Today, 6.5 billion humans depend entirely on oil for food, energy, plastics & chemicals. Population growth is on a collision course with the inevitable decline in oil production.
To think that we can advocate for human rights, peace, and social justice while ignoring their necessary ecological basis—is both intellectually dishonest and ultimately self-defeating.
The longer we put off choosing the nicer methods of achieving demographic stability, the more likely the nasty ones become, whether imposed by nature or by some fascistic regime. Urine Good Company might represent a mild version of what could actually be in store if we let the marketplace, corporations, and secretive, militaristic governments come up with eugenic solutions to our population dilemma.
~ Population, Resources, and Human Idealism, Energy Bulletin | Population Growth: Most Powerful Force on Earth, Money&Markets ~
Kremlin names Arctic as potential flashpoint
Moscow fears widening weapons gap with US
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused Europe of coveting Rusia's mineral resources.
Guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 May 2009 16.40 BST
The growing struggle for the world's energy reserves could spill over into military clashes, according to a new Kremlin security strategy published today. The paper also identified US missile defence programmes as one of the main challenges facing the country, and named the Arctic as a new area for potential conflict, together with the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.
"In a competition for resources, it can't be ruled out that military force could be used for resolving emerging problems," the document said, adding: "The existing balance of forces near the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies can be violated."
Today's document reflects the sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the west over the last decade.
The Kremlin's last national security strategy was published in January 2000 shortly after Vladimir Putin took over as president, from an ailing Boris Yeltsin. Written against the backdrop of the Kremlin's brutal second war in Chechnya, that document identified terrorism as the main threat to the country's security, and sought to portray Moscow's struggle against Chechen separatists as part of the "war on terror".
With Chechnya now largely pacified, Russia's strategic concerns have changed. Moscow's biggest fears appear to be the widening gap between the US and Russia's military capabilities and the sharpening global scramble for rapidly disappearing oil and gas.
The document, which will form Russia's national security strategy until 2020, also warns of the threat posed to Russia by Nato. The paper says Moscow wants a "fully fledged strategic partnership" with Washington but is opposed to the US's plans to develop a missile defence system in central Europe.
Ruben Sergeyev, a Moscow-based defence analyst, said: "This new doctrine makes clear that the main threat to Russia is the activities of western countries."
He went on: "Russia is seriously concerned about the growing gap between the US and Russia in the military field, and about America's attempts to dwarf Russia's nuclear potential by creating new arms systems, placed close to Russia's borders and in space. It is also worried about the US's high-precision, long-range, non-nuclear weapons."
Barack Obama has vowed to reset relations with Moscow, which under his predecessor sunk to a record post-cold war low. Obama has promised to agree a new strategic arms reduction treaty with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in July, when he arrives in Moscow on his first presidential visit.
But there remain substantial differences between the two sides. The Kremlin remains vehemently opposed to Nato membership for Ukraine and pro-western Georgia, the scene of last summer's Russian invasion. For its part, the US rejects Medvedev's claim that Russia has "privileged interests" in neighbouring post-Soviet states.
Today the paper's author, Nicholas Patrushev – a close ally of Putin and the former head of Russia's FSB spy agency – said it was "unacceptable" for the US to position "military infrastructure" on Russia's borders. He told Izvestiya the Kremlin would pursue a "rational and pragmatic foreign policy, which excluded costly confrontation".
Intriguingly, Patrushev listed the Barents sea shelf and other Arctic regions as a new potential battleground, together with the territory once occupied by the Soviet Union, and Mongolia. Russia is one of several countries in the northern hemisphere that has laid claim to the polar region, and recently dispatched military units to the area.
The Kremlin's ambitions have alarmed the five other countries with an Arctic coastline. Each country has exploitation rights over a 200-mile zone extending north from its borders, but Moscow is claiming a much greater chunk of the Arctic on the grounds that an underwater ridge runs between the North Pole and Russia's continental shelf.
Source: The Guardian :: Radio Liberty
Optimum Population Trust
Posted on May 8, 2009
Asia may see more conflicts over scarce water resources in the coming years as climate change and population growth threaten access to the most basic natural resource, a report warned on Friday.
Water problems in Asia are already severe, with one in five people, or 700 million, not having access to safe drinking water and half the region’s population lacking access to basic sanitation, according to the report produced by the Asia Society, a New York-based think tank.
Population growth, rapid urbanization and climate change are expected to worsen the situation, according to the report, “Asia’s Next Challenge: Securing the Region’s Water Future.”
It said water disputes between hostile neighbors India and Pakistan and the complex relations governing the vast Mekong River, which is shared by China and its southern neighbors, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The report said while water issues have more often generated cooperation than conflict between nations in the past, demographic pressures and water scarcity would be unprecedented in the coming decades.
“The potential for conflicts sparked by the direct and indirect impacts of an increasingly volatile water supply should not be underestimated, particularly in the light of rising concerns about climate change,” it said.
“No matter how we approach water resources — whether it is on the basis of quality and quantity, or as the most potent manifestation of extreme climatic events — hydropolitics is likely to be a growing force in Asian security,” it said.
While Asia is home to more than half the world’s population, it has less fresh water per person than any other populated continent, the report said. Asia’s population is expected to rise by nearly 500 million within 10 years.
“The majority of Asia’s water problems are not attributable to an actual shortage, but rather are the result of poor water governance,” it said. “They are solvable through more effective governance and better management practices.”
The report makes 10 recommendations to governments in Asia, including greater regional cooperation and ensuring that water management organizations work directly with those responsible for defense and diplomacy.
It also urged more investment, both public and private, in efficient water management and infrastructure.
Ecological leaders should not only look to governments for change, said Jeffrey Sachs, an economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Civil action is needed to give rise to a movement for water access and quality, he said in an address to the Asia Society in New York.
“Our governments are incompetent … in an institutional sense,” said Sachs, a member of the society’s leadership group on water security. “Our governments are overwhelmed. There’s no use to calling on them to do things in the old-fashioned way.”
Source: Optimum Population Trust :: Reuters
Optimum Population Trust
Water levels in some of the world’s most important rivers have declined significantly over the past 50 years, US researchers say.
They say the reduced flows are linked to climate change and will have a major impact as the human population grows.
The only area with a significant increase in water flows was the Arctic due to a greater snow and ice melting.
The study was published in the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Journal of Climate.
Rainfall patterns ‘altered’
From the Yellow river in northern China to the Ganges in India to the Colorado river in the United States - the US scientists say that the major sources of fresh water for much of the world’s population are in decline.
The researchers analysed water flows in more than 900 rivers over a 50-year period to 2004.
They found that there was an overall decline in the amount of water flowing into the world’s oceans.
Much of the reduction has been caused by human activities such as the building of dams and the diversion of water for agriculture.
But the researchers highlighted the contribution of climate change, saying that rising temperatures were altering rainfall patterns and increasing rates of evaporation.
The authors say they are concerned that the decline in freshwater sources will continue with serious repercussions for a growing global population.
While some major rivers, including the Brahmaputra in South Asia and the Yangtze in China, have larger water flows, there is concern that the increased volume comes from the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas.
This means that in future these rivers might decline significantly as the glaciers disappear.
Sources: Optimum Population Trust :: BBC :: Reuters :: Guardian