Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rights Readers Round-up: Climate Change Edition

Another in our periodic updates on Rights Readers authors, this time with an environmental twist:

Orville Schell
(Mandate Of Heaven) previews the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen highlighting the U.S.-China divide on climate change solutions. Nation subscribers might want to check out Mark Hertsgaard's (Earth Odyssey) article on the same subject, 'Shades of Green'. I also highly recommend exploring the Asia Society's excellent multimedia web resources on China and climate change which feature interviews with Schell. Check out the air quality in Beijing and watch time lapse view of the melting of the Tibetan plateau and learn how drought is affecting nomadic herding cultures of the area.

Edward Humes (No Matter How Loud I Shout), now on the environmental beat, profiles the Center for Biological Diversity and their fight against development at Tejon Ranch,
The organization’s goal is to augment its usual battle over specific endangered species issues—in Tejon’s case, the California condor—with a broader campaign to show that projects such as Tejon are precisely the sort of development, built far from existing cities and requiring residents to “leapfrog” through the outlying area to get to work, that must stop if we are to get serious about slowing climate change. It argues that state and federal laws should force developers at Tejon—and elsewhere—to quantify their contribution to global warming and then do everything feasible to eliminate that impact, from installing solar roofs to mandating zero-emission vehicles for residents.
A little follow-up on Wiwa v Shell: Transcript of Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. (In the Shadow of a Saint)interview at CNN and here's a Reuters report on the impact of the case on Big Oil. Meanwhile Zina Saro-Wiwa, taking on a cultural ambassador role for African positivity premiers a film, This is My Africa.

More than one of our Esteemed Readers have praised the film, The Linguists (view online here). I'm going to recommend this fascinating article about the nexus between climate change and language diversity from Seed, 'In Defense of Difference,'
Epicenters of global biodiversity, it turns out, tend to be situated in exactly the same places as the epicenters of high cultural, linguistic, and food-crop diversity.
...
Homogeneous landscapes — whether linguistic, cultural, biological, or genetic — are brittle and prone to failure. The evidence peppers human history, as Jared Diamond so meticulously catalogued in his aptly named book, Collapse. Whether it was due to a shifting climate that devastated a too-narrow agricultural base, a lack of cultural imagination in how to deal with the problem, or a devastating combination of the two, societies insufficiently resilient enough to cope with the demands of a changing environment invariably crumbled.
Hey! Poets and scientists unite! You should also Check out this UN Tribute to Poetry in Endangered Languages with handy world poetry map!
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