VIKING I landed on Mars, the Ramones released their first album, the Soweto Uprising began in South Africa, North and South Vietnam reunified to become the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Gerald Ford was in the White House. Continue reading →
“The conventional wisdom on the world’s stock markets is that all listed reserves will be exploited and burnt.”
— “Unburnable Carbon 2013: Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble,” report by Carbon Tracker Initiative
“Developing new green technology, hiring workers and investing in new productive facilities involves a real risk: it may not be as profitable as purely speculative investments.
THE VAST majority of people own no significant amount of stocks or other financial assets. Every single person breathes air. Every single person depends on the growing of food and the nutrition it provides to stay alive. We can’t live underwater. From these axioms, we should be able to divine a sense of what rational societal priorities reflect and emphasize.
AT THE turn of the 19th century, industrialist and weapons manufacturer par excellence Alfred Nobel, the guilt-ridden inventor of dynamite, established the Peace Prize that carries his name, proposing that it go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
“If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.
IN THE same sad week that saw the deaths of several globally renowned revolutionary voices, another intellectual giant of the left passed away at the age of 95: ecologist, activist and scientist Barry Commoner.
A life-long champion of the need for scientific engagement with the public at large, Commoner constantly sought to bring to light the iniquities of industrial capitalism, beginning with his campaign against above-ground nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, and continuing with his opposition to nuclear power–that is, the transition to more polluting and toxic but highly profitable synthetic compounds in place of natural ones.
MORE THAN 50 percent of counties in the United States are now officially designated “disaster” zones. The reason given in 90 percent of cases is the continent-wide drought that has been devastating crop production. Forty-eight percent of the U.S. corn crop is rated as “poor to very poor,” along with 37 percent of soy; 73 percent of cattle acreage is suffering drought conditions, along with 66 percent of land given to the production of hay.
THEY MAY not live in castles anymore, but the glass-plated skyscrapers that tower over the great cities of the world, in faceless anonymity, still signify the imperious domain of the ruling elite. It is these places, not the featureless depths of the earth’s roiling crust, which were the decisive cause of the triple nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant on March 11, 2011.
AS A result of some bizarre political time warp, just when it seemed like the battle over climate-change-as-reality was over, we appear to have regressed back to the George W. Bush medieval era of non-science passing for science.
A few months ago, it seemed like the remaining few–though loud and remarkably well-funded–voices denying that man-made climate change was happening were increasingly marginalized. Science was back in the saddle in the White House, and the Obama administration was going to ride to the rescue in Copenhagen at the UN climate summit in December.