The Biosphere & Our Impact On Future Generations, Species, & Ecosystems: Problems & Solutions

The Biosphere & Our Impact On Future Generations, Species, & Ecosystems: Problems & Solutions
Posted on July 23, 2013 | Navneet Gupta | Written on July 23, 2013
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

My child's future is what inspired me to write this letter.

The Tar Sands:

Canada is a resource hinterland used to feed export markets. The tar sands are Canada's cash cow and there has never been any political will to do anything about it. Rather, we are butchering what environmental protections existed while actively promoting the tar sands both at home and abroad. Opposing the tar sands is political suicide in this country.We keep this unsustainable paradigm going while it metastasizes all over the globe like a cancer.

All decisions (& technologies) continue to be based on short-term politics(The next election), profits (The next economic quarter; our short-sighted thinking),and power instead of the long term health of people and the planet. In 1990, we lifted a greenhouse and globe onto parliament hill (Greenpeace Action - Canada Day. ‘90), 20+ years later and nothing has changed!! (Instead full speed ahead in the wrong direction). In 1994, geologist at my university would openly talk about how such resources such as the tar sands have and continue to be influenced &infiltrated by corporate raiders (which we still subsidize despite record profits) and foreign governments (Who own a majority stake). The tar sands isthe largest & most damaging industrial project in human history. They say we are reducing emissions while at the same time maximizing output from the Tar Sands. It makes no sense. We are exploring for oil under the 'melting ice caps' which caused this problem in the first place?

The many tentacles of the tar sands: West via Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, north through the Arctic, south via Keystone, east via northern Ontario, line 9, all the way to the east coast, many more. Disheartening that the environmental movement is caught on the defensive trying to 'oppose and protect' vs. on the offensive with the 1000 of long-term sustainable solutions.

Part of the Problem (Barriers to some of the solutions outlined below):1. Apathy 2. Ignorance 3. People who get paid to look the other way 4. The current paradigm based on short-term profits, politics, and power over the long-term health of people and the planet 5. Institutions will try and preserve the problem for which they are the solution – Shirky 6. Corporate owned mass media 7. A dysfunctional education system 8. Not enough people helping to bring truth to power (Little dissent, while conformity is the norm) 9. Just simply can't afford to spread our unsustainable model around the world like a cancer 10. Our natural environment is just not considered when making decisions. Instead they are viewed as externalities. Short-term profits and political expediency remain the driving forces. 11. Global problems require global solidarity and solutions since air and water transcend political boundaries (Often referred to as the tragedy of the commons) 12. Ego. 13. Corporate Raiders 14. Corruption
16. Criminal Empires

Political Structure:

Politicians make decisions based on the next election (short-sighted),thus pander to the private sector (Who are only concerned about the next economic quarter, even shorter sighted). Therefore, we cannot depend on governments to provide a sustainable environment for future generations.

The environment minister here in Canada gets shuffled more than any other position. Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. What was wrong with the last environment minister? Just a puppet. The person changes while the policy remains the same. Slapping a new coat of paint on the same antiquated policies. The purpose is purely political - to present the illusion of change. This insults my intelligence for the reasons outlined above. The former liberal PM and deputy PM both held the position of 'environment' minister. All just gatekeepers for corporate interests.

They are only interested in the status quo: This Same Unsustainable Paradigm Based On Increasing Consumption & Economic Growth. The Media & Governments Role In Two Words– “Controlled Opposition” (Corporate Tools).

I have seen consecutive governments come and go for the past 20+ years with no significant action (many of you probably longer). Instead full speed ahead the same unsustainable direction. Don't wait till the next election to install another puppet (pawn,proxy) of corporate interests which owns the government, media, & our resources. All we are doing is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. We should never abdicate personal responsibility.Changes come from the bottom up, not from the top down.
Many Politicians worked for industry before they came to power, or as lobbyist afterwards. The difference between political parties is like the difference between coke and pepsi, virtually no difference (It is a false narrative perpetuated by corporate owned mass media). The government is Stupid, Non-Transparent, Unaccountable (since they change every couple years), and Irrelevant. The Government looks to Industry to produce the same unsustainable jobs of the past. They (us) are disorganized and divided and as a result get taken advantage of by private interests/criminal empires which are organized like an army. The government is a complete distraction. Our politicians are puppets/pawns/proxies for a higher power, 'Global Corporatism' which owns the government, media, & our resources.

I think the American people should see that the corporations abandoned them long ago. “That people will have to build their own economies and rebuild democracy as a living democracy. The corporations belong to no land, no country, no people. They have no loyalty to anything apart from… their profits. And the profits today are on an unimaginable scale; it has become illegitimate, criminal profit –profits extracted at the cost of life.” – Vandana Shiva

Voting is one of the least effective way to bring about change. Don't wait till the next election to install another puppet / pawn / proxy / scapegoat of corporate interests and then sit back and blame everything on our so-called ‘leaders’ that we elect.

I Cannot Re-Iterate This Enough: Long time activists have argued it only takes 5% of the population to make their voices heard (Bring truth to power) for positive changes to be realized. We should never abdicate personal responsibility. Changes come from the bottom up, not from the top down.

“Never Rely On Governments OR Institutions To Solve Any Problem. All Social Change Comes From The Passion Of Individuals.” – Margaret Mead

“When The People Lead, The Leaders Will Follow” – Gandhi

"Every Effort For Progress, Enlightenment, For Religious, Economic, & Political Liberty Emanates From The Minority, Not The Masses - Emma Goldman

Tolstoy (1828 –1910), Gandhi (1869 - 1948), M.L.K. (1929 – 1968), all assassinated, drew much of their inspiration from Thoreau. An inspiring transcendental parable -Thoreau was in jail once for refusing to pay his taxes and Emerson visited him asking ‘Why are you in there’ to which Thoreau replied ‘why are you out there’. - Henry David Thoreau, Walden& Civil Disobedience, 1854, US Transcendentalist Author and Activist (1817 - 1862).

Some Other Noteworthy Examples: Socrates, Jesus, Rosa Parks, John Lennon, Malcolm X, Mandela, Dostoevsky, Medgar Evers, Dante, Christopher Marlowe, Karl Marx, Nestor Makhno, Emiliano Zapata, Augusto C. Sandino, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Howard Zinn, Edward Abbey, Arundhati Roy, Che Guevara, Noam Chomsky, Vandana Shiva, Voltaire, 1000 More Past & Present Who Go Unnamed.

Corporate Structure:
"It Is Not An Investment If It Destroys The Planet" VandanaShiva

Decisions (&technologies) continue to be based on short-term profits, politics, and power, instead of the long-term health of people and the planet. Politicians make decisions based on the next election (short-sighted),thus pander to the private sector (Who are only concerned about the next economic quarter, even shorter-sighted) to ‘stimulate an unsustainable economy’. Therefore, we cannot depend on governments to provide a sustainable environment for future generations.

The Fundamental Problem Is This Entire Unsustainable System Driven By Consumption & Economic Growth, etc. The Media & Governments Role In Two Words – “Controlled Opposition” (Corporate Tools). The corporation is the fox & the government is the hen house.

Corporations have overtaken countries (Global Corporatism). Governments change every 3-4 years while private interests remain(Thus, there can be no accountability). Multinational corporations retain power over the political system, are bigger than many countries, and outlive governments. In addition their reach and influence transcends that of the nation-state.

“Anyone who thinks economic growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Bounding

“The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” - Gandhi

“I think the people should see that the corporations abandoned them long ago. That people will have to build their own economies and rebuild democracy as a living democracy. The corporations belong to no land, no country, no people. They have no loyalty to anything apart from… their profits.And the profits today are on an unimaginable scale; it has become illegitimate,criminal profit –profits extracted at the cost of life.” – Vandana Shiva

“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”- Arundhati Roy

“Fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is the merger of corporate and state power” – Benito Mussolini

"We must bear in mind that Imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism and it must be defeated. We must eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capitals, raw materials, technicians and cheap labor, and to which they export new capitals; instruments of domination; arms and all kinds of articles; thus submerging us in an absolute dependence.” – Che Guevara

Corporate owned “mass” media has done a good job of keeping the plight of the rest of the world, and their own corporations out of the news, since they own the news, government, & our resources.'Developed' nations along with their corporate raiders prop up a corrupt elite at the top of poor nations through the selling of arms, funding (Bribes), promises of‘development’, etc. This has allowed for the extraction of indigenous wealth,primarily from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere (Often referred to as ‘Neocolonialism’).

Unfortunately, "Institutions will try to preserve(& manufacture) the problem to which they are the solution." ~ ClayShirky. Problems are more profitable than Solutions (in the short term for a few). Applies To The Prison Industrial Complex, Pharmaceutical Industry Central Banks, the Military Industrial Complex, Petrochemical Industry (Resource Extraction in General), Construction, Waste Management, Agribusiness, *This Whole Unsustainable Model Driven By Constant Consumption & Economic Growth*etc.

Additional Consequences: We have reached record levels of both CO2 and *Methane* which continue to increase at alarming rates as the permafrost has now begun to melt. Methane is 25 times more effective at trapping GHGs than CO2. Tipping points have now been passed & 'runaway' climate change is here. There is also a lag time between CO2 production and it's effects on atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial systems. Despite all this it is still full speed ahead in the wrong direction (i.e. Tar Sands Expansion???). Canada cannot ‘reduce CO2 emissions’ as the government states while at the same time trying to maximize output from the Tar Sands. It defies all *REASON* (I am so tired of politics..)
Higher evaporation rates & temperature differentials will lead to an increase in the frequency and magnitude of sever weather events. Ocean acidification is a direct result of CO2 absorption killing off coral reef (the most diverse ecosystem on the planet) & phytoplankton (which provides us with the majority of oxygen we breath, in addition to being a vital link in the food chain). Other levels of ecosystem collapse represent further tipping points. The melting ice cap and sea level rise will change ocean currents along with associated weather patterns and result in coastal flooding. Drought and desertification in the interior along with associated crop failure. An increase in conflict as more people begin to fight over dwindling resources. The domino effect of consequences (environmental, social, and economic) are truly disturbing. We are terraforming our planet and deserve what is coming (though our children, those in impoverished nations, along with other species do not). I don't see any indication of us changing course until the full effects are staring us right in the face (Though by then we will be like dear caught in the headlights). Instead accelerating in the same unsustainable direction like a runaway train.

According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. If current levels [of destruction] go on we will reach a tipping point..

We are spreading our unsustainable way of life all over the planet like a cancer. The "CUMULATIVE" EFFECT Over Time (not just climate change) is what is concerning: Species Extinction (i.e. bees, frogs, coral reef, critical algae ..), Drought, Forest Fires, Desertification, Soil Erosion, Loss of Habitat, The Poisoning of Lakes, Rivers & Groundwater, Deforestation, Urban Sprawl, Mass Waste, Pollution (Air Quality, Water Quality, Contaminated Land), Dead Zones, Food & Water Shortages, Future Wars over Water (Not Just Oil), Environmental Refugees, Eutrophication, Flooding, Ocean Acidification and Death, Oil spills, Loss of Land, A Decline in Human Health, Unsustainable Development, Over Fishing, The Loss in Green Space in General, Extreme Weather Events i.e. Hurricanes, & Heat waves, Industrial ‘Accidents’ (Crimes i.e. Bhopal, Exxon, BP, The Tar Sands, Chevron, Imperial Oil, Shell, Chernobyl, Monsanto, Enbridge, Keystone, Northern Gateway, Arctic Drilling, Mining, Resource Extraction, Most Industrial processes, &on & on). GM Foods, Fracking. The result, Social, Economic, & Ecological Decay for Present & Future Generations.

Urban “Planning?” (Sprawl!): Urban planning is not designed for the people, but for private interests. Cities are designed for construction, more contracts. It is more profitable (in the short-term) for these private interests to operate in this way, however, unsustainable for future generations. Developers are on the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) which makes these sorts of decisions in Ontario. It is a conflict of interest and analogous to the "fox guarding the hen house". Cities could be designed so that people live where they work (one of many examples), resulting in less transportation and the associates pollution.

Public transit should be free (like health care) to increase ridership and cut down on pollution. In addition, if we utilized the spaces already developed, it would save our green space and have less of an impact on our natural environment. However, none of these ideas are 'profitable in the short term for these vested private interests' and as a result will cost future generations (socially, economically, and ecologically.

We should be revitalizing the downtown core more aggressively. (Where the infrastructure that already exists), instead of promoting costly urban sprawl. There are no infrastructure costs to redirecting growth towards the core (i.e., roads, storm water management, parkland, community centers, libraries, schools, sidewalks, street lighting, traffic controls, transit, police and fire protection, sewage and water pipelines). For example, Downtown Hamilton could accommodate another 25, 000 residents without the costly infrastructure associated with low density suburbs. A shift from development on the periphery to higher density inner city developments. It is cheaper, involves less commuting and associated pollution, more green space, more mixed use, and a decrease in runoff associated with paved surfaces. An increase in paved surfaces results in less infiltration of water into the ground and thus sediment loaded water from construction sites finds its way into water bodies such as Hamilton Harbour.

The constant expansion of suburban sprawl is eating up green space not to mention capital in terms of infrastructure. It all promotes construction, roads, car ownership, mining, steel, and petrochemical interests, but not the long-term interests of people and the planet.

Anytime you hear the word infrastructure / urban planning / public works / construction / or development there is more often than not, corrupt government practices taking place.

Example from Ontario, Canada: The Niagara Escarpment - Designated A U.N. Biosphere Reserve, The Bruce Trail runs along it, The Green Belt Plan, The Niagara Escarpment Plan, 4 Levels Of Government, The Conservation Authority, The Ontario Municipal Board, Environment Canada, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources. Yet Aggregate & Development Interests Trump All Of These Too?

1.The private sector considers these fracking chemicals IP (Intellectual Property) or trade secrets to try and censor them from scrutiny.
2.Capable of contaminating both surface and groundwater.
3.Releases Methane which is 25times more effective at trapping GHGs than CO2.
4.A lot of waste is also produced in the process.
5.Air and water are negatively impacted
6.The amount of water used is also abhorrent and will contribute to water shortages.
7.Other potential consequences include sinkholes, earthquakes, gas leeks, etc.

Water Shortages:

Point source and diffuse pollution contaminating both surface and ground water. Freshwater is becoming a 'commodity' and not a right. Private interests are looking to profit off the scarcity as water and food in the future (The privatization of water has already begun; profiting off people's very survival). Increased forest fires, drought, and desertification exacerbate this problem.

The American livestock industry is using 70% of water in the American West. Future wars will be over water(not just oil). The U.S. Takes our(Canada) oil, and will want more of our water. 3 Ways Which Are Discussed in Hydrology Circles (1) Siphon water from the great lakes (2) Dam the rocky mountain trench and divert the water south (3) bulk transport.

GM Foods & Agribusiness:
A seed movement has sprouted up in India thanks to people like Vandana Shiva (In response to agribusiness & GM foods). GMOs Involve agribusiness (Dependence on a central food system), the monopolization & loss of biodiversity (patented monoculture seeds), pesticides, mass suicides by farmers who can no longer feed themselves (India), the contamination of natural systems & ourselves, soil infertility, terminator seed technology, all related.

“Can’t have food freedom without seed freedom” – Vandana Shiva

GMOs Are Now Banned In 27 Countries &Labeled In 61.

The Ocean:

Ocean Acidification(A direct result of global warming i.e. CO2 being absorbed by the ocean) is destroying Coral Reef (The Most Diverse Ecosystem On The Planet), conducive to jellyfish,but far less biodiversity. We are changing the pH (CO2), temperature, and salinity of the ocean (Melting ice from glaciers, ice cap, and groundwater depletion). Eutrophication, oil spills, pollution, rising sea levels, and overfishing in general is killing the sea (i.e. expanding dead zones) and many forms of life, thus threatening our own. Some say the ocean could be dead by2050.
Climate Change Correspondence:

Natural cycles of climate change are always occurring. Paleo-climates have been reconstructed using tree rings, ice cores, and cave formations. Conducted a field study in the Merango Caves, Southern Indiana.

What we are doing (last 100, next 100 years...) is not natural when compared to the study of paleo-climates above. Oceans are acidifying (A direct result of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans) . The explosion in Pine Beetle populations which are decimating forests in B.C. & now Alberta (Due to warmer temperatures). The climate is warming at an unprecedented rate. The cumulative effect of our activities will catch up with us (or most likely our children). If one extrapolates this trend outwards over time, the consequences are far greater than modern day 'terrorism' yet never make the “news”.


How does the Oil Sands Project fit into the plan to reduce CO2 emissions? How can we reduce emissions while trying to maximize output of Oil? Intensity targets will not result in decrease in emissions. Why 2050?, why not now?

Thank You.
Nick Gupta

This is the answer from our experts regarding your request:

Thank you for your e-mail of July 1, 2008 regarding the oil sands and CO2 emissions reductions. Let me first assure you that the Government of Canada is working very hard to ensure that the oil sands resources are developed in a sustainable manner.

For the first time in Canadian history, the Government will impose mandatory reductions on big industry. It’s one of the most stringent regulatory regimes in the world. Our Regulatory Framework for industrial greenhouse gas emissions that was released in March 2008, establishes mandatory emission intensity targets for industry, including oil sands, so that greenhouse gases come down and we achieve our goal of an absolute reduction of 20% below 2006 levels by 2020. By 2010, big companies will have to reduce their emission intensity by 18% - just two years away. For each and every year after they will have to reduce by a further 2%. More information on our Regulatory Framework can be found online at:

The regulations will also include strong new measures aimed at key emitting sectors: oil sands and electricity, our two biggest challenges. The oil sands industry is Canada’s fastest growing source of emissions, while electricity is the single largest emitting sector. Our Regulatory Framework effectively requires new oil sands plants starting operations in 2012 or after to implement carbon capture and storage.

I appreciate your interest in environmental protection, and trust that the foregoing demonstrates the Government’s resolve to deliver real change and real results for Canadians.

Lorraine,Inquiry Centre,
françois normand Ministerial Correspondence and Briefing Officer Agent de correspondance ministérielle et de notes d'information Energy and Transportation Directorate Direction générale du transport et de l`énergie 819-994-6157



1. I am concerned about the following with regards to 'intensity' based targets particularly with regards to oils sand production:


The emission intensity approach ties targets to production. This means that firms will not be able to claim emission reduction credits by shutting down production for economic reasons or obtain credits for moving production out of Canada. More importantly, these rigorous targets will yield absolute reductions even as the economy grows. As the World Resources Institute noted in a 2006 report, “[f]or environmental performance, what matters overall is that targets are set at reasonably stringent levels and subsequently are met. This may be achieved with absolute or intensity targets.”

The emission intensity approach for GHGs is expected to lead to an overall decline in emissions in the short term. It is expected that absolute reductions by 2020 will be 20% below 2006 levels. Further, the Government will be evaluating the appropriateness of absolute GHG caps for the 2020-2025 period.

2. Should we not be investing in alternatives more aggressively?


The government is committed to supporting the development of alternative energy, and has announced important measures in the last two Budgets.
In the 2007 Budget, the Government allocated $4.5 billion for initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental initiatives, including:
- establishing the Climate Change Trust Fund that provides financial support for provincial and territorial government projects that will result in real reductions in greenhouse gases, including by investing in renewable energy
- rebalancing of the tax system to encourage investments by the oil sands and other sectors in clean and renewable energy while phasing out accelerated capital cost allowance for oil sand development
- extending to 2020 of existing tax incentives for clean energy production and an expansion of eligibility to cover wave and tidal energy
- supporting the production of renewable fuels including incentives for investment in large-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels

This year, in the 2008 Budget, the Government furthered its commitment to renewable and alternative energy through various initiatives, including:
- investments in nuclear energy
- accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment
- extending GST/HST relief for land used for wind or solar power equipment used to generate electricity

3. What happens at 2050 with regards to emission reductions? I hear about this date alot.


The Federal Government has committed to reduce Canada’s absolute GHG levels 60-70% in 2050 from 2006 levels. The Government’s Regulatory Framework for Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions is a large part of achieving that commitment.

Dear Nick,

Thanks for raising these excellent points. Nothing is being done to correct our abysmal record. We cannot reduce emissions while expanding the tar sands.
I just wrote this for an educational journal. It speaks to some of your points:.

"The climate crisis requires meaningful, aggressive, desperately ambitious action to slash greenhouse gas emissions within the next seven years. Please read that sentence again. According to the International Energy Agency (World Energy Outlook 2007), in order to avoid runaway global warming, in which the impacts of our pollution trigger an unstoppable accelerating destabilization of the climate system through positive feedback loops, global emissions of greenhouse gases must peak, stop rising, and begin a descent no later than 2016.

We, all of us, must demand dramatic changes in our policies and our actions. The upcoming United Nations negotiations in Copenhagen this December must succeed. The Copenhagen goal is to develop a new treaty to kick in when the first phase of Kyoto ends in 2012. This time all industrialized nations have to commit to meaningful action and deliver on it. Developing countries will have to commit as well, although with a slightly different approach. Canada is, under the Harper policies, sabotaging progress. Fortunately, we are no longer respected in the world so few listen to us. Our national delegation is in the way, arguing for global “intensity based targets,” defending the tar sands at every opportunity, and trying to forge alliances with any other back-sliding nation we can find. It is heartbreaking that a country with a once envied reputation for global leadership in peace-keeping, respect for human rights and environmental multilateralism is now ignored. It is even more heart-breaking to admit that it would be far worse for the world if we had much influence."

Please keep up the pressure.

Elizabeth May, O.C.
Green Party of Canada


Climate Change Backgrounder: Natural cycles of climate change are always occurring. Paleo-climates have been reconstructed using tree rings, ice cores, and cave formations. Conducted a field study in the Merango Caves, Southern Indiana.

What we are doing (last 100, next 100 years...) is not natural when compared to the study of paleo-climates above. The climate is warming at an unprecedented rate. The cumulative effect of our activities will catch up with us (or most likely our children). If one extrapolates this trend outwards over time, the consequences are far greater than modern day 'terrorism' yet never make the “news”.

I see the writing on the wall, just did not think I would see it realized in my lifetime.


1. Warmer Arctic temp. are resulting in this increase in amplitude of the jet stream. Previously, higher temp. differentials would keep the jet stream moving along at a higher rate with less amplitude. A decrease in temp. differentials due to a warming Arctic results in this meandering of the jet stream.

2. Warming also increases evaporation rates resulting in stronger flooding events.

3. Absorption of CO2 by the ocean is resulting in ocean acidification. A decrease in salinity from melting ice, glaciers, and groundwater.

4. The explosion of pine beetle populations which are decimating boreal forests are also a result of warming.

5. As a scientist, it is truly disturbing an ice free Arctic is just around the corner and could affect the thermocline system thus effecting climate.

6. These are just the short-term effects. The long-term effects such as further ecological tipping points, scarcity of food and water, etc. will most likely fall on our children and they should not have to pay for our mistakes.

7. The biggest part of climate 'Inertia' if the fact that the ocean is relatively stable (Compared to the atmosphere) and takes a longer time to 'turn over'. Despite this, changes in ocean temperatures & pH (The result of CO2 being absorbed by the ocean) have now been measured and initial consequences observed: Ocean acidification (Along with the decline in coral reef). Not to mention the over-fishing and pollution decimating aquatic ecosystems. The same is happening to terrestrial and atmospheric systems; all connected.

8. & What do we do; start tripping over each other in a fight for Arctic 'resources'. The same unsustainable resources which freed up the Arctic in the first place. Other than this new resource rush, I hear little to no discussion of the secondary, tertiary impacts of continuing full speed ahead in the same unsustainable direction.


Methane lasts in the atmosphere 12 years over which time it has 100 times the warming power of CO2, and 6% of it is oxidized to CO2 in the atmosphere that goes on warming for another 100 years. So methane feedback emissions are extremely dangerous.


10. Why do I think the ocean is contributing more to Arctic ice loss (Compared to the atmosphere)? If one looks at satellite images of Arctic ice, it is clear that most of the melting ice is occurring on the Pacific Ocean side. This is because the Atlantic side had more surrounding land, and since the land is cooler than the ocean it has a moderating effect. If it was the atmosphere, one would see uniform ice loss on both sides. Overfishing, pollution, changes in pH, temperature, and salinity are all negatively impacting ocean ecosystems and thus the biosphere as a whole.

11. The Permian Extinction wiped out about 80 - 90 % of life (For the reasons outlined above, ocean acidification, lack of oxygen, elevated levels of CO2, etc.) which at the time existed in the form of coral reef (Still the most diverse ecosystem on the planet, followed by tropical rain forest).That being said, since the Permian, biological diversification has taken place. The vast majority of life no longer exists in the form of coral reef. Therefore, the level of mass extinction cannot be inferred from the Permian.


Other Potential Solutions: We require a complete rethink of our notion of progress, materialism, & unsustainable economic growth at the cost of everything else. A shift in this unsustainable paradigm would help future generations meet their needs. Need to prioritize the long-term health of people and the planet over the short-term interests of profits, politics, and power. (i.e. a descent life for future generations, social, economic, and ecological). We should nationalize our resource base and re-invest into a more sustainable economy with green jobs. A constitutional amendment which ensures a sustainable environment for future generations should also be considered. However, since air and water transcend political boundaries ultimately bio-regions maybe required. The second element under such a system I ‘imagine’ would be a truly representative global senate with global standards with regards to human rights (which would include a sustainable environment) along with equal and proportional representation from each of these ‘sustainable autonomous regions' or 'bio-regions'. I feel these global standards are important since water and air transcend political boundaries, sometimes referred to 'the tragedy of the commons' which results in a race to the bottom.

Resources could easily be redirected to end poverty and ecological destruction. Regional, closed-loop, self-sufficient systems are the way to go. Sustainable systems which require no growth and create local green Jobs here at home. A new mission & vision are required and will be based on a new philosophy and sense of spirituality (i.e. Holistic thinking, where everyone is interconnected and interdependent on each other and nature). The strategies, objectives, and goals to accomplish this mission / vision will involve technologies which already exist, the reallocation of resources, regional sustainability, etc. The best place for a wind farm in the leeward side of the Rockies. The Chinook winds could power the entire west coast, the Bay of Fundy the entire east coast, and a two-way grid everything in between (when combined with smarter cities and a new vision, rather simple). Tidal energy alone could supply the world with all the energy it needs. Many others i.e. Co-generation, Mandatory vehicle efficiency standards, Cost-effective building renovations could slice energy consumption by one-third, Taxes would be shifted from income and wealth production ("goods") to resource extraction and waste disposal("bads!"), The use of organic waste as bio-fuels, municipal zoning laws and tax systems to encourage densification and reduce sprawl, an elimination of the current 4 billion dollars in current government subsidies that are being allocated to Canada's energy industry. This might help create a level playing field allowing alternative energy producers to compete. The promotion, enhancement, of mass transit systems which is Universal (like health care). The adoption of a Federal/International Environmental Bill of Rights similar to that of Ontario's EBR. Better Urban Planning which utilizes spaces already developed. Permaculture. The creation of economies where people live where they work would reduce the need to travel and therefore reduce car pollution. Promotion of walk able communities linked by light rail& Bike Trails. Include Quotas for renewable energy sources. The creation of regional value added economies (i.e. making something out of our lumber instead of hauling it off to the U.S.) Work from Home. Civil Disobedience, Buy Less and Buy Local, Protest, Lobby, Organize, Write Letters. Help Raise Societies Level of Collective Awareness, Harnessing magnetic energy. Just as there remains a minimum wage, there should be a maximum wage in addition to a 4 day work week. Resources (human, financial, and material) would shift from short-term profits, politics, and power to the long-term health and happiness of people and the planet. A decent life for future generations (Socially, economically, and ecologically).
Ran a hemp store in the late 90s. I found the material was expensive as most of the hemp had to be imported from overseas. People did not want to pay the extra money for an ecologically friendly product. The infrastructure needs to be in place here in North America on a larger scale to reap all the benefits of hemp. There is an initial cost which is recovered over time. Even easier if we stop subsidizing these antiquated industries of the past. Hemp can provide alternatives to all conventional products, paper, biodegradable plastics, fuel, wood, A great building material which would save our forests with a crop ever 3 months (as opposed to a tree which takes decades and an important part of the global ecosystem.). Hemp can replace virtually all petrochemical products. The first car Henry Ford built was made entirely out of hemp. The applications are vast, yet little investment as the big players have done a good job of squashing alternative technologies..

.My hope is that more people would begin to realize that we are all interconnected and interdependent on each other and nature and that this current paradigm is seriously flawed. As things get worse, more people will wake up until a ‘critical mass' of individuals is reached which can bring about positive change. It may be that the next generation will have to deal with the legacy we leave them.

"Anyone who thinks exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist." Kenneth Bounding.

Vegetarianism: For me personally, Eating Meat, Factory Farming, Furs, Animal Experiments, Commercial Hunting, Species Extinction, Etc.. all represent extreme cruelty to animals (in addition to being Environmentally Destructive, Unhealthy, and Unethical.)

The amount of water, energy, land, etc. it takes to produce 1 pound of meat is Abhorrent (those resources alone could eradicate world hunger). Meat eating is the single most destructive activity an individual can engage in with regards to its impact on our planet for future generations. Rain forests are slashed and burned to make room for the grazing of cattle along with the resources it takes up (i.e. energy). Agribusiness is a crime:

“The moral progress of a nation can be seen in how it treats it’s animals” - Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)

A New Paradigm:
Need to eliminate the billions/year in oil subsidies (At a time they are making record profits?) and reinvest into alternatives. Nano-shell technology will be the next generation of solar power. It will be capable of harvesting more energy from all structures (Roads, buildings, homes, etc.) by tapping into a larger spectrum of light (U.V.). The smaller particles also provide a larger surface area for absorption. Decentralized power which is fed back into the main grid.

We require systems which run parallel to natural ones, not against them. For example, regional, closed-loop (No waste, cradle to cradle), self-sufficient,& decentralized systems (Horizontal vs. Hierarchical). Sustainable systems which are NOT based on constant economic growth & consumption. The organization of self-managed, egalitarian, and highly co-operative societies.

Vegetarianism, Wind, Co-generation, Geothermal, Permaculture, Smarter Buildings& Cities Where People Live Where They Work, Tidal Energy, Bio-Fuels, Hemp,Solar, etc.. 1000s of Solutions.

“The more our world looks and function more like nature, the more likely we are to be accepted on this home that is ours, but not ours alone” – Benyus

This may include *Bio-Regions* (An area bounded by natural rather than artificial borders, for example, watersheds OR catchment areas).

The second element under such a system I ‘imagine’ would be a truly representative global senate with global standards with regards to human rights(which would include a sustainable environment) along with equal and proportional representation from each of these ‘sustainable autonomous regions 'or 'bio-regions'. I feel these global standards are important since water and air transcend political boundaries, sometimes referred to 'the tragedy of the commons' which results in a race to the bottom with regards to our natural environment.

*If We Ended Subsidies To Big Oil & Reinvested Into Alternatives, The Research, Development, & Implementation Of These Technologies Would Be Fully Realized Much Sooner*

Resources could easily be redirected to end poverty and ecological destruction. For example, a FRACTION of the money spent on the military industrial complex could eradicate hunger (Food, Not Bombs!), and all other social and ecological problems humanity faces (saving lives instead of taking them).

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