Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 24, Number 7 --- 15 July 2022
Article submission: email@example.com Deadline next issue 10 August 2022
Secretariat Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Christine Muller General Secretary
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters
This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on environment, climate change and sustainability. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to email@example.com.
Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates, and encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.
WORK ON IEF DATABASE AND EMAIL LIST COMPLETED
After many months of diligent work, the IEF has streamlined its database and email list. The previous system served IEF well at the beginning but has proven to be too complicated for a larger organization. We again thank IEF member Michael Semple in Switzerland for sharing his expertise and his valuable time. This work was essential for the long-term sustainability of the IEF!
We noticed that much of the information received from our members and associates is outdated. We kindly ask all IEF members and associates to update their information about themselves. This is very easy to do: Just login to the IEF website https://www.iefworld.org. You will come to the IEF Home Page. Then click on “My Account” in the green field on the top right which will bring you to your personal information. Click on edit, then change and add what you like. When you are done, don’t forget to click on “save” at the bottom of the page.
If you encounter any difficulties, contact the IEF Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this process, we also identified members and associates for whom we do not have any valid email address. Fortunately, we have been able to find many such “lost members” but not all.
If you know any of the following people, please, ask them to contact the IEF Secretariat at email@example.com
Shirley Barr, London, ON, Canada
Jennifer Eldridge, Australia
Crawford Prentice, Malaysia (?)
Activities That Empower Kids to Save Earth
The Children’s Magazine Brilliant Star created a website with excellent resources for children’s environmental/spiritual education and related meaningful activities: https://brilliantstarmagazine.org/parents-teachers/teaching-tools-techn…
Here are some examples:
Maya’s Mysteries: How Earth Heats Up – Science Experiment
Riley’s Rainforest: Moderation Is Magic – Article
Maya’s Mysteries: Art of Science – Exploring art and science together
Maya’s Mysteries: The Gift of Nature – Creative outdoor activities
Global Systems Accounting Beyond Economics
New 10 min. Video
IEF President Arthur Lyon Dahl produced a video that provides an excellent summary of this innovative project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbnpzI3jnbs
A new system of global commons accounts relevant to human and natural well-being is proposed using relevant science-based non-financial measures as currencies. Nine initial indicator forms of capital and associated currencies are identified to respect both the planetary environmental boundaries of the global commons and the minimum social and economic standards as human rights for the common good of all humanity. These are for carbon, biodiversity, pollution, minimum living standards, food, health, work, knowledge and education, and values. These accounts could become the basis to internalise in the economic system what are now treated as environmental and social externalities, leading to global taxes or fines on damaging activities and supporting payments for social contributions and environmental regeneration in the common interest. The financial system would then serve primarily to interlink the capital accounts in an integrated dynamic global system aiming for human and natural well-being and sustainable development. Development of these accounting systems, largely by the relevant UN agencies, will provide the basis for the gradual replacement of the present economic paradigm and financial system which values only monetary measures such as profit and GDP.
Re-publication of the Paper Global Systems Accounting Beyond Economics
Arthur Dahl’s paper was re-published in Mother Pelican, a Journal for Solidarity and Sustainability. This is the direct link to the paper: http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv18n07page19.html
Centenary of the International Tree Foundation
IEF member Dr. Stephen Vickers sent us this video which was produced as part of the centenary of the International Tree Foundation. The 3 min. video is available here: https://www.kbc.co.ke/international-tree-foundation-celebrates-100-year…
The message of the video urges Kenyans to embrace tree planting culture in order to surpass the 10% government’s goal in the country. The environmentalists who spoke during the centenary celebration of the International Tree Foundation (ITF) lamented the destruction of indigenous trees saying that at least 140 native tree species are on the brink of extinction.
Climate Social Science Network Conference
Solar Geoengineering June 10, 2022
Frank Biermann, Utrecht University
Report and Reflections by IEF member Christine Muller
This talk was part of the 2022 conference Global Climate Governance in The Face of Obstruction, co-hosted by the Climate Social Science Network (CSSN) and the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik DIE). Recordings of all sessions of the conference are available here: https://ibes.brown.edu/news/2022-06-10/cssnpresent
In his talk on solar geoengineering, Frank Biermann took issue with many kinds of geoengineering because their prospects are usually presented as Plan B of an insufficient climate policy. People say that geoengineering could buy some time, but talking about it is, in reality, just a powerful argument to delay far-reaching climate policy and therefore is just another form of climate obstruction. Biermann then specifically talked about solar geoengineering explaining it as solar radiation management to dim the sun. He was very concerned that the argument could be getting traction in society being viewed as “we would need this technology to buy time until full decarbonization.” He said that the creeping normalization of solar engineering was of utmost concern because the science about it is extremely uncertain. Moreover, its impacts would likely vary across regions and could have uncertain effects on regional weather, precipitation, and agriculture.
With the technology being relatively cheap, there is a threat that a group of scientists with the backing of one or two countries could launch a dangerous experiment. For security and safety’s sake, all countries would need to be participants in any decision-making involving these technologies. Unfortunately, the current state of international relations and the limitations imposed on the United Nations have made this positive scenario highly unlikely.
He said that “we are in a major planetary crisis.” The old way of doing science does not work anymore. He called on academics to speak out and not to just write complex papers. He encouraged them to leave the ivory tower and to engage in real political struggles.
Thus, scientists have proposed an International Non-Use Agreement. This Solar Geoengineering Non-Use Agreement argues that “just governance” of solar engineering is implausible, while unjust (technocratic, imperialistic) global governance could be possible.
The Non-Use Agreement includes the following guidelines:
- To not deploy technologies for solar geoengineering.
- To prohibit national funding agencies from supporting the development of technologies for solar engineering.
- To ban outdoor experiments for solar engineering in areas under their jurisdiction
- To not grant patent rights for technologies for solar engineering.
- To object to the institutionalization of planetary solar engineering as a policy option in international institutions.
The Open Letter for an International Non-Use Agreement for Solar Geoengineering is signed only by “academics”; whereas civil society can “endorse” the letter and citizens can “sign a petition”. See the letter here: https://www.solargeoeng.org/non-use-agreement/open-letter/
The deep concern by Dr. Biermann and other scientists about the implementation of solar engineering shows the urgent need for just and strong global environmental governance. Already in the 19th century, Baha’u’llah called for a World Federation of Nations. The Bahá'í International Community elaborated on this topic in a statement for the United Nations’ 75th anniversary: A Governance Befitting - Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order.
In the June issue of LEAVES we featured the blog by Dr. Arthur Dahl on the Other Energy Crisis which suggests that the problem could be even more catastrophic than Dr. Biermann described, if geoengineering reduces the total photosynthetic capacity of the planet.
United Nations Ocean Conference 2022
27 June-1 July 2002
The United Nations convened a major intergovernmental conference on oceans in Lisbon, Portugal, on 27 June-1 July 2022, with the theme “Save our ocean – protect our future” (https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022). IEF president Arthur Dahl participated as part of the delegation of Common Home of Humanity on behalf of the Global Governance Forum.
The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, came at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To mobilize action, the Conference sought to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides a good summary, as usual, of the conference: https://enb.iisd.org/2022-un-ocean-conference-summary, from which the report below is largely extracted.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the Conference, offering four recommendations for addressing the ocean emergency: invest in sustainable ocean economies for food and renewable energy; use the ocean as a model for how to manage global problems for the greater good; protect the ocean and people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them; and invest in early warning systems to protect coastal communities. He said the Conference can open a new horizon for a just and sustainable future for all, making a difference for the ocean and for ourselves.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya, and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal, served as the Conference Co-Presidents. In his opening remarks, President de Sousa underscored the centrality of the ocean to peace and security, health, environmental resilience, and sustainable development. Lamenting that the global goal on the ocean is the least financed SDG, President Kenyatta urged delegates to shift gears from ideas to action driven by science and innovation, and called for examples of nature-based solutions linking the ocean and climate change, as well as financing solutions for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.
The Small Island Developing States (SIDS), often describing themselves as Large Ocean States, had a prominent voice at the conference, since for many their very existence is threatened by climate change and sea level rise, and they experience at first hand the rapid destruction of fisheries and other ocean resources.
There was both general debate on a range of ocean issues, interactive dialogues, and many side events both at the conference venue and outside across the city. The interactive dialogues addressed: marine pollution; promoting and strengthening sustainable ocean-based economies, in particular for SIDS and LDCs; managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems; ocean acidification, deoxygenation and ocean warming; making fisheries sustainable and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets; increasing scientific knowledge and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology; enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law, as reflected in UNCLOS; and leveraging interlinkages between SDG 14 and other Goals towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The Ocean Conference adopted a political declaration entitled “Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility” as the outcome document.
In it, Heads of State and Government, and high-level representatives, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders, reaffirm strong commitment to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources, and call for greater ambition at all levels to act decisively and urgently to improve health, productivity, sustainable use, and resilience of the ocean and its ecosystems. They also:
• recognize the ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and to our future, underlining the interlinkages and potential synergies between SDG 14 and other SDGs;
• regret collective failure to achieve targets 14.2, 14.4, 14.5, 14.6 that matured in 2020 and renew commitment to taking urgent action and to cooperate at the global, regional and subregional levels to achieve all targets as soon as possible;
• emphasize the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact on mitigation, adaptation, and the provision and mobilization of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building to developing countries, including SIDS;
• call for an ambitious, balanced, practical, effective, robust, and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption at CBD COP 15, noting voluntary commitments by more than 100 Member States to conserve or protect at least 30% of global ocean within MPA effective area-based conservation measures by 2030, emphasizing the need for strong governance and adequate finance for developing countries, in particular SIDS, and recognizing the importance of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration;
• welcome the UNEA decision to develop an International Legally-Binding Instrument on plastic pollution;
• affirm the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, advancement of nature-based solutions, and ecosystem-based approaches play a critical role to ensure sustainable, inclusive, and environmentally resilient recovery from COVID-19; and
• affirm the need to implement international law as reflected in UNCLOS, recognizing the importance of the work being undertaken on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction and call upon participating delegations to reach an ambitious agreement without delay.
The declaration also recognizes the importance of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and stresses that science-based and innovative actions and international cooperation and partnerships based in science, technology and innovation, in line with the precautionary approach and ecosystem-based approaches, contribute to the solutions necessary to overcome challenges in achieving Goal 14 through:
• informing integrated ocean management, planning, and decision making;
• restoring and maintaining fish stocks;
• preventing, reducing, and controlling marine pollution of all kinds, from both land- and sea-based sources; and
• developing and implementing measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and avert, minimize and address loss and damage, reducing disaster risk and enhancing resilience, including through increasing the use of renewable energy technologies, especially ocean-based technologies.
The declaration further commits to taking science-based and innovative actions on an urgent basis, recognizing developing countries, in particular SIDS and LDCs, to:
• strengthen international, regional, subregional and national scientific and systematic observation and data collection efforts;
• recognize the important role of Indigenous, traditional and local knowledge, innovation and practices of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities;
• establish effective partnerships;
• explore, develop and promote innovative financing solutions to drive the transformation to sustainable ocean-based economies;
• empower women and girls, as their full, equal and meaningful participation is key in progressing towards a sustainable ocean-based economy;
• ensure that people, especially children and youth, are empowered with relevant knowledge and skills for decision-making; and
• reduce emissions from international maritime transportation, especially shipping, as soon as possible.
The declaration commits to implementing voluntary commitments made in the context of the Conference and urges appropriate review and follow-up on progress on the voluntary commitments made in 2017. The declaration strongly calls upon the UN Secretary-General to continue efforts to support the implementation of SDG 14 by enhancing inter-agency coordination and coherence throughout the UN system on ocean issues, through the work of UN-Oceans.
Report on the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons
First Meeting of States Parties, 21 – 23 June 2022
United Nations Main Hall, Vienna, Austria
By IEF Member and UN Observer David Menham
The Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was born out of deep concern for the growing threat that nuclear weapons pose to human survival, to the environment, to socioeconomic development, to the global economy, to food security, and to the health and welfare of current and future generations.
The TPNW was initiated and proposed by non-nuclear weapon countries, namely, Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, which formed the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) in 2010. This first meeting of TPNW States Parties was initiated by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which received, in 2017, the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in bringing nations together to agree to the abolition of nuclear weapons. TPNW States Parties also included attendence of a diverse group of nations and NGO representatives from around the world. To date 122 nations have voted for this new treaty; 86 nations have signed it; and around 65 nations have ratified it.
Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands, all currently NATO members, sent observers; however, no official representation was present from the nine nuclear states: China, North Korea, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Austrian government (a signatory nation) sponsored and hosted this gathering and took the chair throughout deliberations. There was also a strong representation from Japanese civil society. They were present to ensure that people fully understood how devastating nuclear fallout can be.
The proceedings were also joined by victims of radiation poisoning from Kazakstan, the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, and more surprisingly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the USA. Their joint presence at the conference put an entirely new spin on the inherent dangers of uranium mining, nuclear testing, and the looming threat of nuclear warfare. This was reflected in one of the final paragraphs of the closing statement of the conference which highlighted the need to increase the universality of the agreement in the following way:
We have no illusions about the challenges and obstacles that lie before us in realising the aims of this Treaty. But we move ahead with optimism and resolve. In the face of the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons and in the interest of the very survival of humanity, we cannot do otherwise. We will take every path that is open to us, and work persistently to open those that are still closed. We will not rest until the last state has joined the Treaty, the last warhead has been dismantled and destroyed and nuclear weapons have been eliminated from the earth. (1)
From the first day of the conference this urgency was reflected in opening statements coming from the conference chair, NGOs, the media, the Fiji and Cuban delegations, the UN Secretary-General, the New Zealand Minister for Disarmament, the Vatican, the South African and Ghanian delegations, Peru, Mexico, Thailand, and Ireland. More importantly the biggest driving force was generated by the legitimate concerns of the countless victims of uranium mining, nuclear handling and waste, and nuclear fall out. These concerns were reinforced by the findings of the International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, of Doctors Without Borders, and of various scientists concerned about the consequences posed by the very existence of nuclear weapons and their inherent radioactive substances.
From a Baha’i perspective, the desire to universalize the process is heartening. It would, however, need to reflect the criteria set by Baha’u’llah over 100 years ago as expressed in the following words:
By a general agreement all the governments of the world must disarm simultaneously and at the same time. It will not do if one lays down the arms and the other refuses to do so. The nations of the world must concur with each other concerning this supremely important subject, thus they may abandon together the deadly weapons of human slaughter. As long as one nation increases her military and naval budget, another nation will be forced into this crazed competition through her natural and supposed interests. (2)
(1) Draft Vienna Declaration of the 1st Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Our Commitment to a World Free of Nuclear Weapons
(2) ‘Abdu’l-Baha, in Compilation on Peace, www.bahai.org/r/860790630
Global Risks Perception Report
Humanity is facing threats that demand we put aside challenges to global cooperation and take urgent, multilateral action. Inequity, compounded by environmental challenges and widespread digitalization, are rapidly changing the landscape of global risks. This has become more apparent over the last year and a half, marked indelibly by the global COVID-19 pandemic and its cascading effects, but also by rising intensity and severity of extreme events linked to climate change, such as wildfires, heatwaves, and tropical storms.
This report shares the findings of the second iteration of the Global Risks Scientists’ Perceptions survey.
For the full report, go here: https://futureearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/GlobalRisksPerceptio…
These are the key findings of the report:
- Scientists systematically ranked likelihood and impact of global risks higher than members of business and economic communities.
- All surveyed communities rated environmental risks among the most urgent global risks humanity faces today and as highly interconnected with other global risks.
- Technological risks are now seen as more likely to occur, compared to earlier findings.
- Five risks emerge as most likely to form an interconnected cluster of risks and lead to a global systemic crisis: failure to take climate action - biodiversity loss - infectious disease - extreme weather events - human environmental damage.
- Scientists highlighted the need to prioritize inequality as a standalone risk in assessments and perception analyses.
- Business and science communities are only two groups of many more with perspectives relevant to dialogues about global risks. There is a continued need to learn from each other and build a global community around mitigating risks.
Items of Interest
8 Years, 6 Reports, and 1.1 Degrees: What We Learned from the IPCC’s Latest Report Cycle and What’s Next for Climate Action
After years of effort by hundreds of scientists, experts, and governments around the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is wrapping up its sixth assessment cycle. The reports in this cycle deepened global understanding of the climate crisis and helped spur the world to raise climate ambition — and they will continue to inform the global climate agenda in the critical years ahead for our planet.
To read this excellent report, go here.
Transporting food generates whopping amounts of carbon dioxide
Source: Freda Kreier, Journal Nature, 1 July 2022
Transporting ingredients and food products accounts for nearly one-fifth of all carbon emissions in the food system — a much bigger slice of the emissions pie than previously thought, according to the first comprehensive estimate of the industry’s global carbon footprint. Moving fruit and vegetables in refrigerated vehicles is particularly emissions-intensive.
Go here to read the paper.
How Much Do We Waste? A Data-Driven Guide to Waste and Landfills
Waste is a global issue. From electronic devices to unused food, a lot of what is thrown away ends up in a landfill. While concerted efforts are being made across the globe to incorporate recycling initiatives, these endeavors can quickly go astray when rubbish isn’t handled with the correct care and attention.
This comprehensive guide takes a closer look at the question posed in the headline: how much do we waste? The article also details where it ends up, how recycling and other solutions can help with the problem, and how businesses can manage waste:
Swimming in a Sea of Polyester, an 8 min. video talk by Martin Bide
Clothes are essential to humankind. For thousands of years, their value reflected their importance, and the challenges in making them. Until recently: in the last few decades, clothing has become cheap and disposable, and we have been buying more and more. We still need clothes: but do we need quite so many? Can buying fewer clothes contribute to a better environment and a healthier planet?
Martin Bide grew up in England, and after earning degrees in “Colour Chemistry” spent some years in the UK dyestuff industry before joining the academic world of New England. He is a professor in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design at the College of Business of the University of Rhode Island, where he teaches courses in textile science, color science, and dyeing. His research includes biomedical materials, textile history, and sustainability, and he is the author of more than 100 papers, book chapters, and patents.
Go here to watch the video talk: https://www.uri.edu/tedx/talks/swimming-in-a-sea-of-polyester/
Updated 15 July 2022