Tag Archive | "north pole"

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Your Intervention to Protect the Arctic

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Jerry

Ice is melting in the Arctic and as a result it is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe.  Sea lanes are opening up for longer periods in the year prompting attention from nations seeking to exploit the Arctic’s underwater oil, gas, and mineral resources.  Unlike Antarctica, which is protected by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, the only protection for the North Pole is that it is defined in international treaties as the high seas.  Unfortunately several countries are attempting to enforce territorial boundaries and actively lay claim to the seabed.  This includes Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway and the United States, all of which lay claim to various parts of the Arctic.

Examples of the attention the Arctic is receiving include recent military war games, Exercise Cold Response, hosted by Norway involving 16,300 troops from 14 countries.  The exercise involved “training on the ice for everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats…. The U.S., Canada and Denmark held their own major exercises and hosted a meeting of the military chiefs of the eight main Arctic powers – Canada, the U.S., Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.” 

A June 2, 2012 Reuters article reports on a recent visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating, “Clinton boarded a research ship in Tromso, a Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle, to illustrate U.S. interests in a once inaccessible region where resources are up for grabs and new sea routes between Europe and Asia are opening up.  ‘A lot of countries are looking at what will be the potential for exploration and extraction of natural resources as well as new sea lanes,’ Clinton told reporters after taking a two-hour boat tour of the local fjord.”

Recognizing that this type of attention and development can only accelerate the melting of the sea ice and further contribute to global warming, Greenpeace has marshaled celebrities and citizens from around the world calling for the Arctic to be designated a drill free reserve where all plant and animal species are protected.  This would put it on a similar footing as Antarctica.

Greenpeace has launched an effort to get 1,000,000 signatures on-line on a petition to be circulated around the world and planted at the North Pole to encourage nations to step up and protect the Arctic.  You can participate, if you hurry, by adding your name to the petition at www.savethearctic.org

You will be in good company joining other signers who include Sir Paul McCartney, Jack White, Penelope Cruz, Robert Redford, Edward Norton, Sir Richard Branson, and Lucy Lawless.  Other signers include Radiohead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Emily Blunt, Baaba Maal, Javier Bardem, Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel, and a group of China’s most famous musicians.  You can be amongst the nine Oscar winners, ten Golden Globe winners and five Grammy Award winners who are signers of the petition.

This kind of direct action, while symbolic, represents your desire to keep countries and companies from exploiting and accelerating the very global warming they have created.  Adding your name to this petition is a small step to slow an accelerating problem.

Use the following links to find more information on these issues:







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Primatives and Unacceptable Opportunity Costs

Posted on 11 December 2011 by Jerry

The financial industry has created havoc in the world’s financial system.  By encouraging people to buy things they could not afford, leveraging their own companies beyond all reason, and creating financial instruments they sold to others and then bet against, brokers and bankers have created a worldwide financial catastrophe.

They have forced the world’s governments to spend the largest sums in history to bail them out to stop a complete collapse of the economy.  It has crushed the average person’s savings and, because of plummeting property values, has left millions of people with debt they cannot repay.  This has eliminated the purchase of goods, services and payment of taxes forcing businesses and governments to lay off millions of people.

This is however only the immediate tragedy.  By squandering the world’s money as they enriched themselves, they have forced us to divert our attention from the world’s most urgent and costly problems.  As we struggle to put people back to work and pay off massive debt the financial industry is forcing us to pay the largest “opportunity cost” in history.

An opportunity cost is simply the cost or value of the best alternative choice that is not chosen or is foregone.  In our case the larger opportunity cost we will be paying arises from our inability to focus our attention and resources to aggressively combat climate change and the ozone holes.  Due to an unanswered climate change, a new North Pole ozone hole, and at least a decade of U.S. government inaction, the financial industry’s avarice will cause human suffering and dislocation beyond anything we have seen in history.

But why has this happened?  Is it the result of bad people or is it because of avarice and greed in the business world?  Obviously the overwhelming majority of people in business are just everyday working people trying to do the best they can for everyone.  Unfortunately there is a small group of bad actors who typify a flaw in how we do business. In their view it is expected that the strong and knowledgeable take advantage of the weak and uninformed.  They have taken the phrase “survival of the fittest” and used it in a misunderstood application of science.

British economist, Herbert Spencer, first used the phrase “survival of the fittest” to characterize Darwin’s process of natural selection.  Unfortunately when some business people try to interpret and apply the thought in their daily lives it leads them to misconstrue the lesson of evolutionary progress. The phrase calls to mind imagery of one animal besting another.  The concept gets generalized to rationalize setting aside normal personal moral standards when viewing business as dog-eat-dog. Their conclusion is that anything goes in business which becomes the basis for their primitive behavior of the past.  As “primatives” they cloak themselves in misunderstood science and act as if there is a jungle around them. They have obviously missed the point.

Evolution provides a forward looking definition of “the fittest”. The image of the most aggressive animal in the jungle is backward looking. Evolution defines the fittest human being as the one who can demonstrate success and survival most importantly in the future. The fittest today are those who exhibit an ability to work with and lead others. They achieve the greatest level of consciousness and prescience by establishing future directions and taking actions that produce the greatest good for the greatest number.  This is the standard to which we should hold all leaders of businesses.

Until we do, the greed of business must be counterbalanced by the peoples’ government that insures a set of rules and regulations which protect all of us but most importantly the weak and uninformed.   They must not be allowed to fall prey to unethical and unprincipled business practices because at the end of the day they have the least ability to afford the loss.

Finally, we do not have a choice about making the necessary and sweeping changes required by climate change and replenishing the planet’s ozone.  Because money is not readily available this will be a painful investment.  Nevertheless we must make progress and the sooner the better.  The longer we wait, the more expensive solutions will be and the longer the cures will take.  While we know the solutions will not be as good as we hope, we can hope they will not be as bad as we fear.

Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, in Chapter 16 – Transcending Egocentricity, pages 186-187, there is discussion of the phrase “survival of the fittest” and its misinterpretation in business.  This is followed by a list of people who served as contemporary examples of the “fittest” of their time.  

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