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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Exploiting the Poor and Then Throwing Garbage at Them

Articles like this can really make you sad (or angry). The world continues its mad upgrade cycle and dumps its trash onto less fortunate people, whose health is in turn compromised. This deserves wider coverage in the mainstream media, which ought to feel very guilty.

Do you know what happens to your used computer equipment after it has been discarded? The answer may surprise you. Even if you have tried to recycle it, your old hardware often gets shipped to a developing nation in direct violation of international law. Useful components are then extracted — without safety precautions — by locals earning pennies a day and who are exposed to a range of hazardous toxins that include lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants.

Though slated to be banned over a decade ago, the practice continues and seems to be growing. North America, Japan, and South Korea are among the worst offenders. Solutions exist, and free software is a small part of them, but implementing them remains a painfully slow process.

Except for small groups like the Seattle-based Basel Action Network, almost no organization is investigating the situation, nor are governments and recyclers eager to advertise what amounts to an illegal trade. Given the minimal coverage from mainstream media, few people are aware that the problem even exists.

Recycling Madated by Law

Mac and Dell

ON the face of it, measures are now being taken to ensure the environment gets treated better. For examples, disposal and recycling of machines will no longer be a pricey process, which therefore leads to encouragement of better practices. Good treatment of the environment does have a cost. It is a shame that greed remains the one and only enemy to proper preservation of Earth. Legistlation is needed in order to change this.

Happy surfing!

Laptop

Disgraceful Disregard for Earth’s — Crisis in the Making

3 Monkeys

Some people just don’t want to know the truth

THERE is no question about it. Earth is becoming warmer due to various factors, including deforestation, congestions, and endless emissions. What is rather appalling is some people’s refusal to acknowledge this, let alone take action. The reluctance to make a change and help our future has no excuse. Here’s the gist:

The US appears to have rejected draft proposals by Germany for G8 members to agree tough measures in greenhouse gas emissions, leaked documents have shown.

The Land We Once Had

Beach in Maui

Gloomy outlook (click to enlarge)

M ORE scary stuff from the ‘climate department’: on the face of it, throughout my lifetime, I shall see the Arctic sea ice thawing entirely, raising the global water levels in the process. The solution is not a simple one. Technology needs to be found which addresses the issue.

Space-earth elevators and pumping of water out of earth is of course a laughable idea. All we can do, other than control the temperatures somehow, is move soil from one place to another (e.g. higher mountains grafted) or simply accept the fact that our landscape gradually shrinks, leaving many cultures under water for good. This type of problem may become more serious than any political issue that we can think of, nuclear weapons aside. It doesn’t appear as though colonies on other planets are a possibility, not any time soon. Human civilisation could become the victim of its own selfish expansion.

Climate Gets Worse, But Nobody Seems to Mind

It’s unlikely that you have not seen this already, but just in case, here’s the summary from the BBC.

Billions of people face shortages of food and water and increased risk of flooding, experts at a major climate change conference have warned.

Full report as PDF, with fragments below.

Settlements in mountain regions will become more susceptible to flooding from glacier-fed lakes. River runoff in fact will increase by 10 to 40 percent in high latitudes and shrink by 10 to 30 percent in the midlatitudes by midcentury. That means a mix of good and bad news for Canada and Russia, but bad news for the Mediterranean. It’s bad for China too, which depends on glaciers to retain its water.

Sea level increases will lead to further coastal erosion.

Droughts and shorter growing seasons will hit Southern Africa and the Sahel region.

Roughly 20 to 30 percent of the plant and animal species on earth will experience an increased risk of extinction if temperatures rise in the expected 1.5-2.5 degree Celsius range.

Shell-forming organisms in the ocean will be impacted in all likelihood by increased acidification.

Deaths from droughts, storms and fires will increase. Deaths from exposure to cold, however, will decline.

[...]

It’s April 1st Every Day for Julie MacDonald

Rabbit

Apparently, some people do not mind lying and deceiving on a regular basis as long as they get paid.

“In another case of a government official creating a ‘unique’ interpretation of science, TPM Muckraker reports on Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks in the Department of the Interior in Washington. The Department’s Inspector General issued a report today documenting evidence that MacDonald not only overrode opinions of department scientists to benefit lobbyists, and political interests, but also that she shared internal documents with said lobbyists and a friend in an unnamed online roleplaying game…”

The victim is everyone’s environment and wildlife.

Air Travel and the Environment

Big Plane

I am no longer excited about travelling for a variety of very valid reasons. But I think I may have just found a good excuse, as well.

One particular part of the article that caught my attention is this:

Air travel

“Green” travellers are boycotting air travel because of climate change. Campaigners have staged sit-ins at airports while hundreds of people have signed up to an online pledge set up by a veteran environmental campaigner. An estimated 3 per cent of people have stopped flying to help the environment, while 10 per cent are cutting back on flights.

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