The Friends of California Libre...

29 June 2006

Will Rising Sea Level Flood World Cup?

Greetings, friends,
I'm sitting here drinking a Coca Cola, my third of the night, a real one from Mexico, which have real sugar instead of corn syrup, come in the sexy old-fashioned bottles, and actually are "refreshing". It's been hot enough here to make sleep difficult, over the weekend nice and humid, and now the dry desert heat is blinding us, so everything's hot, even pillows and sheets. In case you're curious, that real Coke is to make the perfect Cuba Libre with the real rum I brought back from Spain...and if you're in the neighborhood, yeah, the party's at Ronna and Dave's new palazzo in Silver Lake this 4 July.

I can't think of too many things better than a real Cuba Libre...
Iced marijuana tea to debut in British health food shops

The weird weather (our monsoons usually come in the fall) was emphasized for me last weekend, when I watched Al Gore's high school lecture "An Inconvenient Truth", and I mean that in the best way, having seen some of my high school teachers really dig into something passionately, that I remember even today. I was lucky enough to see this movie in a wonderful outdoor screening at the Water Court, a delightful wet and wild corporate plaza, a bit of La Defense in Paris, with Al Gore there in person, the Mayor of LA, Mr. Villaraigosa, someone who looked like one of the Olsen twins in the gaggle of celebrities, and even Bon Jovi, who still has a mullet and yes, girls, sung three songs which you MISSED because you were too cool to come. Except for Tanya and lot of other hippies, who then crashed the MOCA party next door. In honor of my French friends, hell, all my friends, I "snuck a toke" while Al Gore and Antonio Villaraigosa made their speeches, and I'll bet I was the only one. Your friend Joel is REALLY LIVING.

Anyway, this movie is milestone, a real wake-up call, and even with all the articles I peruse to assemble these SCREEDS, it assembles the facts in such a way that shocked everyone. It walks that fine line between certain hope and complete despair, and I recommend it to all of you highly. It reminds me of two other liminal events: seeing Bishop Desmond Tutu at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley in 1985, an amazing inspirational day which energized our opposition to South African apartheid, and gave us years of violence at UC Berkeley; it also was like seeing Dave Foreman of Earth First recruit young radicals into the environmental movement two years later, where he got everyone in 151 Dwinelle Hall (including yours truly) to howl like a wolf.
You can actually hear Tutu's speech if you have Real Player software, here:

I don't have Al Gore's style or audio-visual aids, but I can add to the tumult. If you take two things away from "An Inconvenient Truth", it's that global warming can be solved, and that we have to do it NOW. We did it with the damaged ozone layer. In this SCREED, I'm going to give you positive news because there's plenty of it:
Sally Deneen How to Recycle Practically Anything
"Recycling has leap-frogged ahead, meaning if you haven't checked the recycling scene since the mid-1990s, it's possible that much of what you thought you knew is wrong. Not only can you recycle more things, but your discards are very much in demand, perhaps more than you realize," writes Sally Deneen before she proceeds to give a comprehensive list on how to recycle almost everything you use.

A friend wanted me to mention, last time I talked about "freecycling", but forgot to add that here in LA we have the granddaddy of all urban barter, which precedes freecycling by decades, the Recycler:

I've also got to digress momentarily to talk about the World Cup; I'm hoping, oddly enough, that having all these world citizens gathered in Germany will add to the hopeful solutions to global warming. But I doubt it; as the enclosed cartoons suggest (thanks, Adam), the World Cup is more about temporary insanity than international brotherhood. And I'll apologize to my Spanish friends for the last cartoon, but I couldn't resist; it was tough watching Spain and France re-enact the brutal Peninsular War of 1808-1814, but France did have an uncontested victory, which will be forgotten as soon as they go up against Brazil. Unlikely as it might seem, we now see the possibility for France, England, Italy and Germany to re-enact some of the great European conflicts of the 20th century...maybe. Well, I'll have another Coke and think about it.

Even the World Cup is not immune from the weather:
Lightning strike kills Russian soccer player

And so, onto the you know, part of our problem is the disposable way we treat this planet, like we'll magically get a whole new one after we've used this one up. But we share the Earth with millions of species that can't, or won't, fight back:

Saved the Whale

Newspaper article describes an ensnared whale who seemingly thanked her rescuers.

Creatures as intelligent...or more so...than us (thanks, Robert):
Dolphins have their own names

We can't even resist the temptation to kill a creature that we don't need to eat:
The Shadow of Slaughter Hangs Over Whales
By Justin McCurry
The Observer UK
Japan Buys Votes to Take Control of Whaling Body
Japan has succeeded in buying the votes that will give it control of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) later this week, in a major step towards bringing back commercial hunting of whales.
Japan Seizes Control of Whaling Group After Historic Vote
By David McNeill
The Independent UK

As someone who found whaling as my first "cause", way back in the 1970s when I first saw a whale breach the Pacific off Malibu, I'm very disturbed by these developments and wont to punish the Japanese (again, as my great-uncle Guy would agree). But as this essay by mystery writer Carl Hiaasen demonstrates, we have plenty to worry about here in the US:
No Reason to Rejoice Over Manatee Ruling
By Carl Hiaasen
The Miami Herald

The destruction of individual species is just a drop in the bucket; we're poised to wipe out the "rainforests of the oceans":
The Great Coral Reef Disaster
Global warming is killing coral reefs, the Bush administration has formally admitted. And the admission means that, under US law, it will finally be obliged to take action to reduce the pollution that causes climate change.
Climate Change Shattering Marine Food Chain
By Stephen Leahy
Inter Press Service
CO2 Is Creating Acid Seas
"The oceans are inexorably becoming corrosive. Unknown to the greater public, this process - due to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - will have considerable impact," writes Stephane Foucart. "[This] is all the more worrying in that the affected flora and fauna constitute the first links in the marine food chain."

We're poised to destroy many species on land as well:
Where Have All the Butterflies Gone?
By Jane Kay
San Francisco Chronicle
New Red List Paints Bleak Picture of Extinction
Two out of every five species on the planet that have been assessed by scientists face extinction, according to the latest Red List of Threatened Species. Overall, 16,119 animal and plant species are in danger of extinction, including 1 in 8 birds, 1 in 4 mammals and 1 in 3 amphibian species. Since records began, 784 species have been declared extinct.
Quarter of Species Gone by 2050, Study Predicts
By Sara Goudarzi

Somewhat mysteriously, the gorilla-free nation of Spain is taking a stand:
Spain demanding rights for great apes

Perhaps it's because global warming will affect the dumbest monkey of all:
Climate Change Drives Disease to New Territory
Global warming - with an accompanying rise in floods and droughts - is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases, say many health experts worldwide.
Martin Weiss The Most Powerful Force on Earth
An economist questions the drive for growth at any cost, and offers some hope for change. Martin Weiss says: "The population explosion is beyond control. It has emerged as the single most powerful, immutable force on Earth, driving geopolitical change, stimulating economic growth and generating global inflation."

We are the engine, and we are the ones who have to Every part of our lives will be affected:
Meat-Eaters Aiding Global Warming?
By Lee Dye
ABC News

These European radicals pulled a stunt (you knew it was too good to be true) to emphasize the point that cows are a big part of global warming:
Photos and downloads:
International Serious Games Event:
Company policies "lead planet to ruin"; division seeks mass mobilization

Too good to be true, for sure, but a nice try:
"Video Game Chastising McDonald's Business Practices Too Good To Be True."

The disaster is real, and after species disappear, then our own homes fall into the rising sea:
Next Victim of Warming: The Beaches
According to a 2000 report by the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, at least a quarter of the houses within 500 feet of the United States coast may be lost to rising seas by 2060. There were 350,000 of these houses when the report was written, but today there are far more.

Naturally the countries least responsible will suffer along with us, on a grander scale:
West's Failure Over Climate Change "Will Kill 182 Million Africans"
Ahead of a major climate change meeting in Bonn this week, a report warns that the chief victims of the West's failure to tackle global warning will be millions of Africans forecast to die by the end of the century. The US has so far refused to sign on to the Kyoto climate change accord.
Report: Jet Stream Shift Is Expanding the Earth's Tropics and Deserts
By Andrew Bridges
The Associated Press
Desert Cities Are Living on Borrowed Time, UN Warns
By John Vidal
The Guardian UK

Everywhere around us, the disaster is imminent:
Greenhouse Gases Continue to Rise
The greenhouse gases widely blamed for raising the planet's temperature are still building up in the atmosphere. Overall, NOAA said, its annual greenhouse gas index "shows a continuing, steady rise in the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere."
Global Warming Predictions Are Underestimated Say Scientists
Climate change models have dramatically underestimated the extent to which global warming will raise temperatures, scientists warn. The flaw means existing predictions for temperature rises will have to be revised upwards by as much as 2 degrees Celsius, suggesting the world could experience a hike of up to 7.7 degrees Celsius by the year 3000.

Early Signs: Reports From a Warming Planet

Collection of articles from 2006 about the effects of climate change and global warming on regions throughout the world. Topics include retreating glaciers on Tanzania's Kilimanjaro and in Ecuador, and rising saltwater along the coast of Bangladesh. A joint project of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Salon, and NPR's "Living on Earth." Note: for nonsubscribers, a brief advertisement appears before the articles display. Includes links to related programs from National Public Radio (NPR).

And the United States bears much of the responsibility:
Scientists Condemn US as Emissions of Greenhouse Gases Hit Record Level
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK

Even Al Gore's friends are calling out for action:
Clinton: We Must "Get Off Our Butts" to Stop Warming
Former President Bill Clinton said on Saturday global warming is a greater threat to the future than terrorism and that the United States and other countries must "get off our butts" and do something about it.

But not, of course, the genius in the White House:
Bush Snubs Gore Film on Global Warming
Is Bush likely to see Al Gore's documentary about global warming? "Doubt it," Bush said coolly Monday. "But Bush should watch it," Gore shot back. In fact, the former Democratic vice president offered to come to the White House any time, any day to show Bush either his documentary or a slide show on global warming that he's shown more than 1,000 times around the world.

Perhaps a cartoon is more to George's liking (click on the image to see this cartoon):
From the creators of Futurama comes a terrifying message from Al Gore. An Inconvenient Truth is now playing in theaters.

It's amazing how far people will go to avoid the truth:
Scientists Say They're Being Gagged by Bush
By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
While Washington Slept
By Mark Hertsgaard
Vanity Fair
Man says he's on heroin to avoid jury duty

Or how far they'll go to satisfy their greed:
Offshore Drilling Bill Advances in House
Legislation that would end a quarter-century ban on drilling in most of the Outer Continental Shelf advanced in the House on Wednesday. The measure would allow oil and gas development in restricted offshore waters unless a state prohibited it.

But hey, why worry about GLOBAL WARMING when so many other important things are going on around us:
Senate Rejects Flag Desecration Amendment
A Constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration died in a Senate cliffhanger Tuesday, a single vote short of the support needed to send it to the states for ratification a week before Independence Day.

There aren't going to be easy ways out:
Saddam ends hunger strike after missing one meal

American ingenuity will play a part...well, maybe not like this:
Twinkie Burritos? Twinkie Lasagna?

Meanwhile, some of our neighbors come up with answers:
Sweden Goes For Green as Nordics Mull Energy Future
By Simon Johnson
Preparing for the Post-Carbon Age
By Doris "Granny D" Haddock
t r u t h o u t Address
Developing Nations May Save the Tropical Forest
By Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Innovations Report
EU's Gyrating CO2 Mart Teaches US About Balance
By Timothy Gardner
Asia Shows Solar Power Is Not Just for the Rich
Solar power does not require steep subsidies to be able to push aside environment-polluting fossil fuels. In Bangladesh, where more than two out of three households cannot get electricity out of a socket, some 80,000 homes now own a basic solar panel that generates about 50 watts of power.

Our closest neighbors suffer the consequences:
Canada Pays Environmentally for US Oil Thirst
By Doug Struck
The Washington Post

In California we're proud to be part of the solution since the 1970s:
Shifting Gears
By Stephen Krcmar
The Los Angeles Times
As more Angelenos ditch their cars, the city is opening bike lanes, companies are holding cycling seminars and federal officials are pushing for tax incentives.

Not that cycling is for everyone:

How Not to Get Hit by Cars

Tips for bicyclists for avoiding collisions with cars. Discusses headlights (for night riding), honking and yelling, riding positions, using handlebar or helmet mirrors, passing cars, choice of streets, and related topics. Includes diagrams showing typical interactions between cars and bicycles on the road. From CICLE (Cyclists Inciting Change Thru Live Exchange), a bicycle advocacy group based in Los Angeles.

The entire way we live, from international trade to the local market, is going to be affected by the high cost of destructive oil:
Reinventing Globalization
By Stéphane Lauer
Le Monde
Jonathan Shaw Fueling Our Future
Climate warming is accelerating as energy use soars. Nuclear power won't close the gap. We need to learn to live with coal. Jonathan Shaw gives one elaborate engineering solution.
Are You Ready for the Energy Crash?
By Jan Frel

Oil Spiel

A discussion about the debate surrounding the concept of "peak oil," which "holds that humankind has nearly, if not already, tapped 50 percent of the world's fossil-fuel reserves. ... Once we hit 'peak,' as the halfway mark is called, the global supply will decline and extraction costs and gas prices will skyrocket." Includes links to websites of some groups concerned with the concept, and a discussion board. From Outside magazine.
Energy Challenge
Le Monde Editorial

Incredibly, the Canadians are trying to give global warming a "positive spin":
Debate on Global Warming Helps Produce a Brisk Seller
Canada's Conservative government, which was elected in January, has been distancing itself from the greenhouse gas emission cuts the country promised to make under the Kyoto Protocol, and it is stirring up controversy by censoring a government scientist who wrote a novel about climate change called "Hotter Than Hell."
Canadian Arctic, the New Geo-Strategic Issue
By Anne Pélouas
Le Monde
Click on the following to access the sent link: - As ice melts, debate over Northwest Passage heats*

But they are going to be the first victims:
Ice-Capped Roof of World Turns to Desert
By Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK
Greenland's Ice Sheet Is Slip, Sliding Away
The Greenland ice sheet - two miles thick and broad enough to blanket an area the size of Mexico - shapes the world's weather, matched in influence by only Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere. The massive glaciers are deteriorating twice as fast as they were five years ago. If the ice thaws entirely, sea level would rise 21 feet.
How Melting Glaciers Alter Earth's Surface, Spur Quakes, Volcanoes
By Sharon Begley
The Wall Street Journal

So enjoy this long, hot summer, and wonder how we'll start to react when the long, cold winter sets in (thanks, Lucas):
Personal message:
Wouldn't you know it. My birthday.
Happiest day of the year is June 23, Cardiff scholar finds

And finally, one more World Cup crack from M. Steiner in Paris:
9 juillet 2006: Un homme est assis dans l'Olympiastadion de Berlin et s'apprête à assister à la finale de la Coupe du Monde, pour laquelle toutes les places sont bien évidemment vendues! A côté de lui une place vide. Visiblement irrité, le gars assis de l'autre côté de la place vide lui demande à qui appartient la place vide, s'il connaît la personne à qui elle a été attribuée, car c'est quand même impossible et honteux de laisser une place libre le jour de finale!! L'homme lui répond que c'est la place de sa femme, qu'ils viennent ensemble au foot depuis qu'ils sont mariés, mais comme elle vient de décéder il n'y a pas si longtemps, he bien... Le gars de l'autre côté s'excuse et lui présente ses condoléances. Puis il lui demande: "Et il n'y avait personne d'autre de la famille ou des amis proches qui auraient voulu sa place?".
Et l'homme de répondre: "Oh si, mais ils sont tous à l'enterrement!"

And for you non-French speakers:
9 July 2006: A man sat in Berlin's Olympiastadion at the beginning of the World Cup final, which is obviously sold out. Next to him is an empty seat. The guy sitting on other side of the seat is irritated, and asks if he knows the person who should be sitting there. They should be ashamed for leaving their seat empty on the day of the final, he says!! The man replies that the seat belonged to his wife, as they came to football matches together since they were married, but since she just recently died... The guy on other side apologizes and offers his condolences. Then he asks, "And there was nobody else in your family or friends who would have liked her seat at the final?" To which the man replies: "Of course, but they all at the funeral!"

Vive le screed!

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