Showing posts from August, 2005

Why Can't We Be Like the Finns?

Published on Monday, August 29, 2005 by the Providence Journal (Rhode Island) by Robert G. Kaiser, Posted on Commondreams Finland is a leading example of the northern European view that a successful, competitive society should provide basic social services to all its citizens at affordable prices or at no cost. This isn't controversial in Finland; it's taken for granted. For a patriotic American like me, the Finns present a difficult challenge: If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can't we treat our citizens as well as the Finns do?

Un-American about animals

By Peter Singer | August 20, 2005, Boston Globe WHAT COUNTRY has the most advanced animal protection legislation in the world? If you guessed the United States, go to the bottom of the class. The United States lags far behind all 25 nations of the European Union, and most other developed nations as well, such as Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada

The Ilulissat Glacier, a Wonder of the World Melting Away

Published on Monday, August 22, 2005 by Reuters. By Carol Bohan, Linked to Commondreams The Ilulissat glacier in Greenland, a UN heritage site considered one of the wonders of the world, has shrunk by over 10 kilometers in just a few years, in one of the most alarming examples of global warming in the Arctic region.

The Breaking Point

By PETER MAASS. NY Times Published: August 21, 2005 "In the past several years, the gap between demand and supply, once considerable, has steadily narrowed, and today is almost negligible. The consequences of an actual shortfall of supply would be immense. If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels. This, in turn, could bring on a global recession, a result of exorbitant prices for transport fuels and for products that rely on petrochemicals -- which is to say, almost every product on the market. The impact on the American way of life would be profound: cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills. The suburban and exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas rationing is imposed, impossible. Carpools would be the least imposing of many inconveniences; the cost of home heating would soar -- assuming, of

Georges Bank cod drop by 25 percent

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff | August 17, 2005 The cod population by weight on fabled Georges Bank, the premier fishing grounds off Massachusetts, has declined by almost 25 percent since 2001, according to preliminary federal data, despite the ever-tightening grip of restrictions on fishermen in the region's decades-old fishing crisis.

Vt. man offers lessons on living well with less

by Brent Curtis, Rutland Herald - August 13, 2005 Sometimes less is more. That philosophy has made all the difference in James Merkel's life. For 16 years, the 47-year-old East Corinth resident has been living comfortably on just $5,000 a year. "It's made all the difference in my life, I've never been happier," he said in a telephone interview Friday. Next week, he will tell Rutlanders how a sustainable lifestyle has simplified his life and made him a more responsible consumer in the global community. Merkel, who wrote a book titled "Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth," which compares America's consumption of the world's natural resources compared to other countries and gives step-by-step instructions for people to curb the amount of goods and services they use.

Warming Hits 'Tipping Point'

By Ian Sample, The Guardian/UK, published in Commondreams Siberia feels the heat: A frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas, and for the first time since the ice age, it is melting.

Beyond an Encyclopedia: What's Next for Wikimania?

by Danny Schechter, "It was hard not to marvel at Wiki's achievements. The encyclopedia is growing in readership and offerings. The English-language version started only in 2001 but now includes 672,848 often-changing articles. What's even more exciting is the Wikipedians' hope to encourage the creation of similar encyclopedias in every language in the world. The articles themselves often offer a level of depth and dimension not available anywhere else. An entry on the Tsunami, for example, contained 5,000 edits from 508 authors. You can learn more and see what they do at ."

Globalisation is an Anomaly and Its Time is Running Out

by James Howard Kunstler, Guardian, Aug 4, 2005 Cheap energy and relative peace helped create a false doctrine "Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs. It is significant that none of the cheerleaders for globalisation takes this equation into account. In fact, the American power elite is sleepwalking into a crisis so severe that the blowback may put both major political parties out of business."

Shuttle Commander Sees Wide Environmental Damage

by Jeff Franks, Reuters - posted at Commondreams HOUSTON -- Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.