Monbiot on UN report and the BBC

31 10 2007

Never one to hold back, the British author and intellectual discusses the latest UN environment report and decries BBC self-censorship.

Buried on page 148, I found this statement. “If present trends continue, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025, and two thirds of the world population could be subject to water stress.” Wastage and deforestation are partly to blame, but the biggest cause of the coming droughts is climate change. Rainfall will decline most in the places in greatest need of water. So how, unless we engineer a sudden decline in carbon emissions, is the world to be fed? How, in many countries, will we prevent the social collapse that failure will cause?

and later,

Who will persuade us to act? However strong the opposition parties’ policies appear to be, they cannot be sustained unless the voters move behind them. We won’t be prompted by the media. The BBC drops Planet Relief for fear of breaching its impartiality guidelines: heaven forbid that it should come out against mass death. But it broadcasts a programme – Top Gear – that puts a match to its guidelines every week, and now looks about as pertinent as the Black and White Minstrel Show. The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don’t offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, is hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.

Read the whole article here.


Tony McMichael on ABC radio

29 10 2007

Professor Tony McMichael speaks here to the AM program on the health effects of climate change. Tony, who is now based at ANU, is considered to be one of the world’s leading epidemiologists and is a lead IPCC author.

Hear his short audio clip here.

Prof Tony McMichael


26 10 2007


My apologies for spoiling your breakfast. Via the SMH, a new UN report suggests that we are well beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity and many millions of people are suffering from disability or death related to environmental harms. Hard not to feel paralysed by such grim tidings. It will take unprecedented global co-operation to avoid catastrophic damage to the Earth’s living systems (and to human life and wellbeing).



Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor
October 26, 2007

THE most authoritative scientific report on the planet’s health has found water, land, air, plants, animals and fish stocks are all in “inexorable decline” as 2007 became the first year in human history when most of the world’s population lived in cities.

The United Nations’ Global Environment Outlook-4 report, released in New York, reveals a scale of unprecedented ecological damage, with more than 2 million people possibly dying prematurely of air pollution and close to 2 billion likely to suffer absolute water scarcity by 2025.

Put bluntly, the report warns that the 6.75 billion world population, “has reached a stage where the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available”.

And it says climate change, the collapse of fish stocks and the extinction of species “may threaten humanity’s very survival”…………..

-continued here.

For an interesting contrast, here are the top 20 search terms on Yahoo (US) right now:

Halloween costumes.
Dancing with the Stars.
Britney Spears.
California Fire.
Soulja Boy.
Jessica Alba.
San Diego Fire.
Jennifer Lopez.
Sarah Welch.
Beyonce Knowles.
Boston Red Sox.

I guess its good to see people aren’t panicking over the news from the UN.

Government greenwash parody

9 10 2007

Well done to the team at Get Up who aired this send up during the Australian Rules Football Grand Final.