My Notes for Climate Change

Sep 2012
360
Panama
The point I was trying to make is, while an "average global temperature increase of 1C" doesn't seem like a big increase, it clearly is, because the polar ice caps are melting...
--and that's the extent of inquiry usually necessary in the choices made for most of our opinions. Related:
Several studies conclude that up to 90 percent of the decisions we make are based on emotion. We use logic to justify our actions to ourselves and to others.
The Rule of Balance -- Logical Mind vs. Emotional Heart

westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap14.html
http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap14.html
more here
 
May 2018
111
New Zealand
Scientists are people who work for a living, and when they're paid to find and present evidence in support of some particular idea they can get it. In fact, for just $100,000 I can come up w/ some very impressive experimental evidence that the earth is flat.

Hell, we can even begin a new thread on the subject if you want.
:(

Pete, firstly I want to say that I am insulted at your statement that all scientists are paid to find and present evidence in support of a particular view. That is not how the system works in the civilized countries. I am a scientist, not a climate scientist , but a scientist, my husband is a scientist, most of my friends are scientists. So I feel qualified to say; scientists want to be right more than anything else. If they published it, they believe it to be true, if the methodology was flawed it wouldn't get through peer review. Not 1000s of studies over 30 years.

Also, people don't get to choose their own facts, if you think that then you don't understand what a fact is. Water boils at 100*C = fact (at least at sea level), The earth is sphere = fact . Since 1979, the arctic ice volume has shrunk by 80% = fact.

May I recommend that you read Baha'i Statement on Climate Change again. The UHJ accepts that scientific consensus on anthropological climate change . Also go through the notes Duane has posted, they provide a good summary of the history of the investigations.

Until you can provide any empirical evidence against the scientific consensus of anthropological climate change, please stop wasting everyone's time. If you only aim to argue for the sake of arguing then you insult the concept of consultation.

If you refuse to accept the scientific evidence, and the consensus of climate experts and of the UN or the UHJ, why would you listen to anyone on this forum ?.

-T
 
Sep 2012
360
Panama
... I am insulted at your statement ...
Traveller I am so sorry that my post came at u the wrong way. This AM seeing that u'd replied was great, it was neat to see there was someone w/ a common interest to share thoughts on an important subject that we need to work on --a friend I can work w/. That's the important part, pse know I'm not not fighting w/ u --far from it, I'm needing ur input.

This texting is risky business --there's no wink'n'nod to fill in where we're coming from, but let's make three things understood right now---
  • your input is super and it's informing me of things I need to know
  • I'm grateful that you're taking the time to come back to me
  • my people skills are not nearly as good as my tech skills ---I never know if my posts ramble too long (making everyone give up after a few lines) or too short (not explaining what I'm really trying to say.
Now I can go on to read/respond to the rest of ur post ---meanwhile please beliieve we're on the same team here.
 
Sep 2012
360
Panama
...Until you can provide any empirical evidence against the scientific consensus of anthropological climate change, please stop wasting everyone's time....
You're absolutely right that I have no empirical evidence whatsoever concerning anthropological climate change, and that is precisely why I'd love to have some. Regrettably, your understanding that I've been wasting everyone's time suggests that we may need to step back for a bit. My thinking is that the advice from Abdul Baha may apply here
...When you notice that a stage has been reached when enmity and threats are about to occur, you should immediately postpone discussion of the subject, until wranglings, disputations, and loud talk vanish, and a propitious time is at hand...
---so we can take a break and take this up later.
 
Jul 2017
304
Kettering, Ohio USA
UNIT 5: Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change

All religions and many traditions teach that the Earth is God's creation and that it is our responsibility to preserve it:

American Indian Tradition: The most sacred force in 1700 Quapaw religious practice was called Wakondah or Wakontah. Wakontah was an energy or force that permeated everything that existed and kept everything in balance. Since the Quapaw revered this force and the force was in everything, the Quapaw respected everything. Because they revered both nature and animals, they were in a sense the first environmentalists in North America. They felt obligated to honor animals they had killed in a hunt with ceremonies.

Judaism: When God created the first human beings, God led them around all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said: “See my works how beautiful and praiseworthy they are! Think of this, and do not corrupt or destroy My world.”

Christianity: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 3 And God created humankind in God's image... having dominion over the earth.
4 Some theologians and religious leaders say the word 'dominion' should not be understood as a license to dominate and exploit nature, but rather as an obligation of stewardship of the Earth.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 5 Another translation says: The Lord God took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it.

Islam: If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.

Sikhism: Air is the guru, water is the father, and Earth is the mother of all.

Buddhism: Water flows over these hands. May I use them skillfully to preserve our precious planet.

Baha'i Faith: Know thou that every created thing is a sign of the revelation of God.

“Religions can help us to recapture a sense of the sacredness of creation, for nature mirrors the beauty and love of God.” 10 Stefan Edman

Religion also warns us what can happen when we transgress against its teachings:
The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:4-5
... ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you and everything within it shunneth you. 11
This is the Day whereon the earth shall tell out her tidings. The workers of iniquity are her burdens, could ye but perceive it. 12 Baha'u'llah

Scientific and technological advances have allowed our cultures to progress in numerous positive ways. Just think about means of communication, like the telephone or the Internet, or about the unprecedented fast means of transportation that allowed the coming together of cultures. Since the industrial revolution, machines have been doing much of our work connected to our everyday needs, freeing up large parts of humanity to have some free time to pursue other activities such as art, literature and music. Instead of gathering wood and tending to a fire we just turn on the stove or the heat. Instead of walking or riding, we save much time with a car and therefore can get much more done. Electrical appliances have made our lives much easier. There is nothing inherently evil in all of that.

Many people are not connected to a higher purpose in life and therefore fill their inner emptiness with material things. This all-pervasive materialism results in excessive consumption. “Millions of people try to find meaning in their lives by shopping and owning. One scholar even called consumerism the first global religion.” 13 However, several scientific studies indicate that, once basic needs are met, human beings don’t increase their life satisfaction or happiness by accumulating greater wealth. Religion confirms that point: Man is, in reality, a spiritual being, and only when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy. 14 ‘Abdu’l-Baha

In its recent Comments on the Path of Economic Well-being, The Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Institution of the Baha'i Faith, reminds us to exemplify spiritual qualities such as contentment and moderation, and then continues: The forces of materialism promote a quite contrary line of thinking: that happiness comes from constant acquisition, that the more one has the better, that worry for the environment is for another day. These seductive messages fuel an increasingly entrenched sense of personal entitlement, which uses the language of justice and rights to disguise self-interest. Indifference to the hardship experienced by others becomes commonplace while entertainment and distracting amusements are voraciously consumed. The enervating influence of materialism seeps into every culture, and all Baha'is recognize that, unless they strive to remain conscious of its effects, they may to one degree or another unwittingly adopt its ways of seeing the world.

Materialism is the root cause of greed, over-consumption, injustice and the destruction of the environment.
Consider the peoples of the West. Witness how, in their pursuit of that which is vain and trivial, they have sacrificed, and are still sacrificing, countless lives for the sake of its establishment and promotion. 15 Why, then, exhibit such greed in amassing the treasures of the earth, when your days are numbered and your chance is well-nigh lost? Will ye not, then, O heedless ones, shake off your slumber? 16 Baha'u'llah

Being slaves of our material desires and our self-interest prevents us from growing as human beings. We can rise beyond that to attain our true human station of nobility.
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created. 17
Baha'u'llah

Spirituality is the antidote for materialism and consumerism. All religions teach that human beings are essentially spiritual beings. A spiritual outlook can help us shift the emphasis from consumption to well-being and a meaningful life. We cannot and don’t want to go back to the kind of life people led 200 years ago. However, science tells us that we do need to lower our greenhouse gas emissions significantly, not just a little bit. Scientists estimate that in industrialized countries we need to lower them by 80-90% by mid-century. This is huge and will require major changes and some sacrifice.

We can evaluate our impact on the planet with the help of the ecological footprint. “The ecological footprint is a tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes. When resources are consumed faster than they are produced or renewed, the resource is depleted and eventually used up.” “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.3 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and four months to regenerate what we use in a year. Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the mid 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. And of course, we only have one.” 27
We can observe the depletion of our resources in the loss of groundwater in much of the world, in collapsing fisheries, and deforestation. Carbon-induced climate change is another example. The carbon footprint measures the demand on bio-capacity that results from burning fossil fuels in terms of the amount of forest area required to sequester these carbon dioxide emissions. Note that this does not suggest planting forests is ‘the solution' to climate change; on the contrary, it shows that the biosphere does not have sufficient capacity to sequester all the carbon we are currently emitting.
In many countries, people are living beyond the means of our Earth. If everyone lived like the average North American, for example, we would need 5 planets. Society and individuals made the assumption that more was better. We must learn to live within the limits of one planet. In a sustainable world, society's demand on nature is in balance with nature's capacity to meet that demand.
For example, wealth and greed are strong drivers of deforestation. Western ‘over-consumption’ is exerting a big demand for harmful crops in rainforest areas like palm oil and soybean. In fact our food consumption patterns can have a big influence on deforestation rates. If we could shift to a more vegetarian diet, the area needed for food production, including via livestock grazing, would be much reduced. We therefore need to consider the carbon footprint of everything we do and eat.
Mahatma Gandhi made the point very clear with his famous statement: Live simply so that others may simply live.
Already in the 19th century, Baha'u'llah appealed to society to observe moderation in everything, and specifically moderation in civilization: Whoso cleaveth to justice, can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of moderation. The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men. … If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation. … The day is approaching when its flame will devour the cities.
Scientists now repeat this call for moderation. They say we need to reduce the amount of CO2 we are releasing into the atmosphere. That means to stop all the waste that is going on, to use energy more efficiently, to conserve our resources, to significantly reduce our burning of fossil fuels, to eat lower on the food chain, to buy less stuff, and generally to adopt a simpler lifestyle.
This doesn't mean that we should lead a life of asceticism. Even when observing moderation it is possible to enjoy life on this beautiful Earth including its material joys. Knowing that we are not harming the Earth and other people will increase our happiness. In addition, increasing our capacity for contentment will bring us a step further in our personal spiritual development. It takes great courage to live a simple lifestyle today when society, the media, and the all-pervasive commercials advocate a philosophy which says, "more and bigger is always better".

It is necessary to speak up for the truth and the reality of the state of the planet, to take decisive actions as individuals and communities. At the same time we must avoid criticism or fundamentalist attitudes, and nurture sincere tolerance towards each other. It is impossible to live a life without generating greenhouse gas emissions. We all need to eat and have shelter. Our goal is to substantially reduce our personal emissions. How we do this is a personal decision. We all are in different life situations; our levels of environmental awareness vary greatly; and we have different priorities of what we think is important and of what we are able and willing to do. Encouraging each other and sharing ideas on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can help us all along the path of treading lighter on the Earth.
Show forbearance and benevolence and love to one another. Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and good-will. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments. 30
The heaven of true understanding shineth resplendent with the light of two luminaries: tolerance and righteousness. 31 Bahá’u’lláh

The poor countries emit very little greenhouse gases. The parts of the world that are rich and industrialized are responsible for the huge greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. 1 The poorest people are affected the worst, as they have no means of adapting to the changing conditions.

“In one year, the average American produces the same amount of greenhouse-gas emissions as four and a half Mexicans, or eighteen Indians or 99 Bangladeshis.” 2 “... Why should anyone have the right to emit more than others? ... Democratic ethos demands equal per capita rights to global environmental resources. “Effective global action on climate change requires very low per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, humanity is emitting about 7 billion tons of carbon and is headed to increase that amount to about 20 billion tons in this century. However, emissions need to be reduced to 2 ½ billions in the next 30 years. How do we allocate who gets to use those 2 ½ billion tons? Does the US get to use more per capita than China or India? 3 “If the world took climate change as a moral issue, each country will have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to their fair share of global emissions.”

Future generations will have to live on an impoverished planet, plundered of its resources, polluted with chemicals and radioactivity, on an earth with less species of plants and animals, with degraded soil, polluted and scarce water supplies and a changing climate! For the short-term economic benefits of a few, the long-term well-being of everyone is sacrificed.
“Climate change will have serious impacts within the lifetime of most of us alive today. Future generations will be even more strongly affected, yet they lack representation in present-day discussions”.6 Who is in charge of advocating for future generations?

Religion calls on us to uphold justice. “Far from encouraging the punitive spirit that has often masqueraded under its name in past ages, justice is the practical expression of awareness that, in the achievement of human progress, the interests of the individual and those of society are inextricably linked.”
The application of justice extends to probably all aspects of climate change. Particularly, people of faith are called to speak out for vulnerable populations and future generations.
What does the Lord require of you? To do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with your God. - The Bible
O ye who believe! Stand fast to justice, when ye bear witness before God, though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kindred, whether the party be rich or poor. God is nearer than you to both. Therefore follow not passion, lest ye swerve from truth. And if ye wrest your testimony or stand aloof, God verily is well aware of what ye do. - The Qur'an
No light can compare with the light of justice. The establishment of order in the world and the tranquillity of the nations depend upon it. 10
The light of men is Justice. Quench it not with the contrary winds of oppression and tyranny. The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men. - Bahaullah
We ask God to endow human souls with justice so that they may be fair, and may strive to provide for the comfort of all, that each member of humanity may pass his life in the utmost comfort and welfare. Then this material world will become the very paradise of the Kingdom, this elemental earth will be in a heavenly state and all the servants of God will live in the utmost joy, happiness and gladness. We must all strive and concentrate all our thoughts in order that such happiness may accrue to the world of humanity. - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Another area of social justice is rewarding environmentally responsible actions and discouraging harmful behavior with good environmental laws. We find this standard in religious teachings:
The structure of world stability and order hath been reared upon, and will continue to be sustained by, the twin pillars of reward and punishment. - Bahá'u'lláh

"Climate change is the central poverty issue of our times,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “Climate change is happening today and the world’s poorest people, who already face a daily struggle to survive, are being hit hardest. The evidence is right in front of our eyes.
Poverty also exacerbates climate change. Poor people are often forced to exploit their environment unsustainably, for example by cutting down forests. This contributes to climate change, and the degraded environment in turn exacerbates poverty - a vicious circle. It is necessary to address the root causes of poverty and to provide basic education in order to make progress in sustainable development.
Poor societies have the largest population growth. Family size among the very poor of the world tends to be large because of a high infant mortality rate and because there is no social safety net, so parents need to rely on a male offspring to support them in old age. Population growth in turn increases poverty because more people will have to share the scarce land and resources. In addition, larger populations emit more greenhouse gases and therefore exacerbate climate change.
Poverty alleviation plays a vital role within the complex issue of climate change. It is also a central issue of religion:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. - The Bible
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah* and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. - The Qur'an
Give up extravagance and be sparing and moderate in your expenditure. Do not let the pleasures of today make you forget the tomorrow, the Day of Reckoning and Judgement. Keep money with you strictly according to your real requirements and give away the rest to the poor so that it may act as a provision for you in the next world. - Islamic Scriptures
Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway. Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling.
O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.
O CHILDREN OF DUST! Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues. - Bahá'u'lláh
In the Bahá'í Writings humankind is compared to a family. “Because of lack of harmonious relations some members are comfortable and some in direst misery, some members are satisfied and some are hungry, some members are clothed in most costly garments and some families are in need of food and shelter. Why? Because this family lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry. This household is not well arranged. This household is not living under a perfect law. All the laws which are legislated do not ensure happiness. They do not provide comfort. Therefore a law must be given to this family by means of which all the members of this family will enjoy equal well-being and happiness.” 23 “Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute.”
 
Jul 2017
304
Kettering, Ohio USA
Women are disproportionately more affected by the impacts of climate change. They generally have less access to resources such as land, credit, decisionmaking bodies, agricultural inputs, technology and educational services that could help them to cope with or adapt to the changing climate. Their lives are also severely impacted by increasing water scarcity and diseases like malaria that are spreading to new areas because of climate change. “Women are ... more likely to die in disasters, and more likely to experience harassment as they flee, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation.”
The empowerment of women is not only a human rights issue, but also a key element to fight poverty and climate change. Experience has shown already that the participation of women in climate change mitigation efforts is vital. Women have always been leaders in working for the health and well-being of their families and communities.
“In Honduras, for example, the village of La Masica was the only community to register no death in the wake of 1998’s Hurricane Mitch. Six months earlier, a disaster agency had provided gender-sensitive community education on early warning systems and hazard management. Women took over the abandoned task of continuously monitoring the warning system. As a result, the municipality was able to evacuate the area promptly when the hurricane struck.”
And in Kenya, women’s groups are planting thousands of trees to reforest two mountain areas as part of the Green Belt Movement. This activity provides “poor rural women with a small income and some economic independence as well as capture some 350’000 tons of CO2, restore eroded soils, and support regular rainfall essential to Kenya’s farmers and hydroelectric plants.”
The United Nations noticed that development projects work better where women are fully involved in decision-making. Here is just one example in the area of water security: “In most societies, women have primary responsibility for water supply, sanitation and health at the household level. Women have considerable knowledge about water resources, including location, quality and storage methods, and they are often the most motivated to ensure that water supply and sanitation work.”
The status of women has a direct impact on population growth. Greenhouse gas emissions have only reached such a dangerously high level because of the large numbers of people living on our planet. Today, there are 7 billion people. In 2050 it is estimated that there may be 8 to 10.5 billion of us. 29 UNFPA, an international development agency of the United Nations states: “The ability of women to control their own fertility is absolutely fundamental to women’s empowerment and equality. When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive. And when her reproductive rights—including the right to plan her family in terms of birth timing and spacing, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence—are promoted and protected, she has freedom to participate more fully and equally in society.
“Where women’s status is low, family size tends to be large, which makes it more difficult for families to thrive. Population and development and reproductive health programmes are more effective when they address the educational opportunities, status and empowerment of women. When women are empowered, whole families benefit, and these benefits often have ripple effects to future generations.”
“Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor, including environment and development, will the moral and psychological climate be created in which a peaceful, harmonious, and sustainable civilization can emerge and flourish.” 31 The Bahá'í teachings say:
The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced. - Abdu'l-Bahá
The United Nations have recognized the importance of gender equality in climate change mitigation. In Bonn, Germany, in November 2017 at the annual Conference of the Parties (COP23), member states adopted a first-ever Gender Action Plan 33 to incorporate gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate change discourse and actions.

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood ... We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.- Martin Luther King
The Earth Charter clearly spells out the need for the unification of humankind: “The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.
To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.” 3
Bahá’u’lláh said: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” 35
A 1999 statement of the Bahá'í International Community elaborates: “The central spiritual issue facing all people, whatever their nation, religion, or ethnic origin, is that of laying the foundations of a global society that can reflect the oneness of human nature. The unification of the earth's inhabitants is neither a remote utopian vision nor, ultimately, a matter of choice. It constitutes the next, inescapable stage in the process of social evolution, a stage toward which all the experience of past and present is impelling us. Until this issue is acknowledged and addressed, none of the ills afflicting our planet will find solutions, because all the essential challenges of the age we have entered are global and universal, not particular or regional.”
“Only through the dawning consciousness that they constitute a single people will the inhabitants of the planet be enabled to turn away from the patterns of conflict that have dominated social organization in the past and begin to learn the ways of collaboration and conciliation.” 37
“What we are witnessing is the beginning of the history of humankind, the history of a human race conscious of its own oneness.”
So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. 39
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. - Bahá'u'lláh
Recognizing the world as an ecosystem makes us all global citizens. - Lester Brown
He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body. - Bahá'u'lláh
Embracing the concept of the oneness of humanity will change our perspective of climate-change mitigation efforts in many ways. For example, some people and governments in rich countries have argued that the costs for mitigating global warming are too high for their economy. They ignore the fact that the first severely harmful effects of climate change may be happening primarily in other countries. Such reasoning will change when we regard the world as just one country and humankind as one family. With such a consciousness we equally value the lives of people in other countries who may often be poor or of a different race.
In its letter of 1 March 2017, the Universal House of Justice wrote: The welfare of any segment of humanity is inextricably bound up with the welfare of the whole. Humanity's collective life suffers when any one group thinks of its own well-being in isolation from that o f its neighbours' or pursues economic gain without regard for how the natural environment, which provides sustenance for all, is affected.

The environmental crisis demands that all of humanity work together to implement solutions. “The solution to climate change exceeds the capacities and resources of any one nation and requires the full cooperation of all nations, each according to their means.” 44 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change asserts, “The global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions.”
“The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the ‘Rio Convention’ included the adoption of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid 'dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.' The UNFCCC which entered into force on 21 March 1994, now has a near-universal membership of 195 parties.
“The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have included COP3 where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11 where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen where an agreement to success Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realised and COP17 in Durban where the Green Climate Fund was created.”
Progress had been slow and tedious. After decades of efforts, there finally was a breakthrough at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 30 November-11 December 2015. All 195 countries signed on to a binding agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases necessary to prevent dangerous climate change. Although the critical voices are correct that much stronger goals are required to avoid a climate catastrophe, the Paris Agreement was a very significant step into the right direction. Thinking about the general development of humankind, we can perhaps consider COP21 as a milestone on the path to the Lesser Peace.
“'Abdu'l-Bahá ...perceived 'the dawn of universal peace' in the fourteen points put forth by United States President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 that included the establishment of a League of Nations.” (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 682) The creation of the United Nations was another big step. We could consider COP21 as the third huge step – the very first time in human history that 195 countries unanimously agreed on action on any issue. Despite the desperate condition of many people and the environment, this development provides hope. In case you have not seen it yet, check out the report about COP21 and the involvement of Bahá'ís there on the website of the International Environment Forum.
Despite the great accomplishment of the Paris Agreement, it marks only the very beginning of serious climate-change mitigation. Two challenging processes lie ahead: First, all the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) promised in this Agreement by the 195 nations must be implemented. That is not an easy task as it requires the full support of politicians and civil society. Second, the Agreement needs to be strengthened in the near future to result in much stronger reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
At present the agencies of the United Nations are limited in their effectiveness because of an outdated system of sovereign nation states. There is a desperate need for global environmental governance. We need a strong international environmental institution, which has the authority to enforce environmental law on the global level.
Shoghi Effendi wrote already in 1936, “The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.”
Organizing and coordinating the affairs of humanity on a global level requires a new way of thinking, one that transcends the limits of nations. The Bahá'í teachings explain, “The principle of the Oneness of Mankind … is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. ... It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. ... It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world – a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units. It represents the consummation of human evolution – an evolution that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of family life, its subsequent development in the achievement of tribal solidarity, leading in turn to the constitution of the city-state, and expanding later into the institution of independent and sovereign nations.”
“It will ensure the creation of binding legislation that will protect both the environment and the development needs of all peoples. Ultimately, the restructuring or transformation of the United Nations system that this movement is already bringing about will no doubt lead to the establishment of a world federation of nations with its own legislative, judicial, and executive bodies.”
Such a world order is not only new in that it encompasses all of humankind, but also new in the underlying philosophy: The first priority is the well-being of everyone on the planet. National, regional and local interests are respected, but are considered in the light of humankind being one family. The representatives of people on the local, national and international level must be trustworthy and “regard themselves as the representatives of all that dwell on earth.”
O ye the elected representatives of the people in every land! Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only for that which profiteth mankind and bettereth the condition thereof. - Bahá'u'lláh
A world order whose goal is to ensure the rights and well-being of all individuals and countries of the world must include global institutions and laws to mitigate global warming and effective measures to help poor people and countries adapt to the already unavoidable impacts of present and future climate changes.

Decentralization is an environmental necessity. Fertile lands need to be preserved for agriculture. As much as possible, food should be produced where it will be eaten.
“The globalization of the world food economy will be reversed, as the higher price of oil raises the cost of transporting food internationally. In response, food production and consumption will become much more localized, leading to diets based more on locally produced food and seasonal availability.”
Decentralization is also the way to go for much of our energy production. Wind, solar and geothermal energy is used best in the area where it is produced. “Whereas fossil fuels helped globalize the energy economy, shifting to renewable sources will localize it.”
Decentralization will make local communities more resilient to increasing climate change impacts.
The Bahá'í concept of a global order "repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity..." 54 “Development must be decentralized in order to involve communities in formulating and implementing the decisions and programs that affect their lives. Such a decentralization need not conflict with a global system and strategy, but would in fact ensure that developmental processes are adapted to the planet's rich cultural, geographic, and ecological diversity.”
Consultation must replace confrontation and domination in order to gain the cooperation of the family of nations in devising and implementing measures that will preserve the earth's ecological balance.
People at the grass roots need to have a voice in the decisions that will affect their lives. Minorities and indigenous people must be especially empowered to take part in all plans for sustainable development. In fact, development projects have proven to be much more beneficial if the knowledge and experience of the local population are incorporated.
“Top-down models of community development can no longer adequately respond to modern day needs and aspirations. The world community must move toward more participatory, knowledge-based and values-driven systems of governance in which people can assume responsibility for the processes and institutions that affect their lives. These systems need to be democratic in spirit and method, and must emerge on all levels of world society, including the global level. Consultation -- the operating expression of justice in human affairs -- should become their primary mode of decision-making.”
In such a consultative process, “individual participants strive to transcend their respective points of view, in order to function as members of a body with its own interests and goals. In such an atmosphere, characterized by both candor and courtesy, ideas belong not to the individual to whom they occur during the discussion but to the group as a whole, to take up, discard, or revise as seems to best serve the goal pursued. Consultation succeeds to the extent that all participants support the decisions arrived at, regardless of the individual opinions with which they entered the discussion. Viewed in such a light, consultation is the operating expression of justice in human affairs. So vital is it to the success of collective endeavor that it must constitute a basic feature of a viable strategy of social and economic development.”
The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding.” 59 “Consultation ... is a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation. - Bahá'u'lláh
Policies to mitigate climate change or adaptation projects will be beneficial and effective when everyone affected can participate directly or with representation in such a consultative process. If the above principles are applied, consultation and decentralization can prevent human rights abuses, conflicts and violence, and ensure the well-being of everyone. People at the grassroots will be empowered and the actions taken will have a much greater chance of success because the knowledge and support from a wide diversity of people went into the planning of these projects.

Corruption is a major cause of both poverty and environmental degradation throughout the world.
“Anti-corruption measures are integral to fighting both poverty and climate change. Weak institutions, poor governance practices and the excessive influence of private interests will continue to undermine the best efforts to promote equitable and sustainable human development, for which we need a vigorous, honest exchange of expertise and development cooperation between rich and poor countries.
“Hunger, child mortality and illiteracy cannot be eradicated as long as corruption continues to sap resources from the world’s poorest countries. One key lesson from the last 30 years of development efforts is that the progress in poverty alleviation in the world’s poorer countries with high level of corruption and weak institutions has not been substantial or sustained.
“Similarly, environmental regulation, including CO2 controls, forest and biodiversity protection will not be effective as long as law enforcement and other decision-makers can be bought.
“The possibility of a world where all countries and all people can share in the wealth of the global economy hinges on fighting corruption, strengthening public institutions and improving governance and standards of accountability and transparency across the world.” 6
Corruption needs to be eliminated not only in government and business, but also on the individual level. This is just one example: “Residents in Paris can rent a sturdy bicycle from hundreds of public stations and pedal to their destinations, an inexpensive, healthy and low-carbon alternative to hopping in a car or bus. Unfortunately, many of the specially designed expensive bikes are showing up on black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Many others are being spirited away for urban joy rides, then ditched by roadsides, their wheels bent and tires stripped.” 62
All religions call for a life of integrity, which means that our actions are in harmony with our spiritual and moral values.
In truth, religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good, and shun all evil. Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness and justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine. - Bahá'u'lláh
One particular moral value is trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is the antidote to corruption.
Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquillity and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light. - Bahá'u'lláh

Universal education is a prerequisite to combating climate change. Children and youth comprise a large part of the human population. Their consumer choices will have the strongest impact on the climate. Also, young people can more easily change their habits. Moreover, their generation will have to shoulder the responsibility of mitigating and adapting to climate change in the near future.
However, as immediate strong actions to mitigate climate change are required, education about climate change needs to extend to people of all ages. An informed public is a prerequisite for responsible policy decisions in a democracy.
The following three aspects of education are especially relevant in the context of climate change:
Environmental education should be considered as part of basic education, equally important as literacy. In industrialized nations, emphasis should be on teaching the causes and impacts of climate change, and what each individual can do to mitigate it. In developing countries, it would be more meaningful to teach sustainable development (based on low or carbon free energy and sustainable agricultural practices), adaptation strategies, for example, agricultural methods (water saving irrigation techniques, different crops or seeds), malaria prevention, and the value of preserving forests and of planting trees.
Education to world citizenship should be at the heart of the curriculum everywhere. Only when we view humanity as one human family will we have the motivation to take the strong and far reaching actions needed to mitigate climate change.
Moral education is important throughout all grade levels. An ethical framework is a prerequisite for environmentally and socially responsible actions.
The media could play a meaningful role in education, but at present they are often a source of misinformation and of degradation of the human spirit. Imagine if the media served to educate people about climate change and the reality of the state of our planet, if they promoted a sense of world citizenship and discouraged extravagant consumption! (No more commercials!) They could spread scientific knowledge and practical know how to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The media have the potential to be a major tool in the transformation of society towards a sustainable way of life.
 
Jun 2014
1,102
Wisconsin
Happened to come across an article that doesn't seem to be getting shared around as much as it should, so I thought I'd share it on this thread: "BioSolar Leaf" tech will pull pollution from London air

A device has been developed that uses algae to pull C02 out of the air at a rate 100x that of a forest of the same acreage, converting it to oxygen. These are the kind of solutions I see the most hope for. Much easier to convince people to let you put up a bunch of algae panels than it is to convince everyone on earth they need to cut down C02. I like that it's a curative measure and not merely a preventative solution.
 
Jun 2014
1,102
Wisconsin
Pete, firstly I want to say that I am insulted at your statement that all scientists are paid to find and present evidence in support of a particular view. That is not how the system works in the civilized countries. I am a scientist, not a climate scientist , but a scientist, my husband is a scientist, most of my friends are scientists. So I feel qualified to say; scientists want to be right more than anything else. If they published it, they believe it to be true, if the methodology was flawed it wouldn't get through peer review. Not 1000s of studies over 30 years.
I too am a scientist but there is no problem in my mind of calling issues of funding into question.

For example there are scientists out there who work for oil companies and find no issue with C02 emissions...

I'm sure you'd question their motivations due to them being paid and I'm sure you wouldn't say that those scientists want to be right more than anything else.

And of course there is the infamous example of the scientists who took money to show tobacco smoke had no negative effects...

As a scientist I'd love to be able to say that all scientists are virtuous and do things only out of a pursuit for the truth but... that's just not always the case. It seems just as much of a fallacy to put us scientists on some sort of moral pedestal and pretend we can do no wrong or have no selfish motive.

If we were to say "politicians aren't self interested, they just want to help people more than anything else" or "businessmen aren't self interested, they just want to get people the products they want more than anything else", we'd see the flaws with those statements.

We scientists are people just like everyone else, and putting too much faith in us is dangerous for society. I'm not here to challenge the climate scientist consensus, but I don't like how much blind faith you put in me as a scientist, nor do I think it is a good idea for society for you to falsely assert that we as scientists are any more moral than regular people. The Baha'i Faith forbids trying to elevate one class of people over another, and we as scientists must acknowledge with humility that our degrees don't infer any special moral authority different from any other person.

The sad truth is that statistics can, and often are, twisted into horrible shapes to sell any number of narratives to people. That's why every political opinion can point to a scientists presenting statistics or a study that makes it look like their side is right, no matter the issue or side. That's why I thoroughly encourage any time statistics are released that everyone reading should read the methodology behind whatever gathered them. Too often faith in scientists is abused to produce legitimate-sounding data that people can use to justify whatever idea they want.

As for the claim "if the methodology was flawed it wouldn't get through peer review", this is incorrect. There are some well-known problems in the scientific community with the peer-review system. There are well-known instances of hoax papers getting through peer review just to show that they can pass through unnoticed fairly easily. It's not a perfect system, and while the problem seems to be greatest among social sciences, none of us other scientific disciplines are immune to this. I've heard of instances where the peer review system is even abused, I've heard numerous stories of people who get told to add more citations to the reviewer's work in order to pass it, just so the reviewer can farm more citations for their own work.

By no means do I mean to knock us scientists, but we cannot pretend to be perfect. We shouldn't assume a selfish motive on behalf of scientists, but nor should we assume we scientists are less selfish than any other group of people.
 
Feb 2019
251
Chicago
Walrus,
I have found your posts well reasoned and logical. Not surprised to know you are a scientist. May I know your field of specialization.

On a different topic, what do you think of people with scientific and research background supporting the theory of gender fluidity. According to what I understand of this theory a person's gender is not determined by anatomy but their feelings. Facebook offers about 70 genders to choose from and the list continues to grow. A person can keep changing the gender whenever the feelings change. Here is one doctor who obviously has some background in science and research who seems to support gender fluidity
https://www-nytimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.amp.html?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCCAE=#referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s&ampshare=https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/health/transgender-trump-biology.html

Venu
 
Jul 2017
304
Kettering, Ohio USA
UNIT 6: Mitigating Climate Change

Required Actions by Society

Section 2: Mitigation and Adaptation

Mitigation

Power plants, deforestation, transport, agriculture, industry, buildings, and waste all emit greenhouse gases. Emissions must be significantly trimmed everywhere. Much can be accomplished with energy conservation and efficiency, and by the use of carbon free energy and new technology. This will require a rethinking and re-organizing of almost everything we are doing as a society and as individuals.

Adaptation

Because climate change is already under way, we need to adapt. Farmers in many areas may need to change to crops that are more resistant to drought and higher temperatures. In low-lying areas, zoning plans may need to consider sea-level rise. Human settlements may have to be moved and certain areas evacuated. Many poor countries will need technical and financial support from rich countries.
The remaining sections of this unit are all part of mitigation efforts, because adaptation needs are very specific and vary depending on the location. Moreover, there are limits to adaptation. If we continue with business as usual (if we don't reduce our greenhouse gas emissions), many of the effects of climate change will exceed our ability to adapt.

Energy Generation and Use

At almost 26% of the total, energy production is responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions.5
The quickest and most cost effective reduction measures are energy conservation and efficiency. It is estimated that far reaching conservation practices combined with energy efficiency could reduce energy use by 40%! Efficiency standards for household appliances need to be applied worldwide. “The standards would be raised every few years to take advantage of the latest technological gains in efficiency. The principal reason that consumers do not buy the most energy-efficient appliances is because the improved design and insulation increase the upfront costs. If, however, societies adopt a carbon tax reflecting the health care costs of breathing polluted air and the costs of climate change, the more efficient appliances would be economically much more attractive.”
“Within the industrial sector, there is a hefty potential for reducing energy use. In the petrochemical industry, moving to the most efficient production technologies now available and recycling more plastic can cut energy use by 32 percent. With steel, gains in manufacturing efficiency can cut energy use by 23 percent. Even larger gains are within reach for cement, where simply shifting to the most efficient dry kiln technologies can reduce energy use by 42 percent. The retrofitting of buildings can reduce energy use by 20–50%! Such a reduction in energy use combined with the use of green electricity to heat, cool, and light the buildings means that it may be easier to create carbon-neutral buildings than we may have thought.“ 7

Carbon Free Energy

A few generations have already used up about half of the Earth’s oil reserves. The remaining oil will take more energy to extract. Furthermore, as the easily accessible oil fields are becoming depleted, new drilling increasingly occurs in dangerous off shore places and in fragile ecosystems. This is the major reason why drilling accidents like the one in the Gulf of Mexico are so devastating and why, in the long term, oil is getting increasingly more expensive.
Recently, oil prices have sunk because of unconventional technology which allows the exploitation of shale oil. Hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling increased US oil production by 1.7 million barrels between 2008 and 2012.8 This is highly controversial though and has already resulted in serious water contamination and high methane emissions. Hydraulic fracturing also requires huge amounts of freshwater, often in areas that already suffer from water scarcity. With growing populations and growing economies we will run out of oil sooner than later anyway. Now, the threat of climate change forces us to act even more quickly to get away from fossil fuels.
Coal is the worst CO2 polluter. Phasing out coalfired power plants (and not building new ones) should get first priority in mitigating global warming, according to NASA scientist James Hansen. There are many other environmental and health benefits from abandoning them because these power plants emit huge amounts of toxic chemicals, especially mercury.
Now is the time to move to carbon free energy, usually called renewable energy. “Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning the ever-present energy around us into usable forms. The movement of wind and water, the heat and light of the sun, heat in the ground, the carbohydrates in plants—all are natural energy sources that can supply our needs in a sustainable way. Because they are homegrown, renewables can also increase our energy security and create local jobs.” 10 It is necessary to use the already available technology to build wind turbines and solar energy systems on a large scale as quickly as possible. At the same time, much more research needs to be done in renewable energy. Because it takes energy to create the capital equipment (wind turbines, solar cells etc.) for our sustainable energy future, we should use the relatively cheap fossil fuel energy while we still have it to do exactly that.
In recent years, solar energy has advanced with astonishing speed. In the US, the renewable energy sector has become a major job creator: since 2009, the solar industry created one out of every 80 new jobs, and the country’s fastest growing occupation is wind turbine technician.11 The technology has become better and less expensive and is being widely implemented, for example:
• "More than 46,000 solar panels have been laid out across 45 acres of land to fuel the operations of Cochin airport, India’s fourth largest in terms of international passenger traffic." 12
• U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report, published in January 2017. 13
• Even the Baha'i House of Worship in India now produces about one quarter of its energy use with solar power. It is the first major public site in Delhi to have installed a “net metre”, which means that it is connected to the city grid. 14
• Texas is the leading US state in wind energy capacity.15
• In 2017, “at least 13 countries around the world – including Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Uruguay – met 10% or more of their annual electricity consumption with wind power.”16
The will to use renewable energy has gained strength both for environmental as well as for economic reasons. Progress is being reported from all corners of the world:
• In South Australia, wind and solar have become the new “base load” power. 17
• Costa Rica was powered for 76 straight days on carbon-free electricity from June 16 to Sept. 2, 2016. 18
• In Uruguay renewable energy sources provide 94.5% of the country’s electricity. Prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts. 19
Commitment is growing to transition to renewable energy:
• On 14 June, 2016, the Norwegian Parliament voted to reduce and offset carbon emissions so that its emissions are net zero by 2030. 20
• In May 2017, The California Senate passed a bill that will mandate that all of its power will come from renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, by 2045. 21
• Salt Lake City committed to transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2032. 22
• After Sweden suffered extreme heatwaves and one of the worst bushfires in the country's history, its government has committed to taking action to protect its citizens from the effects of climate change in the future. Sweden now plans to become "one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world." 23
Many innovative ideas are being tried out.
• For example, Portland, Oregon, generates electricity from turbines installed in city water pipes. 24
• Two custom-designed wind turbines are generating power for the Eiffel Tower producing the equivalent to the power used by the commercial areas of the Eiffel Tower’s first floor. 25
• The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada is the first utility-scale concentrated solar plant in the world. It provides solar energy to 75,000 homes even when the sun isn't shining. More than 10,000 movable mirrors, or heliostats, reflect solar energy to a central, 640foot tower that heats up salt to 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. This salt is used for two purposes. First, it retains very high levels of heat, making it like a thermal battery that can be used night and day, whether or not the sun is out. Second, when electricity is needed on the grid, the molten salt gets dispatched through a heat exchanger to create super-heated steam to power a traditional steam turbine.26

Section 4: Transportation:

“Society currently relies almost exclusively on petroleum-based fuels, such as gasoline, for transport. This fuel use is responsible for 13% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.” 27
In addition, in many of the world’s cities like Beijing or Mexico City the quality of daily life is deteriorating because of heavy air pollution. Breathing the air in some cities is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. In the United States, the number of hours commuters spend sitting in traffic going nowhere climbs higher each year.
Some cities have already taken successful measures in addressing their traffic problems and often at the same time other pressing issues: Bogotá, Colombia, achieved a greatly improved quality of life by putting the interest of people before cars. Within just 3 years, the city banned the parking of cars on sidewalks, created or renovated 1,200 parks, introduced a highly successful busbased rapid transit system, built hundreds of kilometers of bicycle paths and pedestrian streets, reduced rush hour traffic by 40%, planted 100,000 trees, and involved local citizens directly in the improvement of their neighborhoods. 28 In Paris, authorities have set up an official city-wide bike-rental system to encourage the use of bicycles instead of cars.
A good public transportation system is very important for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Good city planning and avoiding urban sprawl are prerequisites for efficient public transport.
High speed bullet trains also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing air and automobile travel. Japan is leading the world with its trains, which achieve speeds of up to 306 km (190 miles) per hour. “On some of the heavily used intercity high-speed rail lines, trains depart every three minutes. Japan’s highspeed rail network stretches for 1,360 miles, linking nearly all its major cities. Once high-speed links between cities begin operating, they dramatically raise the number of people traveling by train between cities. For example, when the Paristo-Brussels link, a distance of 194 miles that is covered by train in 85 minutes, opened, the share of those traveling between the two cities by train rose from 24 percent to 50 percent. The car share dropped from 61 percent to 43 percent, and CO2-intensive plane travel virtually disappeared.” 29
Fuel efficiency standards for cars should be raised as high as possible with current technology. The price of energy should reflect its true cost to society which is estimated to be about $15 a gallon (2.4 British pounds per liter). Once such hidden costs are incorporated in the pricing system, alternative energy will become financially much more attractive.
The use of electric cars could be encouraged with financial incentives. However, electric cars will only help mitigate climate change if the electricity comes from clean energy sources. Hopefully, higher prices for more polluting cars will help to reduce the numbers of cars on the world’s street. Car pooling and sharing are also necessary, as well as people adopting less car dependent lifestyles.

Section 5: Sustainable Agriculture

Although agriculture will be one of the first casualties of climate change, it is also a major contributor of greenhouse gases. “Overall, land use and land use changes account for around 31% of total human-induced greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” 31 Both this section on agriculture and the next section on reforestation address land use.
Organic agriculture can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Synthetic fertilizers release greenhouse gases into the air. But the organic approach sequesters carbon: It takes carbon out of the air and puts it back into the soil. The use of compost increases organic matter and therefore leads to more fertile soils and better water retention capacity, which will make plants more flood and drought resistant. 33
Organically grown crops can better withstand the higher temperatures caused by global warming. Many experts believe that organic agriculture is not only a tool to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but also a way to alleviate poverty and improve food security in developing countries.
Discontinuing the widespread heavy use of pesticides and herbicides is also of paramount importance to protect biodiversity. Agricultural (and lawn) chemicals are likely the main cause for the vanishing of bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and other insects.
Livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. A major reason for the high carbon dioxide emissions by livestock is “deforestation for the expansion of pastures and arable land for feed crops. Livestock generates even bigger shares of emissions of other gases with greater potential to warm the atmosphere: as much as 37% of anthropogenic methane, mostly from digestive processes of cows, and 65% of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, mostly from manure.34
Besides climate change, other serious problems are associated with meat production, because farms and food processing plants have grown into gigantic factories. This development has not been in the interest of people: Farm hands and employees often work under slave like conditions; the quality of the food is greatly diminished; salmonella poisonings have become more frequent; chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are polluting soil and water and affect human health, contributing, for example, to rising cancer rates. Human health is also compromised by the regularly administering of antibiotics and growth hormones to livestock. If thousands, often tens of thousands of animals are living in the extremely close proximity of a factory farm, the danger of disease is high. That’s why new diseases like avian or swine flu are emerging. Moreover, the vast amount of animal waste not only releases substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, especially methane, but is also very toxic. “In North Carolina, hogs outnumber citizens, and they produce more fecal waste than California, New York, and Washington combined.” 35 “The livestock sector also contributes to water depletion; currently, the livestock sector accounts for 8 percent of human water use globally.”
A study found that “beef cattle raised organically on grass emit 40% less greenhouse gas and use 85% less energy than cattle raised on grain.” 37
“Researchers found that the difference between a vegan diet and a redmeat diet in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions equaled the difference between driving a sedan and driving a sport-utility vehicle.” 38 The benefits of a vegetarian diet were expressed by the voices of religion and of science way before the climate crisis came to our attention.
“The food of the future will be fruit and grains. The time will come when meat is no longer eaten.” 39 ‘Abdu'l-Baha
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." 40 Albert Einstein
It is still possible to raise some livestock in a sustainable way. However, meat can only play a small part in feeding a growing world population. In sustainable agricultural practices, smaller sized local farms grow a diversity of crops and animals. The manure of the animals is a welcome fertilizer for the plants. Here just one example: “In many densely populated Asian nations, where demand for seafood is growing fastest, fish farming is a natural addition to existing rice farming operations. This isn’t new. Archeological evidence shows that Chinese farmers have been raising fish in rice paddies for nearly 3,000 years. Vegetable scraps and crop residues are fed to fish, which in turn produce waste that is used to fertilize the fields. Farmers can also use fewer pesticides and herbicides, since fish help control pests by consuming their larvae and eating weeds and algae that compete with rice for nutrients. (Fish farming also helps to control malaria, since fish eat mosquito larvae.)” 41
A decentralized agriculture also reduces transportation costs and CO2 emissions. Additionally, decentralization greatly increases food security.