CFS News-Views Digest No. 66 (9-26-14)

What’s Possible?    (Clifton Ware, Editor/Publisher)

At long last, it seems that people around the world are beginning to wake up and address the crucial issue of climate change. Even the media is getting into the act, although some pundits remain deniers and propagators of misinformation, bad science, and slanted views fed to them by opportunistic fossil fuel corporations, conservative organizations, and greedy billionaires.

In a Common Dreams article published Tuesday (Bill McKibben Reacts to President Obama’s Climate Summit Speech), the charismatic founder of 350.org and foremost proponent of climate change action had this to say about President Obama’s speech:

“President Obama says America has ‘stepped up to the plate’ — and dropped down a bunt single when we’re behind by 10 runs in the 9th inning. If the President really wants collective ambition, he’s got to show a little more can-do spirit from the world’s leading economy.”

Also included in the newswire is a statement by May Boeve, executive director of 350.orgin reference to the People’s Climate March on Sunday and the Climate Summit on Tuesday [excerpts]:

“The 400,000 who took to the streets in New York City, and the hundreds of thousands more who marched around the world, represent a burning demand for action to save a world on fire.”

“350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million [down from the current 400 ppm], we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.”

Also related to the UN Climate Summit news is an inspirational 4-minute film (‘What’s Possible’: The U.N. Climate Summit Opening Film …narrated by Morgan Freeman. This film proposes that climate change is solvable, thanks largely to developing technologies [which notable experts question] and the possibility of world leaders taking responsible, constructive action.

To add more substance about the latest climate change news and views, several informative articles below await your perusal. I hope you agree that now is the time for all world citizens to come to the aid of our home planet—for humanity’s sake. And this includes YOU!

CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS-VIEWS

> Environmental Defense Fund: Demand Climate Action. The People’s Climate March included 310,000 [up to 400,000?] climate activists marching across New York, and thousands more worldwide joined in the protest. Here’s how you can participate and do your part.

> NPR: Large Protests In Hundreds Of Cities Vent Ire At Climate Change. The idea for the huge march started with professor and activist Bill McKibben as a way to push for actions that limit greenhouse gas emissions. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marched with the protesters, as did former Vice President Al Gore.

> Weathering the Storm: Climate Change: A Few Myths And Some Hard Realities (Mike Conley). Beware of “spinmeisters” making their case by extrapolating isolated data points into a big picture that ignores the totality of the evidence. Climate scientists and most scientific bodies are nearly as one that a) climate change is happening, b) it is largely anthropogenic, and c) it is occurring at an accelerated rate.

> Common Dreams: Climate Change You Can Believe In (Bill Moyers & Michael Winship). Just as Sunday’s big People’s Climate March and the UN global summit on climate converge here in New York City, the nation and world are experiencing weather of an intensity that should rattle the stubborn false convictions of even the most fervent climate change denier.

> Common Dreams: Whether We Engage or Do Nothing… This Changes Everything (Naomi Klein). When it comes to climate change, the trick is recognizing that the best cure for the terror caused by an unlivable future is the real prospect that we could build something much better than many of us have previously dared hope.

> Common Dreams-Truthdig: The Coming Climate Revolt (Chris Hedges). If the response of the corporate state is repression rather than reform then our strategy and our tactics must be different. We will have to cease our appealing to the system. We will have to view the state, including the Democratic Party, as antagonistic to genuine reform. We will have to speak in the language of … revolution.

> Climate Progress: NOAA: With Hottest August On Record, 2014 Takes Aim At Hottest Year On Record. Last month was the warmest August since records began being kept in 1880, NOAA reports. Projections clearly indicate that 2014 is going to be one of the hottest years on record—and possibly the hottest. Stay tuned. Mother Nature is just getting started.

> Marketwatch: Climate Change Isn’t The Problem. A Population Bomb Is Killing Us (Paul Farrell). The human race is in a suicidal rush to self-destruction. We can’t blame some grand conspiracy of climate-science deniers, Big Oil, Koch Bros, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, GOP governors and Congress. We are the problem. We are responsible for destroying the planet.

> Resilience:  Population & Aging. Five articles from five publications address the issue of human population and the aging factor.

> Planetizen: Better Growth, Better Climate. A new report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate describes specific actions, which can strengthen economic performance and reduce climate change risks. A key strategy is to build better, more productive cities.

> The Daly News: Spending On Preventing Climate Wars Versus Spending To Secure Sources Of Oil. In terms of war and national security, a much more serious long-term threat is that of climate wars. Money being spent on oil wars ought to be shifted to strategies to prevent climate wars by getting at the root causes of climate disruption.

ECONOMY AND ENERGY NEWS-VIEWS

> The Guardian: Naomi Klein: We Tried It Your Way And We Don’t Have Another Decade To Waste. The climate-change movement is making little headway against corporate vested interests, says the author of Shock Doctrine. But how does she think her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate”, will help galvanize people?

> Crude Oil Peak: US Shale Oil Growth Covers Up Production Drop In Rest-Of-World. While US shale oil production is growing, there was a drop in crude production in the rest of world since February 2012 of almost 2 million barrels/d. How did this come about? As usual, there is decline and growth and then we have geopolitics.

> The Archdruid Report: Dark Age America: The End Of The Old Order (J.M. Greer). People tend to pay much more attention to whatever they’re losing than to the even greater losses suffered by others. The middle-class Americans who denounce welfare for the poor while demanding that funding for Medicare and Social Security remain intact are par for the course.

> Minnesota 2020: Energy Trends: Fossil Future or Renewable Outlook?   Business as usual sets us up to continue down an unsustainable path. Despite the bleak picture this paints for climate change, the good news is that there is so much improvement to seek that there are a large range of options for policymakers, who need to take advantage of these options and step up to do more.

> Peak Oil: Paul Krugman’s Errors And Omissions (R. Heinberg). Heinberg addresses Krugman’s errors and omissions in a recent NY Times op-ed, with succinct, factual explanations about the realities of available energy sources and existing economic forces.

> Our Finite World: Low Oil Prices: Sign Of A Debt Bubble Collapse, Leading To The End Of Oil Supply? (Gail Tverberg). Falling commodity prices likely means that the debt bubble which has been holding up the world economy for a very long time–since World War II, at least–is failing to expand sufficiently. If the debt bubble collapses, we will be in huge difficulty.

> Yale-Environment 360: Oil Companies Quietly Prepare For A Future Of Carbon Pricing. The toll of fossil fuel emissions — from the ballooning costs of crop insurance tied to climate-related weather extremes, to the ravages of sea level rise in coastal areas, to stresses on health services as tropical diseases migrate northward — is part of the discussions at the UN Climate Summit in New York this week. And the new carbon mathematics is putting a spotlight on the oil industry.

LOCAL, STATE, AND REGIONAL NEWS-VIEWS

> Midwest Energy News: Minnesota Faith Groups Featured In ‘Climate Reality’ Project. Faith-based organizations are becoming increasingly vocal and active in the clean-energy movement. While it’s a national phenomenon, our story focused on Minnesota churches installing solar power and taking other steps to reduce their energy impact. Minnesota faith communities were in the spotlight again this week as part of the 24 Hours of Reality, a series of videos hosted by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

> MPR: Race, Poverty Tied To Metro Transportation Funding. The effort is meant to help address disparities in the metro area between whites and people of color. Studies have shown that the region has some of the widest racial disparities in the country in income, education and health.

> Star Tribune (editorial): Minnesota’s Global Outlook Helps Land Sustainability. Minnesota’s Global Outlook Helps Land Sustainability. Minneapolis will host a major global conference on sustainability (MN2015: Democracy In A Stable Future) that will attract the former heads of state of nearly 100 countries to MN in Oct. 2015.

> MinnPost: Blog: Farming Into The Future: Hmong American Farm. The 16 farmers who rent five or ten-acre fields from the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) are part of a project that includes research, cooperation and community.

> MinnPost: Earth Journal: 1,300 Bird Species Facing Extinction From Environmental Causes Worldwide. This compares to about 150 known extinctions of birds in the last five centuries, a rate that may accelerate tenfold by the end of this one. 197 bird species are in such dire circumstances that they’re considered to be just one serious epidemic or a couple of bad breeding seasons from their vanishing point.

SUSTAINABLE CHALLENGES, IDEAS AND PRACTICES

> Turn 21: Welcome to the 21st Century. This is the time for our species to “turn 21”: to transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood as citizens of the planet, before we destroy our own future. Read > http://turn21.org/

> Organic Consumers Association: The Carbon Underground: Reversing Global Warming.. Members of the regenerative organics movement invite us to educate yourself about the good news of regenerative organics and natural carbon sequestration. They propose uniting the climate movement, the organic movement, the animal rights, family farmer, and conservation movements into a mighty force for transformation and regeneration.

> Talk Poverty: Top 10 Solutions To Cut Poverty And Grow The Middle Class. The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual figures recently on income, poverty, and health insurance. It revealed that four years into the economic recovery, economic insecurity remains widespread, and low- and middle-income workers have seen no significant wage growth over the past decade.

> Climate Progress: Putting Solar Panels On School Roofs Could Dramatically Increase America’s Solar Capacity. Any building with a large, flat rooftop is a prime candidate for a solar installation. And one particular large, flat roof that’s ubiquitous in the U.S. is on schools. If schools took advantage of their full potential for solar, they would add 5.4 gigawatts to the country’s solar capacity.

> ENSIA: A New Generation Of Gmos. Environmental news site Grist has called synthetic biology “the next front in the GMO war.” Friends of the Earth, an environmental organization that views genetically modified crops as “a direct extension of chemical agriculture,” calls synbio an “extreme form” of genetic engineering.

> Yes! &Truthout: Beyond Divestment: Climate-Concerned Philanthropists Pledge To Move Billions To Wind And Solar. Where should organizations put their money, if they aren’t putting it into fossil fuel companies? That’s the question behind the movement’s new strategy, known as “divest-invest,” which seeks to make divestment more effective by taking funds previously invested in fossil fuels and reinvesting them in renewable energy and sustainable economic development.

> Resilience: Defining The Simple Life (Book review). The simple life, almost as hard to define as it is to live, has historically served as an ancient and universal ideal.  Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future, edited by Samuel Alexander and Amanda McLeod, contains 26 chapters discussing individuals, cultures, and movements that have embraced forms of ‘simple living’ throughout history.

> New York Times: Companies Are Taking The Baton In Climate Change Efforts. With political efforts to slow global warming moving at a tortuous pace, some of the world’s largest companies are stepping into the void, pledging more support for renewable energy, greener supply chains and fresh efforts to stop the destruction of the world’s tropical forests.

NOTABLE UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS

> CFS OCTOBER SUSTAINABILITY FORUM: Sat. Oct. 11, 3-5 p.m., SAV City Hall Council Chambers. Speaker–Erin McKee VanSlooten, Local Foods senior program associate, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Topic (3-4 p.m.)—“From Farm to School: Encouraging Food Literacy for Children”. Business (4-4:30 p.m.)—Organizing a sustainability coalition in SAV; Social (4:30-5 p.m.)—Refreshments and networking.

> UM Institute on the Environment: Frontiers In The Environment, a series of presentations held in R350 Learning & Environmental Sciences Building. Information: http://environment.umn.edu/events/

About Clifton Ware

Sustainability Education Forum Editor-Publisher Dr. Clifton Ware is an international figure in the world of voice pedagogy. During the the past fifty years of teaching students how to sing -- both nationally and internationally -- Clif developed his signature "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique". What distinguishes his method is its holistic approach, simplicity, and effectiveness. Siingers find that they are able to ensure their vocal health while cultivating their own unique, expressive sound. This approach stands in sharp contrast to faddish techniques that encourage mimicking the vocalism, style, and qualities of other singers, possibly limiting their own vocal imprint and even harming their vocal instrument. The "Efficient and Authentic Voice Technique" produces singers that enjoy vocal power, range, ease, individuality, and a liberating learning process.

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