Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greed and cowardice "cooked the planet"

Our daily newspaper carries Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's column, and I used to wonder why the happenings in Wall Street and Washington DC should jostle with much more serious local issues in the op-ed page.
For a change, today's piece (a part of it placed below), "Who cooked the planet?" is more globally relevant than the other pieces in that column thus far.
(it appears that the online version of this newspaper no longer carries the same column, only the print edition does)
"....it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.

Or look at the politicians who have been most vociferously opposed to climate action. Where do they get much of their campaign money? You already know the answer.

By itself, however, greed wouldn’t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice — above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.

There are a number of such climate cowards, but let me single out one in particular: Senator John McCain.

There was a time when Mr. McCain was considered a friend of the environment. Back in 2003 he burnished his maverick image by co-sponsoring legislation that would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. He reaffirmed support for such a system during his presidential campaign, and things might look very different now if he had continued to back climate action once his opponent was in the White House. But he didn’t — and it’s hard to see his switch as anything other than the act of a man willing to sacrifice his principles, and humanity’s future, for the sake of a few years added to his political career.

Alas, Mr. McCain wasn’t alone; and there will be no climate bill. Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More stuff from 'The Story of Stuff' team


Watch Annie Leonard as she explains the ills plaguing / wrought by the US cosmetic industry (and by the 'trickle-down' effect is applicable elsewhere also). Most cosmetic products carry a tongue-twisting what's-in-it list, intelligible only to the producer and competitors. No commercially advertised and aggressively marketed product is free of harmful chemicals - whether it's an after-shave, lipstick, or baby shampoo.
"Herbal", "Natural", "Organic" carried on labels may turn out to be meaningless.
Beware! Be Aware!
(I wish Annie had included a note on the the amount of trash - recyclable or otherwise - that eventually piles up - directly proportionate to the company's profits)
More stories from SoS team
The Story of Stuff
The Story of Cap and Trade
The Story of Bottled Water
The Story of Electronics (planned later in 2010)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Photo contest of North East India

Beautiful tropical countryside - see entries for the contest in several categories
Funny
Culture
Faces
Greenest

Welcome to the North East of India's unique states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland

Shade - and shades!

Shade - and shades!

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Think about it -

WISH YOU A RESOLUTION-FREE, CLUTTER-FREE, INWARD-LOOKING, LESS MATERIALISTIC, LESS POLLUTED, MORE EMPATHETIC, CONTENTED NEW YEAR