Category Archives: Ecowatch

The End of Cheap Food Is it Temporary or Prelude to Global Famine?

“Hadn’t you heard, the age of cheap food is over?”, Ibu Susan retorted tersely one day a couple of years back as I was grumbling to her about the succession of price hikes on a number of staple items. Decent olive oil for example, acceptable soy milk, a nice piece of fresh fish, non-rancid walnuts, even plain old legumes or oatmeal, not to mention fresh blueberries. You know, the every day things that keep us expats happy. Well, yes actually, I did sort of know but I hadn’t really adjusted to the reality of expensive food. I still haven’t, though ... [ Read More ]

Then & Now: Forty Years on & Eco-Catastrophe is One Big Yawn

  It wasn’t always so. Forty years ago, 20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Fifth Avenue in New York City was closed to automobiles as 100,000 people joined in concerts, lectures, and street theater. More than 2,000 colleges and universities across America interrupted their anti-war protests to rally instead against pollution and population growth. Even the US Congress recessed, acknowledging that the environment was now on a political par with motherhood. Everything was in place for the single largest national demonstration in American history, the Cuyahoga River had burst into flames, an oil ... [ Read More ]

Climate Change: The Long & Winding Road to Cancun Norwegians put Developed World to Shame

With a qualified result, at best, achieved in Copenhagen last December, progress toward reducing the world’s green house gas (GHG) emissions appears to have stalled, pending the next major conference on climate change COP16, scheduled for Mexico this coming December. Some progress appeared to have been made at Copenhagen toward reducing the destruction of tropical rain forest, but concerns are this may be negated by their re-zoning for palm oil plantations and the like. Additionally, some 83 countries, accounting for 78% of world GHG emissions, this month reported their plans for GHG reductions. While this is qualified good news, it ... [ Read More ]

Cast Your Fate to the Winds… . Looking to the Great & the Good for Eco-Salvation?

What on earth are we to believe when it comes to global   warming and the health of our planet? For every scientific claim that says unless we take drastic action now we are headed for catastrophic climate change, that the planet is grossly overpopulated and we will be unable to feed ourselves, that pretty soon most of our major cities will lie beneath the sea, that the tundra and glaciers are melting away – there are other scientific claims to say such claims are not just flat wrong, but in fact the exact opposite is true. How can that be? ... [ Read More ]

Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Eco-Culpa… .

Once again BBC’s Channel 4 sets the cat among the eco-pigeons with a documentary where Green Movement luminaries old and new recant their views, eat humble pie and espouse nuclear energy, GM food and hi-tech solutions to save the world from Global Warming. Let’s get one thing out of the way: climate change is a fact, and anyone who disagrees is a wilfully ignorant Twit. Now we’re agreed, let’s dispense with the name-calling, climb down from the barricades and take a look at the issue in a calm, productive fashion. ….that in a genetically modified nutshell was the message in ... [ Read More ]

The End of Cheap Food Is it Temporary or Prelude to Global Famine?

“Hadn’t you heard, the age of cheap food is over?”, Ibu Susan retorted tersely one day a couple of years back as I was grumbling to her about the succession of price hikes on a number of staple items. Decent olive oil for example, acceptable soy milk, a nice piece of fresh fish, non-rancid walnuts, even plain old legumes or oatmeal, not to mention fresh blueberries. You know, the every day things that keep us expats happy. Well, yes actually, I did sort of know but I hadn’t really adjusted to the reality of expensive food. I still haven’t, though ... [ Read More ]

Goodbye to Cheap Food… Hello, Malthus & Pigweed

Even without taking into account the negative effects of climate change on our food supply, how is the world going to feed itself in years to come? If world population continues to grow at the rate it is we could be looking at a world population of some 12 billion by 2050. Until quite recently few seemed to see this as a problem. Since the 1960s the Malthusian nightmare of an overpopulated starving planet had all but disappeared, to be replaced by the broad sunny uplands of agricultural surplus, miracle rice, butter mountains, wine lakes and a superabundance of wheat, ... [ Read More ]

Lovelock’s Cull or Monbiot’s Snowflake? No wonder we Opt for the Ostrich Option… .

If the polls tell us that ordinary people are denying the reality of global warming, as indeed they do, the collective unconscious is telling us a different story. I can’t think of a time when there have been so many and such bleak books and movies about our post-apocalyptic future – and disconcertingly, not in the distant future either. The current genre really kicks off in the 1980s with Mad Max running via The Handmaiden’s Tale, Waterworld until the last 12 months, when we seem to have gone into overdrive with 2012, The Road, Legion and The Book of Eli ... [ Read More ]

The “Skeptical Environmentalist” Recants  ‘Just Kidding! Climate Change is Real’, he says….

Do you remember Bjorn Lomborg, the peroxide mop-topped Danish business lecturer who won fame and fortune back in 2001 with a tendentious yet readable book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which told us that doing anything about climate change was a waste of our time and money? Now, just on ten years later, he tells us he’s changed his mind. Not only was he flat wrong, he says, and we must act immediately but we need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year for the better part of a century to fix things. Well, thanks a lot Bjorn. Maybe you ... [ Read More ]

Homo Sapiens: Long term prognosis – promising “One last chance“ says Prof. Gaia, but warns 90% cull by Century’s end probable

As scepticism about climate change seems to be gaining traction around the world, a group of international scientists hit back last month with a comprehensive report reinforcing the facts and figures behind global warming. It not only updates the information of the UN’s IPCC report of 2007, but shows the situation is actually quite a bit worse. Isolated errors in scientific methodology do not negate the fact that climate change is real and likely to have catastrophic effects for us if we cannot control it, says Prof. David Karoly of Melbourne University. While most of us hope we can muddle ... [ Read More ]