The Crate and Barrel catalogue came in the mail today. I found my wife looking at it while having a cup of tea. Quite innocent on the surface. But when one thinks that this slick and glossy catalogue of 80 pages is for the most part not made with recycled paper and the ink is toxic and multiply it by maybe five to ten thousand different companies sending their own catalogue to millions of people across the country the scale of it becomes enormous. The amount of virgin forest cut down for these hundreds of millions maybe billions of pages which mostly are thrown away, and some hopefully recycled, makes one begin to think of the environmental cost. The toxic ink that is used has to go somewhere, where? Not all these printing companies are socially and ecologically responsible. This is not to cite Crate and Barrel as irresponsible they do have a sense of social responsibility and do use some recycled paper and much of their paper comes from managed forests. The problem is the volume of all publications published daily across America. This is only one small environmental issue out of an array of issues that assail the planet. With the Copenhagen conference looming there are many who feel that the will to make meaningful change to stop and reverse climate change as a result of global warming is just not there.
There is pessimism about the future and what we can do, Paul Kingsnorth in the Guardian.co.uk November 24, 2009, said,"We have pushed back the forests, denuded the oceans, exhausted the soil, tipped other species into extinction, expanded our population to the point where we can barely feed ourselves, and changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere. There is no quick fix for this, and possibly no fix at all. Our systems are not designed for it. An economy predicated on constant growth cannot be the engine of a change that urgently demands less of it. Democracies predicated on giving their consumer citizens what they want are unable to tell them what they cannot have. And the psychology of a culture that reacts in horror to any pothole on the road to utopia is not well placed to take a different path." This is not an optimistic view but one I share. Kyoto was not an overwhelming success although it did some small good. Most industrialized nations still pollute and contribute to the problem. Credit must be given to western Europe who have led the way in environmental conservation but it is not enough. One of the markers for continued warming and disintegration of the environment is the levels co2 in the atmosphere which continues to rise. A co2 level of 350 ppm is considered the maximum safe level for the planet. For October 2009 the level is now 384.38 ppm. For a complete report and discussion go to co2now.org. Scientists see this as the key danger. If strong actions are not taken at Copenhagen, well then, all bets for a future are off. Future generations will vilify us for our failure to act when we could have made a difference, because they will pay the price for our indifference and negligence.
Some really important videos
Reality is not good, we are definitely going in the wrong direction
This one is scary. Do you feel luck, well do you, punk?
World Without Oil