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Posts Tagged ‘Climate change’

The Consciousness Project – Hopeful Solutions for Epic Problems

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 2, 2013

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Jim Walsh

Deepak-chopraAs founders and backers, we are announcing a major initiative to solve the epic problems that the world faces. Leading the way is global warming, with its eventual threat of mass extinction if worse comes to worst.

But climate change is linked to globalization, economic upheaval, overpopulation, and hostile tensions in the world’s hot spots. The link, we believe, is consciousness, and the only way to solve our epic problems is to arrive at an understanding of consciousness that will benefit humanity.

Whether in the short run or the long run, the choice is between a deteriorating planet or a new paradigm.

The existing paradigm is scientific, as we all know. Objective science is the hallmark of society today. It has an unrivaled power base. Its description of reality has molded the modern world. Its worldview holds sway over universities, governments and the public at large. Everyone who participates in the consensus view of reality has been touched by it. But the role of the observer has puzzled and intrigued physics since the quantum revolution a century ago. We feel that this issue offers a crucial opening for expanding the role of science.

As a counterpoint to the science juggernaut, there is another view of reality supported by loosely aligned groups in religion, philosophy, and a minority in science. Their worldview is consciousness-based. Whatever their differences, supporters of consciousness place mind first in Nature and matter second. Such a worldview has no significant financial backing comparable to mainstream science. It has been excluded from experimentation in major universities and all but banished from respectability, depending on the rich heritage, East and West, of saints, sages, and seers who fall outside the scientific method. Read the rest of this entry »

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Environment: Nile, Ganges to flood more as planet warms

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 11, 2013

imagesClimate change is likely to worsen floods on rivers such as the Ganges, the Nile and the Amazon this century while a few, including the now-inundated Danube, may become less prone, a Japanese-led scientific study said on Sunday.

The findings will go some way to help countries prepare for deluges that have killed thousands of people worldwide and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage every year in the past decade, experts wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Given enough warning, governments can bring in flood barriers, building bans on flood plains, more flood-resistant crops and other measures to limit damage.

Overall, a “large increase” in flood frequency is expected in south-east Asia, central Africa and much of South America this century, the experts in Japan and Britain wrote.

Severe floods would happen more often on most of the 29 rivers reviewed in detail, including the Yangtze, Mekong and Ganges in Asia, the Niger, the Congo and the Nile in Africa, the Amazon and the Parana in Latin America and the Rhine in Europe.

Flooding would become less frequent in a handful of river basins including the Mississippi in the United States, the Euphrates in the Middle East and the Danube in Europe.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Krugman: ‘Chinese Growth Is A Wonderful Human Success Story That Could Kill Us All’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 13, 2012

Chris CheisriePaul Krugman considers China a mortal threat in one key respect: climate change.

“If you worry about climate change and stuff like that, then China is — Chinese growth is a wonderful human success story that could kill us all,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist said at the New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday.

He also noted, “To some extent actually, we are hurt by Chinese growth. … There are scarce natural resources, and we are in fact competing for limited supplies of oil, minerals, etc.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Carbon Pollution Up to 2 Million Pounds a Second

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 3, 2012

video-why-act-on-carbon-pollution-now1(WASHINGTON) — The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it’s now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple degrees, which is an international goal.

The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet’s top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.

Last year, all the world’s nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That’s about a billion tons more than the previous year.

(MORE: Cutting Carbon Means More than Fancy Bookkeeping)

The total amounts to more than 2.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide released into the air every second.

Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely but “rather optimistic” to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to 2 degrees, said the study’s lead author, Glen Peters at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

Three years ago, nearly 200 nations set the 2-degree temperature goal in a nonbinding agreement. Negotiators now at a conference under way in Doha, Qatar, are trying to find ways to reach that target. Read the rest of this entry »

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2012 UN Climate Talks In Doha, Qatar Face Multiple Challenges

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2012

AP  |  By

Doha Climate Conference

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — As nearly 200 countries meet in oil-and-gas-rich Qatar for annual talks starting Monday on slowing global warming, one of the main challenges will be raising climate aid for poor countries at a time when budgets are strained by financial turmoil.

Rich countries have delivered nearly $30 billion in grants and loans promised in 2009, but those commitments expire this year. And a Green Climate Fund designed to channel up to $100 billion annually to poor countries has yet to begin operating.

Borrowing a buzzword from the U.S. budget debate, Tim Gore of the British charity Oxfam said developing countries, including island nations for whom rising sea levels pose a threat to their existence, stand before a “climate fiscal cliff.”

“So what we need for those countries in the next two weeks are firm commitments from rich countries to keep giving money to help them to adapt to climate change,” he told The Associated Press on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Climate Change Kill the Mayans?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 10, 2012

By 

There are a lot of things that didn’t kill the Mayans: asteroid strikes, planet-wide quakes, global cataclysms prophesied by  shamans and etched into ancient calendars. What did wipe them out was likely something that is far less mystical, and indeed is entirely familiar to modern civilizations: climate change. If you want a look at what we could face in the decades and  centuries ahead, look at what one of the world’s greatest cultures suffered a millennium ago. That’s the conclusion of a  newly released study and what it lacks in Hollywood-friendly drama, it makes up in sound — and scary — science.

The arc of the Mayan rise and fall is well known: The civilization first took hold in 1,800 BC, in the Central American region that now includes and surrounds Guatemala. It grew slowly until about 250 A.D. At that point, a great expansion of the culture — known to archaeologists as the Classic Period —  began and continued to 900 A.D., yielding the architectural, political and textual artifacts that have so mesmerized scientists. But a decline began around 800 A.D. and led to a final collapse about 300 years later.

The Mayan arc was  hardly smooth and steady, and there were periods of turbulence and decline even during the golden era. The great settlement of El Mirador, which once might have been home to 100,000 people, collapsed around 300 A.D, for example. From the fifth to eights centuries A.D., there was an explosion of the rich tablet texts that provided so many insights into how the Mayans lived and worked. Suddenly, however,  starting in 775 A.D., the number of texts began to plunge by as much as 50%, a bellwether of a culture that was declining too.

(MoreHow the Drought of 2012 Will Make Your Food More Expensive)

There have been a lot of theories for what accounted for such cycles, with climate among the most-mentioned. The better the year-to-year weather — with plenty of rainfall and reasonably steady and predictable temperatures — the better crops do, and the more the culture and economy can expand. The texts have hinted at declines in productivity, perhaps climate-related, coinciding with generations of unrest, but there was never a precise way to confirm those writings. Analysis of lake sediments can yield a reliable reading of the levels of sulfur, oxygen isotopes and other atmospheric markers at various points in history, which reveal a lot about rainfall and other critical variables. But the Mayans themselves often unwittingly disturbed those sediments, with deforestation — including wide-scale burnings — and fishing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Climate Change and Sandy: Why We Need to Prepare for a Warmer World

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 4, 2012

By 

SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS
Homes devastated by fire and the effects of Hurricane Sandy are seen at the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York City on Oct. 30, 2012.

After a campaign season in which it was the missing in action issueclimate change roared back into relevancy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Bill McKibben, the writer-turned-activist behind 350.org, put it in stark terms. “This is an absolutely unprecedented storm,” he told POLITICO on Monday evening. “This entire year should be a seriously wake-up call—and the public’s beginning to get it.”

Some scientists and science writers, however, were just as quick to caution that we can’t really attribute any single weather event to climate change—and that tropical cyclones like Sandy have proved particularly hard to connect to global warming. Andrew Revkin of Dot Earth drew a clear line against attributing Sandy directly to recent man-made warming, noting that there had been periods in the past when strong hurricanes occurred during cooler years:

There remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms — on time scales from decades to centuries – to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 31, 2012

By George Lakoff, Author, The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant!

Comment: We are responsible to all disasters. We already knew this, however; we did pretend because we thought this will not happen to ourselves. Now what to say, whom to blame?

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation. When causation is direct, the wordcause is unproblematic.

Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism. In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal. And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Richard Muller: ‘Humans Are Almost Entirely The Cause’ Of Climate Change

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 30, 2012

The Huffington Post  |  By z

Richard Muller Climate Change

“Humans are almost entirely the cause” of climate change, according to a scientistwho once doubted that global warming even existed.

Last year, Richard Muller walked backyears of climate change skepticism in light of new research. But Sunday’s comments go one step further.

Muller wrote in an NYT op-ed that after exhaustive research, he believes that an increase of greenhouse gases can be closely linked to the rise in the earth’s temperature. He explains:

Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases

However, Muller said that he did not believe that the recent heat waves or Hurricane Katrina were caused by global warming. Read the rest of this entry »

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CLIMATE COST

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 25, 2012

The continental U.S. has just experienced the hottest 12 month period in recorded history. The West is on fire. The Maldives are going underwater and California can expect a sea level rise of six inches in less than 20 years.

An increasing number of studies are making the connections between human activities, climate change and a rise in extreme weather events. While it is difficult to point to climate change as causing a single weather event without in-depth research, patterns are emerging.

Scientists warn that climate change will bring an increase in heat waves, droughts, floods and worsening storms. Not a rosy forecast for our future, let alone our children’s future. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

By 

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today.

Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Brain research over the last generation has confirmed the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Our left cerebral hemisphere is the place where language is generated and received. It serves a linguistic consciousness with which we describe and think about the world. On the other side, our silent right brain hemisphere serves an unconscious awareness that cannot be coded in language. Non-verbal contemplative practices — such as being quietly present in the natural world, “open presence” meditation, tai chi chuan or yoga — elicit sustained awareness rooted in the unconscious. We are fully aware of what is happening, within and around us. Yet such experiences cannot be put into (or directed by) words because they are served by modules for sensory awareness in the right hemisphere. Focusing attention in the present suspends the usual executive functions of the conscious mind, so that the resources of the unconscious may unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Climate Change Strategy: Flee

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 3, 2012

By ALICIA CHANG and JASON DEAREN  AP Share on Google+

Beach Communities

LOS ANGELES — Years of ferocious storms have threatened to gnaw away the western tip of a popular beachfront park two hours drive north of Los Angeles. Instead of building a 500-foot-long wooden defense next to the pier to tame the tide, the latest thinking is to flee.

Work is under way to gauge the toll of ripping up parking lots on the highly eroded west end of Goleta Beach County Park and moving a scenic bike path and buried utility lines inland away from lapping waves.

Up and down the California coast, some communities are deciding it’s not worth trying to wall off the encroaching ocean. Until recently, the thought of bowing to nature was almost unheard of.

But after futile attempts to curb coastal erosion – a problem expected to grow worse with rising seas fueled by global warming – there is growing acknowledgment that the sea is relentless and any line drawn in the sand is likely to eventually wash over.

“I like to think of it as getting out of the way gracefully,” said David Revell, a senior coastal scientist at ESA PWA, a San Francisco-based environmental consulting firm involved in Goleta and other planned retreat projects.

The issue of whether to stay or flee is being confronted around the globe. Places experimenting with retreat have adopted various strategies. In Britain, for example, several sites along the Essex coast have deliberately breached seawalls to create salt marshes, which act as a natural barrier to flooding. Read the rest of this entry »

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A new plan to save the planet

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 17, 2012

In three days, world leaders could agree to a plan that could stop climate change! The plan would transfer the $1 trillion our governments give to polluters every year and invest it in renewable energy. Key leaders including President Obama support ending these crazy payments, and he is hosting the G8 summit this weekend. Let’s build a massive public campaign for Obama to lead this plan that could literally save our planet! Sign the urgent petition:

Sign the petition

This weekend, the eight most powerful leaders in the world will meet at the G8 summit and could agree to a plan that could literally stop climate change!

It’s crazy, but right now, our governments give nearly $1 trillion a year of our taxpayer money to Big Oil and Coal to destroy our planet. Key leaders, including President Obama who is hosting the G8, have already agreed to stop these polluter payments. Now, if we demand they act on their word and divert this huge sum into renewable energy, experts say we could actually save our planet!

It’s a simple no-brainer that our leaders have already agreed to. Let’s hold their feet to the fire, and push President Obama to lead the world’s largest economies to turn these polluting subsidies green. Sign the urgent petition below and forward this to everyone — a massive campaign now can force them from talk to action:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/a_new_plan_to_save_the_planet/?vl

The only reason we shovel cash into the coffers of Big Oil is their lobbyists have a stranglehold on our governments. But if we demand that our leaders green our tax-money, we’ll increase total global green investment by 400% making solar and wind energy cheaper than oil and coal — in the process saving the planet by putting Big Oil out of business!

We’re rapidly reaching a point of no return on climate change and a treaty to prevent catastrophe is years off. Fortunately, momentum behind this new planet saving plan is building. New Zealand, Mexico and Switzerland are calling for an agreement now, and policy makers from 20 countries including the US, Brazil, and China have just voiced their support. All G8 leaders have publicly committed to ending these dirty subsidies, and right now President Obama is pushing for US legislation to stop them.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Global Warming Is No Longer a Future Problem, It’s a Now Event

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 29, 2012

By Jason Mraz, Singer songwriter

This past February, 2012, on the day after the Superbowl, I achieved enlightenment on a flight from Ushuaia Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, headed back to The United States.

It wasn’t the first time I’d achieved such a glorious and all encompassing perspective; that moment where you think and figure less, and simply just are. a being. being; experiencing your interconnectedness to all things; realising what you are is only that you are. and in that; everything.

The first time I experienced it was in a bath tub in New York City. For no reason to my knowledge I suddenly saw how every tile surrounding the tub was made, manufactured, and grouted with love. I saw how the plumbing was only made possible by a plumber who either loved his job or his family, enabling him to do such a fine job connecting the pipes from below the city streets all the way up to the 23rd floor where I was pruning in the tub. Behind every detail I saw an act of creation by a creature who was a product of creation itself. The material world seemed less material and appeared to me as it really was; an extension of my experience, that which I sometimes call my Self. I didn’t float in the tub figuring it all out or making anything up, it was just a clear and present stream of consciousness that brought me to tears; eventually twisting its way down the drain and leaving me just as watered and weighed down by the gravity of being human trying to maintain or make sense of the memory, as I was uplifted only moments before. Read the rest of this entry »

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