G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century

G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century

The G7 leading industrial nations have agreed to cut greenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has announced, in a move hailed as historic by some environmental campaigners.

Related: G7 fossil fuel pledge is a diplomatic coup for Germany’s ‘climate chancellor’

On the final day of talks in a Bavarian castle, Merkel said the leaders had committed themselves to the need to “decarbonise the global economy in the course of this century”. They also agreed on a global target for limiting the rise in average global temperatures to a maximum of 2C over pre-industrial levels.

Environmental lobbyists described the announcement as a hopeful sign that plans for complete decarbonisation could be decided on in Paris climate talks later this year. But they criticised the fact that leaders had baulked at Merkel’s proposal that they should agree to immediate binding emission targets.

As host of the summit, which took place in the foothills of Germany’s largest mountain, the Zugspitze, Merkel said the leading industrialised countries were committed to raising $100bn (£65bn) in annual climate financing by 2020 from public and private sources.

In a 17-page communique issued after the summit at Schloss Elmau under the slogan “Think Ahead, Act Together”, the G7 leaders agreed to back the recommendations of the IPCC, the United Nations’ climate change panel, to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions at the upper end of a range of 40% to 70% by 2050, using 2010 as the baseline.

Merkel also announced that G7 governments had signed up to initiatives to work for an end to extreme poverty and hunger, reducing by 2030 the number of people living in hunger and malnutrition by 500 million, as well as improving the global response to epidemics in the light of the Ebola crisis.

Poverty campaigners reacted with cautious optimism to the news.
The participant countries – Germany, Britain, France, the US, Canada, Japan and Italy – would work on initiatives to combat disease and help countries around the world react to epidemics, including a fund within the World Bank dedicated to tackling health emergencies, Merkel announced at a press conference after the summit formally ended on Monday afternoon.

Reacting to the summit’s final declaration, the European Climate Foundation described the G7 leaders’ announcement as historic, saying it signalled “the end of the fossil fuel age” and was an “important milestone on the road to a new climate deal in Paris”.

Samantha Smith, a climate campaigner for the World Wildlife Fund, said: “There is only one way to meet the goals they agreed: get out of fossil fuels as soon as possible.”

The 350.org campaign group put out a direct challenge to Barack Obama to shut down long-term infrastructure projects linked to the fossil fuel industry. “If President Obama wants to live up to the rhetoric we’re seeing out of Germany, he’ll need to start doing everything in his power to keep fossil fuels in the ground. He can begin by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and ending coal, oil and gas development on public lands,” said May Boeve, the group’s director.

Others called on negotiators seeking an international climate deal at Paris later this year to make total decarbonisation of the global economy the official goal.

“A clear long-term decarbonisation objective in the Paris agreement, such as net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before the end of the century, will shift this towards low-carbon investment and avoid unmanageable climate risk,” said Nigel Topping, the chief executive of the We Mean Business coalition.

Merkel won praise for succeeding in her ambition to ensure climate was not squeezed off the agenda by other pressing issues. Some environmental groups said she had established herself as a “climate hero”.

Observers said she had succeeded where sceptics thought she would not, in winning over Canada and Japan, the most reluctant G7 partners ahead of negotiations, to sign up to her targets on climate, health and poverty.

Iain Keith, campaign director of the online activist network Avaaz, said: “Angela Merkel faced down Canada and Japan to say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to carbon pollution and become the climate hero the world needs.”

The One campaigning and advocacy organisation called the leaders’ pledge to end extreme poverty a “historic ambition”. Adrian Lovett, its Europe executive director, said: “These G7 leaders have signed up … to be part of the generation that ends extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.” But he warned: “Schloss Elmau’s legacy must be more than a castle in the air.

But the Christian relief organisation World Vision accused the leaders of failing to deliver on their ambitious agenda, arguing they had been too distracted by immediate crises, such as Russia and Greece. “Despite addressing issues like hunger and immunisation, it was nowhere as near as ambitious as we would have hoped for,” a spokeswoman said.

Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust said the proposals would “transform the resilience of global health systems”. But he said the success of the measures would depend on the effectiveness with which they could be coordinated on a global scale and that required fundamental reform of the World Health Organisation, something the leaders stopped short of deciding on.

“We urge world leaders to consider establishing an independent body within the WHO with the authority and responsibility to deliver this,” he said.

Merkel, who called the talks “very work-intensive and productive” and defended the format of a summit that cost an estimated €300m (£220m), said that the participants had agreed to sharpen existing sanctions against Russia if the crisis in Ukraine were to escalate.

She also said “there isn’t much time left” to find a solution to the Greek global debt crisis but that participants were unanimous in wanting Greece to stay in the eurozone.

Demonstrators, about 3,000 of whom had packed a protest camp in the nearby village of Garmisch Partenkirchen, cancelled the final action that had been planned to coincide with the close of the summit.

At a meeting in the local railway station, the head of Stop G7 Elmau, Ingrid Scherf announced that the final rally would not go ahead “because we’re already walked off our feet”. She denied the claims of local politicians that the group’s demonstrations had been a flop. “I’m not at all disappointed, the turnout was super,” she said. “And we also had the support of lots of locals.”

Only two demonstrators were arrested, police said, one for throwing a soup dish, another for carrying a spear.

Additional reporting by Suzanne Goldenberg

Prefab wooden dome home spins to let sunlight in from every angle

The wooden dome house is constructed largely from organic materials, including cedar, bamboo, and limestone. It has another eco-friendly feature, too, that allows the home to be more energy-efficient in a very peculiar way. Much like the sci-fi flying saucers it shares its shape with, this house can spin. At the push of a button, the entire home can rotate, allowing the owners to take fullest advantage of the sun (or shade) in any part of the house.

Related: Clever earth-sheltered house uses natural surroundings to reduce energy needs

The round, two-level home has very few interior walls, so there’s lots of usable space. The openness, combined with the serene surroundings, conveys an almost sacred feeling for guests. The wood-clad walls arch upward and meet in a single point at the center of the home’s 40-foot ceiling, which simultaneously reminds of a cathedral and a sauna.

This amazing structure tucks three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen, library, and office into just 2,300 square feet, without feeling remotely cramped. Its relatively open floor plan and enormous curved windows work together to create the illusion of an expansive estate, all neatly packaged within the dome.

Oh, and it’s for sale. This beautiful, curvaceous, rotating home can be yours for less than a cool million – a bargain at $950,000.

Germany turns military bases into rare-bird nature reserves

© AFP/File | Germany wants to turn more than 60 former military bases into nature preserves, with the aim of creating vast new green oases and sanctuaries for rare species of birds

Germany agreed Thursday to turn more than 60 former military bases into nature preserves, with the aim of creating vast new green oases and sanctuaries for rare species of birds.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said an ongoing overhaul of the German armed forces had made it possible to set aside more than 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) of forests, marshes, meadows and moors.

She said the government had opted against selling the land, in some cases, prime pieces of real estate, to investors in favour of creating natural refuges.

“We are seizing a historic opportunity with this conversion — many areas that were once no-go zones are no longer needed for military purposes,” she said.

“We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature.”

In recent years, large swathes of land in the former communist east that had been occupied by the military, including the so-called “Green Strip” along the once-fortified heavily border to then West Germany, have been turned into nature reserves for flora and fauna.

The 62 bases and training areas earmarked as nature reserves Thursday by the parliamentary budget committee are mainly in the densely populated former West Germany.

The sites will primarily serve as bioreserves, which the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation said would provide crucial habitats for threatened species such as certain bats, woodpeckers, eagles and beetles.

However many sites will also be open to the public, and bring to 156,000 hectares the amount of federally protected wilderness.

Germany is in the process of reforming its military from a Cold War defensive force into a 21st century institution prepared to counter new threats.

In the process, it is creating a smaller “footprint” of bases in favour of a more efficient and mobile organisation.

6 Guidelines to Start a Successful Community / Ecovillage

Before we experienced living communally at Valhalla, we had a very strong idea of what being in community “should” mean and a lot of expectations of what the experience would be. Since we all shared similar values and goals, we didn’t expect much conflict within the group and thought our project would be moving forward …

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Montreal teen comes up with feathery fix for potholes.

There is a delicious irony in knowing that a 14-year-old from Dollard-des-Ormeaux may have found an amazingly simple remedy to Canada’s perennial pothole problem.

While governments spend millions annually in largely futile attempts to repair our roadways, David Ballas, a Grade 9 student at West Island College, believes he may have come up with a cost-effective solution by mixing chicken feathers with asphalt to form a nearly impermeable surface.

Don’t laugh: The French term for potholes is nids-de-poule, or chicken nests.

Ballas’s discovery took the form of a science project, which recently garnered first prize at his school’s science fair. That honour will allow him to represent WIC next month at the Montreal Regional Science Fair at Concordia University.

Ballas came up with the idea after his mother, Joy Struzer, blew a car tire after hitting a pothole in Dollard. It wasn’t the first time, either.

So Ballas consulted a few chemists, who encouraged him to look for “hydrophobic” materials, a scientific term for water repellent.

Ballas found his answer during an Internet search for waste materials with hydrophobic surfaces.

“The first thing that I found was chicken feathers. Actually, there are 5 million tonnes of them that are wasted every year, just in Quebec. It was a perfect idea.”

However, finding chicken feathers proved to be a task unto itself.

“I didn’t want to get them from a chicken farm that killed chickens until I knew my project actually worked. And it couldn’t be duck feathers, it had to be chicken feathers. So I got them from a cruelty-free farm in the U.S. and paid $11 for a box.”

Next was the all-important testing phase.

“One container had regular asphalt, the other asphalt mixed with two per cent feathers.

“When I tested the regular asphalt, half the water passed through it, which is a lot of water. And later it would freeze up and lift the asphalt, which would make a pothole. The one I made with chicken feathers had almost no water pass through.”

Finding a environmentally sound solution was Ballas’s prime motivation.

“The environmental aspect is the most important part of my project – especially in today’s world. Because I’m 14 years old, I can see how bad it is in the world.”

Melanie Richter, a staffer at WIC, said Ballas’s project – which could soon be patented – hit the mark with the science fair judges and fellow students.

“It was so unusual and made sense,” Richter said. “And students can see how to apply science to real life.”

But are Quebecers ready for Kentucky Fried asphalt?

“I hope so,” said Ballas, who would also like to see his invention applied to new road construction.

But he also has his own theory why no one has discovered a permanent way to prevent potholes.

“It’s partly the government’s fault. Getting more taxes is what they need. On the other hand if there are no more potholes, obviously, the taxpayers save money. And second, contractors are going to have less contracts.”

Hmm, almost sounds like a conspiracy?

“Exactly,” said Ballas.

So, knowing that, will there be genuine interest in his invention?

“I don’t know. Maybe they would listen to it,” he said. “I just think they’re going to let it go because of my age.”

Paul Stamets patents “universal biopesticide” that Big Ag calls “the most disruptive technology that we have ever witnessed.”

When my boys were young, I once asked each of them what would they ask for if they could have anything in the world. Sean, eight years old, a very pragmatic soul with five planets in Taurus, responded, “a million dollars.” Has Stamets patented the magic wand? Aquarian Colin, on the other hand, age six, and now inventor of the Garden Tower Project, piped up, “A magic wand!”February 27, 2015zengardner.com

by Jefferey Jaxen – Feb 27, 2015

SMART Pesticides

Humanity is facing a problem. Our immediate environment is riddled with pesticides. They are making us unhealthy faster than we can study the effects. In addition, these pesticides play large roles in the massive bee deaths and decline of soil health. The companies that profit from making these pesticides have made it clear they won’t stop. Our petitions to the EPA and FDA are mostly ignored due to revolving door leadership between pesticide makers and government regulators. Is there an answer? Yes there is!

Paul Stamets, the world’s leading mycologist, filed a patent in 2001 that was purposely given little attention. In the words of pesticide industry executives, this patent represents “The most disruptive technology that we have ever witnessed.” The biopesticides described in the patent reveals a near permanent, safe solution for over 200,000 species of insects and it all comes from a mushroom. After what is called ‘sporulation’ of a select entomopathogenic fungi (fungi that kill insects) the area becomes no longer suitable for any insect(s) the fungi are coded for. In addition, extracts of the entomopathogenic fungi can also steer insects in different directions.

This literally is a paradigm shift away from the entire idea of pesticides. Instead of having an aim to kill all problematic insect, a farmer could simply disperse a solution of pre-sporulation fungi amongst the crops. The insects would then simply live their lives around the crops paying no attention to them. This simple idea flies in the face of the current, poorly thought-out, practice of spraying ever increasing amounts of pesticides on resistant bugs. Going further, this biopesticide would also eliminate the need for round-up ready GMO seeds and BT seeds that grow the pesticides in the crop needlessly endangering us, the consumer. Perhaps the most enticing element of this biopesticide fungi is that it’s essentially free. According to the patent, it can be “cultivated on agricultural waste.” We are looking at a 100% safe, natural technology that literally can end all GMO and pesticide manufacturers overnight with a new class of SMART Pesticides.

Optimism Empowers

“The matrix of pre-sporulating fungi can optionally be dried, freeze-dried, cooled and/or pelletized and packaged and reactivated for use as an effective insect attractant and/or biopesticide.” -Paul Stamets Patent for Mycoattractants and mycopesticides

Even if we stop pesticide spraying now, scores of new research is confirming that our environment, food, soil, and bodies already carry traces of the chemicals. If the chemicals are so bad for us, there would be signs by now right? These are two common rebuttals from pesticide companies and individuals that don’t care to do their research. It’s okay, there just happens to be a patent to help with those issues as well. The US patent filed in 2003, once again from Paul Stamets, describes the utilization of a fungal delivery system for the purpose of

“ecological rehabilitation and restoration, preservation and improvement of habitats, bioremediation of toxic wastes and polluted sites, filtration of agricultural, mine and urban runoff, improvement of agricultural yields and control of biological organisms.”

Time to Make History

In addition, there are many out there currently providing solutions to remove/detox any potential pesticide chemicals from the human body. Strategies like community gardens, urban forests, and the resurgence of permaculture are springing up rapidly to pave the way towards a steadily growing number of pesticide free dinner tables and families.

On a bigger scale, GMO food and pesticides are merely symptoms of an opposite consciousness that is rapidly changing. Put another way, these symptoms are the unwanted gifts from out of control corporations that, by definition, have no empathy towards the needs, health, or life of The People. As Neil Young mentioned in his Starbucks Boycott, pesticide companies like Monsanto are, for the most part, not public-facing companies. As we are witnessing now with GMO brands, a boycott can severely damage their bottom line (lifeblood) but will not eliminate their business model. Due to the fact that they spend untold millions lobbying (purchasing) our politicians and regularly operate revolving doors between public and private positions means that only a paradigm shift will eliminate the entire industry. At that moment, which is approaching, pesticide manufacturers can decide if they would like to cease being the problem and assist in the solution.

The good news is that whatever decision they choose won’t matter. A shift in consciousness around pesticide and GMO use eliminates their influence and knocks them off their fictitious monetary pedestals they believe to be sitting on.

References:

Paul Stamet’s Patent: Pesticide & GMO Solution
Paul Stamet’s Patent: Agricultural Waste Solution
6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World TED Talk
Neil Young Starbucks Boycott Statement Organic Food Demand Exploding

About Ann Kreilkamp

I’m a Ph.D. philosopher, author, magazine founder and editor, and consulting astrologer who took the Permaculture Design Course in 2007. In 2009 I deepened my committment to both “above” and “below” by starting to attend UFO conferences and founding a neighborhood permaculture garden (ganggarden.wordpress.com). See www.tendrepress.com for bio, etc.

This Algae Farm Eats Pollution From the Highway Below!

Yet another reason why Switzerland is such an amazing place, recently a highway overpass has been installed with an algae farm! Algae (if you didn’t know) consumes sunlight and CO2 and replaces it with oxygen – making urban locations with high emissions the perfect places for algae farms.

It was installed this summer as part of a festival in Genève. Take a look!

So basically, the Algae Farm absorbs the emissions of cars that pass below it while being supplemented by the sunlight. A series of pumps and filters regulate the system, and eventually the algae grows into what can be turned into combustable biomass, material for use in cosmetics and other consumer-facing products.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a technology that may end up spearheading the future of fuel!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could install plants like this all over the world? This is one step in the right direction towards a greener, cleaner world. Of course, we will have to also couple it with stopping burning fossil fuels altogether – and this algae farm is an example of how we can clean up after ourselves instead of waiting for a solar flare do it for us.

The more we talk about this and share this information, it can be in higher demand and we can put earth-changing projects into motion all over the place.

To learn more about it, check it out here.

Record US Farmers Switching to Non-GMO Crops in 2015

This is the rising sentiment among farmers of the US as a confluence of factors urges them to become pro-organic. From falling GMO grain prices to a rising tide of public distrust of genetically modified ingredients, failing GMO traits, higher GMO seed prices, and the premium prices that people willingly pay for quality food over toxic junk, the conventional farmer is changing his tune when it comes to Big Ag practices.

Even if profit is the cornerstone on which this change is based, it is still telling. After all, experts project over $35 billion in sales for organic, non-GMO foods in 2015, and as GMO corn, soy and other GM grain prices rise, along with the costs to grow them (associated with more pesticide and herbicide use to control super weeds, for example) farmers are looking past the GMO propaganda which promised higher yields and more cash for farmers who grew their poison crops.

This phenomenon is explained clearly in ” The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science” (full text available for download here) published in The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.

Gilbert Hostetler, president of Illinois-based Prairie Hybrids commented:

“Our non-GMO seed sales are significantly higher than last year.”

Mac Ehrhardt, president of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seed reports that he is selling more conventional (he describes conventional corn as non-GMO) corn seed by the end of November than he did all of last year. He says that farmers are turning to non-GMO to cut costs and to earn more money for their non-GMO yields.

Ehrhardt says:

“There is a continued increased demand for non-GMO.”

His observations are corroborated by Wayne Hoener, vice president of sales for eMerge, an Iowa-based seed company, as well as Tim Daley, an agronomist at Stonebridge, Ltd., an Iowa-based buyer of non-GMO soybeans who are also seeing a marked demand for non-GMO seed by farmers.

Daley says:

“Some companies have seen a 50 percent increase in sales of non GMO seed, and some have said they’ve sold more non-GMO seed this year than in the last five.”

Oddly, Morrie Bryant, senior marketing manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred, which sells non-GMO corn and soybean seeds but sells more GMO seeds says he doesn’t see a big difference.

“On (non-GMO) corn, we’ve got a slight increase on sales over last year,” he says. “Non-GMO has emerged as the new niche. It’s about 4-5 percent of total corn production.”

If consumer demand for organic is any indication, farmers would be smart to step up their organic seed purchasing, and ditch Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta seeds completely. Related: Monsanto Earnings Fall 34% as Farmers Reject GMO Crops

Non-GMO Economics

Farmers find non-GMO seed appealing this year for several reasons, but mostly economics. Grain prices are low with corn selling at about $4 per bushel and soybeans aren’t goin g for much higher at around $10. Conversely, a premium is being shelled out for non-GMO corn and soybeans.

“(Non-GMO) seed costs less, and there are premiums for non-GMO corn and soybeans in some areas,” Daley says.“Some farmers don’t want to pay technology fees (for GMO seeds) and non-GMO gives them a marketing opportunity,” Bryant says.

Failing GMO Crops

Other farmers are considering the switch because they are tired of super-weeds. One corn breeder who preferred to remain anonymous for a recent interview stated:

“The insect and herbicide traits are losing effectiveness with increased resistant rootworm and weed species. Growers are tired of paying for input costs that are reduced in efficacy and funding additional forms of crop protection.”

Iowa State University weed specialist Bob Hartzler seconds that sentiment in an interview with Iowa Farmer Today.

“You have people questioning the value of the Roundup gene. How many are doing it (making the switch) because of that concern, I don’t know.”

Non-GMO Outperform GMO Seeds

Non-GMO seeds are also producing more competitive yields.

“The yield performance of non-GMO hybrids is similar to or greater than traited (GMO) hybrids,” says the corn breeder.

Is this why mega company, General Mills, purchased organic food company Annie’s Homegrown for nearly $1 billion. And other large food corporations are looking to swallow up smaller organic food companies?

“There is continual and accelerating growth in organic,” he says. “There has been more conversion to organic by farmers recently than I’ve ever seen.”

8 Reasons why the food revolution might happen in your kitchen

With populations getting denser in metropolitan areas, we are losing space for our food to grow around us.  Many people observed this growing issue and started researching solutions to grow food effectively in their homes. These ideas developed into technologies (IE: The NutriTower) and are starting a revolution home gardening. Here’s why they did it, …

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#Growing The Future

When I was a kid, my dad had a compost pile. Seems to me he didn’t really turn it, nor did it seem like he did much to control the amounts of carbon and nitrogen in there, though I do remember him driving around our neighbourhood after dark in the fall picking up bags of …

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Le Phoenix

À la recherche de solutions pour se sentir plus connecté à la nature, plus connecté à notre communauté et enfin, plus connecté à notre essence même, il est bon d’avoir du support et de non pas se sentir comme un tout petit poisson nageant à contre-courant. Des solutions existent! Des projets ruraux comme urbains ou périurbains, …

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The Phoenix Bus

Growing up in our society, it’s common for us to be unsure about what our next step in life should be. We question whether there’s a place for us in this big automated machine that seems to completely disconnect us from the environment, from our community and from ourselves.Solutions exist around us; whether in an …

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Get Out of Your Dreams, Get into Our Bus!

Growing up in our society, it’s common for us to be unsure about what our next step in life should be. We question whether there’s a place for us in this big automated machine that seems to completely disconnect us from the environment, from our community and from ourselves.Solutions exist around us; whether in an …

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Practical Permaculture Workshop Series

This summer P3 Permaculture and Valhalla are collaborating to bring you some practical techniques in permaculture that you can build at home, on your balcony and back yards.  These topics are intermediate level so there is details available that we would not cover in an introduction to these topics. All workshops are taught by Graham Calder, Vivian Kaloxilos and …

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6 lignes directrices pour démarrer une communauté intentionnelle réussie

Avant d’avoir expérimenté la vie en communauté à Valhalla, nous avions une idée très claire de ce que devrait vouloir dire vivre en communauté, et nous avions beaucoup d’attentes à l’égard de cette expérience. Étant donné que nous partagions tous des valeurs et objectifs similaires, nous ne nous attendions pas à vivre beaucoup de conflits …

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10 raisons pourquoi une Communauté, c’est plus qu’extraordinaire!

Durant la dernière année, j’ai vécu en communauté avec les membres de Valhalla, ou dans différents écovillages que j’ai visités lors de mes voyages. Vivre en communauté peut signifier de partager une maison, un quartier, ou un village entier. Peu importe le genre de communauté où vous vivez, vous êtes assuré d’avoir une expérience folle …

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