Energy Systems, Nuclear — by Earth Policy Institute February 21, 2013
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
Wind has overtaken nuclear as an electricity source in China. In 2012, wind farms generated 2 percent more electricity than nuclear power plants did, a gap that will likely widen dramatically over the next few years as wind surges ahead. Since 2007, nuclear power generation has risen by 10 percent annually, compared with wind’s explosive growth of 80 percent per year.
Before the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan, China had 10,200 megawatts of installed nuclear capacity. With 28,000 megawatts then under construction at 29 nuclear reactors—19 of which had begun construction since 2009—officials were confident China would reach 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2015 and perhaps 100,000 megawatts by 2020. The government’s response to the Fukushima disaster, however, was to suspend new reactor approvals and conduct a safety review of plants in operation and under construction.Comments (2)
Nuclear — by Earth Policy Institute December 14, 2012
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
World nuclear electricity-generating capacity has been essentially flat since 2007 and is likely to fall as plants retire faster than new ones are built. In fact, the actual electricity generated at nuclear power plants fell 5 percent between 2006 and 2011.
In 2011, following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, 13 nuclear reactors in Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom were permanently taken offline. Seven new reactors, three of them in China, were connected to the grid. The net result was a two percent reduction in world nuclear capacity to 369,000 megawatts by the end of 2011. In 2012, the world has added a net 3,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity, with new additions in South Korea and Canada partly offset by more U.K. shutdowns.
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Paul Chefurka November 10, 2012
We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so.
The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. This is, after all, not an academic journal. However, like every other fact in the known universe, those details are just a Google away…
Because the global predicament manifests itself in some way in virtually every area of human endeavour, any useful approach to it must be massively cross-disciplinary. Fruitful areas for investigation include:Comments (12)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear — by Zaia Kendall November 6, 2012
Pondering whether this type of weather will be the new normal, and how we can prepare ourselves.
by Zaia Kendall
A freak storm, never before seen. After the end of the normal hurricane season, this ’superstorm’ developed and severely affected the Caribbean and northern US, killing people and causing devastation everywhere. But are we really that surprised? Is nature trying to point out the error in our ways?
How can New Yorkers possibly think that they are innocent in creating this storm? How is it possible that we are so far removed from our environment, that we cannot comprehend that large cities, made from concrete, steel and glass (all highly reflective surfaces), create their own micro climate and subsequently affect the world around them? The amount of heat that is created in a city the size of New York must be astronomical. Start taking responsibility for your actions people – we are all guilty in creating this damage!Comments (14)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 12, 2012
Editor’s Note: I’m sure a few of you will be tempted, at first glance, to pounce on me due to this piece — since it has the name ‘George Monbiot’ and the word ‘nuclear’ in the same post. But, I would ask you to read it through first…. I put this up, not because of George’s present stand, but solely due to the very articulate and lucid response from Theo Simon in this fascinating email conversation. Indeed, having George’s name and ‘nuclear’ in the same post will likely cause a flurry of reading by those eager to find fault, and in this case I’m happy about that, as it will ensure that Theo’s message gets read. Theo ably challenges George’s position, and does so from a position worthy of respect — that being that he’s been occupying the site of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant in the UK, and thus has an on-the-ground view of the machinations that are resulting from the marriage of Big Government and Big Nuclear. This is a long but very interesting read, and one worthy of our attention and consideration. In my own post on nuclear, in March last year, I raised, in a more concise fashion, many of the main points that Theo makes — notably in regards to the ability of future generations to contain and maintain in a safe state the resulting nuclear waste, and the danger of assuming they will live in a society with enough excess energy, water, time, money and knowhow to do so, and the ethically bankrupt, diabolical selfishness of lumbering them with this ongoing burden — on top of the many great challenges they will surely face — when they will have absolutely no benefits from that obligation (since the power plant will have long since ended its useful life). I’d like to congratulate Theo for his reasoned response, and thank him deeply for his commitment to values that permaculturists enshrine as essential. It’s clear that rather than merely surrendering to grass roots apathy in the face of the present economic and political momentum in madness (a tempting thing to do, I admit), he clings to the hope that we can build a social movement which connects all the dots in our present dilemma (i.e. that seeks to find a successful marriage between economics and biological/ecological reality) and that works to address them all — adjusting our lifestyles as necessary to facilitate that. Where George seems to be trying to choose between the lesser of two evils, Theo, as permaculturists seek to do, is trying to eliminate the evils, whilst asking society to deal with their problems holistically, today, rather than kick them down the road.
Aerial photograph of Hinkley Point.
Photo – Hinkley Point C: Initial Proposals and Options Summary Document.
This is by far the most interesting and challenging debate about nuclear power I have had to date.
By George Monbiot and Theo Simon, over the course of eight months.
George’s note: This debate began with an email I sent to Theo, which I did not intend to publish. Theo wrote a powerful response and posted the correspondence on his site. I then replied, and Theo has now answered my second letter. Here is the whole debate.Comments (6)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Maddy Harland September 11, 2012
Originally published on www.permaculture.co.uk
Polly Higgins, Lawyer for the Earth, is the founder of the campaign to make Ecocide the 5th international Crime Against Peace. Here she gives the latest update on the Ecocide Campaign, and sends a personal message to all permaculture people.
Please support Polly and her team to close the door once and for all to Ecocide.
"Setting the Stage for a More Peaceful Planet" — What Does the Ecocide Campaign Attempt to Achieve?
"Our cycle of damage and destruction is spiralling onwards and upwards with increasing speed. This is Ecocide. The impacts are enormous and over a very short period of time we can see the consequences. Morally we know now that causing mass damage and destruction is wrong. This is why I am calling on the United Nations to make Ecocide an international crime." This is Polly Higgins, speaking about her wish to introduce Ecocide as the 5th international Crime Against Peace, in order to close the door once and for all to mass damage and destruction.
Remarkably, causing mass damage and destruction, whether it be through tar sands extraction, nuclear testing or logging, is not a crime. Named ‘one of the world’s most unreasonable people’, Polly has refused to accept this current situation, and speaks on platforms across the world; to UN Ambassadors, governments, lawyers and anyone who can help seed out her message.Comments (0)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Polly Higgins September 8, 2012
Editor’s Note: We’ve covered a little of Polly Higgin’s important work before (see here and here). If you’re not already familiar with Polly’s work, I would strongly encourage you to check out the web pages and videos linked to below, as well as our aforementioned pieces. Permaculturists dream of whole earth restoration, but our efforts, whilst essential, are, if I may, largely piecemeal. The reason for this is that for every positive step someone makes, an industry or government does, or allows, something significantly more destructive to take place that more than overshadows it. We will never break out of this destructive cycle unless we make environmental destruction illegal, and hold the people responsible accountable. As you are able, please support Polly’s work. If you cannot donate, please at least do what you can to share and circulate this page.
I have something I would like to share with you. Today myself and my team have reached zero. The pot is now bare and our funding resources are in urgent need of replenishing. In the past year your donations of over £200,000 funded my and my team’s work; we planted some incredible seeds in the run up to the Rio Earth Summit. Out of that we have had some wonderful successes; in the past year alone we have held a mock Ecocide Trial in the UK Supreme Court, the University of London launched their Ecocide Project, I have travelled to countries and spoken on many platforms,I launched my second book Earth is our Business, I have been awarded Overall Champion by the PEA awards, I have started a training programme for others to learn how to become a Voice for the Earth and I have submitted a concept paper, Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity to all government’s around the world. All this has been done with the help of your money and without it none of this would have been at all possible.
Yesterday we held an emergency meeting; despite the enormous efforts of our fundraiser over the past few months we have been unable to raise more than a few thousand pounds. We are looking squarely at the future and we see enormous opportunity to take forward all that I have already achieved; just think how close we are to making this law a reality.
Everything we do is governed by permaculture ethics; people care, earth care and fair share. Ecocides occur when we take far more than our fair share, which affects both our people and our Earth. To ensure we live within our planetary limits, a law of Ecocide creates a legal framework that can ensure we all live in peaceful enjoyment.Comments (2)
UK Parliament’s decision to authorise the construction of 10 new nuclear power plants was taken on the basis of misleading evidence
UK’s commitment to nuclear
In early May 2012, Japan shut down its last nuclear power station for routine maintenance in a safety drive since the Fukushima meltdown, leaving the country nuclear free for the first time in more than 40 years . Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy. Hundreds marched through Tokyo to celebrate what they hope will be the end of nuclear power in Japan.
Most other countries are having second thoughts about nuclear power; some like Germany and Italy have already decided to do without it and others like Japan may follow  (Fukushima Fallout (SiS 51), but the UK government is still determined to go ahead with the construction of at least 10 new reactors. This is the only way we can fulfil our future energy needs and still meet our commitment to reduce carbon emissions, so we are told; besides, nuclear is the cheapest alternative to fossil fuels and is safer than coal. Every one of those claims is contradicted by evidence, as we have shown in numerous reports.Comments (6)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Education, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Samuel Alexander June 5, 2012
Editor’s Note: To follow, I think, is a very important look at Ted Trainer’s work — one that broaches an oft-avoided but critically essential conversation. I must confess to only having read a single article from Ted Trainer previously, which I posted here, but from that article, and the document below, I sense that similar thought processes in my own experience, and Ted’s, have led to the similar conclusions. Some of my thoughts along similar lines are evidenced here, here, here, here, here, here and here, as a few of many examples. In short, permaculture must be taken to mean ‘permanent culture’, and not just ‘permanent agriculture’ (as some would have it, as evidenced by the wrath I endure whenever we discuss economics and politics on this site…). And, for those interested, in regards to the ‘debate’ between Ted, Rob Hopkins and Brian Davey (see section 6), I empathise and agree with each perspective, as it happens. For me they’re all different sides of the same form, but none of the points raised eliminate the need for a systemic rework of socio-economic political systems. Rather, Rob and Brian’s perspective just emphasise how much work we have to do to get people on board and working to the same fruitful end. The final quoted passage from Theodore Roszak (bottom of article below) tells me we’ve come to similar conclusions, where he states the need for tangible living examples of happy low-tech implementations of how to live — the very purpose behind my work in creating the Worldwide Permaculture Network, to showcase and inspire people with what is possible, so permaculturists can share their own learning journey and insights into the how of it.
1. Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way
For several decades Ted Trainer has been developing and refining an important theory of societal change, which he calls The Simpler Way. His essential premise is that overconsumption in the most developed regions of the world is the root cause of our global predicament, and upon this premise he argues that a necessary part of any transition to a sustainable and just world involves those who are overconsuming accepting far more materially ‘simple’ lifestyles. That is the radical implication of our global predicament which most people, including most environmentalists, seem unwilling to acknowledge or accept, but which Trainer does not shy away from and, indeed, which he follows through to its logical conclusion. The Simpler Way is not about deprivation or sacrifice, however; it is about embracing what is sufficient to live well and creating social and economic systems on that basis. This essay presents an overview of Trainer’s position, drawing mainly on the most complete expression of it in his latest book, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, an analysis which is supplemented by some of his more recent essays. My review is designed in part to bring more attention to a theorist whose work has been greatly underappreciated, so the review is more expository than critical. But in places my analysis seeks to raise questions about Trainer’s position, and develop it where possible, in the hope of advancing the debate and deepening our understanding of the important issues under consideration. I begin by outlining the various elements of The Simpler Way and proceed to unpack them in more detail.Comments (17)
Nuclear — by Earth Policy Institute May 23, 2012
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
On May 5, 2012, Japan shut down its Tomari 3 nuclear reactor on the northern island of Hokkaido for inspection, marking the first time in over 40 years that the country had not a single nuclear power plant generating electricity. The March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown shattered public confidence in atomic energy, thus far making it politically impossible to restart any of the reactors taken offline. And the disaster’s legacy has spread far beyond Japan. Some European countries have decided to phase out their nuclear programs entirely. In other countries, nuclear plans are proceeding with caution. But with the world’s fleet of reactors aging, and with new plants suffering construction delays and cost increases, it is possible that world nuclear electricity generation has peaked and begun a long-term decline.
APC11 Presentation: Permaculture Disaster Response to Japan’s 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster, by Toru Sakawa
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conferences, Food Shortages, Nuclear — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 17, 2012
At the recent Australasian Permaculture Conference (APC11) held in Turangi, New Zealand, one of the highlights for me was hearing Toru Sakawa’s tale of permaculture aid work in very unusual circumstances. I say unusual, as the triple woes of having an earthquake and tsunami followed by a nuclear disaster is somewhat unprecedented. Some parts of Japan were suddenly left without food, fuel, water and many other supports that we generally take (a little too much) for granted, and efforts to help oneself were restricted for many by the need to stay inside, out of radioactive harms way.
It was inspiring to hear Toru share how he and his peers did their best to help people in coastal areas, and how permaculture played some part in enabling them to do so. Toru and his friends, with fuel supplies cut, made their own biofuels from waste oil, and used it to transport their permaculture produce, and other supplies, to the people who needed it. They also brought people back to care for them, and to give them time away from the more radioactive areas.
It should help remind us what permaculture is really about; that being to not only create permanence, but also resiliency against abrupt shocks to the system, and the compassionate care of the people around us.Comments Off
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor February 28, 2012
This video is hands down the best I’ve seen yet at covering all the bases of our present converging dilemmas in one quick (35 minute) hit. Over the years I’ve presented all of the issues covered in this video — hitting them from various angles and in different ways to try to drive the point home — but it’s excruciatingly difficult to cover each element sufficiently whilst giving the casual or intermittant reader a full overview simultaneously. The excellent use of imagery has enabled the creators of this little video to touch on each subject whilst joining up all those dots into the fuller picture.
I’d encourage you to watch, and share widely. When sharing, you might want to do it by way of linking to this blog post, as I’ll put below a smattering of articles on these topics which some may look to for more details after watching:Comments (22)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, peak oil — by The Corner House February 22, 2012
Energy is never far from the headlines these days. Conflicts of all kinds — political, economic, social, military — seem to be proliferating over oil, coal, gas, nuclear and biomass.
While some interests struggle to keep cheap fossil fuels circulating worldwide, a growing number of communities are resisting their extraction and use.
While an increasingly urbanised populace experiences fuel poverty and many people in rural areas have no access whatsoever to electricity, large commercial enterprises enjoy subsidised supplies.
As increasingly globalised manufacturing and transport systems spew out ever more carbon dioxide, environmentalists warn that the current era of profligate use of coal, oil and gas is a historical anomaly that has to come to an end as soon as possible, and that neither nuclear energy, agrofuels or renewables (even supposing they could be delivered in an environmentally sustainable and safe manner) will ever constitute effective substitutes for them.
For progressive activists, all this raises an unavoidable yet unresolved question: how to keep fossil fuels and uranium in the ground and agrofuels off the land in a way that does not inflict suffering on millions?Comments Off
Food Plants - Perennial, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Nuclear, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Sunny Soleil January 4, 2012
Most of us know about pine needle tea as a rich source of Vitamin C, but now white pine pollen is to being promoted as a highly nutritious superfood powder. But who needs to buy it when you can pick your own?
Arthur Haines shows you how and when to harvest pine pollen with strategies for gathering sufficient to make tinctures or use as food. Haines also goes into detail about the nutritional chemistry of pine pollen which is rich in non-enzymatic anti-oxidants like pro vitamin A, B Complex, C, D and E plus a host of minerals and amino acids. Apparently pine pollen is also a great defence against radioactive Cesium that is appearing in dairy and other foods in the US.
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 10, 2011
They say if we don’t study history, we’re destined to repeat it. Many of you will be familiar with Jared Diamond and his work. Author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Mr. Diamond has put a lot of energy into studying various cultures that have come, and, significantly, gone again. Amongst these is the example of Easter Island, where it appears that despite the islanders’ major resources being clearly in decline, they continued to use these resources for their own particular, peculiar economy — that being to make their giant Moai idols. Not only that, but, over time, as the resources needed to create them dwindled, the Moai statues only got larger. Their economy not only had to continue, but it had to grow — regardless of their context, and despite what should have been obvious consequences.
Some dispute the exact nature of the collapse of Easter Island, but what we do know is that pollen samples taken from the island show that it was once covered in forest, yet by the time Europeans arrived the island was treeless. There are no pollen traces dated beyond around 1650, around the same time the statues ceased being made. Surviving clans after this time, no longer able to create more competing statues, instead took to pushing over those of rival clans — until by 1868 all the Moai had been toppled, and many beheaded.Comments (12)