According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the power sector accounted for nearly two-thirds of global emissions growth in 2018, with coal use for power generation alone producing 10 Gt of CO 2.
Many countries have ageing nuclear power stations. They are not renewable. France is proud of its history of cheap and clean electricity.
And most of us are acutely aware of these and of our dependency.
Whilst using alternatives for producing energy to power the electricity we need at the most basic level is a priority, we also measure the carbon footprint of production of renewables. There is no scaleable model which can prove zero carbon footprint.
As wildfires threaten electricity infrastructure, the whole networked design also needs a rethink.
Where forests are in hilly areas, once they burn down and then rain falls, there is nothing to hold the land and landslides occur. It takes decades, even centuries, to grow forests to retain land, to help the planet breathe. Now once spectacular forests are lost and the land cannot hold against heavy rain.
The World’s Oldest Underground Fire Has Been Burning For 6,000 Years
The fire fighters in Gironde, South Western France, have reported fires running underground and igniting miles away from the fires they were fighting. Some 30 or so fires were emerging at the same time.
We are in a cycle of harm, as usual. We are on the back foot because we did not have the sense to redesign our ageing infrastructure 100 years ago. We are too busy fighting each other for scarce resources, and the fighting produces more carbon footprint, more emissions, more contamination of our precious planet.
Don’t drown out the voices of those who have the solutions because their ideas don’t produce a quick investment return. But also beware of snake oil salesmen, and invest in those who can prove sustainable redesign and build projects. Save lives and do no harm.
Virunga National Park, home, to the last mountain gorillas and people of the Congo, has been placed in a deal to auction off the precious territory to countries like the US and UK so they can drill for oil!
This metaphor is so appropriate as we miss deadlines for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, as we plunder finite resources to intensely build renewables and electricity storage technology, thus expanding the greenwashing message.
We cannot unlearn the centuries of intelligent technological development. We rightly pride ourselves in these magnificent achievements and we are still excelling. We love and wonder at our economic miracles based on technology in all spheres. We cannot stop. We will not stop. We will go down with the ship. We are committed.
I recognise my efforts to study how we have evolved to become such a threat to this incredibly wonderful planet has led me to this sad conclusion. The last straw was when I read of another start-up brilliant idea from two young Finnish entrepreneurs – to store electricity using a sand battery.
It is such a clever idea. Like all solutions it will have to harm the planet immeasurably if it is to be mass produced. I have written of the harm lithium batteries cause, but sand seems so much kinder.
So I asked myself, as I was impressed with the concept, has the Earth enough sand to meet the demand it currently has provided, let alone add to the demand created this new invention?
That blog highlighted a 2019 UN Report on the problem urging global governance of this scarce resource.
Everything we try to do to combat climate change involves us doing what we know best: plunder the remaining resources this Earth can offer to create products which are widely sold to tell us we are using them to combat climate change.
Rivers are the source of the gritty sand which is in demand here.
The alarming destruction is rarely put before us as the crisis it is. The Guardian tackled the issue here.
From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up……
Greenpeace has been campaigning on this subject for a long time. But maybe people do not take any notice as they say, ‘well they would, they are Greenpeace’ as if they are bored with their continual efforts to protect our planet.
The journal Science reported that there have been over 300 earthquakes above magnitude 3 on the Richter scale, which are therefore deemed significant, from 2010 to 2012. This equates to 100 a year – which is compared with a past average of 21 per year.
But there is no protection of any real meaning as the gas obtained has turned around the economy of the US, which in turn is keeping gas supplied to many nations who would otherwise have to seek it from less friendly nations.
Everything we do to keep our endeavors moving forward, in the way we have chosen through technology, is causing immense harm to the planet. We do not appear to have any alternative ideas going by what the corporate world presents to us.
Given the will, emissions can be reduced effectively without adverse consequence: see
We can make immediate changes if we use our well documented intelligence. Maybe we are really not that clever? Or are we being led by the nose to inevitable destruction through Greenwashing techniques and investments in destructive processes?
I have just watched a Euronews coverage of how enterprising solutions have enabled Algerian farmers to utilise the water table below the desert and renewable electricity to grow potatoes and other foods in specially cultivated areas. Watch at:
I read this recently in Ruth Ben Ghiat’s book, Strongmen:
“The Cold War made Mobutu’s long rule and luxurious lifestyle possible. The age of decolonization marked a shift in the economic order, with the end of European empires bringing the removal of European state capital and the influx of new private and institutional investors. Mobutu’s pro-Western anti-Communism set him up to be a primary recipient of funds from Europeans and Americans who sought to contain the left and continue their influence in a postcolonial age. Over the years his champions and investors included his lobbyists Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, US ambassador to Zaire Sheldon B. Vance, and the family of French president Giscard d’Estaing. In the 1980s, the d’Estaings controlled construction-related businesses that accounted for almost a third of Zaire’s foreign debt. The IMF and the United States Export-Import Bank also lent Mobutu money, even after IMF banker Erwin Blumenthal warned in 1982 that they would likely never recoup their funds. By the time Mobutu was forced into exile in 1997, he had amassed a $5 billion fortune. Zaire lost $12 billion in capital flight and gained $14 billion in debt, with a 699.8 percent average annual rate of inflation and more than 70 percent of the population living in poverty on an average daily wage of $1.4.”
Is your mind connecting the dots? Depending on your personal perspective you may draw different conclusions to me as we now contemplate our present global crises.
Poverty and the associated pain of hunger, disease and shortened lives, seem to me to be linked to manipulations by those who have a psychopathic pleasure in perpetuating outcomes like the above.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat explains:
“Corruption is a process as well as a set of practices, and the word’s Latin and Old French origins imply a change of state due to decay. As implied by popular sayings like “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” corruption has always been associated with contamination and degradation, whether of physical objects (like fruit and computer files) or the soul. This notion of corruption captures the operation of strongman regimes. They turn the economy into an instrument of leader wealth creation, but also encourage changes in ethical and behavioral norms to make things that were illegal or immoral appear acceptable, whether election fraud, torture, or sexual assault.”
Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed Zaire by Mobutu. It has a long history of being rich in resources but exploited to this day. See
Bertrand Piccard says we must develop wisdom and respect. He is collecting 1000 solutions which exist already, but then will promote them to attract greater investments. We can rebuild whilst not recreating the harmful environments of the past centuries.
When industrial production and it’s waste was transferred to countries where labour was cheap and industrial regulation was weak, rich countries could clean up their environments and promote cleaner living conditions at the expense of poorer nations. The industrial harm worldwide must end.
Clean and safe water and sanitation for the world population is a priority:
In Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s book ‘Strongmen’ she says geopolitics is when authoritarian regimes have a …. conception of the state as an organic entity with the right to defend itself from threats to its safety and the right to expand into foreign territory to secure the resources it needs.
Here we are in 2022, watching the world’s leaders scramble to do deals for their nations. Deals to pay oligarchs instead of once state owned resources for finite supplies of oil, gas, rare metals, wheat…..the list goes on, now are shifting to negotiations with other suppliers. Resources are now weaponised. The losers are always at the bottom of the pyramid.
Russia is the largest supplier of fertiliser in the world and shares being a major supplier of wheat with its neighbour, Ukraine.
The crippling situation in Ukraine has resulted in massive trade restrictions on top of disruptions in supply chains globally due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Countries like Brazil are dependent on Russia for supplying fertiliser for their food security plans. Thousands are suffering famine due to continuing conflicts as countries such as Yemen, Sudan will not get vital wheat supplies, turning their situation more critical than it now is.
I have written about the harmful aspects of the fertiliser industry. Historically, land is grabbed to expand what was once individual plots for local farmers to create huge areas for industrial farming.
Britain’s land use has adapted over the centuries as war and conflict changed the ownership and farming practices. Arable farming is now a science, often discarding good understanding of retaining soil and allowing it to rest and restore its health after use. The Soil Association tries to encourage good practice but it is an uphill struggle against industrial heavyweights who promote harmful products to ‘improve soil and produce’.
Here are the ten countries who had the most arable land in 2016:
Here are the 10 countries with the most arable land:
According to the FAO, in the year 2013, the world’s arable land amounted to 1,407 million hectares, or about 5.4 million square miles. Arable land worldwide has decreased by nearly one-third since 1961, because of re-forestation, soil erosion, and desertification caused by global climate change.
The United Nations FAO reminds us of the increasingly worrying world food security situation impacted by climate change and conflict over fewer resources. See their charts where they say
The FAO Food Price Index makes a giant leap to another all-time high in March (Release date: 08/04/2022)
EDM (Early Day Motion)1329: tabled on 04 June 2018
That this House recognises the problem of toxic contamination of war zones, particularly in Iraq; notes the research presented, in March 2018, by Dr Mozhgan Savabieasfahani at the European Environment Foundation; expresses concern at reports of uranium and thorium contamination in the tissues of children living near the US military base in the ancient city of Ur, with those children being seven times more likely to have birth defects; further notes a 2015 resolution by the American Public Health Association stating that parties involved in military activities have a post-conflict responsibility to decontaminate polluted areas; and calls on the Government to work with the US Administration on action to clean up areas polluted by the allied military forces and assist the Iraqi people with remedial health care.
And now we can read of environmental harm as it happens in Ukraine, a country renowned as tenth in the top ten list of countries with a high farming output across its 32,776,000 hectares of arable land. Look how optimistic Ukraine was about projected wheat harvests for 2019 here.
Ukraine’s favourable geographical location; it’s extremely fertile black soil; decent infrastructure and relatively cheap labour force make the country’s agribusiness sector highly competitive. A lot has been achieved in the country over the past 25 years to enable Ukraine to live up to its status as the “breadbasket of Europe” and to help, at least partly, address the global challenge of sustainable food supply and food security.
Why are supplies of sunflower oil running low in some countries?
About 80 per cent of sunflower oil exports come from Ukraine and Russia. Exports from Ukraine have fallen 95 per cent due to Russia’s attack, Ievgen Osypov at trading company Kernel told Bloomberg TV on 5 April. Russia is still exporting the oil, but has said it will impose a quota from 15 April.
“With the flood of grain coming off the fields, Ukraine’s silos will start bursting at their welds next month. Ukraine’s privately run farms are doing fine. Ukraine’s privately run ports are doing fine. In between, the creaking state railroad creates a big bottleneck between the farm gate and the port gate. The solution is to allow private locomotives on state tracks — a practice followed by all of Ukraine’s EU neighbours. In addition, cargo rates have to be raised to regional levels. At present, several well-known oligarchs are beggaring the public railroad for private gain,” UBN editor Jim Brooke said in a note.
Brazil and Argentina will be growing their own wheat to feed livestock, destroying the Rainforest in order to supply burgers and beef to meet high demand. No wheat will be arriving from Ukraine any time soon.
Reducing the emphasis on meat eating and improving farming practices would free up produce to feed the world without much effort.
We must rethink how we use the food we grow, how we use the land to provide uncontaminated crops, how we make each plot of land sacred and tied to our human survival.