Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Science/Technology

 


The largest database on earth, Google, has now trained its sights on our planet, using its developed Google Earth platform to integrate information across time and place to show how we have RADICALLY changed this planet in a few centuries, and not for the better. The Google maps are now integrated with satellite databases to render the changes in our planet over a timescape of 35 years or so. Its very simple to jump to the navigation dashboard and view the resulting videos.

From Google: 

"As far as we know, Timelapse in Google Earth is the largest video on the planet, of our planet. And creating it required out-of-this-world collaboration. This work was possible because of the U.S. government and European Union’s commitments to open and accessible data. Not to mention their herculean efforts to launch rockets, rovers, satellites and astronauts into space in the spirit of knowledge and exploration. Timelapse in Google Earth simply wouldn’t have been possible without NASA and the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program, the world’s first (and longest-running) civilian Earth observation program, and the European Union’s Copernicus program with its Sentinel satellites."

 From Tom's Guide:

"Try it for yourself, and you may not like what you see. Watching the Timelapse unfold is a pretty shocking experience, especially in areas such as the Amazon rainforest, where untold devastation is happening as land is deforested and repurposed for farming. Seeing just much the ice is melting in places like Antarctica and Alaska is similarly depressing.

Naturally, Google will be updating Timelapse every year from now on, and it promises to keep it updated for at least another decade. That way, we’ll be able to continue to see how our planet is changing, and what human beings are doing to continually mess the whole place up."

This new time-based planetary exploration takes the standard NASA time lapse to a new dimension, which shows the changes in nature as well as the expansion of urban sprawl. Previously, this time-lapse video crammed 20 years of Earth into just a few minutes. Google helped scientists learn a lot more about global warming and how the earth is changing.

Fortunately, with the new Biden administration preparing to address the climate issues with tremendous reserves of science analysis and highly structured data, there's a ray of hope that capitalist "business as usual" is no longer the prevailing norm. There's now hope for a livable future, with a focus on competent solutions to the horrific global problems that threaten the planet's existence.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Ecocide

 


The idea of ecocide first gained vital worldwide consideration in 1972, when Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme, addressing the UN Stockholm Convention on the Human Setting, referred to as for a global crime of ecocide, primarily in response to US use of chemical weapons within the Vietnam Battle. Nevertheless, when the Rome Statute was ratified in 1998, creating the ICC, environmental crimes weren’t included. In 2010, lawyer and environmental campaigner Polly Higgins lobbied the UN to create a global crime of ecocide. Though the UN rejected her argument, in 2016 the ICC mentioned it might assess cases of environmental destruction as ‘crimes in opposition to humanity’.

Because the detrimental results of worldwide warming have intensified, so too has political momentum in favor of criminalizing ecosystem destruction. In 2019, island-states Vanuatu and the Maldives urged the ICC’s Meeting of States Events to recognize the crime of ecocide. This name was echoed by Swedish parliamentarians, who requested SEF to draft a definition of ecocide.

Philippe Sands, QC, an international law specialist, professor and author, went on a rare lockdown trip on Nov. 20, 2020 to attend a ceremony in Germany marking the 75th anniversary of the opening day of the Nuremberg trials.The commemoration was held in the historic wood-panelled courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice, where the trials of Nazi leaders, which established the principles of international justice, were heard. Sands was invited by the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to the event, which opened with an address from Ben Ferencz, the last living Nuremburg prosecutor, now aged 100.

A documentary about Ben Ferencz and his astonishing 75-year career arc is available via streaming on Netflix, "Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz". He was part of the Allied troops in 1945 with the US Army that liberated the concentration camps. As part of his work with the Army, he participated in the horrific task of removing and identifying the skeletal corpses in these camps that he is still unable to talk about today.

Ferencz says the legacy of the trials remains to be seen. “Hopefully, it will recognise that the crimes described in the case were so horrendous that we cannot risk repeating them anywhere at any time.”

Despite the ongoing violence in the world, Phillipe Sands, who is co-chair of a panel drafting a legal definition of ecocide as a potential international crime, says “the ideas that came from [the trials] inspire us to look to the future”. “It’s a long game,” he says. “The revolution doesn’t happen overnight – we will get there.”

"Ecocide - Voices from Paradise"  is a video that successfully illustrates how willful ignorance continues the damage begun by an oil spill. Extras include a featurette on efforts to make ecocide an international crime. 

The cause of Ecocide has been taken up by Extinction Rebellion and also led by Jonathan Fuller's activism protests towards the reporting done by the BBC.  He wrote an article last year on what has changed in the media's reporting of the climate and ecological crisis. Jon Fuller's twitter feed can be found extensively on Twitter, and the Extinction Rebellion site is here.

 

Update 3/6/21: Indigenous groups sue French retailer over destruction of Amazon rainforest


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A New Day

 

January 6, 2021
Commentary from Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California

 


January 20, 2021  The color of womanpower!