There are many communities, families and homes being impacted by the wildfires here in Colorado.  Please keep those folks and the brave firefighters in your thoughts.

Here are the headlines for this week:

UN Report from Rio on Global Environment a “Suicide Note” –  “The final statement from Rio,“The Future We Want,” is 283 paragraphs of kumbaya that “affirm,” “recognize,” “underscore,” “urge” and “acknowledge” seemingly every green initiative and environmental problem from water crises and creeping deserts to climate change and overfishing. Women’s rights, indigenous peoples, children, mining, tourism, trade unions and the elderly also get shout-outs in the document.  The word “reaffirm” is used 60 times.”  Pretty weak stuff.  Contrast that with this sentiment:

“We can do this ourselves.

We saw in the myriad Rio+20-related announcements from countries, communities and companies around the globe that they were taking action themselves — irrespective of any United Nations document.
We heard it from the young people who spoke at Rio+20 — sometimes through tears and with cracking voices — about the fears they have for the world we’re leaving for them.

The fact that 50,000 people came to Rio and that hundreds of thousands more participated virtually through technologies like YouTube and Twitter made that loud and clear. The incredible energy and the enthusiasm they demonstrated is only a hint of what individuals can do.”

Relief in Every Window, but Global Worry Too – as demand for air conditioning grows in developing nations, so do the use of chemicals responsible for global warming.  Sounds like the very definition of “vicious cycle.”

Contentious Bird Flu Research is Published – I still think we should send all the people involved with this research complimentary copies of Stephen King’s “The Stand.”  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, right?  Share your thoughts, please!

On Staten Island, Goats Battle Invasive Weeds – “On a sweltering afternoon on Staten Island, the New York City parks department unveiled its latest weapon in the war on phragmites, an invasive weed that chokes the shoreline: goats. Twenty Anglo-Nubians, to be exact. With names like Mozart, Haydn and Van Goat, and with floppy ears and plaintive bleats, they did not seem fearsome. But on Thursday they were already munching inexorably through the long pale leaves in the first phase of a wetland restoration at what will soon be Freshkills Park.”  Goat sharing is a fantastic idea, one that’s catching on across the U.S.  Great to see the New York Parks Department try a four-legged solution to managing invasive species.

Thoughts on the Rio Summit, contrasted with knife fights in Nepal for firewood – While diplomats and governments debate in Rio, families in Nepal have brutal fights over the quickly dwindling resource of firewood.

How the Farm Bill Could Save Money and Lives in Africa – In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress funded a pilot program to test the novel idea of purchasing food aid close to its intended destination — a practice widely used by major food aid donors and companies like Coca-Cola. The preliminary results of the pilot have been very positive, demonstrating that buying local grains can cut food aid costs by 50 percent, save months of time, and improve farmers’ incomes, storage practices and understanding of markets. In Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, where the current crisis looms, the pilot’s success was even more pronounced.

Australia to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve – At least something positive is resulting from the Rio Summit.

Cyborg System Stifles Your Need to Drink Water – “The Japanese design studio Takram was asked to design a water bottle for people to use after a hypothetical future environmental disaster. Takram, imagining what a world would be like with rising sea levels and radioactive disasters, thought that we probably wouldn’t be carrying around water bottles. Instead, they designed an entirely new organ system, to be implanted in the body, that would mean we used less water in the first place.”  Yeah, but I bet water bottles are cheaper than having cyborg organs installed.

~Compiled by Ariel Chesnutt