepal’s mountain has become littered with bottles, oxygen tanks, cans, and other reminders of the strenuous hike. And while the challenging task may cause necessity to unload, it is clear the waste residing on the mountainside needs to be reduced. Because of this, the Nepalese have a plan:

    In hopes of removing the accumulated garbage, Nepal recently announced a new rule last week that will now require all hikers to to bring back not only their own trash, but 8 kilograms – 17.6 pounds of trash – of garbage left on the mountain by previous hikers. According to the Agence France-Presse, this rule will take effect in April and will apply to anyone who travels beyond the mountain’s base camp.

    “The government has decided in order to clean up Mt. Everest, each member of an expedition must bring back at least 8 kilos of garbage, apart from their own trash,” Nepalese tourism ministry official Madhusudan Burlakoti tells AFP. “Our earlier efforts have not been very effective. This time, if climbers don’t bring back garbage, we will take legal action and penalize them.”

    Charging expeditions $4,000 for a garbage deposit (which is returned if hikers bring back down everything they brought) is already procedure, but the strategy has reportedly suffered from enforcement issues. The new rule is intended to make violators more visible, and to foster a collective sense of responsibility for Mount Everest that goes beyond lean packing and personal cleanliness.

    While some assuredly feel they cannot be bothered to retain their trash, not all goods have been ditched out of carelessness. Many travelers leave behind items in attempt to shed weight, or to save themselves in quick life-or-death situations. The unforgiving slopes have claimed over 240 climbers since the early 20th century, and many bodies are still preserved on the mountain side in the extreme cold. Therefore, it is understandable that some trash litters the cold terrain for a variety of reasons.

    Read more: http://www.trueactivist.com/want-to-hike-mount-everest-bring-trash-bags/

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:31 pm

    How Economic Growth Has Become Anti-Life

    An obsession with growth has eclipsed our concern for sustainability, justice and human dignity. But people are not disposable – the value of life lies outside economic development

    Limitless growth is the fantasy of economists, businesses and politicians. It is seen as a measure of progress. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP), which is supposed to measure the wealth of nations, has emerged as both the most powerful number and dominant concept in our times. However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves.

    The concept of growth was put forward as a measure to mobilise resources during the second world war. GDP is based on creating an artificial and fictitious boundary, assuming that if you produce what you consume, you do not produce. In effect , “growth” measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities.

    When every aspect of life is commercialised and commoditised, living becomes more costly, and people become poorer.

    Thus nature’s amazing cycles of renewal of water and nutrients are defined into nonproduction. The peasants of the world,who provide 72% of the food, do not produce; women who farm or do most of the housework do not fit this paradigm of growth either. A living forest does not contribute to growth, but when trees are cut down and sold as timber, we have growth. Healthy societies and communities do not contribute to growth, but disease creates growth through, for example, the sale of patented medicine.

    Water available as a commons shared freely and protected by all provides for all. However, it does not create growth. But when Coca-Cola sets up a plant, mines the water and fills plastic bottles with it, the economy grows. But this growth is based on creating poverty – both for nature and local communities. Water extracted beyond nature’s capacity to renew and recharge creates a water famine. Women are forced to walk longer distances looking for drinking water. In the village of Plachimada in Kerala, when the walk for water became 10 kms, local tribal woman Mayilamma said enough is enough. We cannot walk further; the Coca-Cola plant must shut down. The movement that the women started eventually led to the closure of the plant.

    In the same vein, evolution has gifted us the seed. Farmers have selected, bred, and diversified it – it is the basis of food production. A seed that renews itself and multiplies produces seeds for the next season, as well as food. However, farmer-bred and farmer-saved seeds are not seen as contributing to growth. It creates and renews life, but it doesn't lead to profits. Growth begins when seeds are modified, patented and genetically locked, leading to farmers being forced to buy more every season.

    Nature is impoverished, biodiversity is eroded and a free, open resource is transformed into a patented commodity. Buying seeds every year is a recipe for debt for India’s poor peasants. And ever since seed monopolies have been established, farmers debt has increased. More than 270,000 farmers caught in a debt trap in India have committed suicide since 1995.

    read more: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/01-2

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:55 am

    Progress can kill

    Forcing 'development' or 'progress' on tribal people does not make them happier or healthier. In fact, the effects are disastrous.

    The most important factor by far for tribal peoples' well-being is whether their land rights are respected.

    read full report in attached pdf

    Shorter version available also here: http://www.survivalinternational.org/progresscankill

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:26 am

    Ukraine - the corporate annexation
    JP Sottile

    21st March 2014



    As the US and EU apply sanctions on Russia over its annexation' of Crimea, JP Sottile reveals the corporate annexation of Ukraine. For Cargill, Chevron, Monsanto, there's a gold mine of profits to be made from agri-business and energy exploitation.

    The potential here for agriculture / agribusiness is amazing ... production here could double ... Ukraine's agriculture could be a real gold mine.
    On 12th January 2014, a reported 50,000 "pro-Western" Ukrainians descended upon Kiev's Independence Square to protest against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Stoked in part by an attack on opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, the protest marked the beginning of the end of Yanukovych's four year-long government.

    That same day, the Financial Times reported a major deal for US agribusiness titan Cargill.

    Business confidence never faltered

    Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine's UkrLandFarming.

    According to the Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world's eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer. And those aren't the only eggs in Cargill's increasingly ample basket.

    On 13th December 2013, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea grain terminal at Novorossiysk on Russia's Black Sea coast.

    The port - to the east of Russia's strategically and historically important Crimean naval base - gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

    Cargill has been in Ukraine for over two decades, investing in grain elevators and acquiring a major Ukrainian animal feed company in 2011. And, based on its investment in UkrLandFarming, Cargill was decidedly confident amidst the post-EU deal chaos.

    It's a stark juxtaposition to the alarm bells ringing out from the US media, bellicose politicians on Capitol Hill and perplexed policymakers in the White House.

    read on: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2328765/ukraine_the_corporate_annexation.html

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:22 pm

    Philip Wollen : Animals Should Be Off The Menu debate

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc


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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:47 am



    Skin Deep database and app.

    The popular website provides safety information for more than 69,000 cosmetics and personal care products and has been searched nearly 233 million times since 2004. The Skin Deep app has been downloaded more than 188,000 times since it launched last fall.

    Arrow http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/



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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:58 pm

    How cooking can change the world

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX7kwfE3cJQ


    Renowned activist and author Michael Pollan argues that cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to improve their family's health, build communities, fix our broken food system, and break our growing dependence on corporations. The event was chaired by Tim Lang, professor of Food Policy at City University London.

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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Aquaries1111 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:09 pm

    The Price of our Comfortable lives means we have nothing better to do but to post "Fluffy Flubby Marshmallows Mudra"! Do you Work? Earn an income? Do you have nothing better to do than put and post silly fluffy shining stars on a computer that looks to reflect back to you a one sided star that may have more than 5 dimensions? Can you see outside the fluffy box? Seriously, I wonder about you!
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  Brook on Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:50 am

    Aquaries1111 wrote:The Price of our Comfortable lives means we have nothing better to do but to post "Fluffy Flubby Marshmallows Mudra"! Do you Work? Earn an income? Do you have nothing better to do than put and post silly fluffy shining stars on a computer that looks to reflect back to you a one sided star that may have more than 5 dimensions? Can you see outside the fluffy box? Seriously, I wonder about you!

    The question is Debra ~  Do you have anything better to do than be a completely rude poster on this forum?  I mean seriously!  I wonder about you!  But very rarely.

    At least you've been recently validating my theory that you spam threads for absolutely no reason at all except attention seeking.  This particular quoted post proves my point!
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    Re: The Price of Our Comfortable Lives

    Post  mudra on Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:01 am

    Aquaries1111 wrote:The Price of our Comfortable lives means we have nothing better to do but to post "Fluffy Flubby Marshmallows Mudra"! Do you Work? Earn an income? Do you have nothing better to do than put and post silly fluffy shining stars on a computer that looks to reflect back to you a one sided star that may have more than 5 dimensions? Can you see outside the fluffy box? Seriously, I wonder about you!

    Well I'll let you wonder and figure things out   Adv2 
    Good luck  Laugh 

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