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  • How viable is renewable energy? – Ecologise
    June 2016 View All Events Special Features Miguel Villagran Getty Images How viable is renewable energy Written by Sagar Dhara Dec 28 2015 1 Comment Both solar and wind energy depend on rare earth elements that will likely become scarce in 20 years or so China accounted for 95 percent of the world s rare earth production raising fears that it might exert monopolistic control Meanwhile renewable energy technologies that could function without rare earths particularly photovoltaic technologies aren t close to deployment Clear path indecisive travelers Sagar Dhara Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Humans have often convinced themselves that technology will save them from disaster They ve indulged in the cornucopian myth of an Earth whose resources are limitless Some societies the Mayans for example have suffered outright collapses when their technologies failed or when energy or other material resources ran scarce Human beings will face a similar predicament in the not so distant future if they place too much faith in technological approaches to climate change and not enough emphasis on necessary political and philosophical shifts But excessive faith in technology is what my roundtable colleagues Jennie Stephens Elizabeth Wilson and Saleemul Huq displayed In Round One regarding wind power and rooftop photovoltaic technology In my first essay I discussed several factors that constrain photovoltaic and wind technologies their intermittency their land requirements and so forth I lacked space to mention a few additional constraints Both solar and wind energy depend on rare earth elements that will likely become scarce in 20 years or so As recently as five years ago China accounted for 95 percent of the world s rare earth production raising fears that it might exert monopolistic control China s share of production has since dropped but China still has the world s largest reserves of rare earths by far and worries about monopolistic behavior persist Meanwhile renewable energy technologies that could function without rare earths particularly photovoltaic technologies are not close to commercial deployment And as I mentioned only in passing in Round One the manufacture of photovoltaic panels entails carbon dioxide emissions In fact analyses of the life cycle of photovoltaics indicate that if manufacturing grows at an annual rate exceeding the inverse of the panels carbon dioxide payback time photovoltaics will account for more emissions in their manufacture than will be saved through their use To illustrate the average carbon dioxide payback period for photovoltaics is now about eight years meaning that photovoltaics must grow no faster than about 12 percent annually in order to qualify as a net carbon dioxide mitigator But in fact photovoltaics grew at annual rate of 40 percent from 1998 to 2008 and at 59 percent between 2008 and 2014 Thus photovoltaics have been a net emitter for years For photovoltaics to replace fossil fuels in electricity generation alone never mind in transportation or other areas while growing no faster than carbon payback permits perhaps 50 years will be required Fifty years is simply too long to wait

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/12/28/how-viable-is-renewable-energy/ (2016-05-02)
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  • The climate challenge is deeper than technology – Ecologise
    fold through technology developments such as domesticating draft animals and using fire to clear land make bricks and smelt metals The emergence of industrial societies entailed another 50 fold increase Human beings habitually prioritize their own right to nature over other species rights to it energy growth has depended on this habit It has also depended on private ownership of nature which allows an investor individual enterprise state to make small energy investments that deliver large amounts of surplus energy Surplus energy spurs human development and lifestyle changes and the desire for development drives further energy growth Fossil fuels with their high energy density have played a major role in the human growth story In 2012 the most recent year for which International Energy Agency figures are available fossil fuels provided 82 percent of the world s primary energy and they are responsible along with land use changes for annual emissions of about 40 gigatons of carbon dioxide Half of those emissions are not sequestered back to the Earth This is the main cause of global warming What s the solution It comes in two parts one technological and the other political and philosophical Both halves of the solution must be implemented if the more serious ravages of global warming are to be avoided Problems everywhere First the technological side Human beings must quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions But will any of the major technological approaches to reducing emissions actually work One candidate solution is to derive energy from biomass which already provides 10 percent of the energy people use Biomass is a widespread resource and can easily be converted to provide energy services Unfortunately biomass is already over harvested people use 16 percent of the energy that plants produce each year Further harvesting will only exacerbate the ugly environmental gashes on the planet that biomass extraction through deforestation and other land use changes has already caused Hydropower provides 2 4 percent of the world s primary energy but 40 percent of hydropower s deployable potential has been tapped Resistance to dams has increased because dams destroy upstream forests and agricultural land downstream areas can flood when excess water is released from reservoirs Hydropower is unlikely to be expanded much except in some hilly regions Nuclear energy meanwhile provides about 5 percent of human beings energy requirements But the world is moving away from thermal nuclear energy It is dirty uranium mining carries serious health consequences and about 300 000 metric tons of highly radioactive spent fuel are stored at reactor sites around the world It is unsafe already there have been three major accidents at power reactors It is open to misuse enriched uranium can be diverted to make bombs And it is expensive much costlier than fossil fuels Next concentrated solar power and photovoltaics along with wind provide about 1 percent of global energy These sources are growing at 15 to 40 percent a year but have several drawbacks They suffer from intermittence They can only be sited

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/10/24/climate-change/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Cowspiracy: ‘The film that environmental organisations don’t want you to see’ – Ecologise
    the abattoir which the majority of us are already aware of and shines a light on the much larger and pressing issue the environmental consequences of the agricultural industry Many people assume veganism is to do solely with the welfare of animals which for the majority of cases is true however there is also a MASSIVE problem concerning actions outside of the slaughterhouse Deemed as eye opening as Blackfish Cowspiracy informs us that 51 of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions are due to the production and maintenance of livestock and their byproducts compared to just 13 from transport road rail air and marine the latter being most commonly attributed to the rise in greenhouse gases I even remember watching a Blue Peter programme about how to save water in the household and how this can make a huge difference on the environment Yet in the USA only 5 of the nation s water use is used up in domestic homes whereas agriculture uses 55 of the country s water From this realisation Cowspiracy s film maker Kip Anderson then asserted that the water usage to make one regular hamburger is 660 gallons of water equivalent to showering for 2 months But why is agriculture so environmentally damaging The problem lies with the fact that we are adding an extra chain in our food process By rearing up animals for the means of consumption we need to feed them which means we need land and resources in order to do so And animals eat A LOT Additionally these acres upon acres of land are then ultimately destroyed by the animals grazing with 1 3 of land being deserted and unusable due to livestock The main reason for the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is actually mainly due to the land being needed for agricultural purposes And the worst part If we used all the food that we give to the animals and feed people instead you could feed everyone on earth a healthy and sustainable diet It would end starvation across the world Throughout the documentary there seems to be so many issues regarding the environment that all come down to the agricultural industry However as Anderson discovers no one wants to talk about it CEOs of major companies and environmental charities are either unaware or have simply chosen to ignore the facts stated by the UN that the main cause of global warming is not the burning of fossil fuels but actually the devastation caused from our desire for meat and dairy And I think this is what Anderson was trying to achieve in this documentary and partly why I started this blog to create awareness This issue is a big one but no one is discussing it no one seems to be addressing it The moral debate around the rearing of animals for meat and dairy production is one thing but the destruction of our planet and the starvation of millions is another And that is why even if you

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/04/15/video-cowspiracy-the-documentary-that-created-a-raging-debate-about-meat-eating-and-climate-change/ (2016-05-02)
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  • When communalists turns on environmentalists – Ecologise
    beef eating As a Hindu I was repeatedly asked if I practise vegetarianism depicted as akin to holding a conservation science degree my final qualifier for speaking for animals This is simply one in many episodes in the construction of what is Hindu and what is not when faced by questions to do with animals environment and wildlife Conservation biology teaches us to focus only on issues that are researched and known but the bhakts will have us know that it s all about cows There is an interesting adarsh liberal poster doing the rounds I haven t been able to find its origins but I don t think it s a satire either it mirrors much of what environmentalists hear as criticism today Two things are happening here First when environmentalists critique the religious or cultural agenda they are descried as unworthy foreign funded or anti Hindu even should they be dealing with agnostic subjects such as ecology or animal behaviour concerning a dying river a hissing cobra or a placid bull While religion has contributed to conservation it does not follow that each animal or environment related issue is a question of religious or communal identity Second the distinction between culture and religion has collapsed Criticisms of the World Culture Festival held on Delhi s flood plains earlier this month were buoyed with the mass respectability religion and spirituality bring Criticism on social media around jallikattu focused on activists being anti Hindu even though jallikattu is a community led event rather than a flagship for Hindu customs A lot has been uncovered about trolls loving abuse and hating debate It is established that they revel in group bullying showing signs of psychopathy But to what extent will this mentality inform conservation planning and future choices The Art of living sponsored World Culture Festival is an interesting case in point The Art of Living was the principal host of the World Culture Festival Per court orders construction on the flood plains is not permitted The festival which brought in lakhs of visitors flattened the plains concretised it in places removed reed beds and set up a huge complex The National Green Tribunal found that the permissions for this event were illegal With the existence of an NGT order barring constructions on the floodplain this was akin to throwing a bash on the Moon in precisely those areas which are no go On social media and other campaign platforms Art of Living volunteers buried their heads in metaphoric river sand denying the very photographs that proved the rampage and hectoring all those who said otherwise Others inverted all criticism into an anti Hindu activity If secularism is the separation of the state and religion then this was the Art of Living event appeared to have the blessing of both the state and soft Hindutva backed by Delhi and the central government I ve worked for the Yamuna for years We were simply saying that Yamuna is a dying river and

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/28/when-communalism-turns-on-environmentalism/ (2016-05-02)
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  • In spite of cool advertising, electric cars (also) damage the environment – Ecologise
    environment Written by Hema Vaishnavi Mar 23 2016 1 Comment In the Union Budget the government has decided to exempt the new age cesses on electric and hybrid cars But are these green cars really green They do not pollute the areas that they are being used in because all they are doing is move the pollution from the point of movement to the source of electricity Hema Vaishnavi Youth Ki Awaaz Going green is the new fad now and electric cars have taken the fancy of most people around the world including the likes of Barack Obama and even Leonardo DiCaprio taking efforts to promote them So what s all the hullabaloo about these so called green cars that even the Indian government has decided to exempt them from the special cesses that it levied on all the other conventional vehicles The electric vehicles dubbed as the green cars are 100 eco friendly and they do not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment as it runs on electricity And hybrid vehicles which run on gas do produce emissions which are again very minimal compared to the conventional vehicles In the Union Budget announced by Arun Jaitley the government has decided to exempt the new age cesses on electrically operated vehicles hybrid vehicles hydrogen vehicles based on fuel cell technology and motor vehicles The announcement from Jaitley comes with a statement saying that the pollution and traffic situation in Indian cities is a matter of concern which has brought him to levy an infrastructure cess on petrol diesel LPG and CNG cars which stems from the hope that people would eventually make the shift from the conventional vehicles But are these green cars really green Let s debunk the myth The green cars do not pollute the areas that they are being used in because all they are doing is move the pollution from the point of movement to the source of electricity A lot of studies point out that electric cars are merely coal powered vehicles since most of the electricity is generated by coal Following this line of thought let s have a look at the power generation statistics in India According to a report by the Energy Information Administration as of May 2014 India generates most of its power as much as 59 from coal fired power plants and another 10 from natural gas and diesel Suffice to say that about 70 of the power generation in India is responsible for polluting the air around the power plants which are heavily clustered in and around Maharashtra and Gujarat Now moving on to the life cycle analysis of an electric car the manufacturing process isn t nearly as clearly as clean as the conventional cars A study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology study found that these manufacturing units emitted more toxic waste than conventional car factories According to another report published by the team in the Journal of Industrial Ecology which did

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/23/how-in-spite-of-cool-advertising-electric-and-hybrid-cars-also-damage-the-environment/ (2016-05-02)
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  • activism – Ecologise
    released on 30th March by Dr V S Vijayan Member Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel Continue Reading How Goa s mining lobby government and media ganged up against a young tribal activist Written by Contributor Apr 4 2016 0 Comments Displacement Conflict GREEN POLITICS INDIA Resource Use Nandita Haksar writes Ravindra Velip a 27 year old tribal activist fighting mining in Goa is facing the combined might of the state government the mining lobby and a complicit media A founding member of green activist group Rainbow Warriors he was arrested and placed in judicial custody When he was assaulted in jail it went unreported Continue Reading Charles Eisenstein In a Rhino Everything Written by Contributor Apr 1 2016 0 Comments Culture Communication Ecocide Forests Wildlife GREEN POLITICS Ideas Inspiration RECOMMENDED A planet where caged wild animals go extinct is also one that warehouses its elderly in nursing homes A world where the last white rhinos age in zoos is also a world of war racism poverty and ecocide It s impossible for one to exist without the others All are part of the same unholy matrix Continue Reading Atulya Bingham Where did environmentalism go wrong Written by Contributor Mar 29 2016 0 Comments Culture Communication Ecocide Forests Wildlife GREEN POLITICS Ideas Inspiration RECOMMENDED Atulkya Bingham author of Mudball writes With an unwavering fascination in the end of the world environmentalism has attempted to scare humanity into acting and we are now seeing just how spectacularly these scare tactics have failed Not that the scare isn t based on solid foundations it s more that apparently scared people are not particularly effective at mobilising Continue Reading Can environmentalism learn from religion Written by Contributor Mar 18 2016 0 Comments Alternatives Culture Communication Education Awareness GREEN POLITICS Ideas Inspiration Kurt Cobb writes While it might seem tempting to downplay the nexus between religion and environmentalism in order to bolster environmentalism s scientific underpinnings I think this would be a serious mistake The effectiveness of religious rhetoric suggests that environmentalists ought not to discard it but rather figure out how to harness it even more effectively Continue Reading A new wave of climate insurgents defines itself as law enforcers Written by Contributor Mar 16 2016 0 Comments Alternatives CLIMATE CHANGE GREEN POLITICS Jeremy Brecher writes One in six Americans say they would engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse That s about 40 million adults The fate of the earth may depend on them Such actions are about to take a quantum leap both in numbers and in global coordination Continue Reading Towards Energy Democracy A Vision Statement Written by Contributor Mar 6 2016 0 Comments ENERGY GREEN POLITICS INDIA Planning Policy Resource Use Sustainability Transition Unlimited growth and consumerist culture is incompatible with a finite world We call for an urgent paradigm shift from the currently dominant model of consumption led development to creating frameworks of human and ecological well being This transition should

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/tag/activism-2/ (2016-05-02)
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  • agrarian crisis – Ecologise
    improve soil fertility lower input costs and raise profits Invariably the solutions to our problems lie right under our noses says Chetan Continue Reading India s looming water wars can destroy everything from Make in India to smart cities Written by Contributor Apr 8 2016 0 Comments Displacement Conflict ECONOMY INDIA Livelihoods Poverty Inequality Resource Use Rural India Soil Water Nikhil Inamdar writes India has the world s largest number of people without access to clean water The financial burden of this has fallen on its poorest agrarian communities but the crisis is now spilling over to industries too In Marathwada the tanker business is the only one booming The rest of the economy has collapsed Continue Reading There s a drought in many parts of India Why isn t it making headlines Written by Contributor Apr 3 2016 0 Comments ECONOMY Food Farming INDIA Livelihoods Rural India Soil Water Harish Damodaran writes In the past droughts invariably fuelled speculation and hoarding by unscrupulous traders But this time Indians in the cities are hardly feeling the pinch Barring sugar consumers aren t paying all that much more compared to a year ago Simply put this time it is a drought essentially of farmers and rural producers Continue Reading NEWS UPDATE 89 Written by Ecologise Mar 31 2016 0 Comments NEWS UPDATE ARCHIVE The Centre has proposed modification of green laws to impose a fine up to Rs 20 crore on major environment violators who would also have to pay a daily fine of Rs 1 crore if the damage continues Another green law will prevent violators from taking shelter under a legal cover for non payment of fines Continue Reading Organic agriculture agroecology and the parallel reality of the GMO evangelist Written by Contributor Mar 27 2016 0 Comments Alternatives Food Farming Health Safety INDIA Livelihoods Rural India Soil Water Colin Todhunter writes GMO enthusiasts insist that agroecological farming could never feed the world But it has been feeding us all for millennia and it s the only way to continue while enriching the soils on which all farming depends Gandhi once called industrial agriculture a nine day wonder And its time will soon be up Continue Reading NEWS UPDATE 88 Written by Ecologise Mar 24 2016 0 Comments NEWS UPDATE ARCHIVE Nihar Gokhale reports Rainfall across India in March has been 300 500 higher and often were accompanied by hailstorms As a result winter crops across six Indian states Punjab Haryana Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra stand destroyed Rain and the accompanying hail has damaged upto 60 standing winter crops across the country Continue Reading Farmer suicides What do we know What does it mean Written by Contributor Mar 21 2016 0 Comments DEVELOPMENT Food Farming INDIA Livelihoods Poverty Inequality RECOMMENDED Rural India As output is rising at a slower rate since 1990 profitability of farmers is getting adversely affected for they are not being able to produce at as fast a rate as they had been

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/tag/agrarian-crisis/ (2016-05-02)
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  • agriculture – Ecologise
    drought essentially of farmers and rural producers Continue Reading How WeFarm connects small farmers without the Internet Written by Contributor Mar 25 2016 0 Comments Alternatives Food Farming Livelihoods New Economy Commons Technology Pierce Nahigyan reports Founded in 2014 WeFarm is a free peer to peer service designed for farmers around the world It enables farmers to share information with each other via SMS or text messaging WeFarm translates and connects queries from continent to continent and has thus far provided more than 100 000 answers to its 43 000 registered farmers Continue Reading Farmer suicides What do we know What does it mean Written by Contributor Mar 21 2016 0 Comments DEVELOPMENT Food Farming INDIA Livelihoods Poverty Inequality RECOMMENDED Rural India As output is rising at a slower rate since 1990 profitability of farmers is getting adversely affected for they are not being able to produce at as fast a rate as they had been doing before Note decline in public investment is a conscious government decision There are also other policy changes which aggravated this Continue Reading CRISPR is coming with big implications for food farmers consumers and nature Written by Contributor Mar 13 2016 0 Comments Consumption Food Farming Livelihoods Technology Maywa Montenegro reports Very few technologies merit the epithet game changer but a new genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR Cas9 is one of them Since we first developed the ability to alter genetic material efforts to do so have required months or even years of molecular tinkering With CRISPR precision and speed have soared Continue Reading More than Make in India Jaitley needs to focus on Farm in India Written by Contributor Feb 29 2016 0 Comments DEVELOPMENT ECONOMY Food Farming INDIA Livelihoods Rural India Devinder Sharma writes Arun Jaitley s economic agenda revolves around pushing reforms in order to lift growth and create jobs But what is not being realised is that agriculture alone the sector that has been neglected all these years has the potential to create massive gainful employment build domestic demand and thereby revitalise the sluggish economy Continue Reading CEO of India s first private weather forecasting organisation on strange weather trends Written by Contributor Feb 27 2016 0 Comments CLIMATE CHANGE Food Farming Health Safety INDIA Livelihoods SkyMet founder Jatin Singh says When SkyMet had said there was an El Nino and the 2014 monsoon won t be good the reaction of the then person in charge of IMD was that El Nino was a western conspiracy to play with our devices But the IMD s forecast after 2014 became very El Nino based Continue Reading Subhash Palekar From farmer to national treasure Written by Manu Sharma Feb 18 2016 5 Comments Alternatives Food Farming INDIA Rural India Sustainability He did not form a people s movement Nor did he plead with the government to popularise his natural farming method Palekar took a more direct route instead He reached out to the farmers Met them in person and trained them

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/tag/agriculture/ (2016-05-02)
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