Sand-dredging is big business, especially in Asia, where demand has sky-rocketed thanks to the booming construction industry. Rod Harbinson reports from Cambodia on an extractive industry that is mired in corruption and scandal, and meets some of those on the frontline of the fight against it.
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28 June 2017. Is 100% Renewables Realistic? –
Is it really feasible to run the world on 100% renewables, including supply and demand matching at all times and places? Would doing so require vast amounts of seasonal storage? Are exotic new technologies like next-generation flexible nuclear power plants or coal plants equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment needed to balance out variable renewables at a reasonable cost?
28 June 2017. The Future of Farmland (Part 1): The New Land Grab –
Farmland REITs put profit over principle. As an investment tool, the primary goal of a REIT is to generate a profit for its investors. This means that all other considerations, including the needs of farmworkers, farmers, soil health, surrounding community, and watersheds are secondary to the profitability of the asset, if they are considered at all.
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28 June 2017. Heiress to Standard Oil Taking a Stand Against Fossil Fuels –
“I don’t want to act based on fear, but I see how fragile the institutions are around us. Things could suddenly change. I listen behind the headlines to the trends in the news, the signs of our societal decomposition. There are many ways we should prepare for the transition, and connecting with neighbors and local people is key.”
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28 June 2017. The Stratospheric Costs of The American Century –
Guns, energy, money – each of these factors of power comes to mind in reading the recently released book by John Dower, The Violent American Century: War And Terror Since World War Two. This brief book keeps a tight focus: cataloguing the extent of violence associated with the US role as the world’s dominant superpower.
28 June 2017. Nine Futures –
My aim in this post is to use Frase’s book as a cue to discuss some issues of interest to me, rather than reviewing or précising it as such – but I’d certainly recommend taking a look at it. Like many left-futurologists, Frase in my opinion gets a little too excited about the prospect of an automated and jobless future but at least the insights he generates from these new-old chestnuts are subtler than most.
27 June 2017. Return to Wool –
Just a few years ago, sheep wool was considered little more than trash in France. Today, initiatives are springing up all over the country to re-valorize this renewable resource. “More and more people question waste, long transport routes, manufacturing practices, the way we use natural resources,” says Marie-Thérèse Chaupin, founder of an association called Atelier Laines d’Europe, which represents about 250 activists from the industry. “There is a movement to encourage local development,” Marie-Thérèse adds.
27 June 2017. The Economics of Community –
I’m not looking for Trump’s jawboning to bring back the manufacturing jobs that were lost to outsourcing. I’m not looking for governments to bail us out at all. I’m looking at what we can do for ourselves, working together in values-aligned cooperative groups—the same kind of entities that impressed Margaret Mead so much for their potential to effect world change.
27 June 2017. Respecting Farmers and Their Rightful Place in Our Food System –
A Growing Culture believes “that farmers should be at the forefront of agriculture,” aiming to reshape the food and agriculture system starting with farmers. Through projects for farmer-to-farmer exchange, collective learning, and farmer-led research, A Growing Culture wants to advance innovation and farmer autonomy to create a more just and sustainable food system, and one inclusive of smallholder farmers.
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27 June 2017. If You Want to Be Realistic, Be Radical –
Leftists are told that we have to be realistic, and I agree. But how realistic is it to expect solutions to human injustices and ecological crises to emerge from the systems that have created the problems? If you want to be realistic, get radical.
With the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change and reverse many of the prior administration’s climate change policies, it seems that federal action on climate change will be unlikely in the next few years. However, the US system of government gives individual states broad powers to regulate CO2 emissions within their borders, with many states actively moving forward with their own mitigation strategies in absence of federal action.
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