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Climate Crisis & Sustainability: Say No to Milk & Steak and Pay NOT to Cut Down the Rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo
By Richard Power
In times of crisis, imperatives are also opportunities.
This decade and the next few represent an era of unprecedented crisis.
Consequently, we are being confronted with profound imperatives that offer extraordinary opportunities.
If we turn away from the industrial agriculture model relied on to mass produce milk and steak, we not only deal a blow to from 12 to 14 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, we also contribute significantly to our own physical and psychological health, as well as to alleviating the suffering of four-legged creatures.
A simple glass of milk on the breakfast table can carry high environmental costs. Because of this, some farmers and scientists are looking for ways to reduce the impacts of agriculture and livestock, which are responsible for 12 to 14 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. ...
The intestinal fermentation in ruminant livestock, like cattle, releases into the atmosphere methane and nitrous oxide, two potent greenhouse gases. Further emissions come from animal manure and urine, the burning of plant biomass to clear pastures, rice production and biological and chemical processes occurring in soil.
The two gases contribute 70 percent of the emissions coming from the agricultural sector. Methane and nitrous oxide, respectively, have 21 and 300 times more "greenhouse effect" than carbon dioxide, the principal gas associated with climate change, released primarily by vehicles, industry and electricity production. ... Inter Press Service, 8-2-08
Likewise, if we turn away from cutting down the rainforests, we not only deal a blow to 20 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, we also contribute significantly to the survival of indigenous peoples, as well as to cultivating and perpetuating the bio-diversity so vital to the physical and psychological health of the planet as a whole.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched an international fund on Friday to finance conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon as deforestation rates rise. ...
The government hopes to raise $1 billion within one year and as much as $21 billion by 2021, according to Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES), which will manage the fund.
It is open to companies, countries and nongovernmental organizations.
In September, Norway will make the first donation -- $100 million -- said Eduardo Bandeira de Mello, head of Environment and Social Responsibilities at BNDES.
Brazil has for some time urged industrialized nations to help pay for the conservation of the Amazon. Reuters, 8-1-08
Turning to a 21st Century sustainable agriculture model, and turning away from cutting down the forests of the world, also offer dynamic business opportunities for those willing to look ahead instead of behind.
The Congo basin contains the world’s second largest tropical forest and is of incalculable importance not only in terms of biodiversity and resources for local people but also as a giant carbon store that is essential for climate protection. Yet over 25 percent of this precious ecosystem is controlled by the logging industry with the majority in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo – two countries suffering from endemic corruption. Greenpeace, 7-30-08
To download the Greenpeace report, "Conning the Congo," click here.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
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For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".
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Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogue with friends, family and colleagues.
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