At the start of the 21st century, humankind finds itselfAt the start of the 21st century, humankind finds itself
on a non-sustainable course – a course that, unlesson a non-sustainable course – a course that, unless
it is changed, will lead to catastrophes of awesomeit is changed, will lead to catastrophes of awesome
consequences. At the same time, we are unlockingconsequences. At the same time, we are unlocking
formidable new capabilities that could lead to muchformidable new capabilities that could lead to much
more exciting lives and glorious civilization.more exciting lives and glorious civilization.
We live on a small, beautiful and totally isolatedWe live on a small, beautiful and totally isolated
planet, but its population is becoming too large, andplanet, but its population is becoming too large, and
growing rapidly in its desire to consume products thatgrowing rapidly in its desire to consume products that
need resources beyond what the earth can provide.need resources beyond what the earth can provide.
Technology is becoming powerful enough to wreckTechnology is becoming powerful enough to wreck
the planet. We are traveling at breakneck speed intothe planet. We are traveling at breakneck speed into
an age of extremes – extremes in wealth andan age of extremes – extremes in wealth and
poverty, extremes in technology and the experimentspoverty, extremes in technology and the experiments
that scientists want to perform, extreme forces ofthat scientists want to perform, extreme forces of
globalism, weapons of mass destruction andglobalism, weapons of mass destruction and
terrorists acting in the name of religion. If we are toterrorists acting in the name of religion. If we are to
survive decently, we have to learn how to managesurvive decently, we have to learn how to manage
this situationthis situation
Only 10% of edible fish remain in the oceans, and this percentage is
Shark Net Cod caught in a Net, Gulf of Maine
The conservation group World Wildlife Fund predicts that if cod
fisheries continue to be fished at current rates, there will be no cod
left by 2022. "Seventy-five percent of fisheries are overfished," says
marine biologist Enric Sala. "If nothing changes, all fisheries will
have collapsed by 2050."
In the past half century, the biomass of the large
predatory fish around the planet fish – such as
tuna, swordfish, and marlin – has been reduced
by around 90% from their pre-industrial levels .
When we look at the overall impact of global
fishing, we see a gradual decrease in the size of
fish harvested, but the total mass of global has
not decreased. As larger fish become over-
fished, their prey often become abundant, and
fishermen harvest these until they too become
depleted. This serial depletion, also called
fishing down the food web, has an inevitable
ultimate outcome: the fish are gone, and jelly fish
populations explode in size and replace the fish.
Recovery of fish populations then becomes
even more difficult. Already, in places such as
Japan, we are looking for ways to try to harvest
and eat the jellyfish, whose nutritional value must
be close to zero.
Total Bad &
Bad & Fuel
1 Japan 13.246.743 2.807.057 544.726 579.231 1.115.000 1.659.726 5.046.014 38% 13%
2 India 2.420.746 240.192 3.876.459 148.067 233.000 4.109.459 4.497.718 186% 170%
3 China Main 11.458.631 11.999 365.851 484.599 1.814.000 2.179.851 2.676.449 23% 19%
4 Brazil 1.209.149 74.956 1.910.554 3.708 61.000 1.971.554 2.050.218 170% 163%
5 Russian Fed. 2.762.636 574.552 470.981 149.569 491.000 961.981 1.686.102 61% 35%
6 Denmark 778.109 161.825 1.037.747 75.907 1.037.747 1.275.479 164% 133%
7 USA 4.546.673 936.600 92.210 29.900 184.000 276.210 1.242.710 27% 6%
8 Philippines 1.650.629 102.324 413.886 100.962 165.600 579.486 782.772 47% 35%
9 Gabon 60.135 4.267 740.787 132 5.000 745.787 750.186 1248% 1240%
10 Canada 2.922.195 202.550 162.550 267.498 93.000 255.550 725.598 25% 9%
11 Argentina 2.211.345 52.576 333.908 213.242 115.000 448.908 714.726 32% 20%
Korea 3.342.446 53.511 276.845 29.453 331.000 607.845 690.809 21% 18%
13 Malaysia 2.573.341 1.723 534.595 0 116.000 650.595 652.318 25% 25%
14 Thailand 1.960.883 24.625 221.285 119.939 241.000 462.285 606.849 31% 24%
15 Indonesia 1.622.452 84.546 226.077 99.239 171.000 397.077 580.862 36% 24%
16 Micronesia 260.143 16.126 563.681 0 563.681 579.807 223% 217%
17 Spain 1.413.688 30.847 326.667 92.729 122.000 448.667 572.243 40% 32%
18 Taiw an 1.749.892 25.875 233.312 14.500 120.000 353.312 393.687 22% 20%
19 France 1.286.697 61.513 195.191 16.697 94.000 289.191 367.401 29% 22%
20 Australia 1.672.498 54.374 56.318 199.000 41.000 97.318 350.692 21% 6%
TOTAL Top 20 59.149.031 5.522.038 12.583.630 2.624.372 5.512.600 18.096.230 26.242.640 44% 31%
Source: Sumaila, U.R. and D. Pauly (Editors) 2007 2nd version. Catching More Bait: A Bottom-up Re-estimation of Global Fisheries Subsidies.
Fisheries Centre Research Reports Vol. 14(6) 115 pp [w w w .fisheries.ubc.ca/publications/reports/fcrr.php]Ranked by Total Subsidies
**Good Subsidies are programs that lead to investment in natural capital assets to a social optimum such as management and research.
***Bad subsidies are programs that support and lead to increases in fishing capacity, such as boat construction and modernization and fishing
sector infrastructure.****Ugly subsidies are programs that can increase capacity depending on the context and implementation, such as decommissioning programs.
We gathered these items in the Pacific's vast Trash Vortex. The
word "Trash" is written in golf balls.
December 30, 2010 - The estimate comes from French and Belgian marine biologists who
analised water samples taken in July off France, northern Italy and Spain to a depth of 10-
15 centimetres. "The rough estimate is that there are roughly 250 billion pieces of micro-
debris in all the Mediterranean," said Francois Galgani, of the French Institute for
Exploration of the Sea.
The figure derives from 4,371 minute pieces of plastic -- average weight 1.8 milligrams
(0.00006 of an ounce) -- found in the samples, "which extrapolates to roughly 500 tonnes
for the entire Mediterranean," Galgani said.
We gathered these items in the Pacific's vast Trash Vortex. The
word "Trash" is written in golf balls.
The number of older persons has tripled over the last 50 years; it will more than
triple again over the next 50 years
Population aged 60 or over: world and
development regions, 1950-2050
Over the last half century, the number of
people aged 60 or older increased globally
by an average of 8 million persons every
year. Of this increase, 66 per cent occurred
in the less developed regions and 34 per
cent in the more developed regions. Over
the next half century, this trend will
intensify. In the more developed regions
the number of persons aged 60 or over will
increase by about 70 per cent, from 231
million in 2000 to 395 million in 2050. In
contrast, in the less developed regions the
older population will more than quadruple
during this same period, from 374 million to
1.6 billion. By 2050, nearly four fifths of the
world’s older population will be living in
the less developed regions
It took all of history for human
population to reach 2 billion, and
only one generation to more than
triple to nearly 7 billion.
2 billion / 7 billion
International trade in
increased more than 100
times (from $95 billion to
$12 trillion) in the
50 years following 1955.
In 2010 there are 476 urban areas with at least 1 million
people. That’s an increase of 573% from 1950 when there
were 83. Over half the world’s population now lives in
476 cities over 1 million
With the population growing to nine or even 10 billion by 2050, "the world will
see an enormous need for additional biomass produced in agriculture," warns
Franz Josef Rademacher, a mathematician in the southern German city of Ulm.
At the same time, millions of people are changing their lifestyles and eating
habits.The new middle class in Shanghai, Hanoi and Jakarta, no longer
satisfied with a diet of rice and beans, has a growing appetite for pizza and
pasta, burgers and pork chops. Meat consumption has doubled in the last 25
years and continues to grow. Meat production, though, requires large amounts
of feed. A hog farmer needs three kilos of feed to produce a kilo of pork, and
for beef the ratio is even higher: seven to one.Vast amounts of water are
needed to produce the grain that goes into feeding livestock.
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults
(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
No Data <10% 10%-14%
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults
(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
No Data <10% 10%-14% 15%-19% 20%-24% 25%-29% ≥30%
Almost half of all US adults are obese. So are more than one-third of Mexican adults and
one-quarter of adults in Australia and the United Kingdom. Even in sub-Saharan Africa,
obesity rates are rising sharply, particularly among urban residents. Many developing
countries now face yet another health dilemma: obesity rates are increasing even though
many people remain significantly malnourished.
Meat and dairy products
relative to fruits and
the subsidy figure
the obesity argument
Washington paid out a
quarter of a trillion dollars in
federal farm subsidies
between 1995 and 2009. With
the passage of the 2007
energy bill and 2008 farm bill,
Congress has managed to
devise an interlocking maze
of subsidies that, taken
together, force taxpayers to
spend billions of dollars no
matter what the condition of
the farm economy.
6 August 2010 - According to a new study by the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
subsidies for agriculture in industrialised countries rose to
around 252.5 billion dollars, or 22 percent of total farmers'
receipts in 2009 -- up from 21 percent in 2008.
The study, "Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries at a
Glance 2010", found that the European Union's subsidies for
farmers rose from 22 to 24 percent. In the period between 2007
and 2009, EU farmers received an average of 23 percent of
their gross receipts in form of direct financial support from the
The OECD represents the 30 most industrialised countries of
the world, including the U.S. and most members of the EU.
The subsidies for farmers in OECD countries have been at the
centre of a heated dispute for years, both at the level of the EU
and U.S. and within the larger framework of the World Trade
Organisation and its deadlocked Doha Development Round.
The EU spends about 75 billion dollars on subsidies for
agriculture, even though the sector represents only about two
percent of the total gross domestic product of the union.This
subsidies regime will only change in 2014.
In 1963, the surface of the Aral Sea measuredIn 1963, the surface of the Aral Sea measured
66,100 km2, with an average depth of 16 m and a66,100 km2, with an average depth of 16 m and a
maximum depth of 68 m. The salt content was 1%.maximum depth of 68 m. The salt content was 1%.
During the 1960s, upstream irrigation schemes forDuring the 1960s, upstream irrigation schemes for
growing rice and cotton consumed 90% of thegrowing rice and cotton consumed 90% of the
natural flow of water from the Tian Shan Mountains.natural flow of water from the Tian Shan Mountains.
By 1987, 27,000 km2 of former sea bottom of theBy 1987, 27,000 km2 of former sea bottom of the
Aral Sea had become dry land; about 60% volumeAral Sea had become dry land; about 60% volume
had been lost, its depth had declined by 14 m, andhad been lost, its depth had declined by 14 m, and
its salt concentration had doubled.its salt concentration had doubled.
Today, about 200,000 tonnes of salt and sand areToday, about 200,000 tonnes of salt and sand are
carried by the wind from the Aral Sea region everycarried by the wind from the Aral Sea region every
day, and dumped within a 300 km radius. The saltday, and dumped within a 300 km radius. The salt
pollution is decreasing the available agriculturepollution is decreasing the available agriculture
area, destroying pastures, and creating a shortagearea, destroying pastures, and creating a shortage
of forage for domestic animals. The number ofof forage for domestic animals. The number of
domestic animals in the region has become so lowdomestic animals in the region has become so low
that the government has issued a decree to reducethat the government has issued a decree to reduce
the slaughter of animals for foodthe slaughter of animals for food
Effects of 40 years of irrigation on the Aral Sea
Snow surrounding the Aral Sea in early January 2010.
1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth
of the world's population. Nearly half of the world's population fails to receive the level of
water services available 2,000 years ago to the citizens of ancient Rome.
The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water per day. The average African uses 5
gallons per day. The average person in the United Kingdom uses 35.66 gallons of water
per day…. Water is a $400 billion dollar global industry; the third largest behind electricity and
oil…. Half of the world’s 500 major rivers are seriously depleted or polluted. There are more than
300,000 contaminated groundwater sites in the United States.
Water stress measures the relative use of water to what is replenished naturally
by precipitation and snow melt.
23 September 2010 — The rate at which global groundwater stocks are
shrinking has more than doubled between 1960 and 2000, increasing the
amount lost from 126 to 283 cubic kilometers of water per year. Because the
total amount of groundwater in the world is unknown, it’s hard to say how fast
the global supply would vanish at this rate. But, if water was siphoned as
rapidly from the Great Lakes, they would go bone-dry in around 80 years.
Groundwater represents about 30 percent of the available fresh water on the
planet, with surface water accounting for only one percent.The rest of the
potable, agriculture friendly supply is locked up in glaciers or the polar ice
caps.This means that any reduction in the availability of groundwater
supplies could have profound effects for a growing human population.
The new assessment shows the highest rates of depletion in some of the
world’s major agricultural centers, including northwest India, northeastern
China, northeast Pakistan, California’s central valley, and the midwestern
August 12th, 2009 - A pair of satellites that
measures changes in the earth’s gravity has
shown that the intense irrigation of a 1,200-mile
swath of northern India is depleting
groundwater at a rate of 1.5 to 4 inches per
The satellites, part of a joint U.S.-German
mission known as GRACE (Gravity Recovery
and Climate Experiment), show that the region
— inhabited by 600 million people heavily
dependent on irrigated agriculture — is
withdrawing 13 cubic miles of water per year
from underground aquifers.
The map shows groundwater changes in India during 2002-08, with losses in red and gains in
blue, based on GRACE satellite observations. The estimated rate of depletion of groundwater in
northwestern India is 4.0 centimeters of water per year, equivalent to a water table decline of 33
centimeters per year. Increases in groundwater in southern India are due to recent above-
average rainfall, whereas rain in northwestern India was close to normal during the study period.
Earth Policy InstituteDesertification on the outskirts of the town of Annakila, Mali
Desertification and land degradation is "the greatest environmental challenge of our
time" and "a threat to global wellbeing“ - Luc Gnacadja, UN's top drylands official
“20cm of soil is all that stands between us and extinction," he told the Guardian.
Like a scene from a Hollywood
disaster movie, a towering cloud of
sand dwarfs the rows of uniform
houses as it descends on a small
village in central China.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences
estimates that the number of sandstorms
has jumped six-fold in the past 50 years
to two dozen a year. Around 80 per cent
of them occur between March and May.
4 January 2011 - Despite the world's biggest
tree-planting campaign, the relocation of
millions of "eco-migrants" and restrictions on
herding and farming, a new report noted the
"desertification trend has not fundamentally
There were small signs of improvement. In
the five years to 2010, the authors estimated
the area of desert had shrunk by an annual
average of 1,717 square kilometres. This was
40% better than the results from 2000-05, the
first in China's history to ever show a gain.
Expert warns it could take 300 years to recover desert land resulting from over-cultivation and
But 1.7m square kilometres - more than six times the area of the UK - is still covered in sand
dunes or gobi gravel desert. The government estimates that 530,000 square kilometres can be
restored through afforestation, protection and natural regeneration. But the time needed for
such an undertaking makes the Long March look like a weekend stroll.
"We've made progress, but we face a daunting challenge," said Liu Tuo, head of the
desertification control office in the state forestry administration. "It may take China 300 years.”
A child on a sand dune in Waixi, Gansu province, China, where desert is
Feb 7, 2008
During the past three
years, Brazil has
celebrated a 59%
reduction in the rate
However, in the past
40 years, nearly 20%
of the Amazon has
been cut down.
The Amazon—the world’s largest absorber of carbon dioxide, holding nearly 86
billion metric tons of carbon (about 11 years of recent carbon dioxide emissions)—
is being destroyed at an alarming rate. The primary cause is the clearing of land for
cattle. Additionally, the need for land in increased soybean production is also
becoming a more significant factor, as well as illegal logging.
Land clearing for palm oil is a
major source of deforestation in
Indonesia, where the clearing of
forests has pushed the country
into the position of the world's
third-highest carbon emitter.
Papua, which occupies the
western end of New Guinea
island, is a largely inaccessible
region of highlands and thick
forests that has been under the
control of Jakarta since the 1960s.
Palm oil companies have begun clearing massive swathes of untouched forest
in Indonesia's remote Papua region, environmental group Greenpeace
campaigner Bustar Maitar said.
In the past 50 years, a third of the world’s rainforests have been felled and burned, and
deforestation continues. The loss of natural tropical forests – both wet and dry forest –
amounts to 15 million hectares per year. Of this total, almost 6 million hectares are humid
tropical forests, or rainforests . It’s the equivalent of about 8.5 million football pitches a year,
or 23,483 pitches a day.
Although this deforestation averages a loss of less than 1% of the forests per year, it is
believed that after the loss of 30-40% of a rainforest, the remaining forest will become so
destabilised that it may collapse
• January 1, 2011 - Under the central
scenario in a new International Energy
Agency (IEA) report, world power
demand will shoot up 2.2% per year
between 2008 and 2035. More than
80% of that growth will come from
developing countries—led by China
and followed by India—spurred by
economic activity, industrial
production, population, and
urbanization. China’s energy demand
is foreseen to surge a stunning 75%
between 2008 and 2035, when it will
account for 22% of world demand.
• China will lead the surge in electricity generation growth, and power demand in
the country is expected to triple between 2008 and 2035. To put this into
perspective, the IEA says, “Over the next 15 years, China is projected to add
generating capacity equivalent to the current total installed capacity of the U.S.”.
Recently, Shell Europe's VP, Tom Botts, expressed: "There is no more easy oil, and the
subsea industry is critical to unlocking more oil to meet world supply.”
One thing is for certain, higher oil prices causing a greater interest in deep water offshore
drilling. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is one of the areas experiencing a boom. Production is
projected to increase between 22% and 45% in 2008, with the growth being attributed to
Considering oil prices are over 50% higher compared to last year, producers are able to
work on projects that would have been uneconomical when oil was $30 a barrel, and now
more offshore drillers are starting to look deeper. Last year, there were more rigs drilling in
the ultra deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico than ever before.
water drilling comes with
a price. In 2007, Brazil
reported the discovery of
a massive offshore oil
field. The Tupi discovery
boosted Brazil's proven
oil reserves more than
But don't let this
fool you. It's
going to take a lot
of time and
money to bring
projected growth in worldwide
energy demand by 2030
kilowatt-hours wasted each
year by consumers due to
insufficient power usage
lost due to outages and
interruptions in electric power
(just in the U.S.)
emissions created by
power generation, the
in infrastructure spending could be saved over
the next 20 years through better management of
existing assets (in the U.S. alone)
15% reduction in
when consumers were offered the opportunity
to save and average of 10% on their electric
More than 100 million people are estimated to be at risk from toxic pollution at levels above
international health standards.This is a public health issue as salient as tuberculosis, malaria,
and HIV/AIDS. Toxic pollution causes immense harm to humans, especially children.
Health impacts include physical and mental disabilities, reduced IQ, organ dysfunction,
neurological disorders, cancers, reduced life expectancy, and death. An initial exposure to
toxic pollution can be the undocumented cause of later illnesses, including respiratory
infections, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal disorders, and maternal health problems. In
addition, while most toxic pollution is localized, some pollutants, such as mercury and
persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are transboundary and end up in food chains in oceans
and distant countries
Last year, ten Washington residents agreed to testing of their hair, blood, and urine for
the presence of toxic chemicals as part of an investigative study by the Toxic-Free
Legacy Coalition..We tested for six groups of chemicals: phthalates; PBDEs; the heavy
metals arsenic, lead, and mercury; perfluorinated chemicals like those used to make
Teflon; pesticides; and the banned but persistent chemicals PCBs and DDT.
Every participant was contaminated with phthalates, found in myriad everyday products.
The same is true for perfluorinated chemicals, used to make Teflon and stain-protection
treatments for paper and textiles.
Every participant had PCBs in his or her blood, despite a decades-old ban on the
Every participant had PBDEs in his or her blood. Dr. Patricia Dawson had PBDEs in her
body at levels close to those that cause reproductive problems in laboratory animals.
We found a marker for the carcinogen pesticide carbaryl in five of ten participants
Three of our ten participants had mercury exposures above the Environmental Protection
Agency’s “safe” levels.
Even Laurie Valeriano, toxic chemical expert and regular organic shopper, tested positive
for more than two dozen chemicals.
• Last Long a subject of debate, the
cause of the infamous brown cloud
that hovers over the Indian Ocean and
South Asia every winter has finally
been discovered. Researchers led by
Dr Orjan Gustafsson from the
University of Stockholm in Sweden
announced in Science that 70 percent
of the cloud is made up of soot from
the burning of biomasses, largely
wood and animal dung used for
Shantytowns with extreme violence and poverty are growing in many parts of the
world. Youth there have no hope.
Image taken on a cellphone through a car
window in Lagos, Nigeria, which depicted a
group of men walking down the street with a
hyena in chains.
Nigerian newspapers reported these men
were bank robbers, bodyguards, drug
dealers, debt collectors... I eventually
tracked down a Nigerian reporter, who said
he knew the ‘Gadawan Kura’ as they are
known in Hausa (a rough translation: ‘hyena
Europeans invariably only ask about the
welfare of the animals. Instead, perhaps, we
could ask why these performers need to
catch wild animals to make a living..”
Imagine for a moment that in 2004 the government had
required every major financial institution in the U.S to
publish their investment positions. All of them with all
data about the underlying mortgage pools, defaults so
The loans that crashed the system, were [mostly]
written from 2005 through the early days of 2007.
Opening the banks' books would have revealed just how
near the edge they were playing. This would have been a
crisis of a sort; the housing bubble would have popped.
But popping the bubble two years earlier would have
avoided the worst of the damage.
A Senate study in 2002 found that the SEC had
managed to fully review just 16 percent of the nearly
15,000 annual reports that companies submitted in the
previous fiscal year; the recently disgraced Enron hadn't
been reviewed in a decade. http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_reboot?currentPage=all
Infectious pandemics could spread at unstoppable rates, as they have in the past,
but now with the capability to kill enormous numbers of people
• In the past it was fairly easy to contain certain
diseases. That was before you could fly from
one point on the earth to any other point
within 24 hours. Air travel has changed the
way diseases flow.
• Most diseases take a little bit of time for
symptoms to develop. As we jet from place to
place some passenger could be carrying a
deadly virus within and no visible clues
showing. By the time that the person is
gasping for breath several cities globally
could be having sick people spreading the
virus without a clue. Welcome to the 21st
Century Pandemic. Modern man has created
the perfect route of traffic for wide spread
"I feel schizophrenic myself. Half
the time I feel really depressed
when I look at say climate change
or the potential to misuse
technology. But then I get really
excited about how we are
reinventing ourselves through
Marina Gorbis, Institute for the
PausaPausa –– Visite Nuestro BarVisite Nuestro Bar