Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Deep Green: Real Sustainability by Chuck Baclagon
February 16, 2010, 3:40 am
Filed under: Deep Green, Greenpeace | Tags: , ,

Cultural habits – like people – go through stages when they face death. Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross described this process as the ‘five stages of grief’ – denial, anger, bargaining and depression, before the final acceptance of reality. In human society, growth economics will eventually collapse in the face of ecological reality. We have witnessed decades of denial and anger about this end of growth, and society now appears to be entering the bargaining stage.

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The 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace by Chuck Baclagon

“L’imagination au pouvoir.”
(“Imagination is seizing power”)
Written on the walls of the Sorbonne, Paris, May, 1968

During the 1960s, art and politics merged into a full-spectrum cultural revolution – a liberation of music and poetry, political street theatre, socially-conscious films and novels. A fresh political awareness swept around the world; the women’s movement, civil rights, indigenous stands against colonial domination and the dawning of modern ecology action.
The status quo may attempt to crush that spirit of social liberation, but social movements turn in cycles, and it feels as if the world is about to erupt again with citizen empowerment, driven by the collapse of both our ecological and economic systems.
In this spirit of revival, Greenpeace has released a two-disc CD, Amchitka: The 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace. Featuring Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Phil Ochs, the recording reflects a time when artists seized the power to merge imagination with politics and shift the social context.
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Sustainability & justice: Do the math by Jenny Tuazon

Most people I talk to support “sustainability” and “social justice” goals. Ecology teaches us that we need to frame these human aspirations in relation to the biological capacity of the earth: the energy, and resources that support our burgeoning populations and economies.

As human society sets out to achieve ecological sustainability and social justice on earth, we face two serious challenges: One, humanity already over-consumes the biological capacity of the planet; and secondly, humanity suffers from a vast gap between rich and poor.

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Rex Weyler talks about Tar Sands and Greenpeace early history by Chuck Baclagon
September 21, 2009, 5:18 am
Filed under: Greenpeace, Greenpeace Core Values, Life at work | Tags: , ,

From Making Waves

Rex Weyler is a big picture guy. He was an ecologist back in the 70s when he hooked up with the rag-tag bunch of hippies that was Greenpeace then, and he’s an ecologist still. He’s a believer in the mind bomb — those events and messages that get you right between the eyes and wake you up to a whole new way of thinking. And right now, he’s walking around with a big-picture message about ecology that nobody wants to hear, but somebody has to say: global warming is just a symptom, a warning sign, the blinking dashboard light that indicates we’ve overshot the carrying capacity of our planet.

Rex has been over here in Amsterdam for the last few days, and I’ve been lucky enough to hear him speak twice now. He’s one of the greatest story tellers in an organization full of great story tellers, and a wealth of institutional history and perspective. I managed to capture his speech to our staff meeting on Friday on my iPhone and cut it into two videos.

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Are Cities Sustainable? by Chuck Baclagon
September 8, 2009, 7:38 am
Filed under: Deep Green, Greenpeace | Tags: , ,

A reporter from Dubai phoned last week and asked, “Can Dubai become a sustainable city?” and specifically, “Could the tourism industry be sustainable?” In the age of global warming and declining fossil fuels, the entire airline industry is probably not sustainable. Dubai, of course, is not even remotely sustainable.

Dubai is a city built with oil cash, but the global economic recession brought construction schemes to a sudden halt. Many entrepreneurs fled the city, abandoning some 3,000 cars, found with keys in the ignition and maxed-out credit cards in the glove compartments.

Between 2002-2008, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its partners invested $600 billion US dollars in Dubai, creating the world’s tallest building and largest shopping mall, man-made islands, and an indoor ski hill. Dubai has a beach ‘designed’ by Versace with chilled sand. Meanwhile, sections of the city have no sewage system, so sewage is collected by truck convoys and driven into the desert, where it seeps back through the sand – and reappears on the Versace beaches.

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A Good Solution by Chuck Baclagon
August 6, 2009, 4:25 am
Filed under: Deep Green, Greenpeace | Tags: , ,

Recently, we’ve been hearing about ‘the death of environmentalism’ because – allegedly – the world’s corporations now understand ecology and will solve our problems with investment, innovation, and gung-ho optimism.

Of course, what the investors want to create with all that optimism and ingenuity are profits, not real sustainability.

Critics regularly accuse environmentalists of being ‘doom and gloom’ prognosticators who complain of endless problems, but offer ‘no solutions’. However, if we check the record, we’ll discover that serious ecologists have been offering solutions for centuries.

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Ecological Trauma and Recovery by Chuck Baclagon
July 8, 2009, 2:25 am
Filed under: Deep Green, Greenpeace, Stop climate change | Tags: , ,
The Ecology Symbol. The symbol was a combination of the letters "E" and "O" taken from the words "Environment" and "Organism", respectively.

The Ecology Symbol. The symbol was a combination of the letters "E" and "O" taken from the words "Environment" and "Organism", respectively.

As a global community, we often appear as a dysfunctional family. We bicker constantly, the strong abuse the weak, and alleged leaders behave like addicts, unwilling to change the destructive habits that are destroying our home. As in any abusive relationship, the powerful proclaim a taboo against protest and vilify those who cry out as the crazy ones.

Ten million people in our human family starve to death every year. Children serve as slaves and wither in factories, making trinkets for the rich. On top of this horrific injustice, we daily devastate the only source of real wealth: the Earth itself. We lose fertile soil, discharge CO2 into the atmosphere, scatter toxins, turn grasslands into desert and create islands of plastic garbage in the sea.

Our governments and captains of industry shrug off the signs of dysfunction, and promise to ‘change’, to become ‘more sustainable’, like the alcoholic parent who promises to reform, but never does. Marketing geniuses dress up business-as-usual in a ‘green’ disguise – printing pictures of the Earth on plastic containers of detergent – to ease our worries. The sanctioned voices of the status quo assure us that all is well. As rivers die and species vanish, some in our global family watch in horror, others in denial.

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Overshoot and Tech Dreams by Chuck Baclagon
May 31, 2009, 3:04 pm
Filed under: Deep Green, Stop climate change | Tags: , , ,

Global warming is a symptom of human overshoot: the consumption and waste that exceeds the biophysical capacity of the Earth. If we attempt to reduce the fever, but ignore the disease, we will, at best, extend the suffering.

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Forests: Carbon Sink or Carbon Bomb? by Chuck Baclagon
An aerial view of the rainforest during the burning season in the Amazon, photographed during a flight from Itaituba to Alta Floresta.

An aerial view of the rainforest during the burning season in the Amazon, photographed during a flight from Itaituba to Alta Floresta.

Deforestation contributes to global warming. A rising Earth temperature kills trees and damages forests. Dying trees release more carbon. Atmospheric carbon increases planet temperatures.

This cycle of forest collapse represents a critical feedback loop that will likely drive warming for centuries, change life cycles on Earth in general, and usher in a sweeping transformation of human civilisation.

Worldwide forest destruction – due to logging, human habitat sprawl, and clearing for crops such as soybeans and palm oil – continues at a net loss of about 13 million hectares each year. Many cleared forests are burned on the site. Meanwhile, trees die or grow slower due to global warming. Declining forests absorb less CO2 and release more carbon.

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Climate Alarm! Copenhagen 2009 may be humanity’s last chance to avoid total chaos by Chuck Baclagon

Last summer, for the first time in recorded history, boats could circumnavigate the North Pole. To the oblivious observer, this might seem like a good thing. Perhaps some green entrepreneur will build resorts on Finland’s Svalbard Islands. However, as we know, there’s a dark side…

The year 2009 may be the tipping point in human history when society responds to or ignores global warming. The UN climate meeting scheduled for Copenhagen in December may be humanity’s last chance to avoid total chaos. It is too late to avoid some climate chaos.

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