SPOIL 3, The Mekong River.

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…………………………… http://www.meltdownintibet.com/index.htm - brilliant site for info on Chinese/Mekong dam projects and Tibet.

As development drives China and Asia, it is their economies, and the search for energy to power that development that is keeping the world afloat. Canada and Australia, both energy “rich” countries have been the subject of the previous ‘Spoil’ articles, and both their destructive environmental “Spoil” programmes, can be directly attributed to the economic benefits of supplying the 2nd, (but soon to be 1st) biggest global economy. China.

The World Bank sponsored this film clip by the U.S. Geological Service, (ho hum), but it does point out some vital issues centred around not only the 12 dams proposed for the Mekong, but the 89 further hydroelectric plants planned for the Mekong’s tributory rivers which are approved by each country unilaterally.

China is not only causing havoc in remote parts of the world, it is also destroying much of it’s own back yard, and the Asian Region’s natural Heritage. It has already killed the Yangtse River through hydroelectric damn projects, and now despite 6 other nations being ‘downstream’ below the source of the Mekong in Tibet, China has 8 dams built, under construction or planned on the Mekong before it flows into Laos/Myanmar. It  has thirteen projects planned on the Salween (known in China as “Nu”) River above its entry into Myanmar, including several adjacent to or within the ecologically sensitive heritage site in Yunnan Province. These waterways, along with the Yangtze River (one of China’s domestic targets for intensive development), constitute the Three Parallel Rivers UNESCO World Heritage Site in southern China. http://atlanticsentinel.com/2012/03/chinese-dam-building-tests-southeast-asian-resilience/

It is also reported that China has been given a major planning role on Thailands Mekong dam projects, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said China had modern water-resource management laws and an efficient water system.

“Its water policy is comprehensive. All relevant agencies are well integrated too,” Preecha said.

Thai Water Resources Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat said Thai officials would discuss how best to manage the Chao Phraya River with Jiao’s team. He said the Chinese officials would cruise along the Mekong River from Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district today to check the conditions of this international river. Jiao insisted that China’s dams did not have any adverse impact on the Mekong.

“When drought conditions got very serious in 2010, China released water for [use in] Thailand,” he said.

According to Thailand’s Water Crisis Prevention Centre, 48 provinces have been declared drought-hit this year. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/04/27/china-help-draw-plan-chao-phraya-basin.html

Downstream riparian nations include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. All of these countries will be affected by China’s dam building and hydropower operations in upstream reaches of the aforementioned rivers.

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THE MEKONG RIVER.

12 months ago when I crossed the Mekong River en route to Vien Tien a reprieve was in the air over the 12 massive damn projects proposed for the river. In December 2011 a moratorium was called by the Mekong River Commision (MRC) to allow a 10 year period of environmental research.

The search for reason has once again become a victim as news leaks out that a Thai construction company began work on March 15th on the  Xayaburi damn on the Mekong in Laos. The Peoples Republic of Laos has unilaterally made the decision despite the MRC moratorium and a “damning” report issued in March siting the damage to the worlds largest freshwater fishery from which 60 MILLION PEOPLE gain their livelyhood and from where 80% of the protein needs of those people come. Financing and construction are from Thai companies and banks, but the example followed, by one of the poorest, and least developed countries in Asia is the Chinese way, displacing millions of people in its bid to provide energy.  A demonstration was held in Bangkok recently  http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/290301/mekong-plans-anger-riverside-communities
The 4,900 kilometer river which forms the borders between Laos/Myanmar and Laos/Thailand and flows on through Cambodia and and Viet Nam, is recognised at Angkor Wat as the provider of food  3,000 years ago.
 
It is the lifeblood of the millions of people of the region and has already been affected by China’s dam construction on the upper reaches of the Mekong with noticable falls in water levels on the lower reaches. Specifically, the dam will not only involve the resettlement of about 2,100 people; the means of subsistence, income and food security of 202,000 people living around Xayaburi dam will be affected due to the reduction of farmland and decimation of fisheries.As the downstream country, the impact on Cambodia will be even greater.  When the dam is constructed on the main stream of Mekong river, the food source of 80% of the population will be affected. The Tonle Sap lake area will face most serious problems due to the impact on its wild fish resources, which currently constitute the primary source of food and livelihoods for 1.6 million people and approximately 10% of current national GDP. The reduction of alluvium caused by the stagnancy of water in the dam’s reservoir will also negatively affect Cambodia food security.Thailand will likewise experience serious environmental impact on fisheries, alluvium and aquatic products, as well as social issues such as the destruction of subsistence-based livelihoods for people living along Mekong River and increased migration to urban areas, both internal and transboundary.Located in the lowest part of Mekong basin, Vietnam will suffer the most from the negative impacts of dam on main stream of Mekong river. The Xayaburi dam and other proposed main stream dams on the Lower Mekong would add significantly to the projected impact of China’s massive dams in Yunnan on the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, where 18 million people are living as well as to regional and even international food security.  Vietnam is the world’s second largest rice exporter and the Mekong Delta-already one of the areas most vulnerable to sea level rise–produces nearly half of its rice crop. http://www.stimson.org/summaries/a-cambodian-on-mekong-river-water-security/
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………………………….Full text on pictures at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42652178/
Oxfam made this film to raise awareness.
There are 60 million peoples voices to be heard on this matter that are discounted on the assumption that this is progress – buying into the “prosperity” bubble as suickly as possible. There is no doubt that the mainly young populations of Asia want progress and energy needs are projected to increase 15% per yer for the next 10 years. Viet Nam has already accepted encrochments by dam flooding in nearly 80,000 hectares of lush lowland forest and expansive wetlands, rare animals like the duoc langur and the pigmy slow loris make a home, alongside 100 other endangered mammals.
But much of that could change if the government approves plans to build two hydropower dams on the Dong Nai River, which runs through the park. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Vietnam-Government-Approves-Plans-Building-Dam-Through-Wildlife-Sanctuary-132909558.html
For a lengthy but in depth discussion on the hazards and geopolitical movements of the Mekong development Stimpsons talk given by Dr Richard P Cronin in 2009, is still very relevant. No doubt slowed by the GFC, the need for electricity generation has picked up and now trade off’s are happening of which no-one can know the consequences.
 
Key information sites about Mekong River development include ;
http://www.savethemekong.org/                                        https://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/infrastructure-people-and-environment/save-the-mekong/mekong-mainstream-dams/                                                  http://mouthtosource.org/rivers/mekong/                                                     http://peakwater.org/tag/mekong-river/                                                              http://www.internationalrivers.org/
 
 

Banco Flamenco.

As 15M and Los Indignados showed, the Spanish society really know how to put on a protest. This is the Indignados in Puerta del Sol Madrid.

 

There protests are realistic, - news hit the streets of Spanish banks who borrowed €316.3bn from the ECB in March compared with €169.8bn in February. It is the Spanish banks lending to property speculators which has caused the Spanish bubble to burst.

The innovation continues as “La Nina Ninja” continues her dance troup bank protests throughout Spain, they have even taken notice in the commercial t.v. news.

…………….    “This is no crisis, they call it capitalism . . . “

……………….   The ;rumba’ song that accompanies the flamenco, “Banquero, Banquero, Banquero”, is proving an underground smash.

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………………  La Nina Ninja on t.v. . . . .

TAR SANDS, Avaaz petition, new documentaries.

As Tar Sands production steadily increases it is news of hunger strikes by Indigenous Americans of the Lakota Nation. and the emergence of the 3rd global supply line to the east, that reminds us that this activity must stop.  http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rkistner/in_the_dakotas_members_of.html#.T39FMuI5opI.twitter  

Details have been released of a proposal to export tar sands oil from the east coast of America. Strong opposition met the proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. although a “section” of the pipeline has ominously been approved by Obama. The western route through the pristine Great Bear National Park on Canada’s west coast must be seen as the least possible option. The 3rd option is a doozy. Why build a pipeline when you have a leaky old one there already ? Opposition is beginning to mount within Canada and the U.S. as the pernicious nature of tar sands oil and its destructive planetary potential – emissions from Tar Sands oil are 20% greater than “conventional” oil emissions, due to the highly energy intensive processing of tar sands. http://blog.nwf.org/2012/04/speak-up-now-help-stop-big-oils-tar-sands-agenda-for-new-england/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See previous Tar Sands posts

http://awayfromitall.me/2012/03/07/canada-home-to-white-bears-boreal-forests-tar-sands-and-climate-criminals/

http://awayfromitall.me/2012/01/15/spoil-tar-sands-nightmare/

A “global” petition has been set up by AVAAZ to send to the Canadian government at https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_Enbridges_Northern_Gateway_pipeline/sign/

A new documentary “White Water, Black Gold”, is now being screened throughout Canada http://www.whitewaterblackgold.com/. Here is a trailer.

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Desmogblog  http://www.desmogblog.com/ has produced a film showing the silent damage to wildlife, including wolf culls and decreasing caribou numbers due to tar sands encroachment of habitat. It also highlughts the ridiculous “ethical oil” campaign, the film is called “Cry Wolf”.

Naomi Klein, Why the Right fears Climate Change.

Naomi Klein has been an outspoken activist, best selling author and filmaker for many years. This interview is cross posted from “Solutions” website and delves into Ms Klein’s investigative research into the wildly swinging opinion on climate change action, and the reality of finding a solution that is equitable globally, not just for the 1%.

Throwing Out the Free Market Playbook: An Interview with Naomi Klein

Perhaps one of the most well-known voices for the Left, Canadian Naomi Klein is an activist and author of several nonfiction works critical of consumerism and corporate activity, including the best sellers No Logo (2000) and Shock Doctrine (2007).

In your cover story for the Nation last year, you say that modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the political Left, including redistribution of wealth, higher and more progressive taxes, and greater government intervention and regulation. Please explain.

The piece came out of my interest and my shock at the fact that belief in climate change in the United States has plummeted. If you really drill into the polling data, what you see is that the drop in belief in climate change is really concentrated on the right of the political spectrum. It’s been an extraordinary and unusual shift in belief in a short time. In 2007, 71 percent of Americans believed in climate change and in 2009 only 51 percent believed—and now we’re at 41 percent. So I started researching the denial movement and going to conferences and reading the books, and what’s clear is that, on the right, climate change is seen as a threat to the Right’s worldview, and to the neoliberal economic worldview. It’s seen as a Marxist plot. They accuse climate scientists of being watermelons—green on the outside and red on the inside.

It seems exaggerated, but your piece was about how the Right is in fact correct.

I don’t think climate change necessitates a social revolution. This idea is coming from the right-wing think tanks and not scientific organizations. They’re ideological organizations. Their core reason for being is to defend what they call free-market ideology. They feel that any government intervention leads us to serfdom and brings about a socialist world, so that’s what they have to fight off: a socialist world. Increase the power of the private sector and decrease the public sphere is their ideology.

You can set up carbon markets, consumer markets, and just pretend, but if you want to get serious about climate change, really serious, in line with the science, and you want to meet targets like 80 percent emissions cuts by midcentury in the developed world, then you need to be intervening strongly in the economy, and you can’t do it all with carbon markets and offsetting. You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. And we need to build public transport systems and light rail and affordable housing along transit lines to lower emissions. The market is not going to step up to this challenge. We must do more: rebuild levees and bridges and the public sphere, because we saw in Katrina what happens when weak infrastructure clashes with heavy weather—it’s catastrophe. These climate deniers aren’t crazy—their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook.

What is the political philosophy that underscores those who accept climate change versus those who deny it?

The Yale cultural cognition project has looked at cultural worldview and climate change, and what’s clear is that ideology is the main factor in whether we believe in climate change. If you have an egalitarian and communitarian worldview, and you tend toward a belief system of pooling resources and helping the less advantaged, then you believe in climate change. And the stronger your belief system tends toward a hierarchical or individual worldview, the greater the chances are that you deny climate change and the stronger your denial will be. The reason is clear: it’s because people protect their worldviews. We all do this. We develop intellectual antibodies. Climate change confirms what people on the left already believe. But the Left must take this confirmation responsibly. It means that if you are on the left of the spectrum, you need to guard against exaggeration and your own tendency to unquestioningly accept the data because it confirms your worldview.

Members of the Left have been resistant to acknowledging that this worldview is behind their support of climate action, while the Right confronts it head on. Why this hesitancy among liberals?

There are a few factors at work. Climate change is not a big issue for the Left. The big left issues in the United States are inequality, the banks, corporate malfeasance, unemployment, foreclosures. I don’t think climate change has ever been a broad-based issue for the Left. Part of this is the legacy of siloing off issues, which is part of the NGO era of activism. Climate change has been claimed by the big green groups and they’re to the left. But they’re also foundation funded. A lot of them have gone down the road of partnerships with corporations, which has made them less critical. The discourse around climate change has also become extremely technical and specialized. A lot of people don’t feel qualified and feel like they don’t have to talk about it. They’re so locked into a logic of market-based solutions—that the big green groups got behind cap and trade, carbon markets, and consumer responses instead of structural ones—so they’re not going to talk about how free trade has sent emissions soaring or about crumbling public infrastructure or the ideology that would rationalize major new investments in infrastructure. Others can fight those battles, they say. During good economic times, that may have seemed viable; but as soon as you have an economic crisis, the environment gets thrown under the bus, and there is a failure to make the connection between the economy and the climate crisis—both have roots in putting profits before people.

You write in your article, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting, and light-bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis.” How do we get the collective action necessary? Is the Occupy movement a step in the right direction?

The Occupy movement has been a game changer, and it has opened up space for us to put more radical solutions on the table. I think the political discourse in the United States is centered around what we tell ourselves the American public can handle. The experience of seeing these groups of young people put radical ideas on the table, and seeing the country get excited by it, has been a wake up call for a lot of people who feel they support those solutions—and for those who have said, “That’s all we can do.” It has challenged the sense of what is possible. I know a lot of environmentalists have been really excited by that. I’m on the board of 350.org, and they’ll be doing more and more work on the structural barriers to climate action. The issue is why? Why do we keep losing? Who is in our way? We’re talking about challenging corporate personhood and financing of elections—and this is huge for environmental groups to be moving out of their boxes. I think all of the green organizations who take corporate money are terrified about this. For them, Occupy Wall Street has been a game changer.

What comes after communism and capitalism? What’s your vision of the way forward?

It’s largely about changing the mix in a mixed economy. Maybe one day we’ll have a perfect “ism” that’s post-communism and -capitalism. But if we look at the countries that have done the most to seriously meet the climate challenge, they’re social democracies like Scandinavia and the Netherlands. They’re countries with a strong social sphere. They’re mixed economies. Markets are a big part, but not the only part, of their economies. Can we meet our climate targets in a system that requires exponential growth to continue? Furthermore, where is the imperative of growth coming from? What part of our economy is demanding growth year after year?

If you’re a locally based business, you don’t need continual growth year after year. What requires that growth is the particular brand of corporate capitalism—shareholders who aren’t involved in the business itself. That part of our economy has to shrink, and that’s terrifying people who are deeply invested in it. We have a mixed economy, but it’s one in which large corporations are controlled by outside investors, and we won’t change that mix until that influence is reduced.

Is that possible?

It is if we look at certain choke points like corporate personhood and financing, and it makes sense for us to zero in on aspects of our system that give corporations massive influence. Another is media concentration. If you had publicly financed elections, you’d have to require public networks to give airtime to candidates. So the fact that networks charge so much is why presidential elections cost more than a billion dollars, which means you have to go to the 1 percent to finance the elections. These issues are all linked with the idea that corporations have the same free-speech rights as people, so there would also be more restrictions on corporate speech.

Entrepreneur and writer Peter Barnes has argued that what’s missing is adequate incorporation of the “commons sector” in the economy—public goods like natural and social capital. “Capitalism 3.0” he calls it, which we’d achieve not by privatizing these goods but by creating new institutions such as public-asset trusts. What’s your opinion of this approach?

I definitely think it’s clear that the road we’ve been on—turning to the private sector to run our essential services—has proven disastrous. In many cases, the reason why it was so easy to make arguments in favor of privatization was because public institutions were so cut off and unresponsive and the public didn’t feel a sense of ownership. The idea that a private corporation has valued you as a customer was a persuasive argument. Now it turns out both models have failed. So this idea that there is a third way—neither private nor state-run public—is out there.

Spain converts passive resistance into a crime

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch. . all this in the name of austerity.

Many Spaniards were puzzled at the choice of an election on 20th November 2011 by then Prime Minister Jose Louis Zapatero. Most Spaniards would know that the 20th November is the anniversery of the death of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. Was Zapatero subliminally suggesting that at an election he knew he would lose, a vote for Rajoy’s P.P. conservative party would mean a return to the Franco era fascism ?   Many would now shout a loud YES after news that ;

“Spain converts passive resistance into a crime” & “Spain accused of ‘draconian’ plans to clamp down on protests”  Naomi Klein “Tweeted” on her website                 Shock Doctrine in Spain: after ruining Welfare State, Law will criminalize pacific protests

…………  This was a sample of the violence that put 128 people in hospital when Plaza Catalunya was peacefully occupied by Los Indignados in May 2011. Not much has changed except an election and the sanctioning of this brutality with the re appearance of an official authoritarian fascism. The law is designed to prevent “the questioning of authority”. The recent General Strike in Barcelona produced a similar “military” response.

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Indiscriminate firing of projectiles such as these, provide near fatal injuries such as this,

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonies to the level of violence in Barcelona (in Spanish) can be found at http://denunciacolectiva29m.wordpress.com/  After sordid details of the “undercover penetration” of environmental groups in the U.K. by secret police, further stripping away human rights is underway across the world.

Australia’s biggest “climate criminal”, ENERGY MINISTER MARTIN FERGUSON has already unleashed the secret service on Australian environmentalists. Ferguson’s irrational thinking now elevate environmentalists to be “a greater threat to society than terrorists”.

FOI documents confirm that Mr Ferguson pressed then attorney-general Robert  McClelland in September 2009 to see whether ”the intelligence-gathering  services of the Australian Federal Police” could be used  to help energy  companies handle increasing activity by coalmining protesters.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/asio-eyes-green-groups-20120411-1wsba.html#ixzz1rqDRaQ7h

THE PAIN IN SPAIN of the crushing austerity is not being felt by the political elite. Following Balthasar Garzon’s suspension from practice for 11 years the path is clear to re-establish an authoritarian regime with “austerity” as their mantra.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría referred to those who did not respect the Garzon decision.

“I would like to tell those political leaders to keep in mind that all judicial decisions are worthy of respect. All Spaniards must respect court verdicts, but even more so public representatives,” she said. “When you question the institutions, you are also questioning democracy – here and beyond our borders. I am appealing to their sense of responsibility. Spain is a democratic country. I am very worried about the image that some are trying to convey about a Spain that is not really Spain.”

Just which “image of Spain” Ms Santamaria is referring to is now more then ever unclear after the proposal to criminalise peaceful protest.

Spain converts passive resistance into a crime.  http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_34330.shtml

Those who organise protests over the internet now face charges ‘of integration in a criminal organisation’. The debate in Congress on Wednesday revealed that passive resistance will be considered ‘a crime against authority’ in Spain. The Minister for the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, has explained some reforms to the Penal Code which he has been working on with the Minister for Justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón.
The ‘crime against authority’ will include passive or active resistance, a violent attack against a policeman was the example given, threats and intimidating behaviour, and the throwing of dangerous objects.
Those who organise gatherings of protest groups which turn violent, for example over the internet, now face being charged with the crime of ‘integration in a criminal organisation’. Any violent conduct by a protestor will be considered to ‘aggravate’ the charges.
Converting passive resistance into a crime is a major step and observers think the move has been taken because the Government realises only now the social cuts and labour reforms will start to take effect.
The 15-M indignant protests in Spain showed the power of such gatherings, and it seems from now on you can be arrested for sitting down with others in a plaza.

Spain accused of ‘draconian’ plans to clamp down on protestshttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/9198496/Spain-accused-of-draconian-plans-to-clamp-down-on-protests.html

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“This tomorrow – I have no tomorrow”, , , , , ,

A Bull gets sick of chasing a red rag.

It’s not often  a bull comes out of a Spanish bull ring a winner, but Lionel Messi would be proud of this “hoof work”  . .. .. . .

An Economist speaks out for the Environment.

*** UPDATE ,

An incredible article from physicist Tom Murphy http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/  reports a conversation with an economist over dinner as they discuss “future energy” and it’s role in the “future economy”. Here is a link to the same article in Energy Bulletin http://energybulletin.net/stories/2012-04-11/exponential-economist-meets-finite-physicist

Ross Gittins, economics editor for Melbourne’s “The Age” newspaper has had something of a “Paulian” transformation over the last couple of years. In danger of being classified as “green” Gittins now runs the risk of a smackdown from Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person. Rinehart, who sponsors worthwhile and informative lectures such as Viscount Christopher Monckton’s visit to Australia, has just bought a big chunk of “The Age” and will no doubt be keen have a chat to Ross.

It is so rare to hear an economist including the savage environmental outcomes in store in their considerations of current growth policy – just had to post it.

You’re Never Alone with a Drone Pt 3.

**** UPDATE “Virtual” Drone public information demonstrations begin in the U.S.

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 “KNOWDRONES” WEBSITE ;  http://www.knowdrones.com/

Cocos Oslands, the idyllic Indian Ocean paradise or a drone base.

The sparks began to fly in November when Julia Gillard and Barak Obama announced a “new defense pact” that would see a U.S. military presence in Australia centred on Darwin. Ultimately 2,500 marines would be stationed and the new strategic base would not be affected by defense cuts - this would be the first U.S. Pacific deployment since the Viet Nam war.

A Chinese “People’s Daily” (state owned) editorial commented ; “Australia surely cannot play China for a fool. It is impossible for China to remain detached, no matter what Australia does to undermine its security,” it said. The editorial admonished Australia for relying on China for its economic interests while turning to the United States for political and security purposes.

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the People’s Daily editorial room when the recent announcement hit the headlines that this same alliance was considering the Cocos Islands as an air base for drone flights around the region. As the earlier post “You’re never alone with a drone pt 2″ showed, facilitating such flights could mean a partnership in illegal assasinations.

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In the space of three years, the Obama administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries, from clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents. Targets have been reported in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, Seychelles, and Obama is even sanctioning drone surveillance flights over the U.S.A. as “anti terrorism and intelligence operations”. When Obama was sworn into office in 2009, the nation’s clandestine drone war was confined to a single country, Pakistan, where 44 strikes over five years had left about 400 people dead, according to the New America Foundation. The number of strikes has since soared to nearly 240, and the number of those killed, according to conservative estimates, has more than quadrupled. (Washington Post Dec 27 2011)

New Zealand showed how to stand up to America when it banned U.S. nuclear vessels entering its waters. Slurping around the briefs of a failed President trying to re assert himself for the coming election does not become Ms Gillard, this could well become a pact with the devil.

More on Charles Moore, Plastic Oceans, 5 Gyres and Tsunami Debris.

It may have taken a while, but CBS has recently acknowledged the work of Capt Charles Moore and the book released last July ” Plastic Ocean” an interview can be seen at     http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/id=7400862n&tag=contentBody;cbsCarousel

His lecture at  Irving K. Barber Learning Centre discusses “The Greatest Infection of the Sea” detailed in his acclaimed book Plastic Ocean. Learn the shocking truth about the unintended consequences of the “Age of Plastics”, how we got here, & what we must do to stop adding to the millions of tons of plastic choking the world’s oceans. In 1997, Captain Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch– a whirlpool of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean. Since his discovery, Moore has been analyzing the giant litter patch and its disastrous effects on ocean life. Through the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, he hopes to raise awareness about the problem and find ways to restrict its growth. He’s now leading several expeditions to sample plastic fragments across thousands of miles of the Pacific.

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Culture Change website has a report of another lecture in March just before the CBS interview (http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/blogcategory/18/62/) and Moore’s research website is at http://www.algalita.org/index.php

Captain Moore’s latest “expedition” in May 2012 is to track debris from the Tsunami (which covers an area the size of California) as it is carried by the north Pacific Ocean currents.