Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Climate Crisis Update 5-9-07 - Desmond Tutu and Sheryl Crow Challenge Denial, Environmental Groups Warn Against Reliance on Biofuels

Image: An Inconvenient Truth

Climate Crisis Update 5-9-07 - Desmond Tutu and Sheryl Crow Challenge Denial, Environmental Groups Warn Against Reliance on Biofuels

By Richard Power

Here are three important statements on the climate crisis.

The first two concern the spiritual challenges of coming to grips with this reality.

The third highlights a serious point of contention among those who understand what is happening.

Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Archbishop of Capetown, writes of the developed world's complacency:

What if dealing with climate change meant more than a flick of a switch? Would our friends in the industrialised world think differently if the effects of climate change were worse than extended summer months and the arrival of exotic species? Cushioned and cosseted, they have had the luxury of closing their minds to the real impact of what is happening in the fragile and precious atmosphere that surrounds the planet we live on. ...
In the past 10 years, 2.6 billion people have suffered from natural disasters. That is more than a third of the global population - most of them in the developing world. The human impact is obvious, but what is not so apparent is the extent to which climatic events can undo the developmental gains put in place over decades. Droughts and floods destroy lives, but they also destroy schools, economies and opportunity.
Every child will remember the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. In the world we live in, the bad wolf of climate change has already ransacked the straw house and the house made of sticks, and the inhabitants of both are knocking on the door of the brick house where the people of the developed world live. Our friends there should think about this the next time they reach for the thermostat switch. They should realize that while the problems of the Mozambican farmer might seem far away, it may not be long before their troubles wash up on their shores.

Desmond Tutu, This Fatal Complacency, Guardian, 5-5-07

Sheryl Crow, who recently barnstormed university campuses throughout the southeastern USA with fellow gobal warming activist Laurie David, writes about inner divinity and transformative power of compassion:

I suppose after my encounter with Rove, I got a little taste of what it feels like to have dipped my thumb into the political pie for a brief moment, over what I failed to realize was still a political topic, or at least an insulting topic. I got my hand slapped, as if to say, "don't mess with the big boys, even on topics as humanitarian as global warming." ... What terrifies me the most is that we not only accept this of our journalists today but we are oblivious to it, and thus, oblivious to the damage it causes. When "news stories" are broken, do we not expect a certain amount of fact-checking or source-checking? One has to ask if this falls under the guise of sloppy reporting or deception as a source of spin. We seem to accept a certain amount of deception and we seem to be helpless to doing anything about it, as illustrated so clearly by where we are right now in this moment in history. ...
It is my truest fear that we are losing our way. Every night on the stop global warming college tour, Laurie and I would tell these great young people that they have the power to do anything they want. That we all have the power to create a movement for change. That the best part of ourselves is the part that rises up instinctively from compassion. I believe this to be true. I believe that divinity exists in all of us and that if we eliminate some of the chatter in our lives, the voice of compassion will have a chance to be heard. And, if we were to act from a place of compassion in every act of our lives, would we be arguing about whether global warming exists? Or would we simply be living our lives peacefully knowing that how we live will affect the planet we leave for our children and for their children. If compassion was the motivating factor behind all of our decisions, would our world not be a completely different place?

Sheryl Crow, On Deception, Spin and Losing Our Way, Huffington Post, 5-4-07

And in a sobering reminder that denial, complaceny and spiritual confusion are not the only obstacles to overcome, Biofuels Watch warns against relying on "large- scale expansion of biofuels from monoculture" in the struggle to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change:

Environmental groups are ... deeply concerned that the IPCC's Summary for Policy Makers on climate mitigation ... includes a recommendation for large-scale expansion of biofuels from monocultures, including from GM crops, even though monoculture expansion is a driving force behind the destruction of rainforests and other carbon sinks and reservoirs, thus accelerating climate change. The IPCC also recommend the expansion of large-scale agroforestry monoculture plantations. These plantations, which will include GM trees, are similarly linked to ecosystem destruction. Monoculture expansion is a major threat to the livelihoods and food sovereignty of communities many of which are already bearing the brunt of climate change disasters caused largely by the fossil fuel emissions of industrialised countries.
Almuth Ernsting of Biofuelwatch stated: "It is already clear that the burgeoning demand for biofuels that has been created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is actually increasing them by deforestation in the tropics and accelerating climate change. So far, only 1% of global transport fuel comes from biofuels, yet already biofuels cause steep rises in grain and vegetable oil prices, threatening the food security of poor people and spurring agricultural expansion into forests and grasslands, on which we depend for a stable climate". ...
The IPCC report would appear to suggest that the climate can be stabilised at a safe level without reducing growth. The signatories to the press release believe that only large-scale reductions in energy use in the industrial nations, together with investment in sustainable forms of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
For details of the signatory organisations see:
Global Forest Coalition:;
Global Justice Ecology Project: ;
Grupo de Reflexion Rural: ;
Rettet den Regenwald e.V.: ;
Munlochy Vigil: ;
Noah: ;
Corporate Europe Observatory:;
Gaia Foundation:

Biofuels Watch, 5-4-07

Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Climate Crisis Update 5-4-07: Is Glenn Beck Going John-Hickley-Jr.? 7 Stories CNN Could Have Aired Instead of Beck's Eco-Nazi Conspiracy Theory

Hard Rain Journal 4-30-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Media Matters in the Struggle Against Global Warming

Hard Rain Journal 4-22-07: Climate Crisis -- Sheryl Crow Confronts Karl Rove, Mother Nature Confronts John Howard; This Earth Day is The Turning Point

Hard Rain Journal 4-15-07 -- Climate Crisis Update: Eleven Retired Admirals and Generals Concur -- Global Warming IS A National Security Issue

Hard Rain Journal 4-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- April could be the Turning Point for the USA -- Step It Up to Save the Planet

Hard Rain Journal 4-4-07: The Twisted Link Between Peak Oil and Global Warming

Hard Rain Journal 4-1-07: Hartmann & Gelbspan Debunk the Swindle that is "The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , ,