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Resilience Roundup - June 12


A roundup of the latest news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere. Click on the headline link to see the full article.

Click on the headline link to see the full article.

Iraq’s second largest city falls to insurgents, threatening oil sector

Nick Cunningham,
OPEC’s second largest oil producer is in severe disarray just as the world has come to rely upon Iraq for greater energy supplies.

Iraq is facing its biggest security threat in years following a surprise attack by Sunni militants on Mosul. In the June 10 attack on Iraq’s second largest city, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) surprised Iraq’s security forces, driving them out and storming military bases, police stations and the provincial governor’s headquarters...

Ukraine crisis raises risk for nuclear reactors

Staff, Deutsche Welle
The recent news of a water shortage due to a broken pipeline affecting thousands in strife ravaged Eastern Ukraine spells trouble for the safety of the country's nuclear power plants.

That's because the security and reliability of a country's critical infrastructure like its electrical power and water grid is essential to safely run nuclear reactors.

"Once you have decided to operate a nuclear power plant or like in this case a nuclear reactor park, you must guarantee you don't have unstable social situations and you definitely can't have a war," Michael Sailer, chairman of the German Nuclear Waste Management Commission and member of the German Reactor Safety Commission, told DW...

Reverse Food Truck Takes in Food to Feed the Hungry

Kelly McCartney, Shareable
When an idea's time has come, everything seems to fall into place. Such is the case with Finnegans Reverse Food Truck (RFT). Last December, Finnegans (a brewery, more below) founder Jacquie Berglund was in a meeting with her pro bono advertising team at Martin Williams when they pitched the idea of a Reverse Food Truck that would collect food rather than dispense it. Berglund thought it was the most brilliant idea she'd ever heard and, by the end of the day, she had sourced a truck because, after all, the time had come for this idea. The serendipity continued and, back in March, the RFT made its debut...

Seattle's Beacon Hill Hosts the Biggest Food Forest in the US

Kelly McCartney, Shareable
In 2011, a seven-acre swath of land was set aside in Seattle, Washington's Beacon Hill neighborhood with a singular purpose -- to grow food. What started as a final design project for a permaculture course in 2009 has now, five years later, become the Beacon Food Forest (BFF), though still under development...

The farming lobby has wrecked efforts to defend our soil

George Monbiot, The Guardian
In an extraordinary coup, farmers' unions and the UK government have torpedoed the European soil framework directive...

Why Brandalise?

Staff, Brandalism
A penny for your thoughts? Well how about 1610000000000 pence (or, £16.1 billion)? That's how much the UK's advertising industry pays each year for our thoughts. It works out as just under £250 per person. You might think “they're wasting their money”. Most of us like to believe that adverts don’t affect us. But what are the admen doing to justify these sums?...

The fight against advertising is not a fight against desiring. We should want more from life not less, and we should demand it. The question is more of what?...

The German Coal Conundrum: The status of coal power in Germany's energy transition

Arne Jungjohann and Craig Morris, Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Here, we have the coal conundrum of the Energiewende: is Germany building new coal plants to replace nuclear despite the country’s green ambitions? This paper finds that the concern is based largely on a temporary uptick in coal power in 2012/13 (due to a cold winter and greater power exports) and on a round of new coal plants currently going online....

Link to report

Peru’s poorest will soon have solar power

Holly Richmond, Grist
Solar is for rich people...

Unless you live in Peru. The country just launched The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program, an initiative to get solar to 2 million of the country’s poorest residents:...

EU proposal scraps mandatory 'dirty' label for tar sands

Barbara Lewis, Reuters
European Union policymakers propose to scrap a mandatory requirement to label oil from tar sands as more polluting than other forms of crude following years of lobbying from top producer Canada, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

The change removes one obstacle to Canada shipping crude from tar sands to Europe, but will be criticised by environmental campaigners....

The Great Coal Cap: China’s energy policies and the financial implications for thermal coal

Carbon Tracker
China has made considerable strides in addressing critical domestic environmental challenges and technological developments are making clean technology energy solutions increasingly cost attractive. However, the concepts of stranded assets and wasted capital expenditure have increasing relevance to China’s thermal coal sector. For a broad range of stakeholders, there is significant potential value-at-risk associated with a failure to recognise the impact of early peaking demand within the sector. The purpose of this report is to begin to draw attention to the exposure of China’s capital markets to this value-at-risk and the investment factors that should be considered to enhance resilience during a period of significant transition in China’s power sector....

China’s Solar Panel Production Comes at a Dirty Cost

Austin Ramzy, New York Times
Although China may be a cheaper place than Europe for producing solar panels, the savings come at a higher cost to the environment, a new study says...

The authors proposed a tax on the energy consumption and carbon emissions caused by the manufacturing of solar panels to help encourage more sustainable production...

Obama on Obama on Climate

Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times
Several weeks ago, as he was drawing up these new emission rules, I interviewed President Obama in the White House library about climate and energy. Following are highlights. (The interview is also featured in the final episode of Showtime’s climate series, “Years of Living Dangerously” airing on Monday.)...

“Science is science,” he said. “And there is no doubt that if we burned all the fossil fuel that’s in the ground right now that the planet’s going to get too hot and the consequences could be dire.”...

What is the one thing you would still like to see us do to address climate change? Said Obama: put a price on carbon...

Brazil Leads World in Reducing Carbon Emissions by Slashing Deforestation

Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic
Brazil's success in slowing rain forest destruction has resulted in enormous reductions in carbon emissions and shows that it's possible to zealously promote sustainability while still growing the economy, suggests a new study out Thursday.

A second study out this week also underscores Brazil's success and shows that deforestation has also slowed in several other tropical countries...

Chinese Environment Ministry warns on Water pollution

Damian Kahya, Greenpeace Energy Desk
The official China Environmental Situation report found that of 4,778 monitoring sites for groundwater almost 60% were either poor or extremely poor whilst nearly 10% of the country's river valleys fell into the worst category of pollution used by the ministry.

China Bulldozing Hundreds Of Mountains To Expand Cities

Ari Phillips, Climate Progress

Yangshuo image via ilya/flickr. Creative Commons 2.0 license.

In a paper published in journal Nature this week, three researchers from Chang’an University in China warn that the scores of mountains already being truncated is leading to air and water pollution, erosion, and flooding. With unprecedented plans to remove over 700 mountains and fill valleys with the debris, they warn that “there has been too little modelling of the costs and benefits of land creation. Inexperience and technical problems delay projects and add costs, and the environment impacts are not being thoroughly considered.”...

The Cooperative Economy: A Conversation with Gar Alperovitz

Scott Gast and Gar Alperovitz, Orion Magazine
SCOTT: You mentioned earlier that, in the wake of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube collapse, there are a great many worker-owned companies in Ohio. Can you describe one of them?

GAR: In Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood—which is a poor, mostly black neighborhood with high unemployment and an average income of about $20,000—there exists a complex of worker owned companies called the Evergreen Cooperatives...

But what makes this complex particularly interesting is the way it’s anchored to its community: In the middle of this very poor neighborhood, there are two major hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic is one; University Hospitals, the other one, is attached to Case Western Reserve University. Together, those institutions purchase about $3 billion—that’s billion with a b—in goods and services a year, which, until recently, were purchased almost entirely outside the community. Now, though, they’ve begun to direct some of that purchasing power at this complex of cooperatives...

Is maker culture better than school?

Zenon Evans, P2P Blog
Perched in a watchtower above a live-sized game of Mouse Trap, MythBusters host Adam Savage announced, “When you make something … you’re telling a story about your desires. … You’re using your tools to improve yourself and the world around you.” He was directing the point to the younger attendees in his crowd of hundreds at Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, this past weekend. Their stories and desires are varied, but there was a consistent theme among many makers: They want to make life and learning more liberated, more fun, and a bit more rugged.

Implicit in their optimism and aim toward improvement is the awareness that current circumstances kind of suck. Young people cranked through America’s school system know that too well. The first generation exposed en masse to zero tolerance policies, millennials have been expelled, arrested, and tasered for an absurd litany of inoffensive acts. That’s on top of schools’ perennial failure to actually provide kids with a decent education. This generation is growing up and going to college in record numbers, only to find institutions drained of their counterculture gusto for intellectual confrontation and replaced by free speech zones that quarantine unpalatable ideas...

Vodafone's law: mass surveillance = mass apathy

Marina Hyde, The Guardian
To care about civil liberties over the past 13 years has been to wake up next to some strange bedfellows...

Even by those standards, though, waking up to find Vodafone unilaterally revealing the secret wires that allow agencies to listen to live phone conversations, and calling for an end to the unwarranted intrusion, is a new standard in what-the-heckery...

The almost unutterably disappointing truth about the tidal wave of spying stories that have characterised the past 12 months is that insufficient numbers of people have been swept away by it...

Counter-power as common power: beyond horizontalism

Not An Alternative, Roar
Occupy was powerful not because of its consensus decision-making processes but because of its participants’ collective commitment to a shared idea...

Capitalism is the only game in town. There is no alternative.

There are nonetheless indicators of some level of coordination occurring between movements, lessons that seem to be transferring from one uprising to the next, some connected infrastructure, some amount of collective self-awareness. There is enough evidence to push against the first reading of our contemporary landscape, suggesting that we might track these signs as if they actually pointed to something else, a newly emergent counter-power...

News clippings image via shutterstock. Reproduced at with permission.

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