Saturday, November 11, 2006

BREATHE (..............) AIR

We all want, need, to breathe fresh air. Great gulps of delicious fresh air. The oxygen races through our veins, pumped by our heart, feeding every part of our body. Sun, water, food, shelter and fresh air! Many of us take for granted that the air we breathe will stay healthy for our needs but, we shouldn't. As we pump more and more dirty carbon emissions into our fresh air supply we increasingly need our forestry cover to cleanse the air of these dirty emissions. These forests are our lungs. We really should start listening to the growing number of eminent folk who are looking to push the issue of forestry protection up the global political agenda.

Sir Nicholas Stern of The Stern Report recently said that the quickest way to tackle climate change was to halt deforestation of virgin forests. Such activity accounts for 18% of the causes of climate change. The new director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Professor Stephen Hopper suggests that there needs to be 'urgent financial incentives to stop land being cleared for farming'.

There are significant difficulties with cross border issues. The Coolearth Project, mentioned in a previous post, has probably run into difficulties before it has even got off the ground because, local governments are rightly suspicious of outside intervention. The Brazilian government is a case in point regards the Amazon. There are some brilliant ideas contained within the Coolearth mission but, its desire to utilize 21st century power (with the use of the internet) comes up against centuries old state controlled systems of governance and ownership. So what do we do? In stead of oil wars are we going to see forest wars? No, of course not! But we are beginning to see a head of steam build on the issue of protecting what many are seeing as global commons, essential to our planet's survival.

So just who is going to pull the parties together on this one? The UN? Probably not. Their grand attempt via the Kyoto Protocol didn't even seriously tackle the issues of deforestation. Initiatives such as the Coolearth project? I think they try to leapfrog government institutions at their peril. No, it has to be something in between. But what!?


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