Climate Change and the 99 Percent


climate for sale 

Jeff Conant, writing for Earth Island Journal, isn’t holding out much hope for COP17, the UN Climate Summit currently happening in Durban, South Africa. And judging by the last two summits in Copenhagen and Cancun, who could blame him.  “[N]o matter where you come from,” Conant writes, “if you are actually concerned about the climate crisis, [the UN Climate Summit is] going to be an ugly two weeks.” 

He continues:

For the 99 percent, the climate crisis is neither about settling a scientific debate (the scientists have that pretty well sealed up), nor about safeguarding an already dubious multilateral agenda (if the 16 previous Conferences of Parties haven’t forged a solution, why should we expect one now?) Rather, it is about ethics, about human rights, and specifically the rights that UN parlance calls economic, social and cultural rights (food, water, shelter, health, political participation). For many, in short, the concern in Durban – as in Cancun and Copenhagen previously – is for justice.

The previous climate summits have made it painfully clear that, at the top levels, government ministers, heads of state, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) itself, is more about form than content. Last year, in Cancun, after the spectacular debacle of the failed talks in 2009 at Copenhagen, the concern among global leaders was less about saving the climate than about saving face.  Those clamoring for justice in Cancun – a delegation of thousands from civil society – were fenced out, and kept literally miles away from the talks. They were the 99 percent.

Conant’s article doesn’t leave one with a good feeling, finding, as he does, very little in the way of positivity coming from the summit. He points to the Climate Action Network (CAN) as one possible avenue for reform, but quickly dismisses that group with the position of Climate Justice Now!, “the more radical civil society network that sometimes vies with CAN for space inside the negotiations,” that capitalism will be priority number one over justice.

Source: Earth Island Journal 

Image by Olivier Tétard, licensed under Creative Commons.  


Jim Corcoran
12/5/2011 2:09:11 PM

Beyond the Hype: The Reality of Heifer International Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring. By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury. A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals. To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different. The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world. While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy cows here or there, the long term consequences are an increased desire for animal products in local cultures leading to an increase in production. These communities may be able to absorb the additional water use of one or two cows, what happens when there are hundreds or thousands of dairy cows, each consuming 27 to 50 gallons of fresh water and producing tons of excrement? The heavy cost to animals, the environment and local economies is not figured into HI's business practices. Animal Agriculture and Global Warming Recently NBC Nightly News reported that global warming has reduced the Arctic Ice Cap by 25% in the last two years alone! According to the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization’s 2006 report, animal agriculture has surpassed all forms of transportation combined, to become the number one contributor to global warming! Animal agriculture is at or near the top of the worldwide list for water usage, water pollution, topsoil loss, air pollution, tropical rainforest destruction, desertification, habitat loss and species extinction. If people want to make a REAL difference, the first thing to do on any "Save the Planet" list is to choose a plant based diet. The solution to world hunger and creating sustainable economies will not be found in fostering more dependence on animal agriculture.

Jim Corcoran
12/5/2011 2:08:15 PM

The United Nations recently published "Livestock's Long Shadow." It concludes that eating meat is "one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." And it insists that the meat industry "should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity." Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook says that "refusing meat" is "the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint." "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Albert Einstein And Utne supports Heifer International, unbelievable!!!

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