John D. Liu, Dec. 3, 2011 – Durban – Studying the Earth’s natural ecosystems helps to explain why we are experiencing financial upheaval, biodiversity loss, desertification, climate change, migration, poverty and disparity. Far from suggesting the widespread view that carbon disequilibrium alone is the cause of all our problems, the Earth’s systems are exhibiting systemic dysfunction on a planetary scale of which carbon disequilibrium in the atmosphere is a symptom. The worldwide discussion on climate change and sustainable development has strayed far from natural ecology toward politics and markets. These attempts often fail to inspire confidence because they are actually a continuation of the business as usual scenario. Allowing nature to participate in the discussion illuminates a pathway that leads to sustainability. This vision is far more compelling than recapitalizing those who have created many of the problems we currently face. Let’s take a moment to look at our problems from an ecological perspective. Continue reading
This is a video interview with Tom Duncan, Co-Director of the Environment and Economy Group of Initiatives of Change. It was shot during the Caux Forum for Human Security, July 2011.
Tom explains the story of his own background in environmental activism and what drew him to Initiatives of Change. He also talks about the origins of the Environment and Economy working group during the 2009 Caux Forum for Human Security.
Posted by Aurelia Annino, part of IofC Team in Cancun and co-founder of SiKanda, a non-profit organization. http://www.si-kanda.org
My perception of the COP16 conference changed every single day.
I arrived 2 weeks ago at the conference and as my first experience with COP, I didn’t know what to expect from the organization of the conference nor from seeing all of the different governments together.
At the beginning I remember I was impressed with the quantity of youth attending the COP. It looked as if about 70% of the attendees were no older than 35. I was a little concerned, wondering if the COP had sufficient facility space, but at the same time was happy to see how many young people were interested in climate change, society, sustainable development and politics. This awoke a feeling of hope for this new generation that I had lost some years ago. It was refreshing seeing youth interested in societal issues, where I had previously observed this generation as more self-absorbed. Continue reading
It has been already a week since the COP-16 started. Many people, including myself have been struggling to commute between the different venues that make it difficult to network.
A couple of days ago I attended the Agriculture and Rural Development day held at the resort area of Cancun. During one of the long breaks of the conference I put on my tennis shoes and decided to go for a run on the beach that is fully covered by five-star hotels and tourist infrastructure. Continue reading
I came to COP16 to learn and to convince myself whether the solution to such a complex problem could come from this sort of conferences and negotiations, and how they happen.
Also with basic questions such as how do people interact? And how can NGO’s participate? And most specially, how the people, all of us, can have a part in the conversations?
By Tom Duncan
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) – is a new addition to the Kyoto Phase II/ Copenhagen Treaty, that aims to reduce deforestation. The problem is, that large timber companies, illegal loggers, palm oil plantations, aim to replace rainforest and orangutang habitat, with income producing plantations, threatening to undermine the REDD scheme. There is much concern from Indigenous communities that they already have very little control over their forests, and REDD potentially may put control of forests more in Government hands, and corporate plantations, which endanger indigenous communities survival and culture. More information updates after REDD sessions this evening.
Last night I went to the Danish Film Institute where Al Gore spoke and two new environmental films were screened. Al Gore started with a question and answer session. He was OK, if slightly disappointing (luckily I did not go with high expectations). However, his talk was enormously overshadowed by this film http://www.greenthefilm.com/. Please find time to sit down and watch it; it is an amazing, depressing and important film.
The negotiations here in Copenhagen are concerning. They are highly political and focus very heavily on carbon emissions. While accounting for around 15% of the world’s carbon emissions, what the politicians often fail to recognize is that deforestation creates the permanent loss of fragile and complex habitats; once the forests are gone they are gone.
This film not only reminds us that we can all do more, but also highlights the beauty and fragility of our forests. I met the filmmaker – he is a hero and has dedicated his life to this. This film was done on a budget of 10,000Euros – quite an achievement. Please pass it on to others.