Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Processes of Globalisation

The Processes of Globalisation
Boaventura de Sousa Santos

What is the current state of globalisation, how are we to understand the processes involved and where will a globalised world system lead us? These are some of the questions Boaventura de Sousa Santos aims to elucidate in a thorough and wide ranging essay. Arguing that our current globalisation is indeed something unparalleled in history, Santos discusses the unequal economic and political realities between North and South which globalisation enforces. Globalisation is to be understood as a non-linear process marked by contradictory yet parallel discourses and varying levels of intensity and speed. Even states however have to adopt as the supremacy of the nation state is eroded, giving way to new transnational alliances and the convergence of the judicial systems as the supreme regulator of a globalised economy. Will all these processes usher into a new model of social development, or will this lead to the crisis of the world system as others fear? Read the article at:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Kinross to greenwash cyanide

Kinross to greenwash cyanide

By Sergio U. Dani, from Göttingen, Germany, December 24, 2009

Kinross Gold Corporation, a transnational Canadian company that pollutes the environment, robs drinking water and kills people in Paracatu-MG, Brazil, has announced its new greenswashing move this Tuesday [1]. Kinross announces “Cyanide Management Certification” in its gold mines in the Americas and Russia. Stephen Odoi-Larbi has written about this greenwashing modality in Africa in a recent article [2] attached hereto. It reproduces to perfection the pathetical and notious greenwashing move as has been observed in Paracatu and elsewhere: polluting companies’ self regulation; violation of human rights, despise of nations’ sovereignty; wrong voluntary code of conduct; greenwashing intended to better the interest of the mining companies operating in countries.

[1], accessed December 24, 2009.

[2], accessed December 24, 2009.

Read attachment [2] here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

What is at stake in Copenhagen

A who-shall-die-last game? Or the ascent of a new kind of world leadership?

"Let us give good science, good systemic projects and good systemic leaders a chance to save our humanity by saving our planet."

Sergio U. Dani, from Göttingen, Germany, December 18, 2009

For those wondering why official politicians and negotiators are unable to set an agreement at Copenhagen, I offer a guess. Official politicians and negotiators are common sense thinkers backed by mainstream economy, industrial and financial institutions in their respective countries. They are created in a competitive system where money endows power, makes one strong to defeat weaker competitors. Since enough political money – and therefore enough political strength – is in possession of the rich, what most people aren’t, then conducting politics and negotiation has become an exclusive right of a fistful of rich and nouveau rich people.

A fistful of privileged rich people and institutions are intrinsically programmed to win competitions, not to lose them. They deal with global warming as if it was a competition as any other one. Their task, their default is to win this competition and keep growing. The reason why they are up to mischief is certainly this. There is no such thing as a growth competition when it comes to global warming and critically degrading resources. Global warming and environmental degradation have to be dealt with in their own rights. After all, global warming affects all of us, the rich and the poor, the intelligent and the fool, the beautiful and the ugly, the young and the elderly, the winners and the losers. Science of the environment has taught us that systemic changes do not abide by political rules or geographic frontiers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How do toxic chemicals move around the planet?

How do toxic chemicals move around the planet?

Read Elizabeth Grossman's article in Scientific American for awesome explanations.

Swimmers, hoppers and fliers: How do toxic chemicals move around the planet?
By Elizabeth Grossman
Toxic chemicals created by human activity reach unusual concentrations in the Arctic, among other places

World's top 10 most polluted places

Open cut gold mine at Paracatu-MG, Brazil: arsenic contamination and mass murder. Photo by Beto Magalhães, July 2008.

World's top 10 most polluted places
Where toxic pollution and human habitation collide with devastating effects

By David Biello
From the December 2007 special edition of Scientific American

Poisoned water haunts Bhopal 25 years after chemical accident

Poisoned water haunts Bhopal 25 years after chemical accident

By Sara Goodman

A new report says water contamination is worsening as chemicals leach through soil into the aquifer