AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1833214 times)

Offline knarf

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Scientists say the newly discovered species had a wingspan of up to 33 feet.

Cryodrakon boreas was a flying reptile that lived during the Cretaceous period around 77 million years ago.

Scientists say they’ve discovered one of the largest flying animals to have ever lived — a huge, fearsome reptile that ruled the skies more than 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

Dubbed Cryodrakon boreas, which translates roughly to "frozen dragon of the north wind," the now-extinct predator had a wingspan of up to 10 meters, or about 33 feet. That’s roughly three times the size of the world’s biggest bird now alive, the wandering albatross, and about as wide as an F-16 fighter jet.

One of several species of extinct flying reptiles known as pterosaurs, this was one odd-looking animal.

“They’re kind of built like a giraffe,” said David Hone, director of the biology program at Queen Mary University of London and the lead author of a paper about the discovery published Sept. 9 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. “If you stood next to a giraffe at a zoo and stretched its face about twice as long and bolted extra finger joints to its front legs, you’ve basically got it. They had huge heads, huge necks and long, wispy bodies” covered in fine downy plumage like that seen on baby birds.

Cryodrakon is believed to have weighed in excess of 200 kilograms, or more than 440 pounds. Little is known about its coloration, though an illustration shows a white animal with a red splotch on its back that looks a bit like a maple leaf.

The splotch's color and shape were picked in part to acknowledge that the fossils used to identify the species were found in Canada, but Hone called the fanciful-looking color scheme "perfectly plausible" for Cryodrakon.

Hone said Cryodrakon probably lived much of its life on the ground, walking around like a modern-day egret or heron and feeding on lizards, small mammals and baby dinosaurs — “just about anything small enough to fit down its throat.”

But it was also a skilled flyer, possibly able to use its membranous wings to soar vast distances. “A journey of a few hundred or even thousands of miles shouldn’t have been a big deal,” Hone said. “I would not be at all surprised if this thing had a range across a huge chunk of North America.”

The fossilized remains used to make the discovery were found decades ago in Alberta. Scientists had long believed that the fossils belonged to another giant pterosaur species known as Quetzalcoatlus.

n a process that he described as extremely laborious, Hone and his collaborators took a close look at the fossils and others collected over the years and determined that they were different enough from Quetzalcoatlus to represent an entirely different species.

Not everyone is convinced that the new research is especially significant. "It describes some new material and names a species, but does not significantly alter our understanding of pterosaur evolution or diversity," S. Christopher Bennett, a professor of biological sciences at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and an expert on pterosaurs, said in an email.

But Brent Breithaupt, a paleontologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Cheyenne, Wyoming, offered a different assessment. The new discovery "provides additional information about the prehistoric past and allows us to better understand the life and times of the animals that lived with the dinosaurs, especially those that flew in the skies," he said in an email.

"One has to wonder what other unique, scientifically important specimens remain to be found in museum collections and in outcrops around the world," he added. "There is always something new to be discovered in paleontology."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Gay 'chemsex' is fueling HIV epidemics in Europe, experts warn
« Reply #14041 on: September 13, 2019, 08:45:23 AM »
Chemsex refers to the use of drugs such as crystal meth to enhance sexual arousal and performance. Experts say it's pervasive in some European cities.

A surge in "chemsex" parties, where people spend days getting high on drugs and having sex with scores of partners, is re-fueling epidemics of HIV among gay men in European towns and cities, doctors say.

Despite much higher risks of contracting the virus that causes AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), users search online "hook-up" apps like Grindr for tags such as "high and horny" or "party and play" to find others wanting drug-heightened and often anonymous and unprotected sex.

The result, AIDS experts say, is that in cities across Europe, HIV is spreading rapidly among men who have sex with men — leading to concentrated epidemics in hard-to-reach groups.

"Chemsex is very pervasive now — it's a growing phenomenon," said Rusi Jaspal, a professor of psychology and sexual health at De Montfort University in the British city of Leicester who has been studying the spread of HIV and the chemsex scene.

At a London conference hosted by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the group's president Jose Zuniga, described chemsex as a "challenge of proportions we cannot fully comprehend at this time."

Chemsex is characterized by the use of drugs such as crystal meth, mephedrone and GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, to enhance sexual arousal, performance and pleasure.

A subset of chemsex is known as "slamsex", where partygoers self-inject drugs rather than taking them as pills or via pipes.

The drugs "reduce inhibitions and increase feelings of horniness or lust," Jaspal said, and contribute to "a perfect storm" in groups with high HIV rates for the virus to spread.

In a small study published in 2014 of people attending HIV clinics in England and Wales, 30 percent of HIV-positive men surveyed reported chemsex in the previous year, and 10 percent said they'd engaged in slamsex.

Ignacio Labayen de Inza, a chemsex specialist who works at several UK clinics and online as a counsellor for men seeking help, says "things have got much worse" since then.

"It's not just a UK thing," he told Reuters during the IAPAC conference. "It's in Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Kiev, Moscow, Helsinki — and in many of what people call 'gay destinations,' like (Spain's) Ibiza, Torremolinos, the Canary Islands."

A Spain-based study last year found that of almost 750 HIV-positive men surveyed, 60 percent reported having unprotected anal sex and 62 percent had been diagnosed with an STI. Rates of infections and high-risk sexual behavior were higher among the 30 percent who reported having engaged in chemsex or slamsex.

Globally, the fight against HIV and AIDS has made dramatic progress in the past decade. According to the UNAIDS agency, 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2018, a 16 percent drop since 2010, driven mostly by reducing HIV rates in Africa.

But progress is stalling and the epidemic is tightening its grip in key groups. UNAIDS says more then half of new HIV cases in 2018 were in minority or marginalized groups such as men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers.

The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS can't be cured, but can be kept in check for decades with cocktails of highly effective antiviral medicines. It's partly this advance that is behind the high-risk practice of chemsex, said de Inza.

"People are not scared any more of HIV," he said. "Many people I see say they think 'it's only a matter of time anyway, so I might as well have some fun.'"

Shannon Hader, deputy director of UNAIDS, says the key to limiting chemsex and its consequences is to get the right protection messages and methods to those who need them.

Encouraging use of HIV prevention drugs known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is one effective step, she said, and can give people who have chemsex some control over their health.

"In this epidemic, we always have to be looking for what's coming next that we're not addressing," she told Reuters. "And with PrEP, we need to ensure we're not missing people in the chemsex environment."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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The Water Wars Are Here
« Reply #14042 on: September 13, 2019, 08:49:55 AM »

In a warming world, fights over water usage have become ideological battles.

Everyone remembers the scene in Chinatown when Jack Nicholson almost gets his nose sliced off, but many do not recall what the dispute was about. It wasn’t drug smuggling or gun running that got Nicholson’s character slashed. It was water rights. Since the film was released in 1974, the question of who will get the limited water in the American West, particularly the all-important flow of the Colorado River, has grown even more contentious.

Dystopian novels and movies predict a future in which people fight it out for every last drop of water to quench the thirst of expanding cities, parched agriculture, and wasteful suburban grass lawns. But the future is already here. Urban growth in desert cities has ramped up the demand for water while increasing temperatures brought on by climate change have decreased the supply. West of the Mississippi River, water rights—which are both divorced from climate change reality and based on illogically piecemeal legislation—have created an existential crisis.

Heather Hansman’s new book Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West explores the water emergency with remarkable calm and even-handedness. She focuses on a single river, the Green River, where ranchers, frackers, rafters, fishermen, and urbanites all fight for their share of the water, while contending with Byzantine state policies. This one river brings together the range of tensions that currently afflict Western water rights and will affect more and more of us in the coming decades. And not least of the complications here is that fights over water usage have become ideological battles—between those who support the federal coordination of climate change policy and rugged individualists who see government intervention as inherently unjust.

The Green River, a tributary of the Colorado that runs through Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, is a typically acute case. Split between an upper and lower basin, its water is used by seven states. Those upstream in Wyoming attempt to pull out as much water as possible before the hungry downstream cities slurp up their share. The system has strict per-state allocations despite the variable nature of the supply. It runs on a “use it or lose it” policy: Either you take out water annually or your right to it disappears forever. There is no reward for conservation and many western states have no limit on how much water can be taken out of rivers in times of low rainfall, even to guarantee minimum flows for fish. Coordination between agricultural and urban users is almost nonexistent. States enact their own policies rather than joining together to compile a holistic plan, as if complex water systems should obey the arbitrary borderlines of American federalism.

Western states calculated the available water in the Green River at 18 million acre-feet of water per year while the real number is closer to 13 million. Yet, even this does not show the real error of water management: Climate change will dramatically impact freshwater availability through evaporation. Between 2000 and 2014, the inflow to the Colorado River went down by nearly 20 percent and at least one third of that reduction was from global warming. “Between evaporation, reduced inflow, and increased use,” Hansman writes, “the West is sucking itself dry.” Another generation of population growth and current use patterns could make the American West into a quilt of restive water claimants, a sort of Mad Max scenario, though more likely to play out in courts and statehouses rather than among desert vigilantes.

The Green River, like many other waterways, is also in danger of contamination. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) zones surrounding it are viewed by Washington not as idyllic preserves, like National Parks, but as banks of hydrocarbons waiting for money to be squeezed out of them. After all, 90 percent of BLM land is open for drilling despite the fact that fracking liquid and other hazardous materials often seep into rivers. Notwithstanding the BLM’s permissive attitude toward oil and gas exploration, the agency is widely condemned in the West as Big Government despots trying to keep locals subordinated to Washington. The Green River runs very close to Bundy Country where wildlife rangers are perceived with the scorn reserved for an invading army.

Even before people like Cliven Bundy started challenging the federal government in armed standoffs, there was a longer tradition of libertarian thinking that dates back to at least the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s, when homesteading was ended. The very mentality of vast privatization and skepticism about federal coordination of state law is much of the reason why water rights are such a mess in the American West. This reflexive individualism has put off solutions that consider science and give regional attention to rivers rather than scattershot state laws.

Yet, rural libertarian types may be right about one thing: City folk are indeed coming for their water. Despite many ranchers and farmers having more senior rights to rivers, the Southwest is one of the fastest growing regions of the United States. When mushrooming suburbs have water issues, they simply use their municipal budgets to purchase more water from agricultural users in a process known as “buy and dry.” H2O once meant for alfalfa goes into sprinklers and showerheads. This has not only produced alarm among those worried about local food supplies but also about what it will mean if the West loses its farming culture to sprawling subdivisions and golf courses.

Hansman makes clear that the West is more and more divided between dying small towns and exploding urban growth in places like Las Vegas and Phoenix: “While the image of the vast, empty western ranges might still be true, it’s not because there aren’t that many people in the West. It’s because of a divide between increasingly sparse rural populations and increasingly dense urban ones. That divide shows up in politics and demographics, and it also shows up in how people use water.” The priorities of Sunbelt cities are geared toward building water reserves for future residents, while rural users hope to hang on to their farms despite water scarcity, agricultural consolidation, and rising temperatures. Notwithstanding populist cant about the importance of the Western rancher, a lone cowboy making a hardscrabble go of it, it is mostly cities that have the ear of policymakers.

Much of Hansman’s trip is a meditation not on the beguiling beauty of the American West but on how every corner of the United States is now touched by development. The concept of “pure nature” is nowhere to be found. Rather, what she encounters are desolate spaces that, despite being empty, bear the fingerprints of human intervention everywhere. The result is not entirely unpleasant as Hansman recounts:

    I think all the wrong things are beautiful: invasive cheatgrass, the glint of sprinklers firing in late-day light, the glossy introduced rainbow trout. I realize it’s hard for me to tell what’s native and natural, what’s been altered by people, and what counts as history.

The Green River is considered one of the country’s least spoiled waterways. Yet, it is still lined by extractive and agricultural uses and filled with trout that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced in 1962 after killing off native “trash fish” with poison. So, what does this say about more modified areas? What are we to think of the once-burning Cuyahoga River in Ohio where human and animal health are actively in danger? Or the Potomac River where sewage and fertilizer runoff has produced a new breed of intersex fish?

The striking sense one gets from the Downriver is that even our less-damaged rivers are in bad shape. There is no federal plan to change that. In fact, just the opposite. The question of fair water appropriation may indeed only be settled when upriver senior water-holders cut off their downstream neighbors. If those neighbors are thousands of households in L.A., Las Vegas, or Phoenix during an August heat wave, the consequences will be devastating. Like so much of U.S. policy, states’ rights have created a disturbing mishmash of approaches to water management and an utter lack of coordination. As in so many other cases, it seems that only an emergency will clear the way for new guidelines.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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How the U.S. Military Churns Out More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Entire Countries
« Reply #14043 on: September 13, 2019, 08:59:26 AM »
The Pentagon is the world's biggest consumer of fossil fuels—and agents of climate change.

When CNN hosted a climate change town hall for Democratic presidential candidates last week, former vice president Joe Biden brought up one of his favorite campaign topics: Barack Obama. "The first thing that happened when President Obama and I were elected, we went over to what they call the Tank, in the Pentagon, sat down and got the briefing on the greatest danger facing our security. Know what they told us it was? The military? Climate change. Climate change. Climate change is the single greatest concern for war and disruption in the world, short of a nuclear exchange."

He's right. A recent Department of Defense report found that climate change "will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security." That includes risks to the physical safety of service members. Since 2008, 17 individual troops at U.S. bases have died from heat exhaustion during training exercises, according to a Pentagon report. In 2018, 2,792 active duty service members suffered heat stroke, a 60 percent increase over the previous decade. Not coincidentally, the last five years have been the hottest in human history, largely a result of human-driven climate change. Earlier this year the Department of Defense found that two-thirds of the military's operationally critical facilities are threatened by climate change, including flooding, droughts, and wildfires.

But the Department of Defense isn't some passive victim in the coming climate catastrophe. While climate change threatens the U.S. military as much as it threatens everything else, the U.S. military is one of the single biggest climate change contributors in the world.

According to the Costs of War, an ongoing project from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, since the global war on terror began in 2001, the U.S. military has produced 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or as much as 257 million passenger cars annually, roughly as many registered vehicles as there all in the entire U.S. That's a higher annual output than whole countries, like Morocco, Sweden, and Switzerland. The total emissions from war-related activity in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria is estimated at more than 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide alone.

It's difficult to get a full picture of the military's fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Even though the U.S. never officially ratified the Kyoto Protocol, a 1992 international agreement between world powers to fight climate change, it pushed to exempt the military from the environmental standards laid out in the agreement. That includes having to document and report on carbon dioxide emissions. The 2015 Paris climate accords closed that loophole, but since Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out, the military once again has carte blanche to burn all the fuel that it wants.

In a report out earlier this summer, Costs of War broke down where all that fuel is going. About 30 percent of the energy use goes to infrastructure, and the Department of Defense spent an estimated $3.5 billion in heating, cooling, and electricity costs in 2017 alone. The remaining 70 percent is "operational," meaning the actual fighting and all the hardware it takes to support that, including fuel for tremendously fuel-inefficient vehicles, planes, and ships.

The Department of Defense has been taking steps to "green" some its bases, though that's less about carbon footprints and more about freeing those bases from relying on costly fuel convoys that are prone to attack. Similarly, gas-electric hybrid battleships need less fuel and therefore fewer refueling stops, so they're strategically preferable. But even those reductions don't go far enough. For 2017 alone, the U.S. military bought 269,230 barrels of oil a day and spent more than $8.6 billion on fuel for the Air Force, the army, the navy, and the Marines, and the military remains the single largest consumer of fossil fuels on the planet, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A greener military is still more environmentally destructive than a smaller military. And defense isn't like a normal industry: closing down a base doesn't mean that a competitor will immediately come in and open a new one, like a chicken processing plant or a community drugstore. That's good news for the climate since it means that any reduction in military activity wouldn't immediately be filled by another entity. But the Department of Defense is the largest employer in the U.S., by its own count employing 2.15 million service members and 732,000 civilians at 4,800 defense sites in 160 countries on all seven continents. That makes it politically and practically difficult to reduce military activity—less military activity means less military jobs.

Ironically, a great deal of military activity is dedicated to protecting American corporations' access to oil and other fossil fuels. Cutting back on U.S. dependence on oil would simultaneously reduce the need for a heavy military presence in much of the Middle East. But despite the Defense Department's own warnings and assessments of the danger posed by climate change, it shows no sign of scaling back its operations around the world. The U.S. military budget is expected to increase for the fifth year in a row, likely reaching a minimum of $733 billion in 2020. But even that masks its size. Writing for The Nation, William D. Hartung and Mandy Smithberger calculate that between the basic defense spending budget, defense-related activity spending, the budgets for Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security, the contracts paid to private contractors, and the maintenance of America's nuclear arsenal (which is under the Department of Energy and not counted in the Pentagon's budget), U.S. military spending is actually closer to $1 trillion a year.

Both Europe and the U.S. have responded to surges in migrants—from Syria and Central America respectively—by hardening their borders and increasing military activity. As climate change continues to make life in vast swaths of the globe harder to maintain, famine and economic instability will fuel conflict within and between countries, which could produce as many as 1 billion refugees by 2050. And the likeliest way the U.S would respond to a refugee crisis on that scale would be, of course, to pump up the military even more.

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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NY finds $1B in hidden transfers by family behind OxyContin
« Reply #14044 on: September 13, 2019, 05:37:54 PM »
NEW YORK (AP) — The family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma used Swiss and other hidden accounts to transfer $1 billion to themselves, New York’s attorney general contends in court papers filed Friday.

New York — asking a judge to enforce subpoenas of companies, banks and advisers to Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family — said it has uncovered the previously unknown wire transfers among family members, entities they control and several financial institutions.

The transfers bolster allegations by New York and other states that the Sacklers worked to shield their wealth in recent years because of mounting worries about legal threats.

Scores of those transactions sent millions of dollars to Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a former member of Purdue’s board and a son of one of its founders, according to the filings.

They point to $20 million shifted from a Purdue parent company to Sackler, who then redirected substantial amounts to shell companies that own family homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons. Another $64 million in transfers to Sackler came from a previously unknown family trust, using a Swiss account, prosecutors said in their filing.

Representatives for the branch of the family that includes Mortimer D.A. Sackler did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

The filing, made in a New York court, follows decisions by that state and others to reject a tentative settlement with Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, announced this week, arguing it does not do enough to make amends for the company’s and family’s alleged roles in flooding U.S. communities with prescription painkillers.

As part of the settlement, Purdue is likely to soon file for bankruptcy protection. But New York and other states have promised they will continue to pursue the Sacklers, alleging that family members drained more than $4 billion from the company over the past dozen years. The family has used a complex chain of companies and trusts to control their holdings, some located in offshore tax havens.

The Sacklers had an estimated net worth of $13 billion as of 2016, making them America’s 19th-richest family, according to Forbes magazine.

In its filing Friday, New York told a state judge that the only way it can determine the full extent of those transfers is if all those it has subpoenaed are forced to provide documents detailing their interactions with the Sackler family.

“While the Sacklers continue to lowball victims and skirt a responsible settlement, we refuse to allow the family to misuse the courts in an effort to shield their financial misconduct. The limited number of documents provided to us so far underscore the necessity for compliance with every subpoena,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a prepared statement.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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US and Brazil agree to Amazon development
« Reply #14045 on: September 13, 2019, 05:42:43 PM »
he US and Brazil have agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon, during a meeting in Washington on Friday.

They also pledged a $100m (£80m) biodiversity conservation fund for the Amazon led by the private sector.

Brazil's foreign minister said opening the rainforest to economic development was the only way to protect it.

Ernesto Araujo also hit back at criticism of Brazil's handling of the forest fires.

He told reporters in Washington that claims the country is "not able to cope with the challenges" were false.

On Friday, Finland urged EU countries to consider stopping importing beef and soybeans from Brazil in order to put pressure on Brazil to tackle the fires.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism for failing to protect the region.

More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest so far this year.

Experts believe the majority of the fires across Brazil this year are caused by human activity such as farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.

Environmentalists say Mr Bolsonaro's policies have led to an increase in fires this year and that he has encouraged cattle farmers to clear large areas of the rainforest since his election last October.

Mr Araujo said: "We want to be together in the endeavour to create development for the Amazon region which we are convinced is the only way to protect the forest.

"So we need new initiatives, new productive initiatives, that create jobs, that create revenue for people in the Amazon and that's where our partnership with the United States will be very important for us."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the biodiversity investment fund would support businesses in hard to reach areas of the Amazon.

He added: "The Brazilians and the American teams will follow through on our commitment that our presidents made in March. We're getting off the ground a 100 million dollar, 11-year Impact Investment Fund for Amazon biodiversity conservation and that project will be led by the private sector."

Last week seven South American countries agreed on measures to protect the Amazon river basin.

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname signed a pact, setting up a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.

At a summit in Colombia, they also agreed to work on reforestation.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Top websites join global climate strike on Friday Sept. 20th
« Reply #14046 on: September 13, 2019, 05:51:46 PM »

Global Climate Strike: websites to support youth-led protest

 Tumblr, Kickstarter, WordPress, and BitTorrent are among the companies to support the Global Climate Strike by donating ad space or shutting down their websites

The youth-led global climate strike scheduled for next Friday has already secured a number of corporate backers, and now the campaign is gping online.

A number of the world's most popular and influential websites announced this week that they will help to promote the strike, pledging to spread the word on social media, put banners on their websites to signal support for the strikes, and in some cases shut down their operations.

Tumblr, Kickstarter, WordPress, and BitTorrent are among the high profile digital brands to support the Global Climate Strike through the Digital Climate Strikes.

Some companies, such as sportswear firm Burton and outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, have also announced they will be shutting down both their physical and online stores, and encouraging employees and customers to strike.

The Digital Climate Strike has been organised by Fight for the Future, a digital rights organisation that has been working with environmental groups, tech workers, and others on the campaign.

"Politicians and lobbyists want us to think that solving the climate crisis is impossible. We need to channel the power of the Internet to turn the impossible into the inevitable. Our future depends on it," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.

The strike is taking place on 20 September, days ahead of UN climate summit in New York. More than 1,700 strikes are planned in more than 150 countries, according to campaign group

Bridget Kyeremateng, social impact lead at social media site Tumblr, said: "Tumblr's passionate and driven community is always eager to find ways that they can get involved in their communities and the Climate Strike is a great opportunity to take issues off the platform and onto the streets."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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"I don't know how Tom Perez and DNC leaders can look themselves in the mirror after tonight."

A major climate refugee crisis is currently underway after one of the most catastrophic storms in recorded history ripped through the Bahamas, but the 2020 Democratic presidential debate Thursday night featured just one question and less than five minutes of discussion on the planetary emergency that is intensifying extreme weather, taking lives, and threatening to render large swathes of the planet uninhabitable.

"I don't know how Tom Perez and DNC leaders can look themselves in the mirror after tonight," said Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the youth-led Sunrise Movement. "When Tom Perez and Democratic Party leaders rejected a climate debate last month they promised us that they would ensure this issue got the attention it deserved. Tonight their check bounced."

Hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision, the third Democratic presidential primary debate took place in Houston, Texas, a city that is often referred to as the oil capital of the world.

Yet the first and only question specifically about the global climate crisis, which came two hours into the three-hour debate, did not make the connection between the oil and gas industry and the ecological emergency.

Noting the destruction caused in Texas by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Univision's Jorge Ramos asked former Rep. Beto O'Rourke what "meaningful action" he would take to "reverse the effect of climate change."

O'Rourke said he would "make sure that we free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels and embrace renewable wind and solar energy technology."

Angering climate campaigners, many of the 10 candidates on stage—including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose Green New Deal plan has been hailed as a benchmark for climate policy—were not given an opportunity to respond to the question.

Observers noted that Hurricane Dorian—which destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the Bahamas and left at least 50 dead and 1,300 missing—was not mentioned during the debate.

"None brought up the people or places already suffering the extreme weather and insufficient infrastructure that scientists have long warned makes climate change deadly," reported HuffPost's Alexander Kaufman. "Catastrophic weather has displaced on average 24 million people per year since 2008, according to the Swiss-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. By 2050, that number could climb to anywhere from 140 million to 300 million to 1 billion."

And with the youth-led global climate strikes just a week away, no questions were asked about what organizers say could be the largest mass mobilization for climate action in history.

"That sound you hear," reported The Guardian, "is every climate activist banging their head against the wall."

"Climate change is the greatest existential threat we face as a nation," said Sunrise's Prakash. "Yet, even as poll after poll show that it's a top concern for voters in the 2020 election, tonight's debate almost entirely ignored it."

"This is an emergency," Prakash added. "We need the next president to act like it. They should show they're ready to fight for our generation by standing up to the DNC and commit to a climate debate."
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Elizabeth Warren just proved she’s the best candidate. Get out of her way
« Reply #14048 on: September 13, 2019, 06:04:07 PM »

Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Democratic presidential primary debate.

The word has popped up in every dinner conversation I’ve had the last few months: Electability.

It is the focus of news stories, analyses and so much hand wringing on the Democratic side.

Pundits pore over voting patterns and revisit previous presidential contests looking for signs and portents about what we can expect in 2020.

I say, electability, shmectability.

The only way to judge electability is after an election, not before.

Did it occur to anyone, really, that a buffoonish reality television star would win the 2016 presidential election over an experienced politician who had been a United States senator, secretary of State and first lady?

Not even Donald Trump thought he was electable.

At the beginning of the 2008 contest, did anyone really believe that an obscure African American senator with an Arabic middle name would become president of the United States? And win a second term?

Democrats need to stop talking about electability and focus on ideas, aspirations and principles. Also, sorry to say, personalities. As in, who do you want to see on your TV screen for the next four to eight years?

Here’s how the candidates are shaping up for me:

Kamala Harris is smart but unsteady. I love that Beto O’Rourke wants to take your AR-15, but he is not ready for prime time. Amy Klobuchar is too cautious. Andrew Yang’s candidacy is a gimmick. Pete Buttigieg is cerebral but unseasoned. Cory Booker tries too hard. Julian Castro does not inspire me. I love the passion of Bernie Sanders, but I do not want to be yelled at for four, or eight, years. Joe Biden is, I am afraid, past his use-by date. God love him, as the pseudo-folksy former vice president might say, but I am ready to move on.

Which brings me to Elizabeth Warren.


Thursday night, I watched the candidates very carefully at their debate in Houston.

I am drawn to Warren’s sincerity, experience and unwavering commitment to her principles. She’s not slick, she’s not mean.

For most of her career, the Harvard professor-turned-U.S. senator has been an unalloyed champion of working- and middle-class Americans. She pushed for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, which has since been gutted by President Trump.

When President Obama and his administration were saving “too big to fail” banks during the financial crisis, Warren was urging them to give relief, instead, to the millions of Americans who were losing their jobs and their homes.

This week, Politico ran a long story about her sometimes-rocky relationship with Obama and his Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence H. Summers. She regarded Geithner and Summers, wrote Politico, “as predisposed toward big banks over families struggling to save their homes.” (Because they were.)

“America works great for the wealthy and the well-connected — that was demonstrated big time during the financial crisis.... Donald Trump stepped into that and said, ‘If your life isn’t working great, blame them.’ His version of ‘them’ is anyone who doesn’t look like you.”

The people she champions are the very voters – in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – who helped Trump win, and whom the Democrats will need in November 2020.

During the debate, I was especially persuaded by her discussion of our broken healthcare system. We all agree it’s a mess.

No one should go broke paying for cancer treatment. No one’s teeth should rot in their head because they can’t afford to see a dentist.

America is addicted to youth, to youthfulness. Yet almost everyone looks forward to turning 65.

After 18 (right to vote) or 21 (right to buy alcohol), it’s one of the only meaningful birthdays to celebrate. Why? Because that’s when you age into Medicare, our government-run healthcare system.

Warren, like Sanders, advocates abolishing the private insurance industry and replacing it with Medicare for all.

Several other Democrats are advocating a slower approach to healthcare reform: Give the people a public option, but let them keep their private insurance if they like it.

But, as Warren pointed out, “I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I’ve met people who like their doctors. I’ve met people who like their nurses. I’ve met people who like their pharmacists. I’ve met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to healthcare.”

Later, she added: “Insurance companies last year sucked $23 billion in profits out of the system. How did they make that money? Every one of those $23 billion was made by an insurance company saying no to your healthcare coverage.”

All those Republicans working people up about the evils of socialism?

Well, Medicare is what American socialism looks like.

Viva Medicare. Viva Social Security.

And Viva Elizabeth Warren.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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President Donald Trump gets some of his worst marks from the American people when it comes to his handling of climate change, and majorities believe the planet is warming and support government actions that he has sometimes scoffed at.

While the administration has rolled back regulations to cut emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from power and industrial plants and pushed for more coal use, wide shares of Americans say they want just the opposite, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

About two out of three Americans say corporations have a responsibility to combat climate change, and a similar share also say it’s the job of the U.S. government. And 64% of Americans say they disapprove of Trump’s policies toward climate change, while about half that many say they approve. That 32% approval of his climate policies is the lowest among six issue areas that the poll asked about, including immigration (38%) and health care (37%).

Ann Florence, a 70-year-old retiree and self-described independent from Jonesborough, Tennessee, said she faults Trump on climate change “because he doesn’t believe it’s happening. It is changing if he would just look at what’s happening.”

While a majority of Republicans do approve of Trump’s performance on climate change, his marks among the GOP on the issue are slightly lower compared with other issues. Meanwhile, 7% of Democrats and 29% of independents approve of Trump on climate change.

Read more: How Climate Change in Iowa is Changing U.S. Politics

Ricky Kendrick, a 30-year-old in Grand Junction, Colorado, said he is contemplating leaving the Republican Party, partly over its denial of climate change. “They don’t see it as a priority at all,” Kendrick, a hardware salesman in the heart of western Colorado’s energy belt, complained of the president and his party. “There are some (weather) things happening that I’ve never seen before. … Something’s changing.”

He was alarmed at Trump’s departure from the Paris climate accord and wants the U.S. to reduce offshore drilling, end subsidies for fossil fuels and ramp up those for renewable energy.

While the poll finds about half of Americans want to decrease or eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels, a similar share say subsidies for renewable energy should be increased. But will Trump’s climate change denial — often voiced in tweets — matter in 2020?

“Climate has not historically been what people vote on, but I think the tides are changing on that,” said University of Maryland sociologist Dana Fisher, who studies the environmental movement. She said her research shows that young people, who don’t vote in large numbers, are activated by climate change.

Climate change is becoming more of a national priority among Democrats but not Republicans, said Tony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. It might make a difference in a close race, he said.

According to the AP VoteCast survey, 7% of voters in the 2018 midterm election called the environment the top issue facing the country. By contrast, 26% said health care was the top issue, 23% said immigration and 18% said the economy and jobs. Democratic voters were far more likely than Republican voters to call the environment the top issue, 12% to 2%.

In the new poll, roughly three out of four Americans say they believe climate change is happening and a large majority of those think humans are at least partly to blame. In total, 47% of all Americans say they think climate change is happening and is caused mostly or entirely by human activities; 20% think it’s caused about equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment; and 8% think it’s happening but is caused mostly or entirely by natural changes in the environment.

There’s a large gap between partisans on the issue. Ninety-two percent of Democrats say climate change is happening, and nearly all of those think it’s caused at least equally by human activity and natural changes in the environment. While more than half of Republicans, 56%, say they think climate change is happening, only 41% think human activities are a factor.

Americans are slightly more likely to favor taxing the use of carbon-based fuels than to oppose it, 37% to 31%. If that revenue is turned into a tax rebate to all Americans, approval ticks up to 43%. About two-thirds of Americans also favor regulating carbon emissions from power and industrial plants.

People say they are more likely to oppose than favor expanding offshore drilling (39% vs. 32%), allowing more use of hydraulic fracking to extract oil and natural gas (45% vs. 22%) and building new nuclear power plants (43% vs. 26%).

Compared with five years ago, Americans are somewhat more positive toward policies focused on renewable energy and somewhat more negative toward those that extract oil and gas. In November 2014, 66% of Americans favored funding research into renewable energy sources, while nearly 80% do so today.

“We don’t need coal and oil anymore,” said Brenda Perry, a 77-year-old retired hotel executive and Democrat living in Plymouth, Massachusetts. “We have other ways of doing energy.”

Rodney Dell, 65, likes that Trump has resisted what he sees as panic about the climate. “His direction is correct,” Dell, a Republican who runs a distribution warehouse, said of the president. “I think the climate policies are overblown a lot.”

Still, Dell, of Irving, Texas, worked in his youth assembling solar panels and is proud that his local library is 100% powered by renewables. He wants more subsidies for green energy and less offshore drilling.

“If you can do something to conserve energy by using the sun and the wind that’s there every day, it’d be ridiculous not to use them,” he said.


The AP-NORC poll of 1,058 adults was conducted Aug. 15-18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later were interviewed online or by phone.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Re: Elizabeth Warren just proved she’s the best candidate. Get out of her way
« Reply #14050 on: September 13, 2019, 08:26:27 PM »
Liz is keeping up the Moe Mentum, the 6'11" Power Forward 1st Round Draft Choice of all Pols who run for office.

The next round of Polls should prove interesting.

Save As Many As You Can

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Seven tonnes of marine plastic pollution collected on remote Arnhem Land beach
« Reply #14051 on: September 14, 2019, 04:48:51 PM »
Water bottles, cigarette lighters and fishing nets were among garbage found on Djulpan beach, Sea Shepherd says

Plastic waste strewn on Djulpan beach in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Further evidence that plastic does not discriminate as it spreads across the planet: the marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd said it is washing up in large quantities on a remote Australian beach.

Sea Shepherd joined Indigenous rangers in picking up more than seven tonnes of marine plastic pollution on a two-kilometre stretch of Djulpan beach, in northeastern Arnhem Land.

Using the same analysis technique employed in a recent study that found a staggering amount of rubbish on the tiny Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, researchers have estimated there would have been 250m pieces of debris along the full stretch of the 14km beach.

The clean-up of Djulpan beach, about 2 1/2 hours drive from the township of Nhulunbuy on the western side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, was conducted over two weeks last October. There is no road to the beach. The rangers from Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation cut a 4WD track through scrub to reach it.

 A collection of the bottle tops removed from Djulpan beach during the clean-up.

Liza Dicks, from Sea Shepherd Australia, said it was the worst case of plastic rubbish the group had found in more than 600 clean-up exercises at mainland Australian beaches.

About two-thirds of the debris were consumer items: water bottles, cigarette lighters, ice block wrappers, shoes, thongs, toys and toothbrushes. The rest was 72 types of discarded fishing net, some of which contained turtle bones.

Jennifer Lavers, a marine biologist at the University of Tasmania who led the Cocos (Keeling) Islands study and helped Sea Shepherd analyse what it found at Djulpan beach, said much of the rubbish was single-use and disposable. Some of the plastic appeared to be decades old.

“It is likely this waste came from southeast Asia, but we know at the same time Australia’s waste is going over to somewhere else,” she said.

“It is incredibly commonplace, but for the average ordinary person it’s probably pretty shocking to learn that these remote pristine places have such a high density of plastic. This is not some untouchable thing. It is a thing we can do something about.”

Last month the prime minister, Scott Morrison, vowed to do more to stop Australian plastic ending up in oceans. He won in principle backing from state and territory leaders to boost the struggling local recycling industry and ban the export of recyclable material.

No timeframe has been set for the ban, which will be discussed at a meeting of environment ministers in November. Government data suggests just 12% of the plastic waste Australians put in kerbside bins is recycled.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Naomi Klein: 'We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism'
« Reply #14052 on: September 14, 2019, 05:45:56 PM »
Why are you publishing this book now?
I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the other crises we face. A really strong theme running through the book is the links between it and the crisis of rising white supremacy, the various forms of nationalism and the fact that so many people are being forced from their homelands, and the war that is waged on our attention spans. These are intersecting and interconnecting crises and so the solutions have to be as well.

The book collects essays from the last decade, have you changed your mind about anything?
When I look back, I don’t think I placed enough emphasis on the challenge climate change poses to the left. It’s more obvious the way the climate crisis challenges a rightwing dominant worldview, and the cult of serious centrism that never wants to do anything big, that’s always looking to split the difference. But this is also a challenge to a left worldview that is essentially only interested in redistributing the spoils of extractivism [the process of extracting natural resources from the earth] and not reckoning with the limits of endless consumption.

What’s stopping the left doing this?
In a North American context, it’s the greatest taboo of all to actually admit that there are going to be limits. You see that in the way Fox News has gone after the Green New Deal – they are coming after your hamburgers! It cuts to the heart of the American dream – every generation gets more than the last, there is always a new frontier to expand to, the whole idea of settler colonial nations like ours. When somebody comes along and says, actually, there are limits, we’ve got some tough decisions, we need to figure out how to manage what’s left, we’ve got to share equitably – it is a psychic attack. And so the response [on the left] has been to avoid, and say no, no, we’re not coming to take away your stuff, there are going to be all kinds of benefits. And there are going to be benefits: we’ll have more livable cities, we’ll have less polluted air, we’ll spend less time stuck in traffic, we can design happier, richer lives in so many ways. But we are going to have to contract on the endless, disposable consumption side.

Do you feel encouraged by talk of the Green New Deal?
I feel a tremendous excitement and a sense of relief, that we are finally talking about solutions on the scale of the crisis we face. That we’re not talking about a little carbon tax or a cap and trade scheme as a silver bullet. We’re talking about transforming our economy. This system is failing the majority of people anyway, which is why we’re in this period of such profound political destabilisation – that is giving us the Trumps and the Brexits, and all of these strongman leaders – so why don’t we figure out how to change everything from bottom to top, and do it in a way that addresses all of these other crises at the same time? There is every chance we will miss the mark, but every fraction of a degree warming that we are able to hold off is a victory and every policy that we are able to win that makes our societies more humane, the more we will weather the inevitable shocks and storms to come without slipping into barbarism. Because what really terrifies me is what we are seeing at our borders in Europe and North America and Australia – I don’t think it’s coincidental that the settler colonial states and the countries that are the engines of that colonialism are at the forefront of this. We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism. We saw it in Christchurch, we saw it in El Paso, where you have this marrying of white supremacist violence with vicious anti-immigrant racism.

That is one of the most chilling sections of your book: I think that’s a link a lot of people haven’t made.
This pattern has been clear for a while. White supremacy emerged not just because people felt like thinking up ideas that were going to get a lot of people killed but because it was useful to protect barbaric but highly profitable actions. The age of scientific racism begins alongside the transatlantic slave trade, it is a rationale for that brutality. If we are going to respond to climate change by fortressing our borders, then of course the theories that would justify that, that create these hierarchies of humanity, will come surging back. There have been signs of that for years, but it is getting harder to deny because you have killers who are screaming it from the rooftops.

One criticism you hear about the environment movement is that it is dominated by white people. How do you address that?
When you have a movement that is overwhelmingly representative of the most privileged sector of society then the approach is going to be much more fearful of change, because people who have a lot to lose tend to be more fearful of change, whereas people who have a lot to gain will tend to fight harder for it. That’s the big benefit of having an approach to climate change that links it to those so called bread and butter issues: how are we going to get better paid jobs, affordable housing, a way for people to take care of their families? I have had many conversations with environmentalists over the years where they seem really to believe that by linking fighting climate change with fighting poverty, or fighting for racial justice, it’s going to make the fight harder. We have to get out of this “my crisis is bigger than your crisis: first we save the planet and then we fight poverty and racism, and violence against women”. That doesn’t work. That alienates the people who would fight hardest for change. This debate has shifted a huge amount in the US because of the leadership of the climate justice movement and because it is congresswomen of colour who are championing the Green New Deal. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib come from communities that have gotten such a raw deal under the years of neoliberalism and longer, and are determined to represent, truly represent, the interests of those communities. They’re not afraid of deep change because their communities desperately need it.

    The individual decisions that we make are not going to add up to anything like the kind of scale of change that we need

In the book, you write: “The hard truth is that the answer to the question ‘What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change?’ is: nothing.” Do you still believe that?
In terms of the carbon, the individual decisions that we make are not going to add up to anything like the kind of scale of change that we need. And I do believe that the fact that for so many people it’s so much more comfortable to talk about our own personal consumption, than to talk about systemic change, is a product of neoliberalism, that we have been trained to see ourselves as consumers first. To me that’s the benefit of bringing up these historical analogies, like the New Deal or the Marshall Plan – it brings our minds back to a time when we were able to think of change on that scale. Because we’ve been trained to think very small. It is incredibly significant that Greta Thunberg has turned her life into a living emergency.

Yes, she set sail for the UN climate summit in New York on a zero carbon yacht ...
Exactly. But this isn’t about what Greta is doing as an individual. It’s about what Greta is broadcasting in the choices that she makes as an activist, and I absolutely respect that. I think it’s magnificent. She is using the power that she has to broadcast that this is an emergency, and trying to inspire politicians to treat it as an emergency. I don’t think anybody is exempt from scrutinising their own decisions and behaviours but I think it is possible to overemphasise the individual choices. I have made a choice – and this has been true since I wrote No Logo, and I started getting these “what should I buy, where should I shop, what are the ethical clothes?” questions. My answer continues to be that I am not a lifestyle adviser, I am not anyone’s shopping guru, and I make these decisions in my own life but I’m under no illusion that these decisions are going to make the difference.

Some people are choosing to go on birth strikes. What do you think about that?
I’m happy these discussions are coming into the public domain as opposed to being furtive issues we’re afraid to talk about. It’s been very isolating for people. It certainly was for me. One of the reasons I waited as long as I did to try and get pregnant, and I would say this to my partner all the time – what, you want to have a Mad Max water warrior fighting with their friends for food and water? It wasn’t until I was part of the climate justice movement and I could see a path forward that I could even imagine having a kid. But I would never tell anybody how to answer this most intimate of questions. As a feminist who knows the brutal history of forced sterilisation and the ways in which women’s bodies become battle zones when policymakers decide that they are going to try and control population, I think that the idea that there are regulatory solutions when it comes to whether or not to have kids is catastrophically ahistorical. We need to be struggling with our climate grief together and our climate fears together, through whatever decision we decide to make, but the discussion we need to have is how do we build a world so that those kids can have thriving, zero-carbon lives?

Over the summer, you encouraged people to read Richard Powers’s novel, The Overstory. Why?
It’s been incredibly important to me and I’m happy that so many people have written to me since. What Powers is writing about trees: that trees live in communities and are in communication, and plan and react together, and we’ve been completely wrong in the way we conceptualise them. It’s the same conversation we’re having about whether we are going to solve this as individuals or whether we are going to save the collective organism. It’s also rare, in good fiction, to valorise activism, to treat it with real respect, failures and all, to acknowledge the heroism of the people who put their bodies on the line. I thought Powers did that in a really extraordinary way.

What are you views on what Extinction Rebellion has achieved?
One thing they have done so well is break us out of this classic campaign model we have been in for a long time, where you tell someone something scary, you ask them to click on something to do something about it, you skip out the whole phase where we need to grieve together and feel together and process what it is that we just saw. Because what I hear a lot from people is, ok, maybe those people back in the 1930s or 40s could organise neighbourhood by neighbourhood or workplace by workplace but we can’t. We believe we’ve been so downgraded as a species that we are incapable of that. The only thing that is going to change that belief is getting face to face, in community, having experiences, off our screens, with one another on the streets and in nature, and winning some things and feeling that power.

You talk about stamina in the book. How do you keep going? Do you feel hopeful?
I have complicated feelings about the hope question. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a moment of sheer panic, raw terror, complete conviction that we are doomed, and then I do pull myself out of it. I’m renewed by this new generation that is so determined, so forceful. I’m inspired by the willingness to engage in electoral politics, because my generation, when we were in our 20s and 30s, there was so much suspicion around getting our hands dirty with electoral politics that we lost a lot of opportunities. What gives me the most hope right now is that we’ve finally got the vision for what we want instead, or at least the first rough draft of it. This is the first time this has happened in my lifetime. And also, I did decide to have kids. I have a seven year old who is so completely obsessed and in love with the natural world. When I think about him, after we’ve spent an entire summer talking about the role of salmon in feeding the forests where he was born in British Columbia, and how they are linked to the health of the trees and the soil and the bears and the orcas and this entire magnificent ecosystem, and I think about what it would be like to have to tell him that there are no more salmon, it kills me. So that motivates me. And slays me.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Climate Action News Sep. 2019
« Reply #14053 on: September 15, 2019, 04:42:33 AM »
On Thursday Sep. 12 we aired Climate Action News - Transform climate talk into climate roadmaps. People from over 54 countries joined the broadcast. It was a chock-full yet compelling conversation for all of us involved in creating and taking climate actions —national and local governments, multinational corporations, small businesses, NGOs, and individuals.

If you missed it, not to worry! You can still watch it here :

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If you like what we do, please feel empowered to help us to succeed with our fundraising that we will open soon. If you want to know more how you could get involved and invest in the worlds largest social media for climate action you could meet us in Berlin, New York, Helsingborg and online in the coming weeks.

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Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has likened himself to The Incredible Hulk, saying "the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets" as he stressed his determination to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal on October 31.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Mr Johnson said he would find a way to circumvent a recent parliamentary vote ordering him to delay Brexit.

"Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be — and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31," he said.

British MPs have repeatedly rejected the exit deal Mr Johnson's predecessor Theresa May negotiated with the EU, and this month rejected leaving without a deal on October 31.

Last week, Mr Johnson was forced to deny lying to the Queen after a Scottish court ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament until mid-October was illegal.

Mr Johnson has said he wants to negotiate a new deal that does not involve a 'backstop', which would potentially tie Britain to EU rules in order to avoid checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The EU has so far insisted on the backstop, and Britain has not presented any detailed alternative.

Nonetheless, Mr Johnson said he was "very confident" ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.

"There's a very, very good conversation going on about how to address the issues of the Northern Irish border. A huge amount of progress is being made," Mr Johnson told the Mail on Sunday, without giving details.

He drew parallels between Britain's situation in Brexit talks and the frustrations felt by fictional scientist Bruce Banner, who, when enraged, turned into The Incredible Hulk.

"Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, former Conservative minister Sam Gyimah said he was switching to the pro-EU Liberal Democrat party in protest at Mr Johnson's Brexit policies and political style.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'