A storm has hit California, but that’s not going to end the ‘worst drought in a generation’ that is turning much of the centre of the state into a dust bowl. Chris McGreal reports on the drought bringing one of the richest states in America to its knees
Esidronio Arreola never gave much thought to the well that so reliably pumped water to his traditional clapboard house in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. But one day in March, he opened the tap and all he got was air.
Through the searing summer heat, the Mexican immigrant to California’s Central Valley and his family endured a daily routine of collecting water in his pickup truck from an emergency communal tank, washing from buckets and struggling to keep their withering orchard alive while they waited for snow to return to the mountains and begin the cycle of replenishing the aquifer that provides water to almost all the homes in the region.Continue reading...
To improve my health I’m thinking of not eating wheat. Is this also better for the planet?
If you have an ethical dilemma, email Lucy at email@example.com
Analysis for prestigious Nature magazine sounds alarm on the way that human activity, from overfishing to agriculture, is forcing a vast number of species to vanish from the wild
A stark depiction of the threat hanging over the world’s mammals, reptiles, amphibians and other life forms has been published by the prestigious scientific journal, Nature. A special analysis carried out by the journal indicates that a staggering 41% of all amphibians on the planet now face extinction while 26% of mammal species and 13% of birds are similarly threatened.
Many species are already critically endangered and close to extinction, including the Sumatran elephant, Amur leopard and mountain gorilla. But also in danger of vanishing from the wild, it now appears, are animals that are currently rated as merely being endangered: bonobos, bluefin tuna and loggerhead turtles, for example.Continue reading...
Proposals too weak to keep global warming to the agreed limit of two degrees above pre-industrial levelsContinue reading...
Updates and reaction from the UN climate summit in Peru, where nearly 200 countries are trying to agree the draft text for a deal to avoid dangerous global warmingContinue reading...
Last week I popped into the Phoenix Scottsdale area and experienced the maturation of this process, an entire city built after the invention of the strip mall. Few things existed outside of one. The city boundary marks the start of a world that requires unusual behavior and odd senses, acculturated knowledge with no root in wisdom. Not nature made it requires knowledge that is learned, mimicked, taught, and never intuited as it contains no life. the man made city sprawl is entirely dependent on humanity: landscapers, builders of all variety, cashiers, cops, accountants, hairdressers etc., ad infinitum, busy themselves to support the prop.
Luckily I was staying with lovely people, good friends who showed me some gems, things to enjoy while in the maze like the campus swimming pool. We enjoyed a lovely hike on a little mountain that touched the city's edge. But for my sensitive consciousness this city was tough to bear. I experienced genuine shock every day, like when I found a store in a mall called Its Sugar. The sign may as well have read "Get Cancer Here." I found a shop that proudly boasted it's sole purpose, to develop your image. You can be a brand.
So why is all this a problem? Live and let live, right? Simple. When we hitch ourselves to what is not real we miss the real and even destroy it along with ourselves. What is real is what is living. You can notice the real because it needs no prop to hold it up like the mall with its hundreds of workers making sure the lights go on, the water drains, and the gas heaters ignite. The cost for the prop, be it mall-sized or city-scale, is life itself. Built out of the real, made from what had been self generating until we threw it out of balance by way of our pillaging, the prop is flimsy. It can't support us. We support it. It has a nature of depletion and a rhythm of pillaging. The real has a nature of nourishment and a rhythm of savoring. Hint hint. Once lost in the artificial, common sense wilts and goes away and people do strange things. For example, when the prop causes harm: cancer, diabetes, depression and the like, rather than change the prop, we make pills to help ourselves adapt to it, a behavior that indicates that the common sense is gone.
Remarkably this entire stunt is also the prison of it's inhabitants who work their lives away to hold it up even though the prop does not belong to them. It belongs to 1% of the population who hardly participate in it. The workers return the money they earn working for the prop by buying the goods they need from the prop, things that had been free in their natural form, before they were contorted into products at the cost of life.
What to do? As I type this I know that Dubai is working on the largest air conditioned mall in the world and China is gearing up to produce even more smog so that every household can have its share of cheap consumer goods. But still there is something to do. We can reconnect to what is real and connect back to common sense. It is our only guide, the only sense that can map a way out, our tap root. Separate from life we are marooned and we will die. We're dying now. Connected to life and we are the recipients of all of life's knowledge, bounty, and support. We thrive. There is still time to choose, maybe.
It is time for radical measures. Quit the job that asks you to compromise what you know to be right. Better yet, refuse to work at all. Take your life back and give your time finding an authentic way to contribute to something that is a match for your view of this world. Say no to what sucks and say it loud. There is so much that sucks! See where radical decisions lead you. You don't know where you'll end up if you've never tried them out. You may be surprised. Trust something larger than the mall. Trust life. Do whatever it takes. What you need to do is probably something no one has done yet as few things that have been done have worked. The scale of the next important change will be individual as well as large. Prepare to stand by what you do. Support everyone who seems to be doing the same. Find them. Find your common ground. Find your common sense. Oh yeah and have fun. Purpose certainly beats working in a cubicle.
Subsistence farmers, farm labourers and low-income families especially at risk as UN warns of ‘creeping humanitarian crisis’Continue reading...
From high-level sessions of international delegates to an alternative People’s Summit and Climate March, here are the highlights from the UN’s climate change conference in LimaContinue reading...
An organic watchdog organization says big organic egg and milk producers are violating organic rules. As evidence, it offers aerial photos — but some photos may not be of organic operations.
On the final day of the latest round of climate talks, rich and poor nations meeting in Lima, Peru, have yet to agree on the central issue of emissions targets.
One of the world’s last northern white rhinos, a two-headed salamander tadpole and Britain’s weather bomb feature in the best of the week’s images from the natural worldContinue reading...
Anomaly due to carbon accounting rules, says Climate Action Tracker, as it accused Australia of going to ‘considerable diplomatic effort’ to ‘hide’ its true emissions levels
Australia may be able to increase its industrial emissions by 26% by 2020 and still easily meet its Kyoto protocol targets, new analysis released at the Lima climate talks suggests.
The reason for the apparent anomaly is because it has secured a succession of advantageous deals on how land use is credited in carbon accounting rules, according to the Climate Action Tracker group.
Not only does nutrient-rich whale poo help reverse the effects of climate change – it’s a remarkable example that nothing in the natural world occurs in isolation
I can hear you muttering already: he’s completely lost it this time. He’s written a 2,000-word article on whale poo. I admit that at first it might be hard to see the relevance to your life. But I hope that by the time you have finished this article you will have become as obsessed with marine faecal plumes as I am. What greater incentive could there be to read on?
In truth it’s not just about whale poo, though that’s an important component. It’s about the remarkable connectivity, on this small and spherical planet, of living processes. Nothing human beings do, and nothing that takes place in the natural world, occurs in isolation.Continue reading...
Meridian Energy puts Queensland project on hold because it says Coalition’s efforts to reduce the RET made long-term investment ‘near impossible’Continue reading...
Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone, but a big portion of imports are caught illegally. One expert calls this "the single greatest threat to sustainable fisheries in the world today."