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Pacific Ecologist

Pacific Ecologist issue 12 Winter 2006


  • Editorial: Healthy, convivial communities: averting war & global catastrophe

resource conflicts

  • Law, resources & war
    Excessive consumption of dwindling finite resources, particularly by wealthy, powerful countries, and the desire to protect trade and resource interests, is impoverishing the majority of the world’s people, threatening war and undermining the civilised values of international law and justice, writes Dennis Small. Citizens of the world however can take action.
  • Crude designs – the plunder of Iraq’s oil wealth
    While the Iraqi state is new and in political chaos, the fate of its oil wealth is being decided behind closed doors by an Iraqi elite, influenced by the U.S. and U.K. governments. Long-term contracts, highly profitable to foreign companies and disastrous for Iraq are favoured, writes Gregg Muttitt, in this summary of a Platform report.
  • Gas flaring in Nigeria – a human rights atrocity
    In a colossal human rights atrocity, continuing over three decades, over 2 billion cubic feet of valuable natural gas goes up in smoke every day in Nigeria, as Shell and other multinational companies flare the gas, despite devastating effects on human and environmental health, and huge loss of energy and revenue for one of the world’s poorest country’s. This is an abridgement of a report by Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth, Nigeria and the Climate Justice Programme.
  • Pacific fisheries under piracy threat
    Fishing stocks around the world are collapsing with over-fishing and pirate fishing is now plaguing the South Pacific. If it’s not stopped within two to three years, says Josephine Prasad of Greenpeace, key species will be critically over-fished. She outlines a plan of action.
  • China’s role in laundering PNG timber revealed
    A new Greenpeace report shows illegally logged timber is being shipped from Papua New Guinea to China for domestic and global consumption.
  • War on terror is war against the people in the Philippines
    In prosecuting the war on terror on behalf of U.S. President, George Bush, the Philippines’ president is waging war on her country’s people, Rod Prosser reports. How is it that a once prosperous country, rich in natural resources, is now a poor backward one, where peaceful villages are bombed and invaded by the military to facilitate the opening up of new mining and logging operations and state-sponsored killings and corruption are rampant?

under the spotlight: nuclear terrorism

  • From nuclear deterrence to nuclear terrorism
    Far from helping prevent major wars, the policy of nuclear deterrence, favoured by the U.S. U.K. and others, has become an intention to commit state-sponsored terrorism, Robert Green reports. There is an urgent need to denuclearise the security strategies of the Western allies who currently are inciting fear and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
  • U.S./India nuclear deal reckless
    The nuclear cooperation deal between the U.S. and India is reckless, undermining efforts to stop nuclear proliferation, says the Worldwatch Institute. And nuclear power is very costly, with limited capacity to provide much electricity for either the U.S. India or China. Renewable energy resources are the practical option and growing at much greater rates than nuclear.
  • Energy insecurity: reactor dreams
    There’s danger in the US government basing its energy policy on nuclear technologies that may never work and will be very costly, says Victor Golinsky.
  • Revisiting French terrorism in the Pacific: Rainbow Warrior bombing revelations [980K PDF]
    France’s sabotage of the Rainbow Warrior more than two decades ago hogged newspaper headlines during the anniversary last year. But little coverage was given to the actual cause of the bombing – nuclear testing in the South Pacific and the impact on Pacific Islanders. The Rongelapese and Tahitians still suffer from the legacy of decades of American and French nuclear tests. DAVID ROBIE looks at the hypocrisy behind this sordid act of state terrorism in a New Zealand port.
  • From nuclear warrior to opponent – how the murder of Hilda Murrell changed my life
    ROBERT GREEN recounts his path of transformation from British Navy Commander with experience in operating nuclear weapons, to anti-nuclear campaigner. The many threats to our security, he concludes, are increasingly beyond the reach of military (let alone nuclear) solutions. A new form of patriotism is urgently needed, embracing the whole earth, to prevent narrow nationalism destroying humanity and the natural world on which life depends.

nuclear’s endless nightmare

  • Chernobyl – the continuing catastrophe
    Quotes from several expert sources on the health, environmental, and social impacts of the Chernobyl disaster.
  • Behind the cover-up – a conservative assessment of the full Chernobyl death toll [800K PDF]
    Poor records and methodology, omissions, and the failure of various committees to consider all health issues resulting from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986, have meant the real consequences for the many millions of affected people have been hidden from public scrutiny, Dr. Rosalie Bertell reports. Using a report from a U.N. science committee in 2000, Dr Bertell identifies the many omissions and makes a very conservative, preliminary estimate of the eventual death toll from the Chernobyl disaster to be 1 to 2 million.

book reviews

  • The Great Work: Our Way into the Future by Thomas Berry
  • Weather Makers: The Past & the Future Impact of Climate Change by Tim Flannery
  • Chernobyl: 20 Years On – Health effects of the Chernobyl accident – Editors C.C. Busby & A.V. Yablokov
  • Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War: A Critical Study into the Military and the Environment by Dr Rosalie Bertell
  • The Long Emergency – Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century by James Howard Kunstler
  • Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties by IEER and Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy
  • Affluenza: When too much is never enough by Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss
  • Remotely Controlled – How television is damaging our lives & what we can do about it by Aric Sigman
  • Happiness: lessons from a new science by Richard Layard

climate hotspot

  • Australia’s ‘greenhouse mafia’ exposed
    Clive Hamilton, Executive Director of the Australia Institute, reports on recent revelations about the revolving door between government officials and fossil-fuel industry lobby groups, who call themselves the “greenhouse mafia.” Inside knowledge and connections give the greenhouse mafia an extraordinary influence over Australia’s climate change policy, ensure favourable treatment for polluting fossil fuel industries, and the undercutting of renewable energy. Meanwhile, democracy is undermined and Australia’s greenhouse gases are rising steeply. But the Environment Minister says: “the main thing is not to alarm people!”
  • Climate expert says NASA tried to silence him
    NASA’s top climate scientist, James E. Hansen, says the Bush administration tried to stop him from speaking out after he gave a lecture in December calling for prompt reductions in greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, reports Andrew C. Revkin.

policy pathways to sustainability

  • From global dependence to local interdependence
    With increasing urbanisation and globalisation of the world economy, causing a range of environmental and social problems, there is growing support for a shift towards smaller scale, more localised production, Helena Norberg-Hodge of the International Society for Ecology and Culture, observes. This shift in direction would bring many benefits to both North and South, including reduction in environmental pollution and the creation of meaningful work and fuller employment everywhere.
  • Less long distance trade – tackling climate change & poverty
    Dr Vandana Shiva and Colin Hines put the case for Europe leading the way and the replacement of the WTO’s free market trade rules with a General Agreement for Sustainable Trade which would conserve the environment and protect and diversify national economies. This would ensure a more secure economic future everywhere and meet the desires of people worldwide seeking to Make Poverty History.
  • Small wind systems, many purposes
    Small wind turbines are providing energy for a surprising and increasing variety of purposes, from micro turbines for many thousands of nomadic Mongolians to boil tea, to turbines for heating, pumping water, and generating electricity at remote sites. Paul Gipe explains in a brief introduction to his book, Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business

sustainable initiatives

  • Sustainable architecture – getting our homes in order
    Sustainability begins at home, writes Fliss Butcher. Now is the time to start. By making our homes sustainable, we can all help reduce global warming emissions, energy use, urban sprawl, waste, the destruction of nature, financial costs,AND at the same time revitalise our neighbourhoods.
  • Keeping the seeds strong: an appeal for gardeners & biodiversity
    With the great decline of food biodiversity, seed saving and gardening is vital work if humanity is to survive into the future, writes Kay Baxter, co-founder of Koanga Gardens
  • Strengthening local food security in the Solomons
    Recently, dramatic scenes of discontent in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital were flashed around the world. But on the weather coast, in an isolated area with a difficult climate, a community group has started up an independent training centre to teach young people livelihood skills and to help communities develop capacities to survive times when food is scarce. Louise Hunt reports.