solutions


This is in response to a discussion about population control and climate change on an e-list I’m on. In particular, it’s in response to a line by a mate, Jono:

it’s not the number of people that is important, but rather the power of the argument. Population control arguments need to be challenged wherever they occur, because they turn the climate movement into a war against human rights rather than for human rights.


Population control doesn’t have to infringe human rights. Some of the best ways of reducing the rate of population change are PRO-human rights: accessible education, equality in power relations between men and women, access to contraceptives, the aged pension.

Population is inseperable from environmental impact – if the population is low, but consumption per capita is very high, then you have a problem. If you have a really high population with small per-capita footprint, you still have a problem. At the moment, it’s obvious that the current global average per capita footprint is too high for the current population. The UN predicts 9 billion people by 2050, (150% of current population), which means that for us to have the same over all impact by then, we will need to have reduced our average percapita footprint to 2/3 of what it is now. To put this in perspective, current Australian GDP per capita is US$40-50,000, globally it’s about $10,000, so we’d have to reduce our footprints to about 15% of what it is now. That sounds doable, but that doesn’t take into account that we have to REDUCE our over-all impact, not keep it steady. (I realise I’m only talking about averages, but I think median figures would likely show even greater disparity).

There’s no reason why population control has to happen in the third world. It doesn’t matter where it happens. In fact, it’s probably better that it happens in the rich minority world, ’cause one less person here is heaps more impact reduction than the same person in the minority world. And that could potentially mean we have more room for refugees (not that population is the barrier now).

Ultimately, it’s about how you do it. Of course there’s plenty of fucked up ways to control populations. But the same can be said for any problem (Green Dictatorship, anyone?). We definitely shouldn’t be supporting any kind of punishment/penalties for people who feel the need to have more kids, but we should definitely encourage any positive measures that would help to slow down population rates, and oppose those that do the opposite (like Costello’s ” one for Mum, one for Dad, and one for the Country” – ugh… how would you feel to find out you were the one for the country?)

Seems to me that reducing populations and rates of change should definitely be a part of any broad climate campaign. We just have to make it abundantly clear how we mean to go about it – ethically and compassionately.

There’s a useful new article on envirowiki on CCS and Clean Coal: Carbon Capture and Storage in Australia.

The article covers all the projects planned in Australia. If you find any more info on each of these, feel free to add more detail on the pages, it’s a wiki after all.

If you don’t feel like editing it yourself, feedback would be most welcome here on my contributions, or on the discussion page for the article.

In wanting to create a new society, I have a few obvious “core” values (quote marks due to our ex-prime minister’s bastardisation of the word in the phrase “core promises”) .

These consist of:

  • Best practice environmentalism (not best as in better than everyone else, but best as in as good as possible).
  • Autonomy/self governance for groups and individuals
  • Freedom of information

In that order. These are fairly solid for me, and I won’t really bother discussing why in this piece. I think that the second point is basically my ideal for best practice social organisation.

So how to go about the third? I think the internet might be the answer. (more…)

Aint.

The term’s been popping up a LOT lately, so I thought I’d give a few links to pages worth reading (there’s not much point me re-doing it, it’s already done so well)

Steve from Rising Tide Newcastle has written a clean coal fact sheet, with a lot of good stuff about carbon capture and storage. Check it out, and leave comments if you want.

There’s also a good piece on the HCEC website, showing that coal will probably run out before “clean coal” is even viable, at least in the Hunter.

There’s some good arguments at mindfully.org, by Vivian Stockman, from the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

Of course, Greenpeace has a good shot at it too, with their myths and facts sheet.

There’s hundreds more out there. if you find any good ones, or ones that point out something that the above articles have missed, leave a comment with a link.

ned

I had a very interesting lecture today, on thermodynamics, ecosystems, and human values relating to technology (lecture 4, Technology and Human Values, PHIL3910 at the University of Newcastle. I recommend it). It didn’t give me a lot of information that I hadn’t heard before, but Yin Gao’s presentation definitely cemented a lot of that information in place for me.

One thing that did strike me, was Yin’s case study: the Aswan Dam. I’ve heard of it before of course, but never paid a lot of attention. Almost as soon as she mentioned it, I saw the link with climate change. As she went on, the similarities blew me away. let me explain: (more…)

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