My manifesto for rewilding the world

Elephants exterminated 40,000 years agoNature swiftly responds when we stop trying to control it. This is our big chance to reverse man’s terrible destructive impact.

George Monbiot, The Guardian, May 27, 2013

Until modern humans arrived, every continent except Antarctica possessed a megafauna. In the Americas, alongside mastodons, mammoths, four-tusked and spiral-tusked elephants, there was a beaver the size of a black bear: eight feet from nose to tail(1). There were giant bison weighing two tonnes, which carried horns seven feet across(2).

The short-faced bear stood thirteen feet in its hind socks(3). One hypothesis maintains that its astonishing size and shocking armoury of teeth and claws are the hallmarks of a specialist scavenger: it specialised in driving giant lions and sabretooth cats off their prey(4). The Argentine roc (Argentavis magnificens) had a wingspan of 26 feet(5). Sabretooth salmon nine feet long migrated up Pacific coast rivers(6). Continue lendo

Anúncios

Annus Horribilis: 2012 was the worst year for the environment in living memory

hurricane_sandy_the_superstormGeorge Monbiot, Guardian, January 1, 2013

It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half century.

Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic’s sea ice broke the previous record(1). Iconic remnants of the global megafauna – such as rhinos and bluefin tuna – were shoved violently towards extinction(2). Novel tree diseases raged across continents(3). Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening. Continue lendo

O mais vasto fracasso do fundamentalismo de mercado

After FailureA inútil Cúpula da Terra de junho, as medidas débeis agora em discussão em Doha, o projeto de lei sobre energia e o estudo sobre redução da demanda de eletricidade lançado na Grã-Bretanha na semana passada expõem o mais vasto fracasso do fundamentalismo de mercado: sua incapacidade para resolver a crise existencial da espécie. O legado de 1000 anos das atuais emissões de carbono é amplo o suficiente transformar em lascas qualquer coisa parecida com a civilização humana.

George Monbiot, The Guardian,  7 de dezembro de 2012

A maior crise da humanidade coincide com a ascensão de uma ideologia que a torna impossível resolver. Ao final dos anos 1980, quando se tornou claro que as mudanças climáticas provocadas pelo homem colocavam em perigo a vida no planeta e a humanidade, o mundo estava sob o domínio de uma doutrina política extrema, cujos princípios proibiam o tipo de intervenção necessária para enfrentá-las. Continue lendo

The great riches of our seas have been depleted and forgotten

Just as overfishing impoverishes the life of the sea, the forgetting impoverishes our own lives

George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 7, 2012

Researching the history of ecosystems, it is not long before you make an arresting discovery. Great abundance of the kind that exists in the tropics – or existed until recently – was once almost universal. With a very few exceptions, every major ecosystem had a megafauna; every major ecosystem witnessed vast migrations of mammals, birds or fish; every major ecosystem possessed an abundance of animal life orders of magnitude greater than current abundance in the temperate nations. In some cases the ecosystems these life forms created were a world apart from those we now know. Continue lendo

The day the world went mad

As record sea ice melt scarcely makes the news while the third runway grabs headlines, is there a form of reactive denial at work?

George Monbiot, The Guardian, August 29, 2012

Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all. Continue lendo

Along with the Arctic Ice, The Rich World’s Smugness Will Melt

The belief that Europe and America will be hit least by climate change is in ruins. Yet all we do is try to profit from disaster

George Monbiot, The Guardian, August 28, 2012

There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stockmarket crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening.

What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007. The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than it was that year. The daily sense of loss – of the world we loved and knew – cannot be quantified so easily. Continue lendo

The Great Impostors: In the Name of Saving Natural World, Governments Are Privatizing It

George Monbiot, The Guardian, August 7, 2012

‘The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying ‘This is mine’, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not anyone have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody’.” Continue lendo

We Were Wrong on Peak Oil. There’s Enough to Fry Us All

We were wrong on peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all. A boom in oil production has made a mockery of our predictions. Good news for capitalists – but a disaster for humanity

George Monbiot, The Guardian, July 3, 2012

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil – the decline of global supplies – is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike. Continue lendo

After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet

The post-summit pledge was an admission of defeat against consumer capitalism. But we can still salvage the natural world

George Monbiot, guardian.co.uk, June 25, 2012

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth”, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses. Continue lendo

Río 2012: la cumbre del “ahora o nunca”. Igual que nos dijeron en Río 1992

George Monbiot, The Guardian / Sin Permiso, 24 de junio de 2012

Vencidos por la esperanza. En esos aprietos nos vemos quienes hemos intentado defender los sistemas de vida de la Tierra. Cada vez que los gobiernos se reúnen a discutir la crisis medioambiental, nos dicen que esta es la “cumbre del ahora o nunca” de la que depende el futuro. Puede que las conversaciones hayan fracasado anteriormente, pero esta vez descenderá la luz de la razón sobre el mundo. Continue lendo

Nowhere, Nothing, Nada: Rio+20 Draft Text is 283 Paragraphs of Fluff

Why ‘sustained growth’ is the exact opposite of ‘sustainability’

George Monbiot, The Guardian, Juny 22, 2012

In 1992, world leaders signed up to something called “sustainability”. Few of them were clear about what it meant; I suspect that many of them had no idea. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: “sustainable development”. Then it made a short jump to another term: “sustainable growth”. And now, in the 2012 Rio+20 text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into “sustained growth”. Continue lendo

Dilemas atômicos

Apesar de todos os riscos inerentes à energia nuclear, ainda há alguns ambientalistas que seguem a lógica do mal menor, defendendo a sua expansão como um mal menor face à utilização de carvão.

Ricardo Coelho, Esquerda.net, 27 de março de 2011

Apesar de todos os riscos inerentes à energia nuclear, ainda há alguns ambientalistas que seguem a lógica do mal menor, defendendo a sua expansão como um mal menor face à utilização de carvão. Continue lendo

Insensível

O nível de mortes devidas a invernos rigorosos no Reino Unido é maior do que na Sibéria. A razão é esta.

George Monbiot, Esquerda.net, 10 de janeiro de 2011

Ao enumerar os factores que distinguem a civilização da barbárie, há um que viria perto do topo: os idosos não são abandonados para morrer de frio. Por esta bitola, o Reino Unido é um país cruel. Apesar de normalmente termos uma das menores diferenças entre as temperaturas de Inverno e de Verão nestas latitudes, temos um dos maiores níveis de mortes devidas a invernos rigorosos. Morrem aqui quase o dobro das pessoas, per capita, do que na Escandinávia e noutros locais do Norte da Europa, embora os nossos invernos sejam tipicamente mais amenos(1). Mesmo a Sibéria tem níveis de mortalidade devida a invernos rigorosos inferiores aos nossos(2). Cá, entre 25 000 e 30 000 pessoas por ano são levadas à sepultura devido ao frio(3) – este Inverno pode ser muito pior. Continue lendo

Exigir os cyber-commons

Corremos o risco de perder esta comunidade global à medida que é assaltada por um exército de trogloditas e falsos publicitários, muitos deles organizados ou formados secretamente.

George Monbiot, Esquerda.net, 25 de dezembro de 2010

Corremos o risco de perder esta comunidade global à medida que é assaltada por um exército de trogloditas e falsos publicitários, muitos deles organizados ou formados secretamente.

A Internet está a ser tomada de assalto por trogloditas organizados. É altura de lhes darmos a resposta. Continue lendo

Paz profunda na tecno-utopia

Um novo filme no Channel 4 insulta os verdes, ao mesmo tempo que evita a questão do poder.

George Monbiot, Esquerda.net, 16 de novembro de 2010

Um novo filme no Channel 4 insulta os verdes, ao mesmo tempo que evita a questão do poder.  Pois o Channel 4 (Canal 4 da TV britânica) fê-las de novo. Nos últimos 20 anos transmitiu uma série de polémicas sobre o ambiente, e a maior parte delas foi ferozmente anti-ecologista1. Noutras questões, os filmes do Channel 4 mostram todos os lados. Mas não quando se trata do ambiente. Continue lendo

It Goes Against Our Nature, but the Left Has to Start Asserting Its Own Values

The progressive attempt to appeal to self-interest has been a catastrophe. Empathy, not expediency, must drive our campaigns

George Monbiot, The Guardian, October 12, 2010

So here we are, forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting.

The acceptance of policies that counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st century. In the US blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?

The answer, I think, is provided by the most interesting report I have read this year. Common Cause, written by Tom Crompton of the environment group WWF, examines a series of fascinating recent advances in the field of psychology. It offers, I believe, a remedy to the blight that now afflicts every good cause from welfare to climate change. Continue lendo

El agua de Bhopal todavía es tóxica, 25 años después de mortal escape de gas

Indra Sinha, Randeep Ramesh y George Monbiot, The Guardian, 9 de octobre de 2010

Alrededor de la medianoche del 2 de diciembre de 1984, unas 40 toneladas de gases tóxicos envenenaron a los ciudadanos de Bhopal, India, una urbe del centro del país con más de 500.000 habitantes, en el peor desastre industrial de la historia. Los gases venenosos fueron vertidos en el aire nocturno, en un escape largamente previsto, por una planta química de insecticidas, en gran parte abandonada, de la corporación estadounidense Unión Carbide [“Unión Carburo”], ahora Dow Chemical.

Por negligencia y fallas de equipamiento escaparon gases de isocianato metílico, fosgeno, y otros altamente tóxicos, que mataron inmediatamente a un estimado de 8.000 personas. El número de víctimas mortales, atribuido a que “era de noche”, aumentó en las semanas y meses siguientes a 20.000 personas. Otros cientos de miles sufrieron daños, en muchos casos permanentes, como ceguera y afecciones del pulmón, hígado, riñón y sistema inmunológico. El Consejo Indio de Investigación Médica [ICMR, por su sigla en inglés] concluyó que más de 520.000 personas expuestas adquirieron venenos en su circulación sanguínea, causantes de diversos grados de daño a casi todos los sistemas de su organismo. Continue lendo

The Short, Happy Life of Climate Change Enlightenment

The collapse of the talks at Copenhagen took away all momentum for change and the lobbyists are back in control. So what next?

George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 21, 2010

The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome. Continue lendo

Let Them Eat Meat – But Farm It Properly

The ethical case against eating animal produce once seemed clear. But a new book is an abattoir for dodgy arguments

George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 7, 2010

This will not be an easy column to write. I am about to put down 1,200 words in support of a book that starts by attacking me and often returns to this sport. But it has persuaded me that I was wrong. More to the point, it has opened my eyes to some fascinating complexities in what seemed to be a black and white case. Continue lendo

The IPCC Messed Up over ‘Amazongate’ – the Threat to the Amazon is Far Worse

Challenging climate sceptics is good sport but we’re in danger of forgetting the deadly serious matter at hand

George Monbiot, The Guardian, July 2, 2010

Well this becomes more entertaining by the moment. Those who staked so much on the “Amazongate” story, only to see it turn round and bite them, are now digging a hole so deep that they will soon be able to witness a possible climate change scenario at first hand, as they emerge, shovels in hand, in the middle of the Great Victoria Desert. Continue lendo