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Nature protection - the new road starts here

Richard Black | 20:34 UK time, Friday, 29 October 2010

From the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya:

Was it an end, or a beginning?

As delegates streamed away from the convention centre here in Nagoya - and stream they did, many of them having delayed flights to make sure no stone they could turn was left unturned - the talk was of a good agreement that now demanded implementation.

The 20 draft targets that were on the table at the beginning of the meeting all survived, in some form, in the final agreement.

Conservation scientists would have liked tougher targets on protection - 25% rather than 17% of the Earth's land surface, 15% at least of the oceans rather than 10%.

They'd also have liked a firm commitment to stopping biodiversity loss.

But the point had been well made through this year that degradation of nature would not stop simply by decreeing that it should.

If you want to stop biodiversity loss through the expansion of farming, you have to tackle farming. Likewise climate change, pollution, invasive species... etc.

That was the philosophy; and it, too, survived into the final analysis.

Perhaps the most fundamental component of the agreement here is that governments have pledged that "by 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed".

Meanwhile, biodiversity values will by the same date be in the process of being "incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems".

The challenges in fuflilling the first of these, especially, is formidable.

Of course, the language in both could be tougher; those two words "as appropriate" are capable of many interpretations.

But put this alongside pledges to manage areas under agriculture and forestry sustainably, and to ensure fisheries have no impact on vulnerable ecosystems or threatened species, and you begin to see the teeth these agreement could have, if fully implemented.

For that, money is needed - in huge amounts - tens of billions of dollars per year, according to some estimates, with developing countries asking for even more.

The British and French environment ministers here assured me it could be done. So did economists who've been working on the issue for years.

But will it be? When economic reform is in the air, it's not just environment ministries that notice the aroma.

Which is why for many, the agreement reached here is just a beginning.

The process of persuasion inside governments and across industry starts now... or at least, after the weekend.

Many of those exiting Nagoya will spend that sleeping, through desire or sheer need.

Comments

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  • 1. At 08:03am on 30 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    "Likewise climate change". Cognitive dissonance. Tackling climate change is nonsense; it's a scam driven by greedy environmental fear-mongers and greedy politicians. The money that is being wasted on climate change is a horrendously huge amount tha tcould be used for good purposes - like growing food for the poor instead of growing fuel crops - like putting the money into medical research - like providing people with clean water - like providing people with cheap energy = the list of better things to do is seemingly endless.

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  • 2. At 10:04am on 30 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    I looked at that photograph (from the link at the top of the page) and thought I was seeing blown up images of empty sweet wrappings from a well known brand of chocolates. Strange how one can get the wrong idea from an initial glance at a photograph. Are those crumpled wish lists or to-do lists on the COP 10 board or are they just empty promises of sweets if you are good?

    I want to know what is written on those crumpled bits of paper. They look like the typical results of a brain-storming activity in a meeting and will say more about what has been discussed than the polished final document.

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  • 3. At 3:07pm on 30 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    The key 'Get Out Of Jail' phrase in the CBD final statement is "..as appropriate"................ now, *these* are Real weasel words.

    Any participating nation can now say "Our circumstances changed, it became inappropriate to attempt to do the things my nation signed up to".

    So, compared to pre-existing Agreements, a 4% increase in BD terrestrial 'set-aside', and a 0% increase in marine 'set-aside', become like the old song & dance routine:

    "We're busy doing nothing, working the whole day through,
    trying to find lots of things not to do.
    We're busy going nowhere. Isn't it just a crime?
    We'd like to be unhappy ... but we never do have the time."

    "I have to watch the river, to see that it doesn't stop,
    then stick around the rosebuds, so they'll know when to pop.
    Better keep the crickets cheerful, they're really a solemn bunch.
    Hustle, bustle, and only an hour for lunch."

    "I have to wake the sun up — he's liable to sleep all day —
    and then inspect the rainbows, so they'll all be bright and gay.
    You must rehearse the songbirds, to see that they sing in key.
    Hustle, bustle, and never a moment free."

    "I have to meet a turtle. I'm teaching him how to swim.
    Then I have to shine the dewdrops, you know they're looking dim.
    I told my friend the robin I'd buy him a brand new vest.
    Hustle, bustle, I wish I could take a rest."

    NOW, ALL TOGETHER ...!

    "We're busy doing nothing, working the whole day through,
    trying to find lots of things not to do.
    We're busy going nowhere - Isn't it just a crime?
    We'd like to be unhappy ...... but we never do have the time."

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  • 4. At 5:30pm on 30 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    UN Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya):
    Was it an end, or a beginning?
    I would like to say that it was a "beginning", but I know better. I know the greed of capitalism and its relentless pursuit of minerals and wood and oil and anything else that it can turn into profit.
    Talk is one thing; implementation is another.
    Conservation scientists would have liked 25% rather than 17% of the Earth's land surface; they will be lucky to get 5%.
    Conservation scientists would have liked 15% at least of the oceans rather than 10%; they will be lucky to get 1%.
    If you want to stop biodiversity loss through the expansion of farming, you have to tackle farming, but you also have to tackle soil destructive chemicals and evasive products such as those that come from Monsanto & its still-born seeds.
    "As appropriate" gives the egregious offenders too much wiggle room. What "is appropriate" to a capitalist - everything he can strip, exploit, and dump?
    Sometimes it seems as though the elite know something that the rest of us don't - such as all they need do is get wealthier and wealthier because come a few years of space exploration, they won't have to worry about the destruction, or trying to make a living on Mother Earth. They will be long gone to their settlements on Mars or wherever...

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  • 5. At 8:18pm on 30 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    It's nice to think "the beast" is "capitalism" rather than ordinary people who prefer to drive a car than take the bus.

    All the same, on Halloween night, think about this: "the beast" might be right there in your own bedroom!

    Do you drive a car? -- If so, the beast is right there next to you! -- Yes, you -- whose moral excellence so exceeds everyone else's that you have the brass neck to call them "capitalists"!

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  • 6. At 11:40pm on 30 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    If my jottings are correct (and I *know* they will be challenged!):

    Of the whole *habitable* land area of earth, 45 million square miles, the area scheduled for CBD protection (17%) is some 7.65 million square miles = 2,766 x 2,766 miles; an area the size of the USA and Canada.

    If calculated on the whole land area of earth including frozen Antarctica and Greenland, 57 million square miles, the area scheduled for CBD protection (17%) is some 9.69 million square miles = 3,113 x 3,113 miles; an area equivalent to the combined size of the USA and Russia.

    The 4% increase in top-valued biodiverse land that we have just agreed to additionally protect by 2020 will be an additional 1.8 – 2.3 million square miles = at least 1340 x 1340 miles and possibly up to 1500 x 1500 miles
    This **additional land area** might be (for example) half the remaining Amazon rainforest + half of each of the islands of Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Borneo and Sumatra.

    This would produce a substantial gain of protection for (eg) wet tropics, but many more relatively diverse ecosystems need similar protection.
    It is my fervent hope that there is a Cray-sized computer somewhere optimizing and ‘selecting’ the precise areas of each continental landmass to produce greatest world conservation gain. This is well within current competences.

    This output is readily mapped onto national boundaries. From this point IUCN (for example) on behalf of the UN, uses this Benchmark for informing and initiating joint planning with national governments and agencies based on the precise GIS co-ordinates for protection areas, for surveillance (particularly using current versions of Landsat and Spot technology) and for reporting-against-targets in 2020.

    Every identified protection area will require negotiations, trade-offs, modifications, etc, because of existing land-use patterns. Nothing will be easy, indeed, everything will be extremely difficult, but at least each nation will have a certain knowledge of the *precise geographical area* within which their performance against their 2020 Target is measured.

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  • 7. At 01:40am on 31 Oct 2010, Dr Brian Skinner wrote:

    Another junket. Another excuse for third-world dictators to stick their begging bowls under the noses of guilt-ridden Westerners. Tell them we're not buying the guilt trip any more.

    Actually the Nagoya article is just another cod piece. I liked the joke two months ago and it still fits most of this enviro-drivel.I assume the BBC made Richard walk, swim or cycle there in order to demonstrate its right-on attitude to the environment.

    More importantly. I've been away. What's the latest gen on the sad demise of Paul the psychic octopus? Something to do with fish debt? I feel that in Paul's memory I shall have to cease making fish jokes for a while.

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  • 8. At 01:49am on 31 Oct 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    4. At 5:30pm on 30 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    UN Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya):
    Was it an end, or a beginning?
    I would like to say that it was a "beginning", but I know better. I know the greed of capitalism and its relentless pursuit of minerals and wood and oil and anything else that it can turn into profit.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes yes, blah blah blah. I'm certain you don't in any way appreciate the irony of using the tools of evil capitalism in order to decry it. Sorry, but the computer you used to vent your anger on the instrument of globalisation (the internet) are just a tiny sample of the benefits capitalism has personally brought you.

    What have the Romans ever done for us?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso

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  • 9. At 06:24am on 31 Oct 2010, PAWB46 wrote:

    I'm another evil capitalist and I have used the profits I have made for conservation purposes. Ask those poor people in socialist countries what they do for conservation (apart from chopping down trees for fuel and killing anything moving for food). Socialist policies in the UK are resulting in the destruction of vast areas of woodland and meadows and the planting of biocrops.

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  • 10. At 10:14am on 31 Oct 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #8 brunnen_g

    "Yes yes, blah blah blah. I'm certain you don't in any way appreciate the irony of using the tools of evil capitalism in order to decry it."

    Yes, blah, blah, blah, blah. Criticising the hugely destructive version of capitalism we have does not mean going back to living in caves. It's possible to have capitalism that does not obliterate the natural world just by internalising the costs of co2 emissions, water pollution, deforestation, waste packaging etc etc etc.

    But unfortunately we have a form of corporate oligarchy that manipulates the politics for its own interests and that subsidises global warming, pollution and biodiversity loss. It is a disaster for us and future generations and you're an apologist for it.

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  • 11. At 10:18am on 31 Oct 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #9 pawb46

    "Ask those poor people in socialist countries what they do for conservation"

    another apologist that doesn;t understand the difference between socialism and communism. this is bog standard tea party (for tea party read koch brothers) propaganda.

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  • 12. At 10:26am on 31 Oct 2010, rossglory wrote:

    #5 bowmanthebard

    "It's nice to think "the beast" is "capitalism" rather than ordinary people who prefer to drive a car than take the bus."

    another apologist that doesn;t understand what capitalism means. i'm a capitalist but the bloated monopolist corporate beast i see around me is not worthy of the term

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  • 13. At 11:03am on 31 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    12. At 10:26am on 31 Oct 2010, rossglory wrote:

    another apologist that doesn;t understand what capitalism means.

    That's a fair comment -- I don't know what it means. Most people use the word to mean "American" or "greedy", which is "two legs good, four legs bad" thinking if not downright racism.

    i'm a capitalist but the bloated monopolist corporate beast

    Could you explain a bit more what you mean here? Most companies want to sell stuff to people who want to buy it. Hamburgers and cars and stuff. There are anti-trust laws, and anti-competition laws and so on that help to break up monopolies. Even if these laws are imperfect, they are applied from time to time.

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  • 14. At 1:06pm on 31 Oct 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    I suppose I'm a capitalist in some ways but I'm not afraid to look the grim reaper in the face. -
    Nazism directly killed some 6 million people plus a lot more through war and yes we usually see it as one of the most 'evil' philosophies ever.
    However capitalism currently kills about 30 million people every year, and the total it killed in the 20th century alone is almost certainly over 1 billion. Of course capitalism doesn't kill deliberately, it kills by simple entropy and natural poverty - by not caring.

    The part of the capitalist system responsible for most of the deaths is the global money markets, keeping the value of money and work very different in different countries. Money differentials make it very hard for the poorest to keep themselves alive in the poorest countries and keeping them poor - keeping their whole nations poor. Plus as an extra bonus for us in the rich world - slowly destroying everything of worth that isn't the money industry or corporate capitalism.

    The really scary thing is if you/we use foresight or extrapolations on the next 50 years. - We are likely to find the whole west becoming the new third world and our morality and power ebbing away to almost nothing. (Many might say we're already there, but there is a lot further still to drop. - Go look at poor regions of the US which is 20 to 30 years ahead of us in the collapse) I'm not a pessimist but yes our society desperately needs to change direction. I believe that climate change is real but I'm almost with the sceptics on a lot of this.

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  • 15. At 1:54pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    “Title: Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their utilization
    The Convention on Biological Diversity recognises the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention therefore have the authority to determine access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties also have the obligation to take appropriate measures with the aim of sharing the benefits derived from their use. This is one of the three fundamental objectives of the Convention.
    Genetic resources whether from plant, animal or micro-organisms may be used for different purposes (e.g. basic research, commercialisation of products). Users of genetic resources may include research institutes, universities and private companies operating in various sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture, horticulture and biotechnology.
    Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on genetic resources, the transfer of technologies which make use of those resources, participation in biotechnological research activities, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialisation of products based on genetic resources. One example of monetary benefits could be the sharing of royalties arising from patented products based on genetic resources….”

    So, the days of impunity are over for explorers searching amazonia for pharmaceutically active products.
    From now on the ‘host nation’ holds sovereign rights to the basic natural molecular formulae, DNA, etc. of ALL life-forms within their national boundaries. It will be illegal for any commercial company or organization to steal the plant, microorganism, etc, modify molecular side-chains, and thereby claim patent rights/intellectual property rights.

    Now national governments will sue companies for transgression – and a government has the big pockets of their nation’s tax-payers to ensure that their claims are sustained. Pharmaceutical companies can be bankrupted by nations. Countries like Brazil, with huge potential for benefit, will set up ministries with legal departments to protect their ‘national treasures’ – however serendipitous the occurrence of treasures not yet identified happens to be!

    There will become a new government-commercial market based on the negotiation of royalties. Companies will seek the ‘cheapest’ country to discuss royalties – for example Roche Pharmaceuticals may choose to negotiate with Ecuador rather than Brazil for molecules present in the upper amazon basin. Deals Will Be Done. Indigenous Indians may/should be eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars over the years – but most of the windfall will go into government coffers and politicians’ pockets. A residue will find its way to the ONG (quango) for indigenous peoples.

    THIS was the key deal sought by the third world nations in the Nagoya Protocol.

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  • 16. At 3:26pm on 31 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    GeoffWard at post 15
    Don't you find it a bit depressing that good ideas get highjacked along the way by those motivated by greed and power?

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  • 17. At 4:22pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Yup, Grannie, but life itself is a negotiation.

    If it needs money to preserve areas of highest biodiversity, then the royalties accruing from (i) licences to explore for novel biochemics, from (ii) ownership of the originating molecules (inc. DNA), and from (iii) the sales of the commercial variants, then the country has an income-stream to contribute to the costs of conservation. [This is like the majority-'cut' that governments are progressively taking from oil-exploitation within their EEZs.]

    The costs of conservation are real and they are high. There are
    (i) the *real* costs of people-relocation etc, commercial activity relocation etc, policing, conservation surveillance & research, etc. (remember these are not World Biosphere Reserves - where human activity is integrated/tolerated, and where corrupt exploitation practices are common); and
    (ii) the *opportunity* costs of forgoing exploitations in conservation areas, (a good example of the latter is the conflict between oil fields and conservation in the Yasuni World Biosphere Reserve in the Ecuadorian upper Amazon - the loss of income from this oil would be the opportunity cost if the oilfield had been assessed but never exploited; it has a real value, one to be set against the notional - and now, the real value, of conserving the genetic resource).

    I guess I am saying that conservation does not exist in a tidy vaccuum; the real world is complicated and messy on all fronts and at all levels. And, like the Aid organisations, conservation has to negotiate with the world as it really is. Hopefully, it now has a few new weapons with which to negotiate.

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  • 18. At 6:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Robert Lucien #14:

    capitalism currently kills about 30 million people every year, and the total it killed in the 20th century alone is almost certainly over 1 billion.

    I wonder what you could possibly have in mind here?

    Cheaper food means a smaller proportion of people die of starvation. That results in more people, and that results in more people dying, simply because there are more people to die. Analogously, the bigger a tree grows, the more leaves it gets, and hence the more of its leaves fall in the autumn.

    Are you talking about that sort of thing -- i.e. blaming the falling of so many leaves on the vigorous growth of the tree -- or are you saying there are lots of little bald guys with top hats and cigars going around the place slaughtering people?

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  • 19. At 9:33pm on 31 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    bowmanthebard wrote @ 18: “Cheaper food means a smaller proportion of people die of starvation. That results in more people, and that results in more people dying, simply because there are more people to die.
    Analogously, the bigger a tree grows, the more leaves it gets, and hence the more of its leaves fall in the autumn. Are you talking about that sort of thing -- i.e. blaming the falling of so many leaves on the vigorous growth of the tree -- or are you saying there are lots of little bald guys with top hats and cigars going around the place slaughtering people?”
    …………………
    More arborial analogies:
    The first (1) is where a tree in full flush of leaf is subjected to drought, resulting in partial or total leaf-loss in ‘summer’ to reduce or arrest transpiration losses.
    The second (2) is the ‘lammas flush’, typically in the English oak, this temperate second-leafing is to compensate for spring leaf-chomping defoliations by insects.

    By analogy, (1) represents humans experiencing a regional extended drought, resulting in the mortality of the weakest, with the local survival of the human species being based on surviving young adults. (2) represents the drought-sacrifice of babes-in-arms by passive starvation or active sacrifice – to be followed by a baby-boom when the rains return.

    However, your analogy and mine fall down because trees are legless! Humans can migrate when the Horsemen of any particular apocalypse come calling.

    Geoff :-)

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  • 20. At 10:19pm on 31 Oct 2010, Shadorne wrote:

    Here we go again. IPCC has lost its appeal. Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption is sounding old and tired. Time for the UN to roll out a new "crise du jour" headed by a new "consensus" of scientists. This time it is all for real. Trust us they say. This one really is a real crisis. Remember all those poor frogs that we have been warning you about - you know - the ones that are disappearing in droves.

    Biodiversity is clearly the new "crise du jour" - send us your money please. After all we have conferences to organize, taxes to collect and redistribute. Research funding and all those jobs at eco media organizations like 10:10, David Suzuki, WWF, Greenpeace, Sierra Club etc. will just go unless we can find a new convincingly alarming gravy train.

    After all, since the eco-NGO's resorted to disseminating videos that show children being blown up, even the corporate funding has started to dry up.

    Google "rethink campaigns fair questions" to see what millions of corporate wealth funds used to be able to buy you.

    For an excellent summary of the new bandwagon - simply google "James Delingpole Biodiversity".

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  • 21. At 03:17am on 01 Nov 2010, Robert Lucien wrote:

    18. At 6:31pm on 31 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    "Robert Lucien #14:

    capitalism currently kills about 30 million people every year, and the total it killed in the 20th century alone is almost certainly over 1 billion.

    I wonder what you could possibly have in mind here?

    Cheaper food means a smaller proportion of people die of starvation. That results in more people, and that results in more people dying, simply because there are more people to die. Analogously, the bigger a tree grows, the more leaves it gets, and hence the more of its leaves fall in the autumn.

    Are you talking about that sort of thing -- i.e. blaming the falling of so many leaves on the vigorous growth of the tree -- or are you saying there are lots of little bald guys with top hats and cigars going around the place slaughtering people?"

    -----
    Hi Bowman, I suppose I was trying to highlight the contradictions in the system, I'm afraid it doesn't make total sense because I was writing it in a bit to much of a hurry and didn't make my arguments very clearly. I've been dealing with these equations of population and society for a bit now and your absolutely right, the bigger society grows the more ultimately will die and the more die on the fringes. The problem with capitalist systems is that a lot are allowed to die.
    A good example is health care. - In the UK we have a socialist system that basically protects everybody, in America the system is semi-socialist and often allows people with insufficient wealth to die, in many African countries the system is truly capitalist and so the poor have little or no health care at all. The same is true of education and other things. In a truly capitalist country you only get police protection if you pay the police, and justice is haphazard and inconsistent.

    Why is all this so important? for the UK because globalisation is pulling the whole western world back towards minimized costs capitalist systems - where the poor once again fall through the net until they die. If we are not careful we will end up back with true capitalism where the rich have everything and the rest of us have little or nothing, where everything involving the state becomes a matter of paying bribes - that's what being in the third world means.

    The horrible thing with global capitalism is that its like the pit and the pendulum, an oubliette where every moral action for us leads further towards disaster. For the poor nations its a constant fight just to survive, the system keeps their goods and resources cheap and their labour almost free. Even the developing nations have a constant fight to keep their social standards from rising too high and destroying their competitiveness in an extremely fierce market. The only way to win in such a system is by being the superior capitalist, being more ruthless, less caring, often more corrupt and better at not getting caught.
    The thing I know from systems theory and computing science is that the equations of global capitalism ultimately do not balance and ultimately no one wins. The reason I included the bit about Hitler is that to me it makes national socialism look positively benign in comparison.

    The other thing I was trying to say is that the global market is slowly but surely destroying western political power, and our own liberal humanitarianism is strangling us. Unless something big changes, within thirty or fifty years the great powers will be China, probably India, and parts of the middle East, plus lots of what now are either poor or developing nations. There will be no way then to win the ecological or environmental arguments and no one will listen to us - they don't now. The whole reason a ship has lookouts and navigators and so on is so that its crew can steer it away from a collision course. - I suppose thats what I'm really trying to say, that our politicians need to be smart and they need to get things right, this is a one short system and we won't be given a second chance.

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  • 22. At 10:47am on 01 Nov 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Robert Lucien #21 wrote:

    globalisation is pulling the whole western world back towards minimized costs capitalist systems

    I think your real problem is with human nature. People like a bargain. They choose to pay less rather than more for products and services. It was always like that, and there's no hope of changing it.

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  • 23. At 2:23pm on 01 Nov 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Robert,
    I think contradictions are more prevalent than commonalities. I’m not even sure that you are looking at associations with causation – capitalism and death-rates.

    Naturally and as you say, the bigger the population the more deaths there should be in any normal time-period; though I’m not sure what ‘dying on the fringe’ means.

    Whilst I agree that the UK and (progressively) the US have socialist health-care. By this token, the least early deaths should occur in the UK. This *may* be true, but you are looking at developed world comparators.

    Your ‘many African countries’ propositions suffer from lack of examples – you say these are truly capitalist, and imply that their high early-death-rates are the result of capitalism per se. I offer just one ref. http://science.jrank.org/pages/8525/Capitalism-Africa-Independence-State-Led-Development-Import-Substitution-Industrialization.html where I find that the African capitalism you quote seems to be more-than-limited. South Africa has suffered withdrawal from Colonial ‘exploitative capitalism’ with the ascendance of the ANC; and Kenyatta’s Kenya (1960s-) appears to be the only other seriously attempted (and partially successful) capitalistic-model state – most other south-of Sahara states are hierarchical tribal structures where to call their system capitalistic is a corruption of the term. North of the Sahara, states such as Algeria have definite socialist thread. Perhaps there is some conflation of the terms capitalism and industrialization?

    There should not be, though, because some countries such as Brazil are industrializing through National Socialism (presumably ‘a good thing’ (?)). And please don’t think that only capitalism works through bribes – the whole of Brazil operates through under-the-counter bribes. Corruption may be ‘third world’ but it exists in all systems and at all states of ‘development’. Also, by no stretch of the imagination can Nicaragua – another bastion of National Socialism – be considered as a state at the top of the infant-survival/quality health list.

    Failed states occur within all economic models; viz. Greece, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, Somalia, ..... It is my belief that *failure itself* correlates better with death rates, more so than any particular economic model, and that failure may be more frequently due to land management, environmental and population issues rather than economic models.

    The contemporary issue seems to be whether the coming globalised ‘world order’, defined by Chinese *State* Capitalism (masquerading as Communism) – which is a means to an end, not an end in itself - will itself transmute into a system invoking state-supported health, education, social-care, pensions, etc. (socialism(?)).

    Geoff.

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  • 24. At 2:55pm on 01 Nov 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    GeoffWard #23 wrote:

    I’m not sure what ‘dying on the fringe’ means.

    Imagine an oasis in the desert. The plants in the middle thrive, because they are near the source of the water. The ones further away from the water source do less well, and the ones at at the very edge barely survive. The edge of the oasis is determined by those that are "dying on the fringe".

    A bigger oasis has a bigger area, a longer circumference, and a larger number of plants "dying on the fringe".

    Plant life is like that, and so is animal life, including human life. We will never be able to deal with the population problem till we acknowledge that the human population is determined largely by the food supply, and not by "the amount of time that has elapsed since the few earliest humans started reproducing".

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  • 25. At 3:36pm on 01 Nov 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Bowman,
    I think Richard is talking about 'the fringe within' - the dispossessed that exist within the interstices of society, the socially unclassified, the underclass, those 'off the radar'. They are only fringe in the sense that that are periferal to the operation of society; in practice they exist largely (and progressively) within the urban centres of the world - the pinnicle centres of 'civilization' in any & all societies. These are they that gravitate in their millions to the favelas of the world's cities - when the last cow dies or is slaughtered the city is the final fringe. But this need not be the end of the road; I see thousands making good, eventually moving from the unseen economy into the world of 'support through taxation'. Ex-President Lula da Silva of Brazil took this route from extreme rural poverty to riches.
    Geoff.

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  • 26. At 3:49pm on 01 Nov 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    People are getting bored with biodiversity Richard, how about a climate change article? or is that too old hat now?

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  • 27. At 4:30pm on 01 Nov 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    #26 Smiffie

    How can you say such a thing, especially as the biodiversity scam is only just starting up. There are mountains of dodgy science articles, tonnes of Eco NGO scare stories to giggle at and loads of threats from anybody making a quick buck on "we have to act now".

    Some little points I have picked up

    Through earths period of "life on earth" over 99.9% of the species are now extinct.

    If an intelligent life form from outer space landed and asked "How many different forms of life are there on this planet?" Not a single scientist would be able to give an answer or be even within a 25% margin of error. We just do not know.

    If the UN wanted a $100 trillion a year for global warming why does it now need $300 trillion for biodiversity? Surely more CO2 produces more plant growth less cold and is the biggest assistant to biodiversity.

    If all the funds spent on these conferences were pooled together it would provide enough funds to erradicate poverty and hence prevent any biodiversity loss in the first place.

    Climate change is so yesterday only because they lost.

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  • 28. At 6:39pm on 01 Nov 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    GeoffWard #25 wrote:

    I think Richard is talking about 'the fringe within' - the dispossessed that exist within the interstices of society, the socially unclassified, the underclass, those 'off the radar'.

    He used the word 'dying', and I assumed he meant it literally. Assuming you are talking about merely poor/non-famous people who nevertheless have enough to eat, usually live to adulthood, and are successfully reproducing, then from a biological perspective they're not "dying" at all, even in a metaphorical sense.

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  • 29. At 6:42pm on 01 Nov 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    GeoffWard,
    After seeing your bit of poetry I can feel a bit of sculpture coming on. One green man coming up! How about some disrespectful songs or a cheeky story to give us all a laugh. JaneBasingstoke lead the way.

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  • 30. At 8:50pm on 01 Nov 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    bowmanthebard wrote @ 28:"..he used the word 'dying', and I assumed he meant it literally. Assuming you are talking about merely poor/non-famous people who nevertheless have enough to eat, usually live to adulthood, and are successfully reproducing, then from a biological perspective they're not "dying" at all, even in a metaphorical sense."
    No, bowman.
    I was talking about lots and lots of rural people who, if they stayed in situ, would definitely ALL die. They migrate to LIVE. This is happening 'the whole world over', all the time. Trans-boundary and within-the-nation migrants may be 'herded' into to 'camps' designed to stop cities being overrun. Rural land-ownership patterns are such that the only option for these masses is to migrate towards the cities in search of enough money by begging or working so they can start again. Having sampled an urban existence, return to a hard life on marginal land frequently does not happen.

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  • 31. At 8:53pm on 01 Nov 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @sensiblegrannie #29

    You want a funny story? Right now I'm reminded of an old Hancock scene.

    I just read this
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-11665197

    and I feel like this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNZosqiJISs

    because everyone seems to have forgotten about this (highlight mine)
    "Given under our hand - the above named and many others being witnesses - in the meadow which is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign."
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Magna_Carta

    apparently spelt "Stanes" in the original Latin. (Link to Latin version in left hand margin.)

    Oh, the Torygraph's missed the Magna Carta connection to Staines too.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherhowse/8103032/Yes-I-remember-Staines-the-name.html

    Of course such an important part of British Law could never be relevant to a discussion that includes the design of new regulations.

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  • 32. At 11:07pm on 01 Nov 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Jane and Grannie,
    I'm just rehearsing my partner with her mother-of-the-bride speech, and coincidentally watching your Hancock You-Tube clip. What a man! ... Hancock, that is ... Such pregnant pauses...animated enunciation of expressions .... total actor-empathy with the camera lens ... timing ... pause .... timing. Turning my partner into a Hancock-clone is not easy!
    Wrt. 'Staines' - it could be worse - it could have been spelt Stains. I well remember a generation of rude little boys giggling their way through Captain Pugwash, every time he shouted up the rigging for "Seaman Stains!"
    Geoff ;-)

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