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Pacific Ecologist

Pacific Ecologist issue 13 Summer 2006/07

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sustainable security

  • Beyond Terrorism: the sustainable security paradigm [270K PDF]
    A new report by the Oxford Research Group, warns the current western focus on the “war on terror,” is causing more insecurity and diverting attention and resources away from resolving more serious problems which threaten humanity’s future. Cooperative, international action of the world’s people is needed over the next five years to move away from violence to a sustainable security paradigm, to address climate change, competition over resources, marginalisation of most of the world’s people, and global militarisation. This article is a summary of the report.
  • Inequality increases worldwide
    The gap between the world’s richest and poorest countries is growing. This is a summary of the United Nations Human Development Index, November 2006.

global warming

  • Earth nears critical warming level
    If global warming temperatures increase more than one degree further, effects will be unmanageable and many species will be pushed to extinction. This is a summary of a joint NASA and Columbia University and University of California report.
  • World will be transformed if climate action delayed
    If sufficient action is not taken soon to reduce global warming emissions, a dangerous threshold could be reached by 2035, and further inaction will result in a radical reshaping of the world, causing major disruption worldwide to economic and social activity. Many millions of people, largely in poor countries, will be unable to produce food and many millions of refugees will flee from drowning Pacific Islands and other vulnerable coastal areas. This article is a summary of the Stern Report: The Economics of Climate Change.
  • Pacific Islands: canaries in the coal mine – New Economics Foundation
    The South Pacific has seen a 65-fold increase in the number of people affected by disasters in the last 30 years and Pacific Islands face many dangers from climate change, yet have contributed negligibly to the problem. Political and financial commitment from developed countries to assist them is essential, as is the need to reduce the dangers.
  • Climate threatens Southern African food security
    Efforts to end poverty in Africa will “go up in smoke,” a coalition of UK agencies, say, unless rich countries, largely responsible for global warming, reduce emissions soon and substantially. Africa is already suffering serious global warming consequences with 25 million people facing a serious food crisis across sub-Saharan Africa 2005-2006, yet the international community has given only a tenth of the money it pledged to help the world’s poorest people adapt to global warming.

global action

  • Support grows for equity-based global-warming strategy [300K PDF]
    Aubrey Meyer & Kay Weir outline an inclusive global action plan to reduce global warming emissions equitably and transparently across nations. Contraction and Convergence allows everyone a fair share in a scheme for international emission entitlements. It has been the official position of the Africa Group of Nations at climate negotiations for the past 10 years. If such a democratic plan is not adopted soon to stop emissions rising to dangerous levels, the consequences will be disastrous for everyone.
  • Forest conservation & climate change policy [340K PDF]
    Deforestation is a major issue, overlooked in climate policy negotiations until recently, although natural forests play vital roles in climate protection. Forests are carbon reservoirs, if deforestation continues at current rates, 12 million hectares annually, major carbon reservoirs will become atmospheric carbon and exacerbate climate change. Sean Weaver reports on what needs to be done to stop this trend.
  • Geosequestration: risky, unproven
    There is currently an over-emphasis in Australia on geosequestration, an unproven, potential technology which is hindering efforts to promote existing technologies that work: renewable energy, energy efficiency and reduced energy demand. This is an excerpt from a report by Climate Action Network Australia.
  • What you can do about global warming [330K PDF]
    There’s plenty for everyone to do to reduce global warming emissions and help save the world as we know it for present and future generations. Rik Bazeley reports.

energy sustainability

  • Consultation key to Australia’s First Community Wind Farm
    Rich Bowden interviews Per BernarD, president of the Hepburn Renewable Energy Association. Consulting the local community was vital in winning support for Australia’s first community- owned, small-scale wind park. Careful discussion persuaded the State government to support the project with a grant of almost $A1 million. The project serves as a model for communities around Australia and shows the power of local communities and how much they can achieve. Bernard believes every small community should take responsibility for their greenhouse footprint and their ability to become more independent by producing their own energy.
  • Renewable energy – opportunities for sustainable development in Pacific Islands
    Abundant solar, coconut and hydrological resources, make Pacific Island Countries ideally suited to renewable energy options, ALLISON WOODRUFF writes. Currently, seventy percent of the population in Pacific Islands lack access to modern forms of energy, and countries, are seriously disadvantaged, having to pay an estimated 200-300% above the average world price for petroleum. With oil prices rising, and Pacific Islands vulnerable to climate change impacts, they need to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Donor countries have pledged to improve access to affordable energy services as a means of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, including halving the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015. If funds are provided by donors for the purchase and installation of renewable energy equipment, long-term sustainability in Pacific Islands can be achieved.
  • World first: wild algae, bio-diesel test driven in New Zealand
    The world’s first wild algae biodiesel was successfully test driven in Wellington New Zealand on 15/12/2006 – Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation.

unsustainable transport

  • The public relations assault on transport sustainability
    Effective solutions to continually rising, dangerous transport emissions and fuel waste, mean expanded public transport, less private car use and less petrol consumption, Sharon Beder writes. These solutions clash with the overwhelming influence of car and oil lobbies and their primary interest in profits from selling large, polluting, fuel-inefficient cars, although fuel efficiency would also create hundreds of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars. For a sustainable transport system, only government planning and regulation can foster the necessary paradigm changes.

Doomsday Funbook

  • The vessel without a pilot
    This editorial, written 36 years ago by Edward Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist (UK), and of Pacific Ecologist, is as true today as it was in 1971. Unless governments control society, or keep it on course, they become unstable and cannot survive.

nuclear alerts

  • Nuclear Contamination: a survivor’s warning [475K PDF]
    Lijon Eknilang wants the nuclear arms race to cease and the world to learn from the legacy of terrible health problems which have afflicted her and her people since the nuclear bomb experiments carried out by the US in the Marshall Islands. Zohl de Ishtar, reports.
  • On the Edge of the Nuclear Abyss:
    Why Aotearoa/NZ must stay nuclear-free
    [170K PDF]
    Threats to life on earth from nuclear dangers are now greater than ever as there are now 9 states with nuclear weapons, not two, reports Larry Ross. Also, the leadership of the world’s most powerful country, the US, has a new permissive attitude to using nuclear weapons, and has threatened 7 countries it might potentially target with them, as if there’s nothing extraordinarily long-term and damaging in their use, and as if there’s no potential for nuclear retaliation to escalate out of control. There is great value in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s nuclear-free policies and practices for both national and international security, as an example to the world of safer, saner ways to resolve conflict. With few challenges from mass media to the new “nuclear strategy,” education on nuclear dangers is essential, to avoid a major nuclear catastrophe.

book reviews

  • Suiting Themselves: how corporations drive the global agenda by Sharon Beder
  • The Democracy Sham: how globalisation devalues your vote by Bryan Gould
  • Environmental Principles & Policies – an interdisciplinary approach by Sharon Beder
  • Development with Identity: Culture, Community, & Development in the Andes edited by RE Rhoades
  • Confronting Climate Change: Critical issues for NZ edited by R Chapman, J Boston and M Schwass
  • Justice on Earth: EarthJustice & the people it has served by Tom Turner
  • Atomic Audit: costs & consequences of US nuclear weapons since 1940 by Stephen I Schwartz

amphibians & ants

  • Pacific cooperation key to managing invasive ants
    Few people are aware invasive ants are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, agriculture and lifestyle in the Pacific region, writes Kirsti Abbott. Even on Tokelau, one of the smallest, most isolated island groups, frustrated residents face the devastating effects of the invasive yellow crazy ant. But the means to combat invasive ants and their impacts throughout the Pacific are emerging due to superb cooperation between government organisations, academic institutions, NGO’s and committed individuals.
  • Rising threats endanger Pacific amphibians
    Clare Morrison summarises the increasing range of environmental stresses endangering amphibians in the Pacific. Being very sensitive to both land and water conditions, amphibians reflect the state of the environment. We should be concerned if their populations decline or vanish, research the causes and stop the activities which threaten their survival.