Is Rio 2012 Earth Summit failing the world, asks the Telegraph

The real problem at Rio 2012 is that most countries, including the United States, have abandoned genuine commitment to solving environmental problems. All that warm and fuzzy tree hugging is bad for business and that simply can’t be allowed. The Telegraph has it backwards. It is the world which is failing Rio 2012.

After months of inconclusive preparatory meetings, it is all too clear that the torpor and time-wasting that have dogged the international negotiations on climate change

Rio 2012 will make ponderous announcements and recommendations, all of which will be toothless and thus ignored by the Obama Administration and others. Oh sure, lofty speeches will be made praising Rio 2012 for their selfless and important work. Then it will be forgotten. The stupidity and short-sightedness of our world “leaders” is quite astonishing. They let fracking continue, even as it contaminates water and causes earthquakes but ignore international agreements on making the planet less polluted.

Climate change linked to hunger as UN’s Rio+20 begins

Rio Summit: Environmentalists slam agreements as too weak

I’d go on but it’s too depressing. The Rio Summit started in 1992 with great hope and promise but  been defanged as corporatists and financial parasites increasingly control politics.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, here on the Planet of the Willfully Ignorant Apes, climate change denial reaches all new heights, and is now something akin to the denial and derangement of Flat Earthers.

Sen. Kerry slams “disgraceful” climate denial

“In the United States, a calculated campaign of disinformation has steadily beaten back the consensus momentum for action on climate change and replaced it with timidity by proponents in the face of millions of dollars of phony, contrived ‘talking points,’ illogical and wholly unscientific propositions and a general scorn for the truth wrapped in false threats about job loss and tax increases,” Kerry said.

Sooner or later, the politicians will listen to the people or they will be replaced. This can happen through the electoral process or through revolution. When climate change hits countries hard and food gets scarce, you better believe that could cause revolutions. But we need to act now, before things get bad.

Lawns: Do you still have one?

I killed my lawn. Ask me how. (bumper sticker from Tree of Life Nursery, San Juan Capistrano, California)

My good friend Bonnie (who has since moved to France where she doesn’t have a lawn to kill) had this on her bumper for years. She transformed her front yard and as soon as you got out of your car, you could smell the sages and other aromatic native plants. Suddenly there were more birds and butterflies around. And the people who live there now have kept her planting scheme.

I don’t have a lawn at my place either. There was a tiny bit of one on the lowest terrace when I arrived here 12 years ago, but I neglected it to death as soon as possible. Other than the potted plants outside my door, the only things on my property that get supplementary irrigation are my three orange trees which get deep-watered 2 or 3 times a year. The rest of my plants, including some established rose bushes, do just fine and when the Matilija poppy in my front yard blooms every year, it stops traffic.

So this post by Lisa Cahill at Good, resonates with me.

Why do we love our lawns when they don’t love us back? We pay a gardener or mow every week. We weed, edge, and blow. We aerate and add chemicals that pollute our waterways. And still, our lawns need more—often a lot more.

If you’re interested in going the native plant route like Bonnie, there are lots of resources in California and a good place to start is the California Native Plant Society. There’s also a lot of information to be found on sites like those of Tree of Life and Las Pilitas nurseries.

In Texas, there’s the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center which maintains an information network that covers the whole country.

On The Future of Food. By HRH The Prince of Wales

On May 4, 2001 Prince Charles gave a quite brilliant keynote speech at The Future of Food Conference at Georgetown. This 45 pg. book ($6.99) is the text of the speech, along with introduction and afterword.

What you may not know (I didn’t), is that Prince Charles for decades has spoken strongly against industrial agriculture. And he practices what he says in his own farming and in the charities he supports.

I highly recommend this book, it is a jewel. Here’s a few quotes. Read the whole thing.

Why is it that an industrialized system, deeply dependent on fossil fuels and chemical treatments, is promoted as viable, while a much less damaging one is rubbished and condemned as unfit for purpose?

The extreme destructiveness – and therefore the fragility – of industrial agriculture is not a secret.

Soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious, and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly flucuating price of oil.

Over a billion people in the world are hungry and, on the reverse side of the coin, over a billion people are now considered overweight or obese. It is an increasingly insane picture.

Genuinely sustainable farming maintains the resilence of the entire ecosystem by encouraging a rich level of biodiversity in the soil., in its water supply, and in the wildlife that maintain the health of the whole system.

Texas drought. Towns struggle for water

PBS reports on the continuing Texas drought and its impact on small towns.

Some areas don’t have enough water to fight fires, and last year the fire season was the worst ever. The town of Robert Lee is building a pipeline to another water source and twownspeople are volunteering to help build it. The State of Texas has now officially acknowleged that climate change is real.

In the town of Spicewood Beach near Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority pumped so much water from their wells to sell elsewhere that the wells went dry. How crazy is that? Residents are rationed to 50 gallons of water a day, water is trucked in, and property values have nose-dived.

Texas drought

The Agonist, from Don in West Texas, on the current devastating Texas drought, which may continue for another year and even intensify.

We raise more cattle than anywhere in these United States. Or we once did, anyway…
As I speak, broilers are dying by the droves while farm managers and workers watch helplessly. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats and pigs hide in what little shade they can find, panting. Some will die. Whole herds of cattle appear at overstrained livestock auctions around the state. Most ranchers have no hay to feed their animals; some no longer can provide water for them to drink.

The small town of Robert Lee, Texas is desperately short on water. A nearby lake, which is usually 22 sq. miles, is now almost dry. One big problem that is aging pipes sometimes burst in the relentless heat due to shifting soil. Other municipalities, including good-sized Midland, face similar problems.

Our fellow podcaster Steve Hynd lives in Big Spring TX, where lawn watering and car washing is banned and they are recycling waste water to be drinkable.