UN Sustainable Development Goals

This item from the Global Footprint Network celebrates ‘an important moment in history’ which is  how they describe the formulation of the SDGs culminating an a meeting in New York in September 2015. However, the SDGs are formulated within the framework of unending increase of global wealth and have been subjected to powerful criticism on the Resilience web-site for ignoring the impossibility of ending poverty by across-the-board GDP rise. A 15-fold increase in global GDP (without significant redistribution of wealth) is estimated as needed to end poverty by 2030 which is goal 10 of 17 goals and target 10.1 of 169 targets in the SDGs. This would devastate the natural world and the planetary support systems of Spaceship Earth. Critics of the SDGs also wrote an open letter to the UN which can be found here.

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UN World Ocean Assessment

We are running out of time to save our oceans. According to a new comprehensive assessment by the United Nations, “Human impacts on the sea are no longer minor in relation to the overall scale of the ocean.” In other words, climate change, pollution, overfishing and other human-caused activity has left our oceans in a dire state, and we don’t have much time left to prevent more widespread destruction.

The 55-chapter report, called the “World Ocean Assessment,” was presented last week to a United Nations working group, and it calls for bold action to save our oceans. The team of experts who completed the assessment looked at a variety of issues to determine how each effects oceanic ecosystems and marine biodiversity. From climate change to ocean acidification to offshore drilling to industrial runoff, our oceans are under serious threat. And, without out our oceans, life as we know it would quickly disappear.

Ocean currents have an enormous effect on our weather and climate, and more than 3.5 billion people depend on our seas for income, energy and food. Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to draft a legally-binding international treaty to protect our oceans, and this latest report explains what we need to do to save our seas. Unsurprisingly, it can be summed up by saying that we need better international management of all human activities that affect the oceans.

But we can find ways to benefit from making these necessary changes. John Tanzer, director of the Global Marine Programme at the World Wide Fund for Nature, said that the way we undertake such action can even provide new opportunities for businesses, communities, and governments to work together. We have the ability to save the oceans, and even create jobs in the process. We can’t survive long without our oceans, but saving them could help us shape a better future for all.

The BBC also reports that populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970.

Corbyn’s Green Credentials

The unexpected election Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the UK Labour Party has seen a flood of grassroots  support for his principles that has overtaken the pragmatism of the Labour Party centrists who see his chances of gaining power in 2020 as minimal, given the massive hold on the electorate of ‘business-as-usual.

In this article Corbyn outlined his principle of giving priority to ‘people and planet’ ahead of ‘profit’ to reverse the values of neo-liberal wealth creation and concentration and exponential GDP  increase as the predominant measure of prosperity.

The editor of the Resilience news site, in re-publishing this piece writes: Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory for leadership of the British Labour Party will change the landscape of world politics. His stands are far to the left of the Labour Party of the last 20 years, in the same way that Bernie Sanders is to the left of the Democratic Party leadership in the U.S.  In fact, Corbyn is probably closer to the Green Party than to the Blairite wing of Labour.

The original article was published in he Ecologist on 07.08.15.