Wednesday, 19 March 2008

We are now in a state of Planetary Emergency

Glaciers melting faster:

The world’s glaciers are melting at rates faster than at any time since records began and at any time in the past 5,000 years, according to Professor Haeberli, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service. Arctic ice melting has now reached a level that the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) and the Stern Report and other climate scientists didn’t predict would happen until the 2080s. The details are revealed in the latest report from the World Glacier Monitoring Service and will add to growing concern about the rise in sea levels and increased flooding, avalanches and droughts.

Experts have been monitoring 30 glaciers around the world since the 1980s and the most recent figures, for 2006, show the biggest ever 'net loss' of ice. Lester Brown, of the US-based Earth Policy Institute, said the problem would have global ramifications, as farmers in China and India struggled to irrigate their crops. “This is the biggest predictable effect on food security in history as far as I know,” said Lester Brown, which echoes what Vandana Shiva said at Cirencester Home Farm last Friday evening - that within 2 years we will be experiencing world-wide food shortages... time to start that allotment...

Monday, 17 March 2008

Slo-Travel to Munich

Last week I returned from visiting my childhood friend in Munich on a coach - or rather two coaches: The first was from Cheltenham (see above photo of me on my return!) and the second was a Eurolines coach from London Victoria to Munich via Brussels. The two coaches together took 23 hours each way so included two nights on a coach. The two journeys themselves were more like an adventure than a journey and I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable they were.

George Monbiot recommends coach travel as having the lowest carbon footprint and this is the reason I chose to visit my friend by coach. Travelling this way meant I added an extra 200 kilograms of carbon (0.2 tonnes of carbon) to my annual carbon allowance of 1 tonne for personal carbon use, as opposed to the extra 600 kilograms of carbon (0.6 tonnes of carbon) I would have used had I flown - so I used a third of the carbon going by coach that I would have used if I had gone by plane.

I asked some of my fellow passengers their reasons for choosing slo-travel and all of them said it was because this option was cheapest. However, for me this was not the cheapest or most convenient option but the best option for the planet for those times when you really do have to travel to another country.