Posts tagged Ecology

The Earth Charter

"We must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals." During my time in Costa Rica, I saw the construction of an institute dedicated to research and implementation of The Earth Charter, which is being built next to the University for Peace. The Earth Charter was developed over the last decade by an independent Earth Charter Commission, following the 1992 Earth Summit. The objective was "to produce a global Read more [...]

What Difference Does It Actually Make? Attempting to Compare Individual, Corporate & Military Emissions

Books on climate change tend to finish with a list of things we can do to help: buy a green bag, ride instead of drive, hang up your washing rather than using the dryer, turn off the lights, decrease consumption ... The thing is, when it comes to the big scheme of things, comparing our individual actions to the actions of corporations, government and military: what difference does it actually make? I want to know where I should be putting my effort: is more effective for me to cut my personal Read more [...]

Getting real: promising population stats & pending challenges

Hans Rosling gives an illuminating TedTalks presentation on one of my greatest ecological concerns: over-population. Let each box = 1 billion people. In 1960 it was relatively accurate to divide the world into the "First World" and "Third World", the "rich" and the "poor", the "developed world" and "developing world" or the Centre and Periphery. In 1960 we were 3 billion people. The blue was the 1 billion at the top of the pyramid, dreaming of buying a car and a dishwasher. The green Read more [...]


Why did the Global Financial Crisis actually happen? The best explanation I have come across was when about this time last year Canadian professor Jim Stanford came to speak at my uni - he tries to demystify the economy by explaining the concepts and jargon in a simple, easily understandable way. What is the economy? It is WORK. 'The total sum of work we do to meet our needs and wants.' The economy is about meeting human needs. Jim separates the economy into: 1. the "real economy" - that Read more [...]

Human rights or a collective future? The problem with definitions.

If the pursuit of peace is an attempt to rid the world of violence, we must ask ourselves - “violence” through the eyes of who? Defining violence from the perception of a collective-humanity, is very different form defining it from the perception of each individual: - If we define violence from the perception of all-humans-together, then are we not opening the doors for evil dictator, idealistic warfare and other devastating forms of violence to be committed on individuals? - But, if we Read more [...]

Population Vs. luxury… QUALITY OR QUANTITY?

"On the technical side there is no limit to population," said a scholar after talking about solving world hunger. "We just need more efficient systems, and for the rich to eat less." This may be true, BUT the greater question (in my opinion) is: Do we want more people living “simply” in a crowded place, or less people living lives of luxury? "The population of the poor isn't the problem," so the idealists (like I used to be) say… "We actually need less white people.” Given the Read more [...]

Greed: the JOY of having more than you need… Taoism and more about that frickin elephant.

I used to think we could all be less greedy - that if we wanted less "stuff" we would be happier, and some of that wealth would be shared with the poor. Apparently this simple shift has the power to end world hunger - the rich do with less, so the poor can have more. More recently I have realised that when I contemplate greed I have been wondering if it is actually a human problem that we have the ability to change? Or is greed simple a part of all life's struggle to survive? In a universe that Read more [...]

Capitalistic karma: reinterpreting reincarnation

Walking up in the mountains outside Kathmandu I contemplated the connection between the world’s inequalities today, the actions of one’s ancestors, and the idea of karma and reincarnation that I had been reading about in some books on the Eastern Religions. Be they the ancestors who split from the group to discover new worlds fifty thousand years ago, or be they the innovators of new technologies that won them last century’s battles, the connection is pretty clear... and I wondered, is this Read more [...]

Coming to grips with the elephant in the room

I knew I would leave India with a new perspective of life – but the upturning of my worldview has happened in a far different way than I expected. I thought I would arrive home more passionate about social justice, more inspired to make a difference to the lives of “poor” people. Instead I am leaving India with a hardened heart, more humility, and an increased concern for the future of humanity as a whole. Why? Because the population problem, the elephant in the room, is far too big a problem Read more [...]

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