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Acceleration Forever? The Increasing Momentum Of Mineral Extraction

Half of all the oil consumed since the dawn of the modern oil age in 1859 has been consumed from 1998 through 2021 inclusive based on data available from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Approximately 1.4 trillion barrels of oil is thought to have been consumed to date (though there are estimates as low as 1.1 trillion). That means that in just the last 24 years total historical oil consumption has doubled. It is hard for most people to imagine the vast increases in the rate of consumption of practically everything that makes modern life possible. Resources appear without most of us ever thinking about how or whether the rising rates of consumption can be sustained.

Reconceptualising Boundaries

The concept of planetary boundaries was introduced by Johan Rockström and colleagues in 2009 in the wake of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where countries endeavored ‒ but ultimately failed ‒ to agree upon a new framework for climate-change mitigation. In contrast to earlier debates on environmental limits, “planetary boundaries” focus less on the exhaustion of natural resources than on the biophysical impacts of resource use and material consumption.

Repair Cafes Build Community Across All Social Divides

Transition Berkeley has cultivated a community of practice that hits close to ground zero – a “culture of repair,” that demonstrates a way to live with more humility, making do with what we have by sharing knowledge and skills, one repair at a time.  Repair Cafes harness a library-system supported methodology that touches a diversity of people and interests. The bells that ring on the repair grounds throughout an event celebrates the completion of each repair – and total up to 100 in any four-hour event. Repair Cafes and fix-it clinics produce an excitement not unlike a dopamine-pumped day at the derby with your besties. This elegantly simple community-based solution draws support from people across all cultural, gender, age and socioeconomic lines and provides a unique opportunity for them to gather, connect, and build relationships.

Resource Limits And Our Strange Game Of Musical Chairs

With a wide range of commodities in limited supply, various regions of the world are now  behaving as if they are engaged in simultaneous games of musical chairs when it comes to commodity shortages. The games differ by commodity and by region, but they all share one characteristic: As in a game of musical chairs, someone will have to go without. And, as in a game of musical chairs, available supplies are shrinking (as represented by the removal of chairs). An interesting twist on this game is that now some chairs are being transferred from one game to another. For example, the Biden administration has declared that U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe will be stepped up in order to displace natural gas from Russia—which has become a suspect source due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the broad economic sanctions against Russia.

Even Amid Give-Back Demands, Workers Can Still Safeguard Pensions

In recent decades, a top management priority has been reducing the cost of retirement benefits. The pandemic and its economic fallout have generated a new round of employer demands for pension freezes, benefit cuts, plan conversions, and two-tier coverage.  The Labor Guide to Retirement Plans  (Monthly Review Press), a newly published book by Oregon union activist Jim Russell, shows why and how private and public sector workers should be mobilizing against such concessions. This book will be a critical resource for defending retirement security at the bargaining table and in the political arena. The Labor Guide is not only a highly readable account of retirement plan financing and administration, with a handy glossary of layperson explanations of sometimes confusing technical terms.

Today Is Earth Overshoot Day, Here’s What It Means

From today onwards, we have used every last bit of natural resources that Earth can provide within one calendar year and are now living on ecological credit. This year, Earth Overshoot Day occurs on August 22. It marks the imaginary point when humanity’s demand exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. The international research organization Global Footprint Network, which has been calculating this date since 1970, estimates 1.6 planets are required to support our population's way of life.

Latin American Indigenous People Fight New Plunder Of Their Resources

(IPS) – Indigenous communities in Latin America, who have suffered the plunder of their natural resources since colonial times, are reliving that phenomenon again as mega infrastructure are jeopardising their habitat and their very survival. On the island of Assunção in Northeast Brazil, the village of the Truká indigenous people was split in two when the flow of the São Francisco River was diverted. “The Truká people have always been from this region. We are an ancient people in this territory. We have always lived on the riverbank fishing, hunting, planting crops. We did not need a canal,” lamented Claudia Truká, leader of the village in the municipality of Cabrobó, in the state of Pernambuco. The transfer, officially called the São Francisco River Integration Project, seeks to capture the river’s water through 713 km of canals, aqueducts, reservoirs, tunnels and pumping systems.

Protests In India Against Import Of Methane Gas

By Staff of The Times of India - KOCHI: Njarackal policeremoved protesters from the Puthuvype LNG import terminal of the IOC on Wednesday after they allegedly disrupted the functioning of the plant. According to police, as many as 204 protesters were arrested and removed from the spot. The arrested persons were booked under sections 188, 283, 143, 145 147 and 149 of the IPC and were later let go on bail. District collector had given out instructions to ensure police protection for the smooth functioning of the terminal of Indian Oil Corporation. The district collector's direction to the rural district police chief came in the wake of orders of the state and central governments, the Kerala high court and the National Green Tribunal. High court had on September 8 ordered the police to provide necessary protection to the LPG terminal in the special economic zone of Puthuvype. The order was applicable to all persons connected with the terminal, including the company's property, employees and contractors. Varapuzha archbishop Joseph Kalathilparambil meanwhile condemned the arrest and police atrocity. "Abolishing people's protest is not the right way. There are more than 1,000 families residing in a one kilometer radius of the project. The people are apprehensive about the project leading to disasters in the future.

How Do We Share The World’s Resources?

Almost everywhere we look, there is an emerging debate on the importance of sharing in relation to the grave challenges of our time. This conversation is most apparent in the sharing economy movement that has now taken the United States and Western Europe by storm, opening up a new set of questions about how sharing – that most simple human value and ethic – can really serve the needs of all people and the planet. For many, the practice of sharing represents a global cultural shift towards empathy, trust and generosity, and holds the greatest source of hope for economic and social transformation. For others, the idea of integrating the principle of sharing into economic relations is vitally important and invigorating, but toothless as a strategy for resolving the world’s crises if it remains beholden to corporate interests and the growth imperative. What’s seldom recognised, however, is how the global conversation on sharing is often conducted implicitly and unknowingly by campaigners, activists and progressive analysts. For example, in the now mainstream discussion on how to reform the systems and structures that lead to inequality, there is the implicit question of how to share resources more equally among society as a whole. While the best-selling economist Thomas Piketty has recently forewarned the prospect of an increasingly unequal future, the authors of The Spirit Level have already demonstrated that the most prosperous, happy and healthy nations all distribute their wealth in a more egalitarian fashion.

Exhaustion Of Cheap Mineral Resources Is Terraforming Earth

A new landmark scientific report drawing on the work of the world's leading mineral experts forecasts that industrial civilisation's extraction of critical minerals and fossil fuel resources is reaching the limits of economic feasibility, and could lead to a collapse of key infrastructures unless new ways to manage resources are implemented. The peer-reviewed study – the 33rd Report to the Club of Rome – is authored by Prof Ugo Bardi of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Florence, where he teaches physical chemistry. It includes specialist contributions from fifteen senior scientists and experts across the fields of geology, agriculture, energy, physics, economics, geography, transport, ecology, industrial ecology, and biology, among others. The Club of Rome is a Swiss-based global think tank founded in 1968 consisting of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders. Its latest report, to be released on 12th June, conducts a comprehensive overview of the history and evolution of mining, and argues that the increasing costs of mineral extraction due to pollution, waste, and depletion of low-cost sources will eventually make the present structure of industrial civilisation unsustainable.
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