Resources, conflict and greenwashing - Dec 19
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The value of a nuclear Iran (Shi'ite oil)
Chan Akya, Asia Times
Ever since the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on Iran last week after the country refused to stop enriching uranium, concerns have mounted over the possibility of a nuclear-type conflict in the Middle East involving the United States, Israel, Iran and perhaps a host of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia.
Whilst the descent towards war may well prove inevitable over the course of 2011, this article explores the strategic necessities of the other side of the equation; namely the question of just how bad a nuclear-armed Iran would be in what is considered the most volatile neighborhood in the world.
By far the most interesting leak that surfaced from the US cable disclosures is the repeated insistence of the Saudi king exhorting the United States to withdraw from Iraq by taking a detour through Iran.
... Putting fear and greed together, the answer to engaging Iran is surely the expansion of Iranian influence over Shi'ite oil-producing areas around the Persian Gulf. A critical examination of this aspect could well be the key to resolving both the Middle East conundrum and containing the further spread of Wahhabi terrorism globally.
There is something of a truism in the energy industry that while Sunni states may claim ownership of oil reserves, most oil-producing areas are actually in regions populated exclusively or extensively by Shi'ite groups. For example, The Energy Bulletin published the following table in December 2008, in an article entitled "Shia Islam and oil geopolitics" by James Leigh; the table highlights the predominance of Shi'ite (Shia) populations in the regions with significant oil reserves.
(18 December 2010)
Green War: "Because the Earth is worth the fight!"
Selçuk Balamir, Mathieu Grosche, Shabnam Zeraat et al; Green War
The world is a menacing place. The rise of extremisms is breeding terrorist attacks towards civilised countries. Despite all the richness generated by globalisation, some persist on their outdated ideologies, causing the clash of civilisations, in various conflicts around the world.
It is therefore difficult to anticipate the end of wars in the 21st century. But it is equally impossible to ignore the ecological stakes affecting all industries; in order to differentiate itself and gain advantages over its competitors, one must absolutely catch the eco-design wave. We position ourselves at the crossroads of those two currents: weapon production and environmentalism.
We are convinced that Barack Obama, who will obviously not impede the war efforts of the United States, will nonetheless opt for more environmentally friendly alternatives. The military budget of the United States, which increased by 5% in 2009, now exceeds for 500 billion dollars; a sufficient amount for a little gesture towards Mother Nature.
Greenwar is an unusual brand adopting a unique strategic position in the arms industry. At Greenwar, we are deeply convinced that wars of the third millennium will be ecological, humanistic and poetical. But of course this does not mean the end of casualties. It’s quite the opposite actually!
At Greenwar, we see well beyond the simple human criteria. We position ourselves in a global ecosystem where each and every being contributes to the cycle of life, where “human loss” equals “unleashing springtime”. Death should not be perceived as a loss, but as an essential part of natural cycles.
At Greenwar, we also delight in warfare and wordfare: we play with arms and words alike. That’s why, at Greenwar, we would talk about playing with arms rather than slaying with arms. Likewise, roaring tanks would turn into mellifluous carts, sowing the seeds of a green Arcadia. At Greenwar, ecology is a war that never ends.
... Greenwar aims at using design as a discourse in order to point a critical finger at what is commonly known as “greenwashing” i.e a tendency to literally ab/use ecology, turning it into a mere selling point. It also ponders over the designer’s responsibility. How did we end up developing “eco-friendly military products” in a workshop dedicated to eco-design? Here are some elements which will make things clearer about our aims and how we proceeded.
The workshop theme that was given to us contained already a choice, a particular orientation and definition of eco-design: we were to create an ecological ‘brand’, a marketing strategy. But ecology and the market are incompatible, just like the “sustainable development” oxymoron, because it is the marketing that drives and maintains this consumer society. We cannot have a real ecological action using the very same tools that harm the environment, and we cannot live in equilibrium with the environment unless we get out of this constant destructive logic. That is why we have decided to focus on this eco-marketing ‘dangerous liaison’.
But how could we avoid the dullness of a “politically correct” social responsibility campaign which would merely spread the good word without tackling and reaching the heart of the matter? ...
S. American mountains hold key to electric car's future: lithium for batteries
Juan Forero, Washington Post
IN SUSQUES, ARGENTINA It's the lightest of all metals, skitters wildly on water and can unexpectedly explode. To mine it commercially requires an elaborate process involving drilling, evaporation tanks and chemical processing.
But if President Obama is to fulfill his goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, a once-obscure metal crucial for the batteries in those cars, lithium, will probably be mined by the tens of thousands of tons here in the high Andes. Its boosters say lithium will one day rival petroleum in value, and that has prompted a race to secure mining rights across this craggy, bone-dry mountain range where vast salt flats contain some of the world's largest deposits.
(17 December 2010)