Snowball Earth

Will veganism save the planet? #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #Neoliberalism #Longman

By Dr Cristy Clark

I’m happy to report that, according to my highly rigorous and scientifically valid survey (okay, twitter), we are all making significant changes to our lives — both in terms of daily habits and big lifestyle choices — in order to try to protect our planet.

To give you a feel for the responses, I’ll group them into a number of key themes. The first is consumption. People are consciously reducing their consumption, avoiding ‘fast fashion’ and meat, and trying to buy locally or only second-hand. Right on theme for this year’s World Environment Day, people are also focused on eliminating their use of single use plastics by avoiding excess packaging, and bringing their own containers, water bottles, keep cups, and shopping bags.

Recycling is also a big theme, including composting, worm farming, and donating clothing. And, finally, people are taking steps to reduce their water and energy consumption — moving into smaller housing, ditching their cars (or using them as little as possible), installing insulation, using solar power and energy efficient appliances, and avoiding the clothes dryer.

To add a bit more rigour to this analysis, these responses also reflect many of the ‘climate solutions’ identified by Drawdown as being worth taking due to their impact on both emissions and environmental and community amenity.

All this being said, the fact is that people remain frustrated by the limitations of individual action and are clear that there is a pressing need for structural and systemic change. While walking and riding to work is worthwhile, inner city living is beyond the means of many people, and public transport options need improvement. Inner city residents in turn would like to grow their own food, but have little space to do so, and there are challenges with gardening in communal spaces, including finding appropriate locations and dealing with issues of soil contamination.

Other people identified big steps that they’d like to take — such as going off-grid or building passive solar housing — if only they had the money. It is also challenging to avoid plastic packaging when it is so ubiquitous, and hard to efficiently heat and cool many rental properties.

“Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.”

Faced with these structural barriers to change, the question naturally arises as to which actions we can take that will have the most significant impact. And, as it turns out, recent research published in Science has concluded that the most powerful individual action we can take is to make the switch to a plant-based diet.

After examining five key environmental impacts — land use, climate change emissions, air pollution water pollution, and freshwater use — researchers from Oxford University and Agroscope, Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecekd, concluded that consumers have significant power to ‘deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers’ simply by excluding animal products from their diets.

According to their findings, which were based on a survey of 38,700 farms and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers, the global adoption of a vegan diet would result in a 76 per cent reduction of agricultural land use for food production, a 49 per cent reduction of emissions, 50 per cent reduction of air pollution, 49 per cent reduction of water pollution, and a 19 per cent reduction of freshwater withdrawals.

Poore and Nemecekd describe these benefits as transformative.

Interestingly, this report comes at a time when the uptake of veganism is growing significantly, both globally and in Australia. According to some reports, Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world, and the roughly two million Australians who have adopted a plant-based diet are now thought to pose a genuine threat to the nation’s meat and dairy industries.

This perceived threat is considerably heightened when it comes to vegan activists. No longer content to take over the world with cupcakes, many vegans have started to take a more radical approach. On 28 April 2018, several thousand vegan activists marched through Melbourne’s CBD to draw attention to the ethical issues associated with animal agriculture. There has also been an increase in direct actions such as farm and abattoir lock-ons.

While the focus of many vegan activists is on the ethics of the industry’s commodification and treatment of animals, environmental issues also feature in these campaigns and in the motivation for many people’s decision to take action. As several vegans explained to me, the protection of the planet is fundamental to protecting both humans and animals.

While it’s true that not everyone feels ready to make the switch to a plant-based diet, it is interesting to consider the choices so many are making to help protect the planet. Many of these actions would have seemed too hard not long ago.

So, maybe the same will be said about adopting a vegan lifestyle in the not-too-distant future?

Dr Cristy Clark is a lecturer at the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, neoliberalism, activism and the environment, and particularly on the human right to water.

Press link for more: Eureka Street


Media never mention No. 1 cause of #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #Longman #Vegan @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #Agriculture

The Media Never Mention the No. 1 Cause of Climate Change

Jul 10, 2018

There are many issues the corporate media will debate in its standard, convoluted, manipulative manner.

In fact, most issues will at some point get an hour of glowing fame on the mind-control box.

Yet some topics are forbidden, banned from discussion on the mainstream news channels.

One of those issues just happens to be the No. 1 cause of man-made climate change, and a top cause of illness, sickness, torture and environmental destruction in the United States and around the world.

So it’s concerning that corporate media avoid it as if it’s a highly unstable radioactive material being handed to them by Bill Cosby.

That topic is animal agriculture—the raising of the animals most of us eat.

Unlike the media, I do want to get into this topic—partially because it’s hugely important and partially because I enjoy doing things that piss off corporate propaganda networks. But first, I think it will behoove us to go through a brief history of the world:

1. Animal evolved into man.

2. Man realized he could eat animal.

3. Man caught and cooked animal.

4. Man began housing animal before eating it so that he could have dinner waiting around whenever he wanted it—“fast food” before cars existed.

5. Man realized he liked the way animal tasted when lightly fried and sprinkled on top of salads, pasta, soups, chocolate, anything.

6. To keep up with demand, man began housing animal in smaller and smaller cages until man had millions of animals on top of each other living their entire lives in the most disgusting, immoral, vomit-inducing manner.

7. Man called anyone who pointed out how awful this is a “pussy.”

8. This was insulting to all animals and all women, and therefore only made man look like a damn idiot.

9. At that point we realized evolution doesn’t always go in a direct line.

Sometimes, it forks off into “what the fuck” land.

But I don’t want to make this column about how animal agriculture is the largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions (or No. 2, depending on whom you ask).

Or how it requires the use of more than 190 billion gallons of water daily.

Yes, that’s per day.

Or how it takes up 55 percent of our fresh water, compared with the only 5 percent used in households.

Or the fact that according to the Georgetown Environmental Law Review, “Ocean dead zones.

Fisheries depletion. Species extinction. Deforestation. World hunger. Food safety. Heart disease. Obesity. Diabetes.

There is one issue at the heart of all these problems … our demand for and reliance on animal products.”

Or how it creates lagoons filled with millions of tons of feces that in North Carolina the Legislature made sure could legally be sprayed into the air, coating nearby townspeople.

I don’t want to talk about any of that, even though “shit lagoon” also was Mitch McConnell’s nickname in high school. Nope, don’t want to talk about it this time. Instead, let’s discuss how awful our factory farming is for the animals, because, yes, cows are people too.

But let’s start with hens—where most of our eggs come from. As The Intercept reported, “Nearly 280 million laying hens in the United States are confined in barren wire battery cages so restrictive the birds can’t even spread their wings.”

These hens have less room than the surface of an iPad to live their entire lives (which I guess makes them similar to humans, since we now live our entire existence on the surface of an iPad.) Point is, next time you’re looking for a good horror movie—something to really make you piss your pants—grab some popcorn, put your arm around your lover and watch undercover videos of factory farming. (Either that or watch Chuck Schumer give a speech and try to force fake compassion from his dead eyes.)

After videos of these mass-animal-torture farms started making the rounds on YouTube, Americans had an odd reaction—they stopped wanting to eat the gross brown flesh coming out of the little piggy Guantanamo Bays. Then the torture farm corporations did exactly what you think they would do—which is exactly the most horrible thing they could do.

They passed laws making filming factory farms a crime (because when something is morally reprehensible, beating up or arresting the camera guy usually solves the problem. Kind of like how murder is totally rad if you just don’t take a selfie next to the body). But it didn’t work, because videos still leaked out. So now the corporate goons moved on to the next step—in some states, poultry industry lobbyists are trying to force through legislation that would mandate that stores carry their products.

A couple months ago, Iowa’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that says that “if a grocery store carries an inventory of specialty eggs for retail sale, it must also carry an inventory of conventional eggs (shell eggs that are not considered specialty eggs).”

This begs the question, “What are specialty eggs? Do they have little knitted sweaters on or what?” Well, “specialty eggs” means eggs that were not obtained through horrific end-of-days medieval torture. So “specialty eggs” basically means free-range—shouldn’t that be called normal eggs? Eggs that come from a hen just standing out in a field—shouldn’t that be called a “conventional egg”? And then the other eggs should be called “holy-shit-what-a-sick-species-we-are” eggs?

Anyway, this law forces stores to sell eggs they and their customers find morally repulsive. That would be like a store owner saying, “Yeah, I’m not selling the supersonic, earthquake-level, vibrating triple dong at my adult toy store because people were getting injured and breaking hips and stuff.” And then the state coming in and going, “Sorry, we had a talk with the earthquake triple dong lobbyists, and they’re very powerful. So we’re going to make it illegal for you not to sell it in your store.”

I’m no free-market evangelist, but this sounds like the opposite of a free market.

By the way, our mainstream media won’t mention the gruesome way our meat and eggs are produced, but they’ll show ads endlessly telling you how awesome meat is. “Try our fluffy egg-wich with a bacon milk shake!” Those ads don’t mention that the World Health Organization says that processed meats cause cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Eating torture-farmed meat doesn’t even make sense to most people who do it. If you show someone a bird trapped in an oil spill, most of us want to save it. We want to help it. We want to break out the Dawn soap and shine that mallard’s forehead until you can see your damn reflection in it.

But for some reason, if that were a tanker full of barbecue sauce that tipped over, we’d be fine with it. We’d be downright excited. It would be declared a delicious disaster.

There’s no logic in voraciously continuing a behavior that will kill us in both the short and long term and doesn’t add up with our views toward animals. We have laws against animal abuse—as long as it’s one of the animals we’ve been socially engineered to protect. If you see someone smack a Labrador retriever in public, you’ll dive in front of it like you’re the Secret Service taking a bullet for the president. But if you replace that dog with a pig or a lamb, then we all think, “Grill ’em up! What kind of sauce you got for that?”

If it wasn’t for aggressive cultural programming, our meat-eating habits would seem utterly crazy, like Groundhog Day or circumcision. You’ve got to have that weird stuff pounded into your head early, or you would never buy it. The truth is that we will look back on corporate torture farming as nearly as horrific as slavery or child brides or the sitcom “ALF.” We’ll be like, “What the actual fuck were we thinking?”

Granted, there was a time when we needed to eat the meat that was around or we would die. During horrible blizzards in the 1600s, many a trusted horse learned the hard way that we would bite into anything when push came to shove. But modern times are different. We have food. We have year-round ripe mangos that don’t even make natural sense. There’s no need to keep 280 million hens and 68 million pigs in a fucking “Saw” movie.

Most people knew deep down that slavery was wrong, but they were fed dozens of different reasons to keep it going. They were told all kinds of crap science, crap history and distorted Bible verses. Now imagine if—on top of that—in the 1800s there had been television commercials constantly inundating the public with how great slavery is. How it’s normal and wonderful and delicious and you can sprinkle slavery on top of your chocolate. Would it have lasted another 30 or 50 years? Maybe. (Oh crap, chocolate is still made with slavery. That kind of hurts my point, but I still think you get it.)

Our illogical, immoral meat consumption will kill our planet, kill our future and possibly kill your family. And some might say it’s probably not so good for your being, your energy, your life force, to fill your body with the tortured corpses of nonhuman sentient beings. Do you really want your body to be a Voltron made up of abused cows and beaten pigs? (I don’t buy that hippie stuff, but if it works for you, go with it.)

Look, you don’t have to quit meat. I know it’s hard. Just decrease the amount you eat a little each month. Or do what I do—I eat only meat that’s hard to get. Endangered species. That’s it. Just platypus, pygmy hippos and baby echidna puggles.

And I eat only free-range baby echidna puggles. I’m not a supervillain.

If you think this column is important, please share it. Also check out Lee Camp’s weekly TV show “Redacted Tonight” and weekly podcast “Common Censored.”

Harvard Scientist: Climate Change May Be Worse Than We Think #auspol #StopAdani

Harvard Scientist: Climate Change May Be Worse Than We Think

Daniel Schrag’s professional credentials are impressive: He’s the director of the Center for the Environment at Harvard University where he’s a professor of environmental science and engineering.

At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Schrag is co-director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program.

Throughout President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, Schrag served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contributing to many reports.

He has a long list of published papers ranging from the impact of corals on seawater chemistry 250 million years ago to solar geoengineering.

But nowhere in his extensive résumé will you find “prophet of doom.”

Yet he very much sounds like one when speaking about the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. “While climate change may not yet have had its huge impact on biodiversity,” says Schrag, “just wait.

What’s coming is really extraordinary.”

In a presentation called “Our Planetary Experiment” to be unveiled at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium on Wednesday, Schrag uses his research into Earth’s geologic record as well as new data from planets beyond our solar system to determine the future of our planet as carbon dioxide emissions continue to build and heat up our atmosphere.

As it stands now, Schrag concludes the “experiment” is not going well.

He says that “over the next few decades, Earth’s atmosphere will return to a state not seen for millions of years.”

The Scripps CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa (Courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

In his talks, Schrag often refers to the Keeling Curve, a graph created by American scientist Charles David Keeling in 1958.

Keeling was the first to record ongoing CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

In the late 1950s the CO2 readings were 315 parts per million.

In 2018, that reading has exceeded 400 ppm.

In analyzing Earth’s geologic record, Schrag says, “never in the last 800,000 years has CO2 been above 300 ppm.” Schrag says the last time atmospheric CO2 levels spiked sharply was around 36 million years ago when non-human factors were at play.

Even then the spike occurred over thousands of years.

“We’re likely to see 4 maybe even 6 degrees (Celsius) of (global) warming over the next 100 years,” says Schrag, “and it’s happening more than 100 times faster than climate change we’ve experienced in the past.”

Schrag believes there might be even more to be concerned about, saying there might be additional factors worsening climate change that scientists have not anticipated.

Adding to his grim forecast, Schrag says reversing the trend will be neither easy nor quick.

The World Counts

For one thing, more than half of the CO2 currently affecting climate change will remain in our atmosphere 1,000 years from now. “A silver-bullet solution is not around the corner.

It will require innovative investments sustained for at least the next century,” he says.

Schrag says public policy energy choices made “over the next decade or two will have profound effects on the Earth’s system, on every living thing on the planet.” Schrag says determined and sustained energy choices that reduce CO2 emissions are urgently needed to prevent his doomsday prophecies from becoming realities of biblical proportions.

Press link for more: Chicago Tonight

We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change #auspol #StopAdani

We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change


As a climate scientist, I am often asked to talk about hope.

Particularly in the current political climate, audiences want to be told that everything will be all right in the end. And, unfortunately, I have a deep-seated need to be liked and a natural tendency to optimism that leads me to accept more speaking invitations than is good for me.

Climate change is bleak, the organizers always say.

Tell us a happy story.

Give us hope. The problem is, I don’t have any.

I used to believe there was hope in science. The fact that we know anything at all is a miracle. For some reason, the whole world is hung on a skeleton made of physics. I found comfort in this structure, in the knowledge that buried under layers of greenery and dirt lies something universal.

It is something to know how to cut away the flesh of existence and see the clean white bones underneath.

All of us obey the same laws, whether we know them or not.

Look closely, however, and the structure of physics dissolves into uncertainty.

We live in a statistical world, in a limit where we experience only one of many possible outcomes.

Our clumsy senses perceive only gross aggregates, blind to the roiling chaos underneath.

We are limited in our ability to see the underlying stimuli that, en masse, create an event.

Temperature, for example, is a state created by the random motions of millions of tiny molecules.

We feel heat or cold, not the motion of any individual molecule.

When something is heated up, its tiny constituent parts move faster, increasing its internal energy. They do not move at the same speed; some are quick, others slow. But there are billions of them, and in the aggregate their speed dictates their temperature.

The internal energy of molecule motion is turned outward in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

Light comes in different flavors.

The stuff we see occupies only a tiny portion of a vast electromagnetic spectrum.

What we see occupies a tiny portion of a vast electromagnetic spectrum.

Light is a wave, of sorts, and the distance between its peaks and troughs determines the energy it carries.

Cold, low-energy objects emit stretched waves with long, lazy intervals between peaks.

Hot objects radiate at shorter wavelengths.

To have a temperature is to shed light into your surroundings.

You have one.

The light you give off is invisible to the naked eye.

You are shining all the same, incandescent with the power of a hundred-watt bulb.

The planet on which you live is illuminated by the visible light of the sun and radiates infrared light to the blackness of space.

There is nothing that does not have a temperature.

Cold space itself is illuminated by the afterglow of the Big Bang.

Even black holes radiate, lit by the strangeness of quantum mechanics.

There is nowhere from which light cannot escape.

The same laws that flood the world with light dictate the behavior of a carbon dioxide molecule in the atmosphere.

CO2 is transparent to the Sun’s rays.

But the planet’s infrared outflow hits a molecule in just such as way as to set it in motion.

Carbon dioxide dances when hit by a quantum of such light, arresting the light on its path to space.

When the dance stops, the quantum is released back to the atmosphere from which it came.

No one feels the consequences of this individual catch-and-release, but the net result of many little dances is an increase in the temperature of the planet.

More CO2 molecules mean a warmer atmosphere and a warmer planet.

Warm seas fuel hurricanes, warm air bloats with water vapor, the rising sea encroaches on the land.

The consequences of tiny random acts echo throughout the world.

I understand the physical world because, at some level, I understand the behavior of every small thing.

I know how to assemble a coarse aggregate from the sum of multiple tiny motions.

Individual molecules, water droplets, parcels of air, quanta of light: their random movements merge to yield a predictable and understandable whole.

But physics is unable to explain the whole of the world in which I live.

The planet teems with other people: seven billion fellow damaged creatures.

We come together and break apart, seldom adding up to an coherent, predictable whole.

I have lived a fortunate, charmed, loved life.

This means I have infinite, gullible faith in the goodness of the individual.

But I have none whatsoever in the collective.

How else can it be that the sum total of so many tiny acts of kindness is a world incapable of stopping something so eminently stoppable?

California burns. Islands and coastlines are smashed by hurricanes.

At night the stars are washed out by city lights and the world is illuminated by the flickering ugliness of reality television.

We burn coal and oil and gas, heedless of the consequences.

Our laws are changeable and shifting; the laws of physics are fixed.

Change is already underway; individual worries and sacrifices have not slowed it.

Hope is a creature of privilege: we know that things will be lost, but it is comforting to believe that others will bear the brunt of it.

We are the lucky ones who suffer little tragedies unmoored from the brutality of history.

Our loved ones are taken from us one by one through accident or illness, not wholesale by war or natural disaster.

But the scale of climate change engulfs even the most fortunate.

There is now no weather we haven’t touched, no wilderness immune from our encroaching pressure.

The world we once knew is never coming back.

I have no hope that these changes can be reversed.

We are inevitably sending our children to live on an unfamiliar planet. But the opposite of hope is not despair. It is grief. Even while resolving to limit the damage, we can mourn. And here, the sheer scale of the problem provides a perverse comfort: we are in this together.

The swiftness of the change, its scale and inevitability, binds us into one, broken hearts trapped together under a warming atmosphere.

We need courage, not hope.

Grief, after all, is the cost of being alive.

We are all fated to live lives shot through with sadness, and are not worth less for it.

Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.

Little molecules, random in their movement, add together to a coherent whole. Little lives do not. But here we are, together on a planet radiating ever more into space where there is no darkness, only light we cannot see.

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What scientists feel about #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Listen to what scientists feel about Climate Change.

What ice cores tell us about #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol 

This is what ancient, 3km long ice cores tell us about climate change

Cracks are seen on the Fourcade glacier near Argentina’s Carlini Base in Antarctica, January 12, 2017. Picture taken January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Nicolas Misculin – RTSW9RN

The speed at which CO₂ is rising has no comparison in the recorded past.

Image: REUTERS/Nicolas Misculin

There are those who say the climate has always changed, and that carbon dioxide levels have always fluctuated.

 That’s true. But it’s also true that since the industrial revolution, CO₂ levels in the atmosphere have climbed to levels that are unprecedented over hundreds of millennia.
So here’s a short video we made, to put recent climate change and carbon dioxide emissions into the context of the past 800,000 years.

The temperature-CO₂ connection
Earth has a natural greenhouse effect, and it is really important. Without it, the average temperature on the surface of the planet would be about -18℃ and human life would not exist. Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is one of the gases in our atmosphere that traps heat and makes the planet habitable.
We have known about the greenhouse effect for well over a century. About 150 years ago, a physicist called John Tyndall used laboratory experiments to demonstrate the greenhouse properties of CO₂ gas. Then, in the late 1800s, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius first calculated the greenhouse effect of CO₂ in our atmosphere and linked it to past ice ages on our planet.
Modern scientists and engineers have explored these links in intricate detail in recent decades, by drilling into the ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland. Thousands of years of snow have compressed into thick slabs of ice. The resulting ice cores can be more than 3km long and extend back a staggering 800,000 years.
Scientists use the chemistry of the water molecules in the ice layers to see how the temperature has varied through the millennia. These ice layers also trap tiny bubbles from the ancient atmosphere, allowing us to measure prehistoric CO₂ levels directly.


The ice cores reveal an incredibly tight connection between temperature and greenhouse gas levels through the ice age cycles, thus proving the concepts put forward by Arrhenius more than a century ago.
In previous warm periods, it was not a CO₂ spike that kickstarted the warming, but small and predictable wobbles in Earth’s rotation and orbit around the Sun. CO₂ played a big role as a natural amplifier of the small climate shifts initiated by these wobbles. As the planet began to cool, more CO₂ dissolved into the oceans, reducing the greenhouse effect and causing more cooling. Similarly, CO₂ was released from the oceans to the atmosphere when the planet warmed, driving further warming.
But things are very different this time around. Humans are responsible for adding huge quantities of extra CO₂ to the atmosphere – and fast.
The speed at which CO₂ is rising has no comparison in the recorded past. The fastest natural shifts out of ice ages saw CO₂ levels increase by around 35 parts per million (ppm) in 1,000 years. It might be hard to believe, but humans have emitted the equivalent amount in just the last 17 years.
Before the industrial revolution, the natural level of atmospheric CO₂ during warm interglacials was around 280 ppm. The frigid ice ages, which caused kilometre-thick ice sheets to build up over much of North America and Eurasia, had CO₂ levels of around 180 ppm.
Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, takes ancient carbon that was locked within the Earth and puts it into the atmosphere as CO₂. Since the industrial revolution humans have burned an enormous amount of fossil fuel, causing atmospheric CO₂ and other greenhouse gases to skyrocket.
In mid-2017, atmospheric CO₂ now stands at 409 ppm. This is completely unprecedented in the past 800,000 years.

The massive blast of CO₂ is causing the climate to warm rapidly. The last IPCC report concluded that by the end of this century we will get to more than 4℃ above pre-industrial levels (1850-99) if we continue on a high-emissions pathway.
If we work towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, by rapidly curbing our CO₂ emissions and developing new technologies to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, then we stand a chance of limiting warming to around 2℃.
The fundamental science is very well understood. The evidence that climate change is happening is abundant and clear. The difficult part is: what do we do next? More than ever, we need strong, cooperative and accountable leadership from politicians of all nations. Only then will we avoid the worst of climate change and adapt to the impacts we can’t halt.

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What Is Climate Change Anyway, and Why Is it Being Underestimated

It’s sometimes suggested that we can’t do anything about climate change now because it’s “too late.” This idea is often pushed by climate change refuters as another way to avoid dealing with the issue – even though it contradicts the main refuter claim that climate change isn’t a big deal in the first place. But the inherent contradiction is just another example of how almost any argument possible is used to try and refute what’s commonly called “climate change.” Climate solutions and analysis