Subscribe To
Sustain Us

Popularise CC

Join News Letter

Read CC In Your
Own Language

CC Malayalam


Peak Oil

Climate Change

US Imperialism


Latin America










Book Review

Gujarat Pogrom



India Elections



Submission Policy

Contact Us

Subscribe To Our
News Letter

Name: E-mail:


Poverty Sucks, The Earth
And The Soul

By Dr. Glen Barry

02 December, 2007
Earth Meanders

The rich are richer and the poor, poorer -- even as the Earth they share shrivels and dies. Billions live a life of misery on a dollar or two a day, as a sizeable minority enjoys creature comforts fit for kings of old, and a relative few with more wealth then entire nations live in unimagined splendor.

The Earth is alive and 3.5 billion years old. Humanity is one of her newer and apparently short-lived members. In losing our oneness with the Earth, we have embraced the dismantling of her life-support system as a means to feed, house and clothe ourselves. We live as if climate, forests, oceans and water have no value other than as resources to be destroyed for money.

First colonial Europe, then militant America and now China and India Inc. together constitute a spreading economic cancer upon the Earth's natural habitats. Each adheres to ever growing populations and economies destroying ecological systems for, at this point, a few decades of throw away consumption, based upon various national "isms" that are all ecologically lacking.

Humanity is well along the path of cutting and burning ourselves to oblivion. The combined filth from centuries of burning fossil fuels and clearing native vegetation -- primitive practices that continue to this day -- is causing the climate and global ecology to not only change, but collapse.

Widespread poverty makes environmental protection nearly impossible, stymies souls and is deeply unethical. As well-off policy-makers ignore global inequities and suffering while seeking vainly to maintain consuming and polluting as a way of life for the rich, we ensure soon everyone will be poor, and then humanity, and perhaps the Earth, dead (or essentially so).

It is grotesque that global cooperative efforts to address climate change have been delayed because of the rich West's failure to understand history and ecology, and unwillingness to accept the principle of equity. And the not yet over-developed world's inability, particularly the elites, to note and reject failed development schemes for short term material gains.

It is time to get past ecological denial, fear and anger; and move forward with radical cooperative ecological change based upon ecological truth and social need. Creation is at stake.

There is perhaps Bali and a few years to get policy right to reduce emissions and avoid total global ecological decline through cooperative international policy-making. Past that, only painful revolutionary responses could possibly slay the growth machine and maintain an intact and fully operable biosphere. Barring these, the global ecosystem fails.

It is appalling that nations like the United States cannot understand the equity and justice implications of climate change. How can they sleep after a decade of obstruction equating a starving villager polluting a bit more a bit longer to emerge from poverty, with their right to drive SUVs and grow their economy endlessly?

The United States and Europe practice the most evil systems of ecological destruction the world has ever seen, and they must pay with immediate deep emission cuts far into the future.

Yet their destructive way of life has become the desired global norm and "developing" nations are rapidly catching up. China and India's exploding populations import emissions while exporting goods. And tropical forested countries such as Brazil and Indonesia have failed miserably to keep their rainforests intact and carbon in place. Increasingly climate blame is shared.

Please consider these modest suggestions my contribution to the Bali climate conference. Climate change is so advanced that all nations must agree to mandatorily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as the most urgent task ever undertaken by humanity.

Equity and justice dictates rich nations will contribute more in total and speed to emissions cuts, yet poor and developing nations suffer the most from global heating, and must not expect to follow the same failed and deadly development policies. Poverty associated with reduced emissions is preferable to that from failing ecosystems to which there is no adapting.

Clearly a global deal must apportion emission reduction responsibilities -- perhaps 50% to traditional rich developed countries, 30% to the newly industrial super-economies and 20% to others. Far greater minds have proposed similar things in economic terms, Google information on "contraction and convergence".

Further, to commit to 80% cuts in emissions by 2050 without more immediate goals is meaningless. Targets under Kyoto's successor must be ambitious and pulled forward. Given our understanding that climate change has become abrupt and potentially run-way, we need commitments starting within a year for 30% cuts by 2015. And then the strategy, funding and adaptive management to do so.

The only way forward in Bali is to embrace sizable emission cuts that include all nations, even as rich nations are called upon to do more, and all pledges are front loaded. This is the only type of framework within which a deal could possibly be reached that will be effective in stopping climate change.

Poverty, inequity, injustice and climate change are deeply related. There is little possibility of saving the Earth through emission reductions, and otherwise working to achieve global ecological sustainability, unless we also work for a just and equitable world free from poverty.

Leave A Comment
Share Your Insights

Comment Policy

Digg it! And spread the word!

Here is a unique chance to help this article to be read by thousands of people more. You just Digg it, and it will appear in the home page of and thousands more will read it. Digg is nothing but an vote, the article with most votes will go to the top of the page. So, as you read just give a digg and help thousands more to read this article.


Syndicate CC Headlines On Your Blog

Subscribe To
Sustain Us


Search Our Archive

Our Site


Online Users