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sustainability REVIEW Producing no more than can be consumed

Consuming no more than can be replaced

Volume III Issue 52

The true aim of democracy

World Bank breaks its climate change policies Illness, and how the world is your medicine The illusion of democracy Mauritius quadruples number of women in government


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About Sustainability Review Sustainability Review is a new generation electronic magazine which brings international news, views and resources on a weekly basis. Impatient with the slow pace of change the magazine is unafraid of being critical, yet it takes great pleasure in reporting real and substantial progress. Items are presented in four separate sections: Business & Economics, Consumer & Social, Politics & Law and Human & Indigenous Rights and aach item split into three parts: a brief summary, an editorial comment, and a link back to the original source. Further discussion of these sections can be found on the magazine's website.

About Sustainability Review's Community One foundations of Sustainability Review is a deep cynicism about how much of the news agenda is shaped not to inform the public but to promote the interests of businessmen and poiticians. To try and remedy this, Sustaniability Review is avowedly "for the people" and recognises its subscribers are its most important constituency. This is shown in two ways: first of all subscribers are directly involved in setting the the editorial news agenda, and secondly through provision of a community home to facilitate the free discussion of individual news stories. In addition the magazine carries no advertising, which will only be changed after consultation with the community.

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sustainability REVIEW Producing no more than can be consumed

Consuming no more than can be replaced

Business & Economics 3 Consumer & Society 7 Politics & Law 11 Human & Indigenous Rights 13 Story Missed Last Week 17

World Bank breaks climate change policies 3 Five causes of the growing rich/poor divide 4 Is it time to adopt GDP targets? 6 Illness, and how the world is your medicine 7 Use NAFTAs anniversary to ban lead battery exports 8 A collection of films about poverty for January 9

Editor: Chris Milton Publisher: Little Green Pamphlets Contact: sustainabilityreview@britesprite.co.uk Š Chris Milton Front page credit: Wake up from hibernation! | Mr Dionysos | CC BY

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Sustainability Review

Volume III Issue 52

WORLD BANK BREAKS

CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES News: One week after publishing a report which concluded that the world was heading for a 4˚C rise in temperate, the World Bank is poised to fast track funding for a massive coal fired power station in Mongolia. Furthermore, the funding will break the World Bank’s own climate change policies, according to a group of NGOs which have conducted their own analysis of the

28 December 2012

project’s environmental and social impact assessment. The power station is part of a larger plan by Rio Tinto to build a copper and gold mine. Comment: This is what gives finance and business a bad name. What the World Bank is saying “we have terrible times ahead, but never mind we’re going to make lots of money before that happens, even if that contributes to it.” It’s stupid, sickening, selfish and short-sighted. Source: Mines and Communities

Business & Economics


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28 December 2012

FIVE CAUSES OF THE GROWING RICH/POOR

percent on their income and the very wealthy to use tax havens; there should at least be a rule which DIVIDE says the very rich should not pay a proportion of their income Article: A perfect storm is brewing smaller than the middle classes. in the US with a number of different indicators showing how -- the housing crisis has meant drastically the income and wealth many families have lost their homes gap between rich and poor has or the equity they had in them and increased over the past 50 years. net negative interest rates have severely damaged savers and those At the same time the US economy who have retired. is stagnating, with $1 trillion given in bank bailouts disappearing from -- using debt to wage war instead of the economy and not being tax revenues has led to pressure a respent. greater trade deficit and increasing pressure on the dollar, draining There are five fundamental, long money out of the country and term reasons why the income gap stagnating the economy further. has widened and the economy stagnated. These are: The situation could be reversed if it were not for two things. First of all -- open markets and free movement of capital; the strength of the US economy used to be how a large part of its economy was based upon domestic production. However much of this has now been outsource to China and other developing countries, creating opportunity for financiers and business owners but disadvantaging the ordinary American. -- the policy of allowing a low wage immigrant job sector has damaged the economy but repressing the wages of low skilled American workers. -- a tax code which allows corporations to pay as little as 4

Business & Economics

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Volume III Issue 52

the majority of the wealth is now concentrated in so few hands that that interest earned on the wealth makes the concentration a selfperpetuating cycle. And secondly that concentration makes it easier for the wealthy to corrupt the political system. As the third President of the US observed, in such situations of inequality the only way forwards is to have a revolution. Comment: This is a good analysis but I would have put it a lot more simply and in two points. First there’s debt. Debt does not grow on trees, it has to be repaid

28 December 2012

somehow. The debts western countries have grown accustomed to running have become so huge that it will now take over a generation to repay them, even if the economic weather stays mild. This is madness and is unsustainable. Secondly there’s profiteering. The idea “the bigger the profit the better it is” is monstrous. There is more, much more, to an economy (let alone life) than money. Until this is recognised in political and academic thinking we will continue to see inequality and repressing of the many by a ruling elite. Source: Press TV

IN BRIEF... Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1

Business & Economics


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Volume III Issue 52

28 December 2012

IS IT TIME TO ADOPT GDP TARGETS?

side of the economy is required, but this whole ignores all the lessons of sustainability the last few years have us. Article: Various methods of taught targeting economies have been First it continues to insist that attempted before, most recently by using only money is the best way to keeping inflation down. However measure and control the economy, this too has been found wanting flying in the face of everyone who over recent years. now realises that that measuring Conversely, having a nominal GDP money only is not the solution. based target (ie. without taking Second it continues to cling to the inflation into account) would notion that growth is always good provide a strong way of managing when we know that this is a fallacy, the economy whilst also explicitly and economists have always known encouraging growth but not that you cannot have perpetual inflation. growth. However many central bankers are So if you’re going to find a new way wary of such a move, believing that of controlling the economy find a it would imply rising inflation. new measure which relies on The way to counter this is to stability not growth and reality not introduce the GDP-based rates money. slowly, phasing them in to long term targets whilst keeping Then, perhaps, we might make inflation targets in place. some progress. Comment: It may be that some Source: Project Syndicate new way of managing the monetary

Business & Economics

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Volume III Issue 52

ILLNESS, AND HOW THE WORLD IS YOUR MEDICINE Article: Thinking about the

parallels between man’s actions and the illness of the Earth, people rarely spend time looking inwards and asking “am I sickness or medicine?” We try to avoid sickness but it’s not just something which can be caught like the flu, it can also be repressed memories and doubts. However if you turn positives over you always find negatives, so if you wish for

28 December 2012

great joy it has to be underpinned by some opposite feeling. So what are hardened moral certainties become something else and we start to see the world from the perspective of infinity. Comment: One of the things which drives me very deeply is how we pursue gratification like economists pursue growth: in the misguided belief that this one thing alone can exist without some kind of counterweight. Yet growth is always preceded and succeeded by decay and contraction; happiness is always

Consumer & Society


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Volume III Issue 52

preceded and succeeded by grief and struggle. To understand the world you have to understand that all these phenomena are part of life and that they need to be embraced as equally valid. This is the foundation for a sustainable future. Source: Urban Times

USE NAFTA' S

ANNIVERSARY TO BAN LEAD BATTERY EXPORTS News: SLAB Watchdog has called

on the US to use the 20th anniversary of the creation of NAFTA to ban the export of spent lead acid batteries (SLABs) to Mexico. A NAFTA environmental body slammed the trade last month because not one recycling plant in Mexico has safety procedures comparable to the US. In addition it has recently be revealed that the US Government does not know whether any of its SLABs go to these facilities. Comment: This lays bare the true trouble with free trade as it is currently cast. You can get something done more cheaply somewhere, but only at an increased risk. That’s not better

28 December 2012

quality or greater efficiency, it’s just exploitation. Just as it’s not sustainable to dig up mineral resources with no thought of what happens when they run out, so it’s not sustainable to move health risks from one population group to another. What do you do when the resource runs out? That’s what’s going on at the moment with fossil fuels: finally we’re getting the clean and renewable energy programme together which was possible decades ago. What happens when the people run out? Do we only enforce decent working standards then, when billions have died to line others’ pockets? It’s sickening. Source: SLAB Watchdog

Consumer & Society

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A COLLECTION OF FILMS ABOUT POVERTY FOR JANUARY Resource: Why Poverty? Is an

NGO which has produced around 30 short films and documentaries focussing on the issue of poverty. During November and December these films are being shown on 70 television stations around the world. From January they will all be available to view online. Comment: This is a wonderful collection which not only informs and educates but also makes you

28 December 2012

stop and think about the underlying causes of poverty and wonder why it exists in the first place. It will provide excellent viewing for many weeks to come. Source: Why Poverty?

IN BRIEF... Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1 Blah blah blah 1

Consumer & Society


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Consumer & Society

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Politics & Law

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Politics & Law

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Human & Indigenous Rights


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Volume III Issue 52

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Human & Indigenous Rights

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Sustainability Review

Volume III Issue 52

Story Missed Last Week

28 December 2012

Trial Sustainability Review  

New generation magazine focussing on global sustainability issues.

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