Sunday, 28 December 2008

61 trees

This link is to a story that claims to show that we only have 61 trees each per person.
They did this by using NASA satellite figures to estimate the number of trees in the world (400 billion'ish) and dividing by the number of people (6.5 billion'ish).

If we take it as 61 trees per person per lifetime (say an average of 80 years) then that's less than one tree per year each. Trees are not necessarily finite though because with natural germination and forestry culture they can be replaceable but so are people, so to speak. The problem is the global human population is still increasing fast. I think we're gaining on the trees and not in a good way...

Apart from the obvious uses such as timber, wood stove fuel, paper and cardboard there are a myriad of other uses for wood products such as (excuse the American bias): baseball bats, barrels, books, blocks, benches, crutches, coffee filters, guitars, grocery bags, pencils, pine oil, beds, billboards, buttons, candy wrappers, buttons, chewing gum, cork, crayons, egg cartons, fruit pie filling, kites, linoleum, luggage, paper, pingpong balls, chopsticks (especially the disposable kind), rubber, tambourines, telephone books, tires, toilet paper, turpentine, xylophones and yo-yos (the wooden kind). Yes, I already know there are errors in this list such as that chopsticks can made from bamboo, which is a grass etc.

Although trees such as conifers can be mature within a human lifetime, hardwoods are nowhere near fully grown. Considering each human only has a piece of land 150 metres square as their share of Earth's land surface (do the math - it's not too hard), the above figures are yet more logical and mathematical proof that we are living in a dangerously unsustainable way.

Those local politicians who based their re-election on claims to be a safe pair of hands in troubled times, while pursuing business-as-usual policies without thought of the consequences, are caught in the spotlight of these hard figures as being dangerously irrational and irresponsible, not to mention ignorant of reality to an almost criminal degree.


Friday, 21 November 2008


I just signed this online petition

The following article is lifted from the Friends of the Earth website

Call time on global greed

The past few months have seen one of the most significant financial crises to date.

A crisis caused by a greedy, reckless and under-regulated economic system. Biased against the poor and the environment.

The fall-out will have a damaging impact on millions of ordinary people in the UK, and billions in the poorest countries of the world.

But while those that created it have been bailed out with unprecedented sums of taxpayer money, the poor have received no such bail-out.

This weekend a select group of rich world leaders are meeting to discuss the problems facing the global economy. Poor countries have not been invited.
Time for change

It's time for a radically different economic system.

A system that reduces inequality, creates jobs, protects vulnerable citizens, preserves the environment, and works to eradicate poverty.

Such fundamental global reform needs to be agreed by everyone. The poorest of the world must have a full and equal say.

Agreeing a future economic system should not be done by the world's richest countries alone.
Press for change

Add your name to a national petition.

Ask Gordon Brown to ensure all governments are involved in creating a better and more-just economic system for the world.
Petition Gordon Brown

The financial crisis has graphically demonstrated to people in rich countries what those in poor countries have known for years: the current international economic system does not work.

We need a radically different economic system which puts people and the planet first.

The world's poorest people must have a full and equal say in developing this system - decisions must not be taken by bodies that only represent rich countries.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


This stunning report in the Financial Times on October 28th shows how fast existing supplies of oil are declining - around 6% a year (edited from 9% because the FT got it a bit wrong - see Mark Forskitt's comment below - still scary!)!!! Of course, new supplies are coming onstream but the rate of discovery and production is not keeping pace. Commenters have identified that Peak Oil happened in July 2008. If you don't know what this will mean to the whole world then google "peak oil" ASAP. Basically, it means it's downhill from now on (unless we listen to the environmentalists and sustainability theorists).

Ignore any reassuring words from our rinky-dink politicans and civil servants, forget any reassuring humbug from bankers and financiers. If they believe their own words then they are idiots. If they don't, then they are liars. This is extremely serious. The effects won't start to bite quite as early now that we have the mother of all global recessions, about to start devastating the global financial outlook and consumer culture, but bite they will. Unless we start transitioning very soon to sustainable economic ways of doing things, then the future will be bleak

Sunday, 9 November 2008

tomatoes, carnations and oil - not a recipe...

Just sent this post to the JEP tonight by email.

Dear Sir,

Another part of Jersey's rapidly shrinking economic diversity is becoming extinct. The news that both our tomato and carnation growing greenhouse-based industries are falling by the wayside, and what has been planned for the sites, is even worse than may at first appear.

Peak oil has been very recently forecast to start biting within five years by serious analysts. The only reason the world can (just about) feed the current 6.66 billion inhabitants is because we use oil to make artificial fertiliser and pesticides, not to mention the fuel for tractor based cultivation and long distance transport etc. As oil starts to get harder to find, and takes more energy to extract, then the price will skyrocket. Food will soar in price and fall in availability as a direct consequence. There will be steadily increasing shortages.

We should be planning now for local food security for the Island by boosting our existing agricultural and horticultural sectors, not allowing them to fail. We should also encourage using organic, sustainable techniques which will rapidly become more economic than oil based agriculture. To allow existing greenhouses to be knocked down and houses built on the sites would be the height of folly and would demonstrate that our Economic Ministry literally has no clue whatsoever, despite the millions they have spent on consultants, about what the wider and relatively near future holds, and what we imperatively need to be doing to cope with it.

Most of our States still appear to be living in a fool's paradise, not realising what is happening to the world and how it will start to affect every one of us within the term of office of our re-elected and newly elected Senators. What will it take to wake them up?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Gradually, the ice melts

This Scientific American article shows that we now have full house - all continents on Earth are showing signs of human caused global warming. If the Antarctic Western and Eastern ice sheets melt completely, global sea levels will eventually rise by around 230 feet. At my home in the North of St Lawrence, I will have a beachside house but unfortunately there won't be a Pizza Express to go to - so things won't be all Peroni and skittles.

First paragraph follows: Humanity's impact on climate has been detected on every continent except Antarctica, or so said the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February 2007. No longer: scientists, comparing decades of records from 17 Antarctic weather stations with computer simulations of Earth's climate, found that human-induced global warming has been heating up the continent that is home to the South Pole, as well.