Sunday Readings on Climate Change and the Environment

By admin on November 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm


The acidity levels of the ocean are rising, affecting the most fragile ecosystems, including corals, and set to wipe out 30% of the ocean’s species by the end of the century. The potential impact is yet another example of climate injustice:

“Nearly 500 million people depend on healthy coral reefs for sustenance, coastal protection, renewable resources, and tourism, with an estimated 30 million of the world’s poorest people depending entirely on the reefs for food.”

More on Ocean Acidification here.

Emissions of CO2 Driving Rapid Oceans ‘Acid Trip’, BBCNews

From the article:

“Since the start of the industrial revolution, the waters have become 26% more acidic. ‘This is the state of the art,’ said Prof Jean-Pierre Gattuso, from CNRS, the French national research agency. ‘My colleagues have not found in the geological record, rates of change that are faster than the ones we see today.’ What worries the scientists is the potential impact on many ocean species including corals. Studies carried out at deep sea vents where the waters are naturally acidic thanks to CO2, indicate that around 30% of the ocean’s biodiversity may be lost by the end of this century.'”

Growing Clamor About Inquities of Climate Crisis, NYTimes

The recent devastation from the catastrophic Category-5 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines highlights the issue of climate injustice written about in this article. Poorest nations are the hardest hit by climate change, and it is important for developed nations who produce the most emissions to decrease their climate impact.

From the article:

“From the time a scientific consensus emerged that human activity was changing the climate, it has been understood that the nations that contributed least to the problem would be hurt the most. Now, even as the possible consequences of climate change have surged — from the typhoons that have raked the Philippines and India this year to the droughts in Africa, to rising sea levels that threaten to submerge entire island nations — no consensus has emerged over how to rectify what many call ‘climate injustice.'”

Japan Backs Off From Emission Targets, Citing Fukushima Disaster NYTimes

From the article:

“Japan took a major step back on Friday from earlier pledges to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, saying a shutdown of its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster had made previous targets unattainable. The announcement cast a shadow over international talks underway in Warsaw aimed at fashioning a new global pact to address the threats of a changing climate.

Under its new goal, Japan, one of the world’s top polluters, would still seek to reduce its current emissions. But it would release 3 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 1990, rather than the 6 percent cut it originally promised or the 25 percent reduction it promised two years before the 2011 nuclear disaster.”

Marriage Equality Victories Across the US

By admin on November 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

We’re ecstatic the hear the news that Hawaii has passed same-sex marriage in the state. Governor Abercrombie signed the bill into law November 13, 2013.

In Illinois, the house voted in favor of the freedom to marry, and the bill is awaiting final approval from the senate and signature of the Governor.

The freedom to marry is gaining support across America and now 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. In the last month alone, three states have voted to legalize same-sex marriage, for a total of 7 states this year. This momentum alone is awesome and inspiring.

Read more here.

Greenland Rubies and the Exploitation of Greenland’s Natives

By admin on November 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Greenland’s ruby deposits

Greg Velario writes on his blog about Greenland’s ruby deposits and the disruption of its natives’ way of living.

“As this photo demonstrates Greenland is rich in Ruby yet through institutional bureaucracy, corporate collusion and ethnic stereotyping the Bureau for Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) have prevented local people from creating a livelihood for themselves […]

Until the documentation of valuable gem deposits in Greenland, Inuits were allowed to gather, polish and sell gem material. Once exceptionally valuable ruby was documented by True North Gems, the BMP issued completely new mining laws and moved to exclude local people from the ruby deposits.


Indigenous Greenlanders had always been permitted to hunt, mine and fish according to traditional methods and they have a unique historical and traditional relationship with the ‘Inik Amak‘ meaning the ‘eternal fire’ or ‘the flame that never goes out’ that is a beautiful way to describe the ruby. However when the local people became empowered and broke out of the Danish Colonial stereo type of using low grade ruby for native ethnic carvings and wanted to cut and polish stones of gem quality value and sell to the world market, the ethnic Danish administration (BMP) broke their own mining laws (section 32 of the previous mineral code) to stop Greenlanders from earning a living.

There is a serious moral disconnect in the current situation in Greenland. The fact that bureaucrats can dictate, based on European colonial legislation whether a local person can own a ruby picked up from the ground seems grounded in ignorance at best and at worst a cynical piece of racial prejudice. Even the new pro Inuit government seems to have been deceived by the so-called small-scale mining gemstone experts who by their own confession; ‘Have no knowledge of artisanal and small-scale mining in the gemstone sector‘ (Jorn Skov Nielsen Director of BMP). Last month the Greenland Ombudsman judged that the BMP had acted outside of their powers in ordering the arrest and the confiscation of ruby gathered by local small-scale miners.”

Read more here.