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Radical U.N. Report Promotes Democratic Control of Food and an End to Corporate Domination

March 23, 2014

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/radical_un_report_promotes_democratic_control_of_food_20140320

By Sonali Kolhatkar

The world’s food system is controlled by a handful of giant corporations, the majority of which are based in the U.S., such as ConAgra, Cargill and PepsiCo. These companies are a bottleneck through which most of the world’s food is forced, in order to feed most of the world’s people. Not only is this method environmentally unsustainable given its overreliance on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fossil fuels, but it is also inefficient at actually feeding people. The World Food Programme estimates that there are 842 million hungry people worldwide.

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   Patel maintained that “there is enough food,” but “the way in which we distribute the food is unjust.” In other words, corporate control of these vast monocultured farms grew even as more people were pushed off land slated for cultivation, until all that is left are a handful of wealthy businesses producing more food than ever and a hungry population of landless poor that cannot afford to feed itself.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/radical_un_report_promotes_democratic_control_of_food_20140320

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AAAS: Changing Climate May Bring Irreversible Alterations

March 21, 2014

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/aaas_climate_risks_irreversible_change_20140320

By Alex Kirby

he American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) says there is a “small but real” chance that a warming climate will cause sudden and possibly unalterable changes to the planet.

This echoes the words used in its 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which said climate change might bring “abrupt and irreversible” impacts.

In a report, What We Know, the AAAS makes an infrequent foray into the climate debate. The report’s significance lies not in what it says, which covers familiar ground, but in who is saying it: the world’s largest general scientific body, and one of its most knowledgeable.

The AAAS says: “The evidence is overwhelming: levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising. Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/aaas_climate_risks_irreversible_change_20140320

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Malarial Mosquitos Are Flying Higher

March 20, 2014

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/malarial_mosquitos_are_flying_higher_20140315

By Tim Radford

Things are looking up for the little parasite that infects 200 million people a year, and kills more than 600,000 of them.

As global temperatures rise, so will the altitude at which the Anopheles mosquito and its plasmodium parasite can survive, and so will the numbers at risk from malaria.

The global war against malaria has always been an uphill struggle, but populations in highland regions have usually been safe, because the parasite cannot replicate at low temperatures.

But Amir Siraj of the University of Denver in Colorado in the US and colleagues in the UK and Ethiopia report in the journal Science that they’ve started to consider the effect of climate change on the spread of the disease.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/malarial_mosquitos_are_flying_higher_20140315

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NASA-Funded Study Sounds Alarm for Civilization

March 17, 2014

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/nasa-funded_study_sounds_alarm_for_civilization_20140316

Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center confirmed the prospect that worldwide industrial civilization could collapse in the coming decades under “unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution,” Dr. Nafeez Ahmed reports at The Guardian.

The study dismissed the notion that warnings of “collapse” should remain fringe or controversial, citing the history of the fall of previous civilizations to show that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.”

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The most relevant interrelated factors, the study concluded, were population, climate, water, agriculture and energy. Nafeez writes:

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

The study claims that “elites” in industrialized countries are largely responsible for inequality and overconsumption, and challenges the idea that technology can resolve these problems by simply increasing industrial and economic efficiency:

Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/nasa-funded_study_sounds_alarm_for_civilization_20140316

Link to Guardian Article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

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World Health Official: 2013 Saw ‘Unprecedented Period’ Of Humanitarian Disasters

March 13, 2014

Full Article at http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/03/12/3395861/who-briefing/

BY HAYES BROWN

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official on Wednesday called 2013 an “unprecedented period” in terms of humanitarian disasters, with crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Syria overwhelming the system.

“I’ve been in this field for over twenty years and I’ve never had a twelve month period like we’ve had the last year,” Dr. Richard J. Brennan, Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response at the WHO, told a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday. Under the WHO’s grading system, Brennan said, one or two “Level 3″ emergencies — events that completely overwhelm local capacity to provide health services, an “all-hands on deck” for aid workers — can be expected every three to four years. The last 13 months have seenfour, including the typhoon in the Philippines, leaving the humanitarian agencies stretched to capacity.

And despite the staggering number of crises happening simultaneously, funding has been hard to come by — the U.N.’s unprecedented $13 billion request for crises around the world is still vastly underfunded.

Full Article at http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/03/12/3395861/who-briefing/

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New report warns of “cascading system failure” caused by climate change

March 9, 2014

Full Article at http://grist.org/climate-energy/new-report-warns-of-cascading-system-failure-caused-by-climate-change/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

By Kate Sheppard

From roads and bridges to power plants and gas pipelines, American infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a pair of government reports released Thursday.

The reports are technical documents supporting the National Climate Assessment, a major review compiled by 13 government agencies that the U.S. Global Change Research Program is expected to release in April. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory put together the reports, which warn that climate-fueled storms, flooding and droughts could cause “cascading system failures” unless there are changes made to minimize those effects. Island Press has published the full-length version of the reports, which focus onenergy and infrastructure more broadly.

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…Rather than isolating specific types of infrastructure, Wilbanks said, the report looks at how “one impact can have impacts on the others.”

Previous extreme weather events, which scientists warn may be exacerbated by climate change, offer insight to the types of failures they’re talking about. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the loss of electricity in the region meant that several major oil pipelines could not ship oil and gas for several days, and some refineries could not operate. Gas prices rose around the country.

Full Article at http://grist.org/climate-energy/new-report-warns-of-cascading-system-failure-caused-by-climate-change/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

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Arctic Sea Ice Season Shortening by 5 Days Per Decade

March 5, 2014

Full Article at http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6238/20140304/arctic-sea-ice-season-shortening-by-5-days-per-decade.htm

By James A. Foley

The Arctic sea ice season is shortening by five days per decade, with the appearance of sea ice becoming delayed by warmer weather, according to new research.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, University College London Earth sciences professor Julienne Stroeve and her colleagues report their analysis, which used satellite data, indicates that the Arctic Ocean is absorbing more of the Sun’s energy in the summer, leading to a delayed appearance of autumn sea ice.

In some Arctic regions, the freezing is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it has in the past.

Full Article at http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6238/20140304/arctic-sea-ice-season-shortening-by-5-days-per-decade.htm

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