Road to Paris: Plain Talk Briefing on the UN Climate Treaty Negotiations

What:    A candid, 15 minute explanation on why the UN climate negotiations are so difficult and the likely result in Paris. Intended for a general audience.

Who:     Stephen Leahy is an independent, environmental journalist who has covered climate negotiations around the world. He is co-winner of the 2012 Prince Albert/United Nations Global Prize for reporting on Climate Change.

Where: Part of a public forum in Toronto June 2014 titled CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY.

Thanks to Peter Biesterfeld for making the recording.

“We’re facing a planetary emergency” The Road to Rio (+20 years)

“Humanity is facing major challenges…urgent actions are needed”

Can we act as a true community?

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Jan 11, 2012 (IPS)

Humanity is driving Earth’s climate and ecosystems towards dangerous tipping points, requiring radical new forms of international cooperation and governance, experts say.

“We’re facing a planetary emergency,” said Owen Gaffney of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme based in Stockholm.

“We need to have a ‘constitutional moment’ in world politics, akin to the major transformative shift in governance after 1945 that led to the establishment of the United Nations and numerous other international organisations,” said Frank Biermann of VU University Amsterdam and director of the Earth System Governance Project.

“Humanity is facing major challenges…urgent actions are needed,” Biermann told IPS.

              Be a Partner in Independent Enviro Journalism

Those challenges include, but are not limited to, increasing poverty, food, water and energy security, the financial crisis, climate change, ocean acidification, the loss of biodiversity. All of these challenges and their solutions are interconnected.

Normally, the complex, mutually dependent systems of the Earth can self-correct and are remarkably stable. However, they can reach thresholds or tipping points and then unexpectedly and abruptly shift, Gaffney said in an interview.

“We need only recall how the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis nearly collapsed the global financial system,” he said.

The upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development needs to be the moment in human history when the nations of the world come together to find ways to ensure “the very survival of humanity”, he said. Continue reading

The Future of Journalism: Adopt a Muckraker

“Should you and I pay for the kind of accurate news reporting that is needed to fill us in on what is happening to the planet?

If we’re not willing to pick up the tab to stay better informed, who will?”

Renowned Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus and Director of the Media21 Global Journalism Network in Geneva asks those questions in an April 2010 article about my launch of Community Supported Journalism in 2009. [Updated from Sept 2010] — Stephen

Frontline Earth: Adopt a Muckraker?

By Daniel Wermus

I meet international freelance journalists quite often. Most make it clear that budget cuts have made it increasingly difficult for just about anyone, especially freelancers, to get into print. It is usually the freelancers who are most willing to risk their lives to get the stories that need reporting the most. If the day arrives when they can no longer carry out their professions, we will all have a serious problem.

Muckraker: A reporter or writer who investigates and publishes reports involving a host of social issues, broadly including crime and corruption

Stephen Leahy, a Canadian, and one of the world’s best-known investigative reporters on environmental issues, has launched a challenge: if corporations won’t pay for the news, then it is up to communities and the public to fill the gap. A free society needs journalism, even if reporting the news is not commercially profitable.

Leahy’s model for supporting the news has the journalist make his pitch over the internet. The completed article can then be distributed by news agencies or magazines that are low on funds but high on public interest. That could be IPS, Reuters-Alertnet, Commondreams, InfoSud, The Essential Edge or any number of other publications and news outlets.

[edit: Wermus concludes] Continue reading

An Awakening to the Unravelling of the Web Life – Will Action Follow?

Youth Demand Need a Voice.  Halting Biodiversity Decline Impossible Without Economic Transformation

Analysis by Stephen Leahy 

NAGOYA, Japan, Nov 1, 2010 (IPS)

The international community has finally awoken to the other great trans-boundary challenge of our time, with a new international agreement to halt the unravelling of the web of life that sustains humanity.

The new agreement by 193 nations that are part of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity includes a commitment to reduce the rate of species loss by half by 2020, as well as the historic Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources.

This awakening only applies to the few early risers. The vast majority remain asleep, unaware of our utter dependence on the living things that are the one and only source of oxygen, water, food and fuel. And unaware that nature is our reality while the economy is simply a complicated game we created.

Japan imports more than 60 percent of its food and most of Europe’s ecosystems have been trashed, with only 17 percent in reasonable shape, according to a first-ever assessment. The only reason those countries haven’t collapsed is they are rich enough to help themselves to nature’s ecological resources and services like food, timber, materials from the rest of the world.

Put a glass lid over Japan, Germany or England and they wouldn’t last long.

“We exploited the biological resources abroad, especially in the South. This is why we, the people of Aichi, Nagoya, must apologise…for the deterioration of the ecosystems and biodiversity we have caused,” says a public appeal by civil society from Nagoya, the host city of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for the last two weeks of October.

The Japanese government wanted no part of this apology, says Kinhide Mushakoji, one of the organisers and a professor at the Osaka University of Economics and Law. The appeal was signed by 156 organisations in Japan.
Continue reading

The Future of Journalism: Adopt a Muckraker

I’m pretty damn angry that media companies are putting profits ahead of truth.

The media are deeply broken… That’s a real threat to democracy.”

— Stanford University climate scientist, Stephen Schneider

 

Renowned Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus and Director of the Media21 Global Journalism Network  discusses my launch of Community Supported Journalism in this article. — Stephen

“Should you and I pay for the kind of accurate news reporting that is needed to fill us in on what is happening to the planet?

If we’re not willing to pick up the tab to stay better informed, who will?”

Frontline Earth: Adopt a Muckraker?

By Daniel Wermus

“I meet international freelance journalists quite often. Most make it clear that budget cuts have made it increasingly difficult for just about anyone, especially freelancers, to get into print. It is usually the freelancers who are most willing to risk their lives to get the stories that need reporting the most. If the day arrives when they can no longer carry out their professions, we will all have a serious problem.

Muckraker: A reporter or writer who investigates and publishes reports involving a host of social issues, broadly including crime and corruption

Stephen Leahy, a Canadian, and one of the world’s best-known investigative reporters on environmental issues, has launched a challenge: if corporations won’t pay for the news, then it is up to communities and the public to fill the gap. A free society needs journalism, even if reporting the news is not commercially profitable.

Leahy’s model for supporting the news has the journalist make his pitch over the internet. The completed article can then be distributed by news agencies or magazines that are low on funds but high on public interest. That could be IPS, Reuters-Alertnet, Commondreams, InfoSud, The Essential Edge or any number of other publications and news outlets.

[edit: Wermus concludes]

Leahy observes that: “Many people tell me, we need individuals like you to get real information out.”

It may be too early to tell whether this really signals a new citizen’s approach to the need for hard information that may be crucial to society. In the best of all worlds it could bring together both consumers and media for promoting a better planet. The danger is that it could also produce yet another quagmire of holier-than-thou preaching.”

Learn more about Community Supported Journalism in the Public Interest

Adopt a Muckraker for only $10 a month

Update: Community Supported Journalism is working. However 50 people helping out has to become 500 so we all can get the crucial information we need.  Please consider becoming one of the 500. Thank you. — Stephen

 

Travel and Writer’s Block

shodou-calligraphy.gifHola from Quito, Ecuador.

It’s difficult to do research and write articles while traveling and holidaying (not to mention the challenge of finding a good internet connection). And it is a challenge to write articles while sitting on a bed or at a cafe where kids are trying sell you scarfs, hats and Ts in rapid Spanish where my comprehension is near zero.

This is why no new stories have been posted recently although I am working on several presently. Difficult to predict when they’ll be done since we are moving around quite a bit — tomorrow we move on to the Galapagos Islands. Tough I know but someone’s got to do it.

Adios.