Environmental Crisis and Self-Destructive Imperialism

The developed nations of the world have to realize that our world needs global and not just local stability and that requires a global strategy.
Global stability can become reality only if there will be global equilibrium — equitable distribution of wealth and income worldwide — where the income of the developing countries is substantially improved, both in absolute terms and also relative to the developed nations.

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With our current bad habits, would we be able to save our planet! African nuclear scientist Jamal.S.Shrair throws light on this very pertinent issue of the day and warns on where to we are heading.

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by Jamal S. Shrair

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The present environmental crisis was triggered by the industrial revolution. As the industrial age started to progress the problem became visible, but it was simply ignored. From the beginning of the industrial revolution until the last two decades of the 20th century, we paid no attention to the pollution of our common home. The only important things were maximum profit and minimum loss, industrial expansion, especially that of the military industries which served the aims of colonialism, irrational ideological struggle, hegemony, power politics, etc.

The lack of a rational economic order is certainly the primary cause of the problem:

The resources of the planet are unwisely exploited, the motivation being to make as much profit as possible within the shortest possible time, while waste is being dumped wherever it is the cheapest to do so, such as in the oceans. There is no doubt that with a small fraction of what we have already wasted from the resources of the planet, the entire present world population could have prospered and enjoyed a very high standard of living if only we possessed – and practised – a higher level of social consciousness than we have done in the past one hundred years. As an example, the total military expenditure in the USA and former USSR in the 1980s alone (!) reached one trillion USD.

Now, however, there are urgent steps which should be taken to ameliorate the environmental crisis. Firstly, productive methods and activities, including the way of life in all advanced and the developing nations must change. We still only have this planet to live on, which has a finite space and mostly non-renewable resources. The earth cannot provide an unlimited number of individuals with a good material life. Therefore, irrational material growth and unrestricted demographic growth ultimately imply a lower standard of living. Secondly, population growth in the developing countries which the developed countries also worry about, must slow down and may be finally stopped altogether, aided by increased economic prosperity.

PRIORITIES

In our time, market forces should play a secondary role, not a primary one. We cannot afford to let them operate freely, because the environmental issue is outside the interest and the domain of the market forces. Local and global planning is what we need and should be the priority. Long-term goals must be specified and short-term goals made consistent with them.

The specification of production techniques, entailing the materials used, must meet environmental protection requirements. In other words, an integrated technological program to protect our environment must be put into practice so that we can attack the problems, not retroactively, but proactively by thinking about waste before thinking about production.

There is a crying need for new technologies, different materials, new laws and regulations, strictly implemented by local governments. We have to encourage the development of, and investment in, environmentally friendly power, regardless of the costs.

But, we must not give undue weight to the possibility of scientific and technological advances alone when it comes to solving the problems of the environment. Such developments would probably come too late to avert environmental disasters: in the final analysis, any technological advances would merely delay crisis, rather than avoid it, if no fundamental changes in the values of society were to take place. The issue requires more than technical solutions.

THE BIG POLLUTERS

The biggest polluters in the world, are also the ones who hold both the political power and the practical tools for solving most of the basic problems related to the issue of the environment in their countries and the world as a whole. Yet, they are also the ones who are not yet willing to implement or even sign any environmental agreement.

Those biggest polluters do not want to cut their poisonous gas emissions even to the same level as some developing countries. The target they set for their poisonous gas emissions cuts (or rather, the one they promise) is absolutely worth nothing since most environmental scientists have stated clearly that if the degradation of the environment is to stop, then at least a 50% reduction is required of the world’s total emissions.

Instead, therefore, worldwide emissions are still rising.

Those nations are well known, and include all members of the United Nations Security Council. They therefore have a veto power on anything decided by other nations, even if the entire world was to unite around a resolution, as often happens in the General Assembly, it is overturned in the so-called Security Council.

After almost two hundred years of capital accumulation — to a great extent as the result of exploitations and colonization — the developed countries want the developing countries, who are victims of those rich countries pollution, to stop developing their economies! They also expect those developing nations who are now going through the same industrial process as that undergone by the now-developed countries (e.g. China, India, Brazil) to do it in costly and environmentally-friendly fashion, and without the cushion of wealth that colonialism and neo-colonialism gave those now-wealthy nations.

“Get rid of your buses so that the developed countries can have more cars!” they cry, whilst hiding from all environmental statistics the pollution caused by their own Military Industrial Complex which has waged huge wars in many parts of the world, causing untold environmental disaster. Can that not be called the new imperialism?

It would be more accurate to call it self-destructive imperialism, because in a few decades, the degradation of the environment will affect advanced countries just as much as developing ones. The Lobbyist groups of the bourgeoisie of the big polluting nations and the industrialists argue that the environmental issue is exaggerated and it is beyond human control (not man-made!), and they also claim that if there were fundamental changes in society, productivity and output would decrease, which is not in the interest of the people.

Thus, finding a real solution to the environmental crisis under the present economic order is a hopeless task. All these conferences and summits are nothing more than a show business. Even if binding climate agreements can be achieved at these summits they would not be either effective or practically implemented. For example, where is the Kyoto Protocol now? The USA signed it, and Bush upon election, tore it up.

NEW SOCIO ECONOMIC ORDER

It is now becoming increasingly clear every passing day that the present socio-economic order cannot solve the basic problems of our time whether they be social, political or environmental problems. Even the material progress that has been achieved under capitalism is not uniformly distributed at the national or international levels. The absolute majority of humanity is still destitute, living in absolute poverty. More than three billion people live on less than two USD a day. And another one billion is on the brink of starvation. Around 50,000 children die EACH DAY, unreported by the news media.

There would be no harmonious development in any region of the world if one believed one needed only to take consideration of narrow economic questions. The present economic crisis and the financial volatility in the world markets are further proofs that Laissez-faire politics alone is not enough to help developing countries or even developed ones. Therefore, the basic principle that laissez-faire is not a correct policy in our time has established itself. There will be further crashes, turmoil and catastrophes if social and ecological questions are not taken into consideration.

DIRE WARNINGS

The global situation is deteriorating dangerously: there are a number of crises confronting mankind, such as rapid population growth in the third world and rising food prices accelerated by diversion of production of food crops toward bio-fuel crops, deteriorating environment, widespread misery, malnutrition, depletion of non-renewable energy resources and escalating military conflicts in different parts of the world. Though the many proxy wars of the past have come to an end, these have been replaced by a few large scale direct military operations, mainly by the U.S. and its allies.

All these major issues are fundamentally interlinked and depend upon each other. More importantly, the severity of these crises is increasing with time and these crises are in a process of interaction where they might well produce unexpected catastrophes.

The developed nations of the world have to realize that our world needs global and not just local stability and that requires a global strategy. Global stability can become reality only if there will be global equilibrium — equitable distribution of wealth and income worldwide — where the income of the developing countries is substantially improved, both in absolute terms and also relative to the developed nations.

Otherwise, the huge gaps and inequalities in today’s world between the developed and developing countries will continue to grow larger. The outcome in a few decades will be nothing less than a total and irreversible disaster. The global system can no longer tolerate such selfish behaviour, irrational and unrestricted material growth in one section of the planet which is inhabited by only 20% or less of the present world population.

Therefore, we must question the economic model that exists today in the advanced countries, and whether it can be copied by the developing countries in order to develop their economies and reach the same standard of living. This is really a rhetorical question, because this model has been imposed and also it is a precondition not only by the multinational corporations that want to invest in developing countries but also by the “International Monetary Fund / World Bank” for granting loans.

However, a theoretical model showed that if the present world population will reach a Gross National Product per capita equal to that of present-day U.S. Americans, with the same economic model the total pollution load on the environment would be more than 20 times its present values. Can the natural systems of the earth support an intrusion of that magnitude?

CONCLUSION

There can be no doubt even in the mind of the most conservative capitalist that the present economic order has not only failed to prevent or even brought about the outbreak of wars and conflicts among and within the nations of the world, where peace and security should necessarily reign in order to insure the basic requirements for real social development and fundamental human rights, but that this system has also failed miserably to protect our beautiful planet Earth from the dangers of different kinds of pollutions by not creating and maintaining harmony between nature and development.

The secret of nature in all its forms is where the future of the world lies, and if we destroy it due to the absence of a rational economic and social order, we destroy the future of life on earth.

The writer, an MSc in High Energy Physics & PhD in Surface Physics and Electron Devices at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, has written a paper entitled “Can Solid-State Nuclear Fusion Reactor Be the Ultimate Green Energy Solution?” which can be downloaded here[.doc].
Source

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Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm  Comments (3)  
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  1. […] This cup of tea was served by: Wonders of Pakistan […]

  2. @Jamal ,Dear.Your observations are very correct . What I feel that terrorists and Jehadee forces can not bow-down America and its captalist friends and are bound to face an irreparerable loss in the on going war .In contrast to it we the environmentalist have enough potential to derail their exploytative economic set up .We have already demonstrated our potential to them in the past . Those who were not willing to sign even the SALT treaty . under the pressure of increased environmental awareness, were forced to sign SART treaty. The green party emerged as a solid political power in Europe and Berlin wall as a scare of llnd W.W. Lost its existance . After 9/11 we are now loosing our front . Now our world is indulged in non sense debate on global warming vs global cooling and now our priority is total eradication of terrorits and Jehadee forces.

  3. “Dirty Thar Coal Versus Environment Friendly Kalabagh Dam in Pakistan
    & South Asia”.

    • It is very strange to note that present Government of Pakistan is advocating for Air Polluting Thar Coal Project Versus Environmental Friendly Kalabagh Dam.

    • Kalabagh dam which will increase the water resources of the country is being opposed while Thar coal project, which will consume huge amount of water and will contaminate all water, air and land resources of Pakistan is being advocated by the government.

    • Clean electricity produced by Kalabagh dam will be available to every citizen of the country while Thar coal project will pollute all water, air and land resources of not only of Pakistan but also of neighbouring countries like India and China.

    • Thar coal will effect each and every living organism while environment friendly Kalabagh will not only store water for the cultivation of land , but also will produce clean energy without carbon emmision, by that electricity it will be possible to pump out under ground water which will also increase water resources and will store water for cultivation of land, Kalabagh Dam will increase wet land for fisheries, will increase green land which will be helpful in decreasing environmental carbon dioxide produce by coal and other fuels and will control flooding and erosion of land and will save lives and lands of people.

    • Coal is one of the most polluting sources of energy available, jeopardizing our health and our environment. While Kalabagh Dam will have multiple advantages and will act as clean electricity power house, Sweet water reservoir and floods controller all these things will improve fertility of lands, will reduce poverty and will increase food production.

    The Effects of Coal on the Environment.
    Coal as a source of energy is probably the most environmentally damaging of
    all the traditional sources of energy.
    • One must keep in mind that a typical power coal plant generates 3 million tons of CO2 or 17 tons of carbon per megawatt and draws about 2.3 billion gallons of water per annum from nearby source while on land coal produces mercury which not only renders water useless for human consumption but also for irrigation purpose as well.

    • “Coal Power in a Warming World” by Barbara Freese et al, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists in October 2008 states that “The underground mining of coal is a dangerous profession, and underground and surface mining are both highly damaging to landscapes, water supplies, and ecosystems”.

    • The Natural Resources Defense Council paper entitled “Coal in a Changing Climate”, issued in February 2007 claims that “Coal mining—and particularly surface or strip mining—poses one of the most significant threats to terrestrial habitats in the United States.”

    • Figures from “Key World Energy Statistics: 2008″ show that coal is responsible for 42% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

    • “Coal in a Changing Climate” shows that coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead.

    • Coal is a highly polluting energy source. It emits much more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and natural gas. CO2 represents the major portion of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, one of the leading contributors to climate change.

    • From mine to sky, from extraction to combustion — coal pollutes every step of the way. The huge environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it an expensive option for developing countries.

    • Coal mining is responsible for acid drainage from coal mines, polluting rivers and streams, to the release of mercury and other toxins when it is burned, as well as climate-destroying gases and fine particulates that wreak havoc on human health, COAL is unquestionably, a DIRTY BUSINESS.

    South Asia.

    On one side China and India are planning to curb the Carbon emission by curbing the use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels, and Bangladesh and Maldives are crying for taking measures against rise of seas due to global warming and melting of glaciers and on other side Government of Pakistan is planning to use Thar coal which will not only cause global warming but also pollute the whole environment of South Asia but in fact will endanger the life of 3 Billion peoples living in China, India, Kashmir, Northern areas, NWFP, PUNJAB and Sindh, as the direction of smoke and dangerous gases will be from east to north west of Pakistan. And people of these areas will suffer from respiratory diseases such as Asthma, Bronchitis, Cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and people of these areas will suffer from dangers and adverse effects of smoking without smoking the cigarettes.

    Government of Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned for sinking delta dwellers people of Bangladesh and Island dweller people of Maldives under sea by wasting about 10 Million Acres feet water of River Indus from the catchments area of whole of Pakistan in the sea and is not preserving and storing that water in dams like Kalabagh and Basha, on one side people of Pakistan are suffering from acute wastage of water and electricity and on other side Government is wasting sweet water in the sea which is not only causing sea rise and erosion of coastal land for whole of subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Maldives but is also harmful for saline habitat fishes and saline and sea plants like Mangroves

    Countering Rise in Sea level and Global Warming.

    Global Warming:
    For countering global warming there is need to completely restrict use of coal for any purpose and to minimize other fossils fuels such as oil and gas and use of alternatives resources such as wind, solar and water power by means of dams like Kalabagh and Basha Dams in Pakistan should be encouraged and preferred.

    Rise in Sea Level.
    For countering rise in sea level following measures should be taken to save and to protect from submerging the people of Bangladesh, Maldives and other Island dwellers under sea.

    • All the rain and glaciers water on land should be preserved and stored in reservoirs and dams like Kalabagh and other dams for use on land( For Agriculture, Electricity generation and human consumption) and other purposes so that no water should waste in sea which will ultimately cause the rise in sea level.
    • In Coastal areas use of sea water should be increased as much as possible for Industrial and agricultural purposes.

    • After desalination and Purification Sea water should be use for human consumption as much as possible.

    • Wastage of sweet water and fertile silt in sea should be prevented and should be used for fertilization and irrigation of land and other useful purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of silt and stones from sea towards land and coastal areas.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of sea salts for use as chemicals and other purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as sea plants such as algae and fishes to decrease the volume of sea so that rise in sea could be countered by each and every mean available.

    Already Polluted Atmosphere of South Asia.

    South Asia is already suffering from the adverse effects of Brown cloud(Accumulation of Dirty gases in upper atmosphere of Subcontinent and is having negative effects on the health of population of India and Pakistan , Moreover there is already shortage of Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere of South Asia, due to which people of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ) are not having perfect healthy bodies as compared to other races of the world, .In view of such a bad condition of atmosphere burning the coal is just like to throw the people of Pakistan into valley of death, where as there already so many poor workers are daily dying in the coal mines of Balouchistan, but no one is having any care about those poor workers.

    There are a number of adverse environmental effects of coal mining and burning, especially the glaciers of the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan contribute significantly to the stream flow of the Indus Basin. More significantly, during the dry season these glaciers become the system’s only source. Impacts due to climate change on these glaciers have been studied in recent decades and vivid fluctuation of water flow in the Indus River Basin System has been reported.
    Conclusion:
    Due to flow of toxic gases and smoke from Thar Coal towards North and Western Pakistan, It is the responsibility of Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Areas, NWFP, Punjab and Sindh Governments to review the adverse effects of Thar coal as it is the matter of life and death of the people of these areas. As unhealthy environment due to smoke and toxic gases will destroy the beauty of land of Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan and will cause health problems such as cancer, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory and genetic diseases due to environmental pollution in the people of Punjab, NWFP, Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. Thar coal will destroy the fertility of land and will pollute the water resources of the country.

    It is the responsibility of Governments of China ,India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Kashmir and Provinces of Pakistan to persuade Federal government of Pakistan not to use Dirty coal while many dams may be constructed for generation of clean energy in Pakistan like Kalabagh and Basha Dam, it is necessary as government of Pakistan is wasting its only Indus River sweet water( 10 Million Acres Feet Water )in the sea while on the other side common people of Pakistan are suffering from the thirst and hunger due to shortage of water and electricity.
    Written By:M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.
    Karachi, Pakistan.

    Email:akrumniazi@hotmail.com


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