Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Buddhism, Cosmology and Evolution

…Biologists and earth scientists agree that in the 20th century a sixth mass extinction began, and the only one to be caused by a particular species: us. Coral reefs are likely to be the first entire ecosystem to be eliminated from the Earth by human activity. A quarter of plant and animal species may vanish by 2050, an evolutionary crisis that is related to global climate breakdown but usually overshadowed by it. In essence, our present economic model is pushing all life on Earth towards tipping points for both biodiversity and the climate system.

This is quite possibly the biggest news for 65 million years, but it barely makes the mainstream news at all, because it raises taboo questions for the industrial growth society that we have come to take for granted…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-stanley/buddhism-cosmology-and-ev_b_1286165.html?ref=religion


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World Gone Mad — Derrick Jensen

Unfortunately, Jensen tells it like it is…again. You won’t like it. I didn’t either, even though I already realized some of it. But he’s right. And we don’t have to like reality — only be able to perceive it.

I DON’T KNOW about you, but whenever I attend some “green” conference, I know I’m supposed to leave feeling inspired and energized, but instead I feel heartbroken, discouraged, defeated, and lied to….

Blindness to suffering is one of this culture’s central defining characteristics.


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Take the Plunge

Take the Plunge | Bill McKibben | Orion Magazine

On October 24, the people of the Maldives will hold the largest underwater political demonstration in history, a momentary intrusion of the noisy outside world into the quiet timelessness of the reef. I doubt the floating stingrays will mind, or the green sea turtles, or the clouds of parrotfish—they seem to look on with mild interest at everything that happens. But this will be a scene: 350 divers descending beneath the waves with signs and banners. A local photographer will snap a picture and swim to the surface and plug in his MacBook Pro and upload that image to a server. And there it will join thousands of other images piling in from all the other local places around the planet: …


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Faux New York Post Environment Issue — good job and a good read

New York Post

According to a high tech study commissioned by a concerned Mayor Bloomberg and generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, climate change caused by human-created greenhouse gases is threatening the health, livelihood, and security of New Yorkers—especially those who take the subway to work….

Be sure to drill down.


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Climate Change and Conservatives

Climate Change and Conservatives | Bill McKibben | Orion Magazine

…some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. …


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Obama Gets It — But Will It Be In Time?

Obama Gets It — But Will It Be In Time?

Jan. 26, 2009 | The greatest task of the Obama administration — and the next 10 presidents — is to avoid catastrophic global warming. The latest science warns that the unstable West Antarctic ice sheet has been warming significantly since the 1950s, the rate of Greenland summer ice loss tripled last year, and the planet as a whole lost 2 trillion tons of ice in the last five years. The best mid-range estimate for sea level rise by the year 2100 is 5 feet, much higher than U.N. scientists projected just two years ago.

Fortunately, Obama clearly gets it. He devoted more of his inaugural address to clean energy and global warming than even the strongest advocate could have imagined, asserting, “We will work tirelessly to … roll back the specter of a warming planet.” More important, he has assembled a team with unmatched knowledge and commitment to solve the climate problem.

But the path toward a carbon-reduced future will not be an easy one….


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Climate Change Becoming Priority for Euros, US

European Leaders Agree on Climate Change Plan

BRUSSELS, Belgium, December 12, 2008 (ENS) European leaders today agreed to hold fast to their plan to battle climate change through growth in renewable energy sources and 20 percent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and on ways to share the costs. The plan includes concessions to heavy industry and to countries in Eastern Europe concerned that the cost of curbing greenhouse gas emissions would also curb their economic growth.

Obama Would ‘Save the Planet’ By Repowering America

CHICAGO, Illinois, December 10, 2008 (ENS) President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he is ready to tackle the climate crisis immediately upon taking office, following a meeting Tuesday with former Vice President Al Gore and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. “All three of us are in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over,” Obama said. The three men met at the Transition’s Chicago headquarters to discuss energy, climate policy and economic recovery.

Environment News Service


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Vatican goes green with solar power

(ANSA) – Vatican City, November 26 – Benedict XVI reconfirmed his reputation as the ‘green pope’ on Wednesday when the Vatican inaugurated its first solar power energy system.

Some 2,400 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Paul VI auditorium, which is used for papal audiences in the winter and during bad weather the rest of the year.

The official Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano, said the panels will generate around 300 megawatt hours of ‘clean’ energy each year which will go towards providing lighting, heat and air conditioning for the auditorium and several surrounding buildings.

The system will also cut down on the Vatican’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 225,000 kg and save the equivalent of 80 tonnes of oil, the newspaper said.

Great! Now let’s see them get going on that pesky overpopulation problem.


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Cheney Sought to Alter Climate Discussion

Cheney Sought to Alter Climate Discussion – WSJ.com

In a letter dated July 6 in response to questions from the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), Mr. Burnett said Mr. Cheney’s office and the White House Council on Environmental Quality “were seeking deletions” last fall to congressional testimony about climate change prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Burnett said the latter office asked him “to work with CDC” to remove from the testimony “any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change.” [Emphasis mine – ed.]

The issue of whether greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare is significant because a finding by the EPA that they do would require the agency to regulate them under the terms of the federal Clean Air Act, spurring new rules across a range of industries.


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Pennsylvania Assembly Passes Its First Global Warming Law

Pennsylvania Assembly Passes First Global Warming Law

A coal-rich state, Pennsylvania emits one percent of the world’s greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, more than the emissions of 105 developing countries combined.

While Pennsylvania is a big contributor to global warming, the legislation passed today creates opportunities for the state to be part of the solution.


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Wind power affordable, available, given the will

A stunning new report just issued by the Bush administration finds that for under 2 cents a day per household, Americans could get 300 gigawatts of wind by 2030.

Wind power, alternative energy | Salon News

There are some issues: turbines need to be placed off flyways to protect migrating birds, other measures to protect birds need to be developed, but these are doable and are the major stumbling blocks apart from appearance and political inertia.

NB: think the Bushes and their friends are investing in wind power? Snark, snark…


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History of Sahara May Yield Info Relating to Future Climate Change

OSLO (Reuters) – The once-green Sahara turned to desert over thousands of years rather than in an abrupt shift as previously believed, according to a study on Thursday that may help understanding of future climate changes.

And there are now signs of a tiny shift back towards greener conditions in parts of the Sahara, apparently because of global warming, said the lead author of the report about the desert’s history published in the journal Science.

The study of ancient pollen, spores and aquatic organisms in sediments in Lake Yoa in northern Chad showed … ENN: Sahara dried out slowly, not abruptly: study


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Seeing China’s Climate Emissions Clearly

Article PhotoOne of the frequently repeated claims in American politics — used often by those advocating the impossibility of effective action on climate change — is that China has “caught up” on greenhouse gas emissions, thus rendering useless any steps we might take ourselves.Even smart, well-intentioned people repeat this claim without much critical distance. But it’s worth unpacking all this

1) Generally, what’s meant is that China’s direct emissions as a nation have caught up to those of the United States. This is possibly true, though the figures used to make that claim skip a bunch of important factors, like meat production and air travel, that may well tip the scales back to the U.S. having the world’s largest national share of direct emissions.

2) Continue reading


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Greenhouse Gas Cuts Easy on American Wallets

WASHINGTON, DC, April 22, 2008 (ENS) – The overall cost of capping greenhouse gases for the average American family will amount to less than one percent of household budgets over the next two decades, finds a new analysis released Monday by the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.

The anticipated cost to the U.S. economy of reducing emissions is small, even difficult to measure against projected economic growth, but the most expensive policy by far is to do nothing at all.
Greenhouse Gas Cuts Easy on American Wallets: Analysis