…and so I said, who’s going to miss them?

  • Green Rights. A new charter is up for vote in France that would make the right to live in a healthy environment a constitutional issue. By the look of things, it’s one of those deals where compromise has slightly mangled the original intention of both parties—the Green Party saying it’s disappointed with the final charter and others balking at the potential imposition—but at least it’s a start. The most glaring disagreement is over a provision that would give the state permission (essentially) to intervene in an action that’s deemed “to pose a ‘serious and irreversible’ threat to the environment.” Detractors are worried that the courts will become involved in “every little thing” (my words, not theirs) somebody happens to think threatens the the environment. In the world imagined by these people, the global economy would grind to a halt under such an impossible burden. In the real world, interpretation notwithstanding, serious and irreversible threats are kinda important. (Guardian: “French split over green charter” by Kim Willsher [May 27, 2004])
  • Yeah? Well sustain this. An experiment in “sustainable living” is set to go forward near Lisbon (Portugal). The 1 billion euro project (approx $1.2 billion USD) will take 10 years to finish, cover 5,300 hectares (approx 20 mi2), and be home to 30,000 people. It’s an interesting, warm-hearted, feel-good sort of thing they’re doing, reminding everyone how sustainability’s not, you know, impossible. What would be maybe even better, though, would be a project—say, a 10,000 hectare plot of land—to show what the end result of current trends would be. It would be nice (though nice really isn’t the right word) if people could see what’s going to happen if they keep buying things like there’s literally no tomorrow and throwing them away almost as rapidly; nice if they could see what’s gonna happen if they keep blow drying and airconditioning and stereoblasting and tv-watching and lighting ad infinitum. (BBC: “Lisbon to try sustainable living” by Alex Kirby [May 28, 2004])
  • Worried At The Top. In case you haven’t heard, Ron Oxburgh, chairman of Shell, said in an interview that “[n]o one can be comfortable at the prospect of continuing to pump out the amounts of carbon dioxide that we are at present.” This, from the head of Shell. Go read the interview. (Guardian: “‘I’m really very worried for the planet'” by David Adam [June 17, 2004])