Arquivo mensal: novembro 2013

Sobre a COP 19 de Varsóvia

JC e-mail 4864, de 28 de novembro de 2013

Resultados de conferência da ONU sobre o clima ficaram abaixo da expectativa, diz Capiberibe

Ele observou que as dificuldades encontradas durante a conferência terminaram por adiar por um dia o encerramento das negociações

O senador João Capiberibe (PSB-AP) comentou nesta quarta-feira (27) a realização da 19ª Conferência Mundial do Clima da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU), encerrada no último sábado, em Varsóvia. Na avaliação de Capiberibe, os resultados da conferência ficaram abaixo da expectativa, principalmente porque foi mal recebida pelos países desenvolvidos a tese de responsabilidade histórica pelos danos ambientais.

Ele observou que as dificuldades encontradas durante a conferência terminaram por adiar por um dia o encerramento das negociações.

– A conferência, na verdade, deveria ter sido concluída na sexta-feira, e nós aguardamos até as 19h para o encerramento a apresentação do relatório final, que não foi possível em função das enormes contradições que envolvem esse tema. Os negociadores vararam a noite e só foi possível apresentar relatório final no sábado quando já estávamos de volta a nosso país – relatou Capiberibe.

O senador ainda afirmou que as mudanças no clima representam uma crise global que veio para ficar e exige decisões rápidas. Capiberibe destacou o compromisso do Brasil com o desenvolvimento sustentável e classificou o novo Código Florestal como um retrocesso que põe em risco o meio ambiente:

– E do ano passado para cá nós tivemos um aumento de 28% no processo de desmatamento, e isso pode estar ligado – nós não podemos afirmar – ao novo Código Ambiental, que terminou permitindo, anistiando desmatadores, anistiando aqueles que agridem a legislação, anistiando os que cometem crimes ambientais, e isso, evidentemente, estimula o desmatamento – afirmou.

(Agência Senado)

* * *
JC e-mail 4864, de 28 de novembro de 2013

Vanessa Grazziotin: conferência do clima surpreende e obtém avanço na proteção a florestas

O maior avanço alcançado foi o estabelecimento de regras para o pagamento aos países que protegerem suas áreas de florestas, o chamado REDD+

A senadora Vanessa Grazziotin (PCdoB-AM) registrou a participação dela e de outros senadores na 19ª Conferência do Clima da ONU, a COP 19, ocorrida em Varsóvia, na Polônia, na semana passada. Ela se disse surpresa com os resultados de uma reunião em torno da qual “não pairava qualquer expectativa”.

Segundo a parlamentar, o maior avanço alcançado foi o estabelecimento de regras para o pagamento aos países que protegerem suas áreas de florestas, o chamado REDD+. Para ter acesso aos recursos, os países devem reduzir emissões de carbono por desmatamento e degradação florestal.

– É uma mudança de lógica, de paradigma, dentro da própria política internacional sobre mudanças climáticas, já que até então o que tínhamos eram recursos para nações que recuperassem florestas degradadas. Isso é importante para o mundo inteiro, mas em particular para o nosso país, por que temos a maior floresta tropical do mundo e estamos em processo de desenvolvimento – explicou a parlamentar.

Vanessa Grazziotin observou, ainda, que o tema do pagamento pela proteção de florestas ganhou mais importância nas discussões da COP 19 que o do comércio de carbono, por meio do qual países podem pagar a outros pelo excesso de emissão de gases causadores do efeito estufa.

– Isso não ajuda o clima. Então esse debate ficou em plano secundário – assinalou Vanessa Grazziotin. Ela esclareceu que as regras aprovadas em Varsóvia preveem a utilização de dinheiro do Fundo Verde, aprovado em 2010 e que já tem recursos disponíveis a partir deste ano, embora a maior parte das verbas vá ser aportada em 2014.

Vanguarda
A parlamentar pelo Amazonas chamou a atenção para o papel relevante do Brasil no avanço da agenda ambiental. Sétimo no ranking da economia mundial, o país é “uma nação líder” no que se refere a proteção ao meio ambiente. Não só por causa da maior floresta tropical do mundo, mas também das posições importantes que assume nos fóruns internacionais, entre as quais as de fortalecimento do grupo dos 77 países em desenvolvimento e do Basic (Brasil, África do Sul, Índia e China).

O Brasil, observou ainda Vanessa Grazziotin, tem uma meta interna voluntária, em lei, “das maiores do mundo”: de 36% a quase 39% de redução das emissões brasileiras até o ano de 2020, levando-se em conta índices de 1995.

Tanto a Conferência das Partes, realizada na Polônia, como a próxima, que será realizada em Lima, no Peru, serão preparatórias para a 21ª Conferência das Partes, marcada para ocorrer em Paris. Na 21ª Conferência, será elaborada uma nova convenção, pela qual todos países terão regras estabelecidas internacionalmente para a redução de emissão de gases de efeito estufa.

Estiveram em Varsóvia, além de Vanessa Grazziotin, os senadores João Capiberibe (PSB-AP), Sérgio Souza (PMDB-PR) e Anibal Diniz (PT-AC). O grupo participou igualmente de uma reunião da Globe Internacional, entidade ambiental que reúne parlamentares de vários países.

(Agência Senado)

Anúncios

Mushrooms can change the weather, scientists reveal (Telegraph UK)

The fungi can whip up winds that blow away their spores and help them disperse

Mushrooms can change the weather, scientists reveal

Magic Mushrooms? According to scientists, mushrooms can alter the moisture of the air around them, whipping up winds that blow away their spores and help them disperse Photo: ALAMY

By News agencies

1:49PM GMT 25 Nov 2013

Mushrooms have an extraordinary ability to control the weather, scientists have learned.

By altering the moisture of the air around them, they whip up winds that blow away their spores and help them disperse.

Plants use a variety of methods to spread seeds, including gravity, forceful ejection, wind, water and animals. Mushrooms have long been thought of as passive seed spreaders, releasing their spores and then relying on air currents to carry them.

But new research has shown that mushrooms are able to disperse their spores over a wide area even when there is not a breath of wind – by creating their own weather.

Scientists in the US used high-speed filming techniques and mathematical modelling to show how oyster and Shitake mushrooms release water vapour that cools the air around them, creating convection currents. This in turn generates miniature winds that lift their spores into the air.

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics in Pittsburgh, suggest that mushrooms are far more than mechanical spore manufacturers.

”Our research shows that these ‘machines’ are much more complex than that: they control their local environments, and create winds where there were none in nature,” said lead scientist Professor Emilie Dressaire, from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. ”That’s pretty amazing, but fungi are ingenious engineers.”

The scientists believe the same process may be used by all mushroom fungi, including those that cause diseases in plants, animals and humans.

A mushroom – or toadstool – is technically the fleshy, spore-bearing, fruiting body of a fungus.

Millions of spores, microscopic single-celled ”seeds”, may be produced by a single mushroom, at least a few of which are likely to land somewhere suitable for fungal growth.

More than 80 different types of wild edible mushroom grow in the UK, as well as many poisonous species.

One of the world’s deadliest mushrooms, the death cap, is a common sight in British woodland. Although pleasant tasting, just one ounce of the fungus is enough to kill.

Sua flecha é a palavra (Boletim da UFMG)

Nº 1845 – Ano 40
18.11.2013

Bárbara Pansardi

“Pra quem não me conhece, sou Davi Kopenawa, filho da Amazônia, que vive no meio da floresta.” As palavras simples e fortes do líder indígena são certeiras como uma flecha que acerta direto no coração – é o que ele mesmo diz. O xamã yanomami acredita que sua arma é a palavra, com a qual protege a floresta amazônica e os povos autóctones.

“Nós, Yanomami, somos guerreiros para defender nossos direitos, nosso povo, nossas crianças, nossa terra própria. Nossos antepassados não sabiam se defender, não sabiam brigar por não compreender a língua portuguesa”, explica o xamã e intérprete da Funai, que utiliza o idioma como instrumento político. “Eu não posso viver isolado. Meu povo yanomami já foi isolado. Hoje não, nós conversamos com políticos sobre o problema da nossa terra, da saúde”, afirma.

Sua mensagem é firme, mesmo quando sua expressão parece hesitar, revelando a cadência de quem não tem o português como língua materna. “Minha fala é diferente; não é fala de cidade, não. Eu falo sobre natureza, sobre meio ambiente, terra, sobre o que é bom pra nós todos”, justifica Kopenawa.

A convite do Programa Cátedras do Instituto de Estudos Avançados Transdisciplinares (Ieat), Davi veio à UFMG ensinar o que os napë [homem branco, não índio] parecem não saber. “Será que o homem não tem pensamento, não pensa em seu futuro, nas gerações que vão sofrer? Consciência dos napë é diferente da consciência indígena. Terra é nossa vida, sustenta a barriga, é nossa alegria”, alega, tecendo dura crítica às atividades econômicas que se valem da exploração das riquezas naturais.

Para Kopenawa, o problema gerado pelo homem branco com a extração dos recursos é incontornável, não há reflorestamento que o resolva. “Reflorestar não vai trazer ar limpo, não vai chamar a chuva; só miséria, fome, sofrimento”, afirma, fazendo uma analogia com as cicatrizes que se formam quando ferimos a pele, sobre as quais não voltam a nascer pelos. “Na terra, depois que corta, não cresce de novo, não nasce urihi [cobertura florestal], porque não tem força, não tem água lá embaixo. Derrama sangue da terra e ela fica seca, a água vai embora.”

Davi explica o que em sua filosofia indígena designa por “coração da terra”. De acordo com ele, trata-se de um processo cíclico segundo o qual a água é conduzida por caminhos subterrâneos que a elevam para que em seguida se precipite novamente, em movimento continuamente circular, como na corrente sanguínea. “Nós estamos circulando juntos”, acrescenta, esclarecendo que o coração humano pulsa sob mesmo ritmo. Homem e natureza, portanto, estão ligados. Então, “destruímos a nós mesmos ao devastar a terra; nosso coração bate junto com a hutukara, terra-mãe”.

Diferentes, porém complementares

O xamã acredita na capacidade de mobilizar os outros como multiplicadores de uma consciência ambiental renovada, e se alegra porque vê seu conhecimento reconhecido na esfera acadêmica. “Sou analfabeto, mas tenho saber tradicional. Eles estão me escutando e achando bom. Estão interessados, gostando muito. Eu também estou gostando. Venho para me aproximar do homem branco que nunca conheceu de mim e para conhecê-lo como amigo. Não índio também está reconhecendo minha imagem, minha fala, a experiência que eu tenho e aprendi desde pequeno.”

Entre os xamãs yanomami, boa parte dos saberes advêm do campo onírico. Os sonhos – muitas vezes associados ao transe induzido pelo sopro do pó de yãkoana [alucinógeno] – funcionam como revelações esclarecedoras. Os xapiri [espíritos] são os responsáveis por alumbrar as ideias e desvelar a sapiência do líder. Davi conta que ele próprio “sonha terra, floresta, chuva, trovão, tudo o que tem no universo”. Por isso, irrita-se com os antropólogos que, “como formigas, andam procurando sabedoria” e valem-se do conhecimento alheio. “Eu não quero antropólogo falso, que só quer trair o meu povo, que só quer aprender, tirar e copiar conhecimento yanomami”, revolta-se, em alusão à experiência com o americano Napoleon Chagnon, que trata os yanomami como ferozes e violentos.

No livro La chute du ciel, escrito em conjunto com o antropólogo francês Bruce Albert, Kopenawa conta que pediu ao xori [amigo] que o ajudasse. Como discordava dos pesquisadores que frequentavam sua aldeia e imputavam juízos sobre o modo de vida indígena, resolveu manifestar-se. “Quem vai falar sobre meu povo yanomami sou eu. Eu não sou antropólogo, mas Bruce me ajudou a escrever como no meu sonho, um sonho conhecimento. Eu queria escrever para os antropólogos da cidade, para mostrar como o Yanomami pensou. Esse livro é um mensageiro para entrar na capital. Antropólogo que não conhece índio, não conhece aldeia, não conhece mato vai ler. Esse livro foi escrito para fazer antropólogo respeitar. Foi muito bom pra mostrar minha capacitação, a capacidade que eu tenho de quem conhece rio, terra, mato”, relata.

Quanto à sua participação nas palestras ao longo da semana, o xamã mostrou-se alegre e satisfeito por cumprir a tarefa que lhe foi confiada pelos anciões. “Estou com orgulho de mim. Sou um yanomami em paz. Estou dizendo boas coisas pra eles [homens brancos] entenderem, pensarem e depois fazer respeitar. Nós somos povo indígena, guardião da terra; estamos aqui para proteger”, assevera.

É um erro escolarizar o conhecimento tradicional, avalia pesquisadora da USP (Notícias da UFMG)

Foca Lisboa/UFMG
_DSC5225%20-%20Foca%20Lisboa.JPG
Manuela Carneiro propôs projeto de valorização do conhecimento tradicional

Quinta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2013, às 5h50

As possibilidades de cooperação entre os cientistas acadêmicos e os chamados “conhecedores tradicionais” – em especial os indígenas – foram abordadas em conferência na UFMG da professora Maria Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, da Universidade de São Paulo (USP), no início deste mês. O evento integrou a programação doColóquio Davi Kopenawa e a Hutukara: um encontro com a cosmopolítica Yanomami.

Para a professora, é um contrassenso tentar escolarizar o conhecimento tradicional. “Ele não é só conteúdo; são também formas de existência e de transmissão desse conteúdo. Assim, em vez de se pensar em escolarização, devemos propor programas de pesquisa de conhecimentos tradicionais estabelecendo pontes entre o conhecimento prático e o que se aprende na escola”, defendeu.

Na ocasião, Maria Manuela detalhou a proposta que submeteu ao Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação para a criação de programa focado na valorização do conhecimento tradicional e na criação de uma economia na Amazônia que seja compatível com o conceito de “floresta em pé”

“Fizemos a proposta ao Ministério, que parece ter gostado do projeto, e o incluiu no seu programa para o período de 2010-2014. A ideia é que o projeto resulte em editais anuais, e que fomente a distribuição equitativa de poder e de recursos”, explicou.

O Portal UFMG resumiu aspectos da conferência de Maria Manuela Carneiro da Cunha. Confira a seguir.

O contexto político
Formamos um conselho consultivo e propusemos ao MCTI um programa focado na importância da valorização dos conhecimentos tradicionais para o Brasil. O Ministério demonstrou interesse e pôs o programa na sua agenda para o período 2010-2014. Mas quiseram começar de uma forma mais prudente do que se poderia esperar. Encomendaram um estudo de três anos para avaliar a viabilidade e o formato de um programa permanente. É o que estamos fazendo atualmente. Mas sabemos que, quando mudam governo e secretário, mudam as políticas. E em 2014 teremos novas eleições. Portanto, não temos nenhuma segurança de que o programa vai se reverter em algo permanente. Mas estamos trabalhando para isso. Já foi um importante avanço tratar a questão no âmbito do Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (MCTI), em vez do Ministério da Educação (MEC).

Floresta em pé
O programa se chama Bases para um programa de pesquisas interculturais e fortalecimento do conhecimento tradicional e tem dois pilares principais. Um trata de fomentar a criação de um tipo de economia na Amazônia que seja compatível com a ideia de “floresta em pé”. Essa parte foi mais facilmente aceita. O segundo diz respeito à valorização dos conhecimentos tradicionais. Ou seja, de se reconhecê-lo e buscar o auxílio das populações tradicionais, que têm o know-how nesse tipo de manejo da floresta, para fomentar seu uso sustentável. Essa é uma ação que enfrenta mais resistência. Temos implantado projetos pilotos. São tentativas de demonstrar que é possível criar uma agricultura da “floresta em pé”, de que essa mudança de paradigma é interessante para todas as partes – populações tradicionais, cientistas das universidades e para a sociedade como um todo.

Contribuição do saber tradicional
Tenho trabalhado junto a especialistas solicitando levantamentos sobre as contribuições econômicas que os conhecimentos tradicionais podem oferecer. Mas temos de ter em mente que o mais importante não é mensurável. Não se pode medir o conhecimento tradicional pelo seu valor econômico; existem questões mais importantes. Um grande problema hoje é que, se o aspecto econômico não é mensurado, a contribuição oferecida pelo conhecimento tradicional não é apreciada, não é levada em conta, apesar de ser imprescindível para o trabalho. Pesquisadores fazem “descobertas” e não reconhecem o conhecimento tradicional embutido em seus trabalhos. Dizem: “não devo nada aos conhecimentos tradicionais”, quando, na verdade, devem muito.

Repartição equitativa
Até hoje não temos uma medida precisa para fazer essa avaliação. Mas estamos chegando a algum tipo de consenso de como deve ser feita a regulamentação desse reconhecimento. O Congresso Nacional está recebendo um projeto de lei que vai substituir medida provisória sobre o assunto. A ideia é estipular o pagamento equitativo, a recompensa, a “repartição equitativa de benefícios”; esse é o termo, porque essa recompensa pode até mesmo ser não monetária. Uma frente de trabalho tem sido a de colaborar para o estabelecimento de qual deve ser, do ponto de vista econômico, o aporte a ser feito em remuneração ao conhecimento tradicional embutido nos processos científicos. No entanto, cabe repetir: não se pode exigir uma justificativa estritamente econômica para preservar a diversidade de línguas, práticas e cantos. Reduzir tudo isso à questão do capital seria um absurdo.

Conhecimento em construção
Quando os cientistas apreciam o conhecimento tradicional, eles pensam o seguinte: “vamos fazer um levantamento e então guardar o recurso para futuras pesquisas”. O problema é que essa postura desconsidera que o conhecimento tradicional é fruto de um processo vivo, que está sempre em transformação. Ele depende da população que o gerou, depende dela para continuar se transformando, se aprimorando. Se você armazena cientificamente uma informação, ela não terá a mesma validade quando for retomada. Venho insistindo com o MCTI que não se deve pensar o conhecimento tradicional como algo pronto e consolidado, mas sim como conhecimento em constante construção, tal qual o conhecimento científico. Por incrível que pareça, isso é muito difícil de entrar na cabeça de biólogos, de cientistas acadêmicos.

O valor dos mateiros
Quando os cientistas vão adentrar a floresta, eles sempre precisam da orientação dos mateiros, oriundos da população local: são eles que conhecem a mata, os territórios, e que estão sempre descobrindo coisas novas, novos caminhos. Ainda assim eles são sempre depreciados nos institutos de pesquisa. Sempre são colocados como assistentes, sendo muito pouco valorizados no contexto da construção do conhecimento – e muito mal pagos. E a verdade é que os mateiros são os primeiros pesquisadores. Eles aprenderam no local e estão transmitindo esses conhecimentos para os pesquisadores científicos.

Desvalorização histórica
A história tradicional faz tudo para solapar o conhecimento tradicional. Por exemplo: a nossa escola, ao ser levada para essas comunidades, considera que o que a criança aprende em casa é algo sem valor. Faz com que esse conhecimento seja visto como de uma instância inferior. A escola atrapalha de várias maneiras: sua forma de elaborar seu calendário, seus horários… Por isso, as pessoas mais velhas dessas sociedades acabam se sentindo desvalorizadas quando em contato com a nossa. Em muitas dessas comunidades, eles são os responsáveis por passar certos conhecimentos de pai para filho. E a nossa escola canônica não entende ou aceita isso muito bem. A reação são as “escolas diferenciadas”, criadas pelas próprias comunidades indígenas – e que naturalmente vêm sofrendo muita resistência. São escolas que pensam seu calendário para que ele seja compatível com as atividades tradicionais da comunidade, que pensam a importância da língua, do conhecimento local, das tradições, das festas, da participação social. Aí está um aspecto muito importante a ser solucionado. É preciso que a escola se adapte à realidade dessas comunidades, no sentido de uma política de fortalecimento do conhecimento tradicional. Saber como fazer uma canoa, por exemplo, importa muito mais do que certos “conhecimentos” que as escolas acham importante disseminar.

Os riscos da ‘revolução verde’
Uma retomada histórica explica o desafio que se vive hoje na agricultura. Com o fim da Segunda Guerra Mundial, houve uma “revolução verde”: uma ambiciosa tentativa de aumentar a produção agrícola no mundo inteiro e resolver o problema da fome. Foi algo muito importante. Entre as mais de sete mil espécies de plantas alimentícias existentes no mundo, as trinta mais produtivas foram selecionadas para formarem a base da alimentação da maioria. Mas as demais espécies dessa enorme variedade foram de certa forma esquecidas. Apesar de sua importância na época, foi uma medida política muito arriscada. Quando a base de alimentação mundial é tão pequena, crescem os riscos de escassez caso algo aconteça com alguma dessas espécies. É uma medida em que não se considera que as variedades são adaptadas a cada lugar, ao tipo de solo, à quantidade de sol e chuva, às pragas. Então resolveram o problema da não adaptação das espécies às pragas e às demais dificuldades dos novos ambientes com o uso maciço de fertilizantes e de defensivos agrícolas. E hoje o Brasil é um “campeão” no uso dos dois. Resolveu-se o problema. Mas a que custo? Tornamo-nos reféns dos fertilizantes e dos defensivos agrícolas. Ao custo do sacrifício das variedades locais. E o risco disso é enorme.

Cultivo on farm
Em algum momento, percebemos que o que se estava fazendo era uma política agrícola extremamente perigosa. Na Irlanda, por exemplo, aconteceu um desastre em função disso. Assim como na Bélgica, França, Alemanha, a base da alimentação no país era a batata, que havia sido domesticada pelos índios da América e levada para a Europa pelos espanhóis após a colonização. Os espanhóis levaram poucas espécies, as mais produtivas. Os irlandeses, em dado momento, estavam se alimentando só de duas espécies. Foi quando aconteceu uma praga que durou quatro anos e acabou com tudo. Um milhão de pessoas morreu de fome. Outro milhão migrou. É um exemplo de como é necessário guardar as variedades. Mas não basta fazer bancos de sementes como os da Embrapa, em que as sementes ficam em uma geladeira, mas não continuam se adaptando às mudanças do meio ambiente. O clima muda, o solo muda. Então, é preciso que as espécies continuem sendo cultivadas na roça, sendo cultivadas on farm, pois só se adaptam aquelas que continuam sendo cultivadas em campo. Isso é fundamental para a nossa segurança alimentar. E aí entra a questão dos conhecimentos tradicionais, dos índios, que tem o hábito de cultivar variedades.

Experiência no Rio Negro
Um desses projetos-pilotos de que falei está sendo desenvolvido às margens do Rio Negro, na Amazônia. Lá, a despeito das políticas governamentais que buscam consolidar a plantação apenas das poucas espécies mais produtivas, os índios estão plantando em seus roçados mais de cem variedades de mandioca, colaborando com a diversidade tão importante para a segurança de nosso sistema agrário. Hoje, 500 milhões de pessoas comem mandioca no mundo. É um alimento que tem enorme consumo na África, por exemplo. Se houvesse uma praga como a das batatas, teríamos hoje um problema enorme, a exemplo do que aconteceu na Irlanda. Esse caso da mandioca é um exemplo de como o conhecimento tradicional tem uma importância fundamental. Porque é o conhecimento tradicional dos índios que possibilita que lá, no Rio Negro, haja tanta variedade da espécie. Normalmente, a mandioca é plantada como “clone”; come-se a raiz e planta-se o caule. Mas a mandioca sabe dar flor, que tem semente. E, quando dá flor, é porque houve reprodução sexuada, de forma que essa semente não é um clone. A formiga gosta dessa semente, que é docinha. Então ela leva a semente para debaixo da terra. Essa é uma semente que só brota se houver fogo; só nasce na capoeira. Nesse sentido, ela tem brotado no Rio Negro em função do trabalho dos índios mais antigos, que gostam de cultivar as variedades e trabalham para que haja essa capoeira. As variedades também são fruto do trabalho das mulheres indígenas, que cultivam experimentalmente as sementes. Elas plantam em uma margem da roça algo que só vai dar a partir do segundo ou do terceiro ano. É um trabalho de colecionador. Essas mulheres de fato pesquisam para avaliar cada nova variedade e depois para cultivá-la. Há ainda a cultura de troca de sementes entre famílias e tribos, nas festas. Há um gosto pela coleção.

Virada política
Mesmo assim, ainda há hoje uma política do governo querendo disseminar o cultivo das espécies de mandioca entre as comunidades tradicionais, algo como “ensinar padre a rezar missa”. Insistem em focar nas espécies mais produtivas, ainda na lógica da revolução verde. E isso em um contexto em que o Brasil é signatário de um tratado que obriga o país a fomentar o cultivo de variedades na roça, de fomentar esse cultivo on farm, e não em bancos de sementes. O Brasil não está cumprindo esse tratado. Nesse sentido, nosso projeto-piloto visa transformar essas práticas tradicionais do Rio Negro em um sistema reconhecido como forma de conservação on farm valiosa e estratégica para o Brasil e para o mundo. É isso que a gente está construindo.

Leia também o perfil do líder yanomami David Kopenawa, publicado na edição 1845 do Boletim UFMG.

(Ewerton Martins Ribeiro)

No Qualms About Quantum Theory (Science Daily)

Nov. 26, 2013 — A colloquium paper published inThe European Physical Journal D looks into the alleged issues associated with quantum theory. Berthold-Georg Englert from the National University of Singapore reviews a selection of the potential problems of the theory. In particular, he discusses cases when mathematical tools are confused with the actual observed sub-atomic scale phenomena they are describing. Such tools are essential to provide an interpretation of the observations, but cannot be confused with the actual object of studies.

The author sets out to demystify a selected set of objections targeted against quantum theory in the literature. He takes the example of Schrödinger’s infamous cat, whose vital state serves as the indicator of the occurrence of radioactive decay, whereby the decay triggers a hammer mechanism designed to release a lethal substance. The term ‘Schrödinger’s cat state’ is routinely applied to superposition of so-called quantum states of a particle. However, this imagined superposition of a dead and live cat has no reality. Indeed, it confuses a physical object with its description. Something as abstract as the wave function − which is a mathematical tool describing the quantum state − cannot be considered a material entity embodied by a cat, regardless of whether it is dead or alive.

Other myths debunked in this paper include the provision of proof that quantum theory is well defined, has a clear interpretation, is a local theory, is not reversible, and does not feature any instant action at a distance. It also demonstrates that there is no measurement problem, despite the fact that the measure is commonly known to disturb the system under measurement. Hence, since the establishment of quantum theory in the 1920s, its concepts are now clearer, but its foundations remain unchanged.

Journal Reference:

  1. Berthold-Georg Englert. On quantum theoryThe European Physical Journal D, 2013; 67 (11) DOI: 10.1140/epjd/e2013-40486-5

Engineering Education May Diminish Concern for Public Welfare Issues (Science Daily)

Nov. 20, 2013 — Collegiate engineering education may foster a “culture of disengagement” regarding issues of public welfare, according to new research by a sociologist at Rice University.

imagesFor the first-of-its-kind study, the researcher used survey data from four U.S. colleges to examine how students’ public-welfare beliefs change during their college engineering education and whether the curricular emphases of their engineering programs are related to students’ beliefs about public welfare. The study found that engineering students leave college less concerned about public welfare than when they entered.

Study author Erin Cech, an assistant professor of sociology who has B.S. degrees in both electrical engineering and sociology, said that many people inside and outside engineering have emphasized the importance of training ethical, socially conscious engineers, but she wonders if engineering education in the U.S. actually encourages young engineers to take seriously their professional responsibility to public welfare.

“There’s an overarching assumption that professional engineering education results in individuals who have a deeper understanding of the public welfare concerns of their profession,” Cech said. “My study found that this is not necessarily the case for the engineering students in my sample.”

Cech said that as part of their education, engineering students learn the profession’s code of ethics, which includes taking seriously the safety, health and welfare of the public. However, she said, it appears that there is something about engineering education that results in students becoming more cynical and less concerned with public policy and social engagement issues.

“The way many people think about the engineering profession as separate from social, political and emotional realms is not an accurate assessment,” Cech said. “People have emotional and social reactions to engineered products all the time, and those products shape people’s lives in deep ways; so it stands to reason that it is important for engineers to be conscious of broader ethical and social issues related to technology.”

Cech said that this “culture of disengagement” is rooted in how engineering education frames engineering problem-solving.

“Issues that are nontechnical in nature are often perceived as irrelevant to the problem-solving process,” Cech said. “There seems to be very little time or space in engineering curricula for nontechnical conversations about how particular designs may reproduce inequality — for example, debating whether to make a computer faster, more technologically savvy and expensive versus making it less sophisticated and more accessible for customers.”

Cech said ignoring these issues does a disservice to students because practicing engineers are required to address social welfare concerns on a regular basis, even if it involves a conflict of interest or whistleblowing.

“If students are not prepared to think through these issues of public welfare, then we might say they are not fully prepared to enter the engineering practice,” Cech said.

Cech became interested in this research topic as an undergraduate electrical engineering student.

“Because I went through engineering education myself, I care deeply about this topic,” she said. “I want to advance the conversation about how engineering education can be the best it can possibly be.”

The study included more than 300 students who entered engineering programs as freshmen in 2003 at four U.S. universities in the Northeast. Rice students were not included in the study. Participants were surveyed in the spring of each year and at 18 months after graduation. In the surveys, students were asked to rate the importance of professional and ethical responsibilities and their individual views on the importance of improving society, being active in their community, promoting racial understanding and helping others in need. In addition, the students were asked how important the following factors are to their engineering programs: ethical and/or social issues, policy implications of engineering, and broad education in humanities and social sciences.

“Culture of Disengagement in Engineering Education?” will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Science, Technology and Human Values. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Transforming San Francisco Into a Model of Disaster Preparedness (Quest)

Post by  for  on Nov 20, 2013

A mashup of San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood right after the 1906 earthquake and what the area looks like today. Credit: Shawn Clover

A mashup of San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood right after the 1906 earthquake and what the area looks like today. Credit: Shawn Clover

Mention sleeping in Golden Gate Park, and most people think of homelessness. But the idea that San Francisco’s most famous park could be used as an emergency shelter for thousands of victims after a major earthquake – as it was after the 1906 earthquake – is again resurfacing.

Public Architecture, a San Francisco non-profit organization, recently asked three architecture and design firms to devise resiliency plans for the city that could be put in place as soon as next year and explore creative ways San Francisco could respond to natural disasters.

With everything from urine recycling to art installations that indicate areas at risk for earthquake liquefaction, tsunamis and floods, the firms drew up a variety of innovative strategies.

One of the plans, from San Francisco-based CMG Landscape Architecture, looks to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. That catastrophe killed at least 3,000 people, destroyed more than 28,000 buildings and left 225,000 people homeless.

“We’re in earthquake country and it can be the elephant in the room—we know it could happen but we want to ignore it”

After the 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit, many victims flocked to the Presidio—then a military outpost—and to Golden Gate Park for refuge.

At first, tents were constructed, but as winter approached, soldiers from the Army built small houses that provided shelter for more than 16,000 survivors. CMG believes the Park can once again support many thousands of people, if necessary.

“We’re in earthquake country and it can be the elephant in the room—we know it could happen but we want to ignore it,” said CMG design leader Scott Cataffa.

CMG proposes new waste treatment facilities, emergency-response infrastructure and energy supplies by lining the Park’s polo fields with dry-composting restrooms and first aid stations. The restrooms would divert treated wastewater onto nearby turf for use as a natural fertilizer.

An on-site, sand-filter water treatment system also would serve as a 100-foot tall water tower and viewing deck. The observation deck, covered with solar panels and a modern-day windmill, would allow people to survey the surrounding area. Dutch and Murphy Windmills that already exist at the Park would serve as a back-up power source.

By integrating large-scale sanitation-systems, water treatment infrastructure and a water tower, the park could support up to 12,000 people, Cataffa estimated.

There is already a precedent for Golden Gate Park supporting a large influx of people in the 21st century.

Annual events, like the Outside Lands music festival, draw hundreds of thousands of fans into the park during the summer.

In fact, CMG officials believe that public events are ideal opportunities to teach disaster preparedness and encourage a sense of community among attendees. “During Super Storm Sandy, some communities had fewer economic resources but knew each other better and they looked out for each other,” Caffata said.

“We wanted to tap into the sharing economy of Burning Man and back-country camping,” he said, “and see if we could come together and get to know our neighbors.”

Next April 18, on the 108th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, CMG proposes a “Camp the Park” event. Interested San Franciscans would spend the night in Golden Gate Park to test the city’s ability to mobilize and prepare for disaster response while meeting neighbors and learning about survival techniques.

Corporate sponsors would provide the funding while the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department would need to approve the event and any structural upgrades.

However, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea to herd thousands of people into Golden Gate Park after the next major earthquake.

“Our first choice is to keep people in their homes, not in a city that gets built in Golden Gate Park,” said Lt. Erica Arteseros, program coordinator for the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team.

Arteseros’ program, formed after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, allows roughly 2,000 people a year to receive 18 hours of disaster preparedness training from San Francisco firefighters and emergency responders.

“There’s not enough space and housing to accommodate everyone leaving their home,” she said. “If your home is safe enough to stay in, that’s the best.”

The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, a non-profit planning group, has published a “Safe Enough to Stay” report that details what it would take to make people’s homes suitable as shelters after an earthquake.

If residents can stay in their homes, the process of rebuilding the city can begin much sooner, according to the report.

Even so, after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake or greater, many people would be left homeless.

In that scenario, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management would work with the Red Cross to set up temporary shelters and use large spaces like the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to provide longer term housing.

For all San Francisco’s current planning, CMG and Public Architecture say they are not evaluating optimal conditions. They anticipate a future that is hard to imagine and even harder to predict.

“We’re not planning for a best-case scenario,” said Public Architecture CEO John Peterson. “Unfortunately the best case is not realistic.”

ONGs abandonam conferência do clima (Folha de S.Paulo)

JC e-mail 4860, de 22 de novembro de 2013

É a primeira vez que as principais organizações ambientalistas deixam a reunião da ONU, realizada há 19 anos

Pela primeira vez nos 19 anos de realização das conferências mundiais do clima da ONU, as principais ONGs ambientalistas abandonaram o encontro, que deve acabar na noite de hoje em Varsóvia.

O maior objetivo da conferência é delinear um esboço para um acordo sobre redução de emissões de gases-estufa a ser fechado em 2015.

As ONGs, como Greenpeace, Oxfam e WWF, se dizem insatisfeitas com o ritmo das negociações e com países que voltaram atrás em compromissos ambientais.

Os articuladores estimam que 800 pessoas tenham abandonado a cúpula.

A ausência dos ambientalistas foi rapidamente percebida no Estádio Nacional de Varsóvia, onde acontecem as negociações. Além dos stands vazios, os corredores estavam em silêncio.

“Os governos deram um tapa na cara dos que sofrem com os perigosos impactos das mudanças climáticas”, disse KumiNaidoo, diretor-executivo do Greenpeace.

“Chegamos a um ponto tão difícil, com as coisas tão empacadas, que não havia outra solução. Não estamos abandonando o movimento, apenas essa conferência, que chegou a uma situação insustentável”, disse André Nahur, da WWF-Brasil.

A saída acontece após uma semana considerada de reveses pelos ambientalistas. O Japão anunciou que não vai cumprir suas metas de redução de emissões de gases-estufa e outros países ricos estão relutantes em destinar mais dinheiro à redução dos danos causados pela mudança climática. Na quarta-feira, o presidente da COP-19, MarcinKorolec, perdeu seu emprego como ministro do Meio Ambiente da Polônia.

Ele divulgou uma nota na qual lamenta a saída das ONGs. “Observadores não governamentais sempre mobilizaram os negociadores para maiores ambições.”

A decisão de abandonar as negociações não foi unanimidade. Após a saída do estádio, alguns manifestantes discretamente evitaram entregar seus crachás. “Quero voltar, o ato foi mais uma coisa simbólica”, disse uma ambientalista brasileira.

Enquanto ONGs e diplomatas mantiveram o tom pessimista ontem, o presidente da COP-19 enviou uma declaração à imprensa dizendo que as negociações avançaram.

“Após negociações que duraram a noite toda, atingimos um progresso considerável em financiamento climático. As conversas sobre a forma de um novo acordo global também entraram noite adentro. Estamos chegando perto do sucesso final.”

(Giuliana Miranda/Folha de S.Paulo)
http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/cienciasaude/140054-ongs-abandonam-conferencia-do-clima.shtml

SBPC quer aval da Câmara para teste com bicho (Estado de S.Paulo)

JC e-mail 4860, de 22 de novembro de 2013

Presidente do órgão diz que cientistas foram ameaçados por ativistas dos direitos dos animais

A presidente da Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC), Helena Nader, pretende apelar ao Congresso para garantir os testes em animais no País. Depois das duas invasões ao Instituto Royal, em São Roque, no mês passado, para a libertação de cães e roedores usados em pesquisas, cientistas foram ameaçados por ativistas dos direitos dos animais, segundo Helena.

“Estou muito preocupada, pois o Congresso está colocando para votação em regime de urgência uma lei que vai contra todos os avanços que conseguimos. Uma lei que é modelo mundial está sendo rasgada. É um grave momento pelo qual a pesquisa brasileira na área de saúde e biologia está passando”, disse ontem, durante o Seminário Brasil Ciência, Desenvolvimento e Sustentabilidade.

A professora da Universidade Federal de São Paulo, que é biomédica, se referia à legislação pioneira que instituiu o Conselho Nacional de Controle de Experimentação Animal e regulamentou o uso científico de animais no Brasil. No Congresso, tramita o Projeto de Lei 2833/11, que criminaliza condutas contra cães e gatos, prevendo penas de até 5 anos para quem matar esses animais.

Helena, que vai propor uma audiência pública no Congresso sobre o tema, lembrou que “nenhum país do mundo” proíbe a pesquisa com animais e diz que a produção de vacinas, que atende não só o País, mas também a África, ficaria prejudicada sem os testes. “Eu trabalho com pesquisa de drogas anticancerígenas e para o combate de trombose. Não tenho como experimentar em humanos. Como isso vai ser feito?”

O seminário antecede o Fórum Mundial de Ciência, mais importante reunião de cientistas do mundo, que será no Rio, na semana que vem. São esperados mais de 600 participantes de 120 países. O tema do encontro é “Ciência para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável Global”.

Ontem, o diretor da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, Luiz Davidovich, anunciou os termos da Declaração da América Latina e Caribe. Os cientistas ressaltam os progressos das últimas décadas, como a melhora econômica e a redução da pobreza, e apontam a necessidade de planejar estratégias para o desenvolvimento sustentável.

(Roberta Pennafort/Estado de S.Paulo)
http://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/impresso,sbpc-quer-aval-da-camara-para-teste-com-bicho–,1099362,0.htm

A magia do crachá (Combate Racismo Ambiental)

25/11/2013 11:34

Sitio Pimental visto do km 52 da Rodovia Transamazônica. Os buracos gigantes nas rochas vão abrigar as turbinas da casa de força principal de Belo Monte. Foto: Leticia Leite (ISA)

Belo Monte. Foto: Leticia Leite (ISA)

Por Antônio Claret Fernandes, para Combate Racismo Ambiental

O Camponês se tornara operário da noite para o dia. Essa metamorfose aparentemente repentina se deu num processo mais longo, pela conjunção de dois elementos. O primeiro é o abandono histórico dos colonos na transamazônica e, o segundo, a propaganda das benesses nos canteiros de obra de Belo Monte.

O camponês, agora operário, trabalhara em toda a sua vida no cacau. Sua família viera do Paraná e se fixara na Transamazônica. Conquistara um lote de 100 hectares, o que daria para tocar a sua sobrevivência, mas fora pego de surpresa pela doença da mãe, e venderam a terra, o gadinho, tudo.

Nos tempos áureos do cacau, a meia foi um bom negócio. O colono tirava até 15 mil reais por ano. É claro que um proprietário de cacau, que tinha 400 mil pés e várias famílias de colonos, em situação quase análoga à escravidão, tirava muito mais.

O trabalho de meia tem um fator psicológico que interfere diretamente na produtividade. O meeiro se sente, via de regra, dono dos serviço; ele suga o próprio sangue, trabalha desde madrugada até a noite, envolvendo toda a família. A produtividade maior se dá à custa de uma jornada excessiva de trabalho, em condições precárias. A meia camufla a relação empregado/patrão.

O Cacau se espalhou em grande parte do Oeste do Pará, na transamazônica. Na região de Medicilândia, ele entrou como uma opção ao gado e ao canavial que crescia, a partir da falida usina de Pacal, graças à força da mobilização popular. Ele era uma opção de resistência ao agronegócio. Hoje, nem tanto! Além do próprio cacau estar na pauta do agronegócio, ele só se viabiliza com um alto grau de exploração da mão de obra. Isso explica a pendenga atual entre proprietário de cacau e Ministério do Trabalho, que veio impondo multas pesadas na região, exigindo carteira assinada, e levou a uma mobilização que parou a Transamazônica. Os proprietários, juntamente com alguns meeiros manipulados, preferem o contrato, que não assegura nenhum direito ao colono e o coloca 24 horas no cuidado da lavoura.

Esse é contexto histórico, de sofrimento e falta de perspectiva, que levou o camponês a tornar-se um operário em belo Monte. Ele entrou nessa onda, seguindo os passos de centenas senão milhares de outros, na sua maioria jovem, que migram do campo para a cidade à busca de dias melhore. O êxodo rural é intenso em toda a região da Transamazônica e do Xingu. Há lugares onde o campo se esvazia por completo, muitas comunidades já fecharam as portas, não há gente para tocar a já fragilizada agricultura familiar. Os jovens, com toda a sua energia para o trabalho e animação do ambiente, são empurrados para a cidade, restando, na roça, os velhinhos aposentados. Na primeira oportunidade, arranjam uma casinha na cidade e se mudam para lá, também, a busca de políticas públicas básicas, em especial atendimento à saúde, abrindo caminho para o fortalecimento do agronegócio.

Essa canga histórica sobre o pescoço do camponês, obrigando-o a passar quase uma vida inteira na meia de cacau, ou como diarista em terra alheia, hoje, no Xingu, badalam as propagandas das glórias de Belo Monte. Assemelha-se aos Lusíadas, de Camões, cantando as glórias de Portugal. Esse contraste entre falta de perspectiva no campo e portas que se abrem com o ‘caráter redentor’ de Belo Monte acaba atraindo muita gente. Lá no canteiro de obra, se diz, há gente como em formigueiro. O número chega hoje perto de 30 mil pessoas. Isso a princípio agrada a quem está cansado do isolamento lá no fundo do Travessão, até hoje sem estrada, sem escola, sem assistência à saúde, sem luz. Aquele lufa-lufa é tudo que o jovem quer experimentar, induzido pela curiosidade. Para ele, aquilo tudo, coisa tão nova na região, é um sonho, e soa mesmo como um progresso. De quebra, além da oportunidade de convivência com tantas pessoas de vários lugares, e de trabalhar numa das maiores obras do mundo, badalada em cada canto, ele terá a ocasião de divertir-se, na quadra de esportes, no bilhar e poderá, ainda, frequenta os bordéis, que são muitos aos redores dos canteiros.

O que mais contagia o camponês metamorfoseado em operário é o crachá. Já tinha visto nele algo de muito especial quando ficara no hospital do Câncer em Muriaé – MG, como acompanhante de sua irmã, acometida da doença. Com aquele papel plastificado, ele tinha acesso ao prédio, ao apartamento, ao refeitório. No ambiente de trabalho, porém, é a primeira vez que experimentava a magia do crachá. Muito cedo o percebeu, e passou a tratar o crachá como uma relíquia.

Antes, enquanto camponês, costumava persignar-se na hora de colocar a cabeça no travesseiro par dormir. Quando acordava, antes mesmo de descer os pés e firmá-los no chão, pensava no novo dia pela frente e, e, com o corpo ainda doído, respirava a esperança de um novo tempo, e orava. Agora, não! A primeira e a última coisa que tomava conta do seu pensamento, desde o levantar-se ao deitar-se, e nos momentos mais íntimos, era o crachá. Nalgumas vezes era pego batendo no peito, como a penitenciar-se, para certificar-se de que o crachá estava ali, dependurado ao pescoço. Para não esquecê-lo, por nada dessa vida, dormia com ele pregado ao uniforme cinza, com um broche resistente, comprado especialmente para esse fim.

O operário morava a 70 km de Pimental, um dos canteiros de Belo Monte. Por isso era obrigado a sair de casa às quatro horas da madrugada e retornava às 8 da noite. O cansaço era grande. Mas nem parava para pensar nisso. Estava, de fato, maravilhado. Mostrava o crachá, e o ônibus parava, abrindo-lhe a porta. Tinha ainda, por cima, as horas entinas, coisa que nunca tinha visto antes.

Em pouco tempo de operário, com a força do crachá, pode comprar uma moto nova, a prestação. Que bacana!, pensava. Na meia do cacau, qualquer coisa que quisesse comprar era com dinheiro vivo. Agora ele chegava a uma loja, com o uniforme cinzento escrito CCBM, e o crachá dependurado, e levava um par de coisas! Sentia-se uma pessoa integrada ao sistema, um consumidor.

O operário notava, por diversas vezes, que muitos de seus colegas, inebriados com a magia do crachá, se incorporavam um ar arrogante. Eram empregados, comumente peões de obra – pensava o operário -, mas tinham assimilado a arrogância dos capitalistas, e sua ideologia. Como a história do menino empobrecido que sentia uma imensa alegria por lavar o carro de seu primo enricado. Gastavam o dinheiro do Mês todo em uma festa apenas, ou nos bares e bordéis,aos finais de semana, meio abobados naquela ritmo novo de vida, e mangavam de seus antigos conhecidos, fora da obra. Por vezes passavam na rua, de crachá á vista, com o nariz empinado. Quando desciam do ônibus, com o uniforme marcado do sal, do suor de um dia árduo, esbarravam nos transeuntes, como se fossem eles, os operários, os donos das ruas de Altamira.

O operário, porém, não tinha esse comportamento. É verdade que andava, agora, de cabeça erguida, o seu semblante não revelava mais aquelas marcas sóbrias da humilhação, pois o camponês é um corpo estranho na cidade; sua cabeça erguida era de altivez, não de arrogância.

Em cinco meses de trabalho, a Norte Energia corta as horas entinas e obriga o confinamento dos trabalhadores. Os de Brasil Novo, mais distantes, foram os primeiros a perder esse direito. No início, o operário estranhou. Mas não tinha outra opção. Era voltar à meia de cacau, coisa para a qual já não tinha disposição, ou aceitar aquela nova condição. No caso dele, como era jovem e solteiro, não era um absurdo ficar confinado no canteiro, pensava.

Ninguém escaparia ao confinamento. Decisão da empresa é decisão, pois ela tem a força, ao menos por enquanto, para impor o que lhe interessa. Além do corte dos ônibus que buscavam trabalhadores em Brasil Novo e Vitória do Xingu, a empresa está promovendo a mudança de dez famílias por dia dos hotéis de Altamira para a chamada Vila dos Operários. E ela só admite um novo trabalhador com a condição de alojar-se no canteiro de obra. Até o final de dezembro de 2013, estarão todos confinados, ou na vila dos operários ou nos alojamentos.

O sentimento inicial de insegurança por morar num canteiro de obra e a saudade da família caíram por terra em pouco tempo. O ritmo louco de vida ali quebra tudo: os princípios, os costumes. O camponês metamorfoseado em operário chegou mesmo a pensar que as benesses prometidas por Belo Monte, e intensamente alardeadas, fossem mesmo tudo verdade. Lá, no canteiro, era como uma cidade: alojamento com ar condicionado, quatro operários em cada quarto, quadra de esportes, academia, uma pequena biblioteca – esta montada com doações dos próprios trabalhadores, o que achou um pouco estranho -, um salão ecumênico, bordéis à vontade e para todos os gostos.

O operário, mais que antes, sentia a magia do crachá. A uma simples apresentação, em qualquer repartição, a porta se abre, com exceção de espaços terceirizados, como a academia e os bordéis. Aí é só dinheiro vivo! Na hora marcada, e no refeitório indicado, os operários chegam correndo quanto suportam por causa do cansaço, tiram o crachá do pescoço, passam o código de barra numa máquina, e podem almoçar à vontade, como uma ração balanceada que lhe restaura a força física para mai s meio período de trabalho intenso, quase forçado.

Aquele entusiasmo inicial, porém, veio tão rápido como tão rapidamente foi cedendo lugar a um sentimento de monotonia e desumanização. Mais do que cansaço, pois isso ele sentia na meia de cacau e quando ia todos os dias á casa, chegando às 8 da noite e saindo às quatro da madrugada. Era algo diferente. Era uma desumanização, um embrutecer-se, um sentir-se peça de uma imensa engrenagem, doida e maluca, que gira dia e noite engolindo tudo que encontre pela frente. Uma coisa totalmente sem sentido. Na hora que ia para o alojamento, apesar do corpo moído e tonto de tanto trabalho, o sono já não vinha tão rápido. Nos primeiros dias ele caía na cama como um morto. Passava um tempo, dez minutos que fossem, pensando. Como é bom pensar! Mais do que nunca, tão sem tempo andava, sentia o gosto de ser gente, refletindo. Imaginava aquelas máquinas imensas, centenas, milhares, roncando dia e noite canteiro de obras afora. A pá-carregadeira, trator de esteira, aqueles caminhões cujos pneus são agigantados, os guindastes lá nas alturas, toda aquela força bruta tinha o dedo, o suor, o sangue dos operários. A desolação, a raiva, e muita indignação iam tomando conta de sua consciência. Dentro de si, notava que o operário crescia e o camponês ia diminuindo, até, provavelmente, desaparecer por completo.

Na meia de cacau, ainda se lembrava, ele persignara-se tantas vezes pedindo a Deus que o livrasse dos bichos maus peçonhentos, e o abençoasse buscando forças, sei lá onde, para que ele mesmo sugasse a sua última gota de sangue, até esgotar-se. Depois descobrira a magia do crachá, que ocupara o lugar da reza, e lhe garantia, por milagre, o transporte, a comida, o crédito. Com o crachá começara a sentir-se gente. Agora era invadido por uma contradição terrível. Buscara a liberdade, experimentara-a, inicialmente, mas agora via sua vida, e de tantos, afundar-se numa escravidão terrível, mais sofisticada que na meia de casal, e, por isso, mais cruel. E nem tinha ânimo nem coragem de rezar a Deus e de livrá-lo da realidade terrível do ‘risco quatro’ que assinara no seu processo de admissão ao trabalho em Belo Monte. Risco quatro significa risco de morte! O grande deus era o império econômico bem à sua frente, ditando as regras do mundo.

Para além da magia do crachá, esse novo sentimento o ocupava por inteiro.  Na imaginação, no momento de insônia, ele olhava a máquina, lhe apertava o botão, movia-a, na leveza da tecnologia, da fina flor do capitalismo, empurrando de uma só vez dezenas de toneladas de pedra como se tivessem o peso de uma folha de papel, e sentia sua força agigantar-se no poder da máquina criada pela inteligência da classe trabalhadora. Ao mesmo tempo, sentia-se uma peça provisória, descartável, daquela máquina poderosa. A peça mais importante e, ao mesmo tempo, a mais depreciada, desgastada, lançada fora, com tanta oferta no mercado de Altamira, vinda maltrapilha de todas as regiões do Brasil.

O crachá continuava extremamente importante, pois lhe garantia o acesso ao ambiente de trabalho, ao alojamento, ao refeitório. Num acordo com a gerência, dentro de um Plus conquistado a partir das hidrelétricas do Madeira, o pagamento no bordel podia ser mensal, e sem crachá, para se evitarem problemas.

No dia 7 de setembro, quando soube que um colega seu ia celebrar no espaço ecumênico do Pimental, ascendeu-se uma luzinha no fundo de sua contradição. Conhecia-a o bem e não era possível que ele fosse ali para abençoar aquela máquina de moer gente. Que decepção! Quanta descoberta! Uma segurança, de uniforme azul e tarja amarela, rodou o tempo todo, com arma na cintura, em torno do espaço da celebração. Às vezes olhava da janela aberta. No bando da frente, num canto, um funcionário da Norte Energia ficou um tempo todo com um aparelho de comunicação á mão. Às vezes o levava ao ouvido e conversava com alguém. Um outro, com uma filmadora, não perdia nenhum detalhe. Quando o padre pediu aos participantes que orassem pelos mortos e acidentados no canteiro de obra, ninguém, absolutamente ninguém abriu o bico. Ao final, na ação de graças, equipe de Pastoral Operária recém-iniciada proclamou os Direitos Universais dos Atingidos por Barragens, um texto do militante Leandro escrito no Encontro Nacional do MAB, nos dias 5 a 7 de setembro, em São Paulo. Isso foi a gota de água! Cândido, funcionário da Norte Energia que contratara a missa, foi para o olho na rua. E o camponês, agora totalmente metamorfoseado em operário, passa a frequentar as reuniões do grupo que liderava as greves na luta pelos direitos.

Descobrira, entre outras coisas, que a magia do crachá estava diretamente associada à força do operário explorado, a serviço do capital. O que parecia uma benesse era como a senha da exploração. As portas se lhe abriam porque ele, o operário, era a peça mais importante e, ao mesmo tempo, a mais perigosa. Inicialmente teve raiva do crachá. Depois percebera que a questão ia para muito além de um pedaço de papel dependurado ao pescoço.

Seus conceitos iam mudando de forma galopante, quase no ritmo acelerado da construção de Belo Monte. Aprendera desde criança que o trabalho dignifica o homem. Agora, em Belo Monte, descobre que cruzar os braços dignifica mais do que o trabalho. Cruzar os braços pode libertar uma classe e um povo inteiro. Então, com a mesma disposição empenhada na meia de cacau, sugando o próprio sangue, garantindo seu ganha-pão e um grande lucro ao patrão, agora, como operário, divide seu tempo em jornada dupla: no movimento da máquina e nos bastidores da greve.

Belo Monte teria parado pelo poder da Justiça no dia tal. Montaram-se artimanhas par driblar a Justiça, esconderam o diretor da Norte Energia, que não foi encontrado para assinar a notificação, até que  a Liminar foi derrubada pela AGU – Advocacia Geral da União.  O operário sentia que o poder organizado da classe operária é mais forte que a Justiça e que o império econômico. Os operários, justamente os operários, intensamente explorados, são, ao mesmo tempo, um dos principais sujeitos da mudança. Ele sentiu isso na pele quando os trabalhadores, pela primeira vez com a sua participação, pararam o sítio do Pimental, entre os dias 9 a 14 de novembro.

O operário aprendeu outras coisas além da força da classe trabalhadora organizada. Ele sentiu, e se enraivou, com o papel do Sintrapav, o sindicato que representa a categoria. Há muito já desconfiava disso. Olhava aqueles sindicalistas, bem vestidos, de camisa de manga complica, de malas pretas na mão, e via neles muita semelhança com os chefes da empresa. A única diferença, pensava, é que o poder dos donos da barragem é maior que o deles. Mas a cabeça, a lógica capitalista, é a mesma: ambos vivem como sanguessuga, da exploração do trabalho do trabalhador.

Pois é! A Justiça quis para Belo Monte, e não conseguiu. A força da Justiça se torne e vira cinza frente ao império econômico. Pois os operários organizados podem parar e mudar os rumos de Belo Monte. O antigo camponês, agora operário, via isso e sentia orgulho da sua classe.

Num dia de manhã, na saída do refeitório, após o café, o Encarregado de Turma pedira o Crachá ao operário para fazer sei lá o quê. Como era seu dia de folga, o operário lhe entregou o crachá, e seguiu para uma reunião dos companheiros de luta. No almoço, não conseguiu entrar no refeitório, pois estava sem o crachá. À tarde procurou pelo encarregado por todos os cantos, mas não o encontrou. À noite, com a barriga roncando de fome, quis sair para comprar qualquer coisa numa vendinha no antigo povoado do Pimental – totalmente destruído por Belo Monte -, mas foi barrado pela Guarda Patrimonial, na guarita. ‘Se você sair sem o crachá, não pode voltar’, disse-lhe. Não havia nenhum autoritarismo em sua fala, apenas cumpria normas. E o orientou a pedir a um colega que lhe trouxesse um marmitex. Assim fez. E passou a noite, mas já meio desconfiado com tudo aquilo.

No outro dia, bem de madrugada, levantou-se, cuidou rapidamente os papéis da organização dos operários, guardados a sete chaves, e se dirigiu ao refeitório para o café da manhã. Foi novamente barrado. Um colega seu do lado de dentro, vendo-o naquela situação – com fome e sem poder entrar -, tentou trazer-lhe uma fruta no bolso, mas na saída a máquina apitou e o segurança veio logo. Mesmo sem nada no estômago, ele tentou tomar o ônibus para dirigir-se ao local do trabalho, a uma distância de três quilômetros. Foi para o ponto. O motorista, porém, não permitiu seu embarque por fala do crachá. ‘estou perdido e não encontro, por nada, o encarregado’, pensou.

Voltou então ao Alojamento, e lá dentro a fofoca já andava solta: vinte companheiros contaram que trabalharam o dia todo e tiveram que voltar a pé do trabalho ao alojamento por falta dos crachás, que foram recolhidos pelo encarregado. Não tinham mais dúvida! Tinha caído na armadilha do crachá.

Articularam-se, com toda discrição, em conversa miúda. A essas alturas os telefones, todos de uma única operadora permitida no canteiro, já poderiam estar grampeados. Dito e feito: pelos menos uma centena dos operários estava sem o crachá. Isso significa sem trabalho, sem comida, sem condições de permanecer ali dentro. Demitidos sem ao menos ser mandados embora.

Num último esforço, ainda tentaram procurar os superiores: os capacetes verdes, os camisas azuis, os sem identificação – chefes supremos, mas ninguém, absolutamente ninguém fora encontrado. A armadilha fora friamente montada.

No terceiro dia, próximo de 150 pessoas saíam a pé, com suas bolsas, e desciam o canteiro, passando pela guarita, até chegar à Transamazônica. Iam tentar a vida em outro lugar. A consciência lhes custara a cabeça.

Nessas bandas do Brasil e da Amazônia, onde cangaceiros e capatazes se juntam à fina flor do capitalismo, os mecanismos de desova de ‘persona non grata’, de pessoa perigosa ao sistema de exploração, não tem limite. Pode ser numa eliminação por encomenda, num sumiço no canteiro de obra, enterrado no concreto e sepultado como indigente. Pode ser colocado no carro da polícia à força e solta em Rurópolis, a 300 km de distância, com a recomendação de não voltar. Podem vários ônibus ser lotados de grevistas e soltos em Marabá, a 500 km de distância, longe de suas terras, e lá ficam rodados. Ou pode ser, simplesmente, tomar-lhe o crachá.

Assim se foram: sem crachá, sem emprego, mas com a semente da liberdade plantada no canteiro de obra. Novas greves, mais organizadas, mais fortes, virão a qualquer momento.

Brazilian Soccer Is Too Big To Fail (Bloomberg)

Brazil Soccer

Brazil’s Sao Paulo players react after losing their 2013 Copa Sudamericana semifinal first leg football match against Brazil’s Ponte Preta at Morumbi stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. Photographer: Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty Images

By Raul Gallegos Nov 22, 2013 4:22 PM GMT-0200

To understand Brazil’s economic woes, one should consider how politics has ruined the country’s most venerated sport.

It’s no secret that the economics of the Brazilian soccer world are dysfunctional. For the most part, teams are poorly run, member-controlled organizations with histories of financial mismanagement, run by overpaid managers with little accountability. For years, soccer clubs stopped paying taxes and evaded social security obligations. And the government often rescued them from financial failure — as it may be about to do again.

According to an October piece in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s soccer clubs have run up a 4.8 billion reais ($2.1 billion) tab with the federal government. Approximately 36 percent of the total debt owed by clubs is due in the short term, according to an Oct. 25 analysis by consulting firm Pluri Consultoria. Soccer teams are heavily leveraged, and their profitability (the average profitability of the top 25 teams is 0.7 percent of annual sales) is almost nonexistent. “It is possible to say, with no shadow of a doubt, that soccer clubs would not be standing” if they operated as companies, Pluri warned.

As Vilson Ribeiro de Andrade, president of the Coritiba Foot Ball Club — a debtor — said in the Folha article, the government’s bill is “virtually unrecoverable.” This is not flattering for a country that boasts five FIFA World Cup titles and is set to host the event next year.

And so, legislators are considering a controversial new proposal that would absolve the game’s worst tax cheats. The disarmingly named “Program for the Strengthening of Olympic Sports” law proposal would apparently wipe out about 90 percent of the clubs’ fiscal debts and allow teams as long as 20 years to pay off the remainder of what they owe. In exchange, soccer clubs would be obligated to help train Olympic athletes.

Letting clubs off so easily does not sit well with some. In an editorial Monday, Folha demanded that the teams should at least agree to adopt standard business-management practices and make officials accountable for mismanagement in exchange for debt forgiveness. “The debts are not responsible for causing the administrative negligence of the clubs — but the other way around,” the editorial said.

Henrique Alves, president of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies, gave a rather weak excuse for the proposed bailout last week: “Soccer, especially, is a source of happiness, socialization and integration of the Brazilian family.” Alves’s transparent move to rescue the sector suggests that Brazil’s soccer teams have also mastered the game of politics.

In a soccer-obsessed nation, politicians fear losing voters if they push teams to own up to their fiscal mistakes. Squeezing clubs financially could hurt their ability to hire talent and weaken their performance. This could prove unpopular with Brazil’s poor, for whom soccer is not just entertainment, but also a means of upward social mobility for talented players from the slums. Teams understand this political reality and have long taken advantage of it.

This partly explains why having the state lend a hand to troubled teams is a Brazilian tradition. In 2008, Brazil’s government introduced Timemania (Team Mania), a lottery game that includes 80 teams and is meant to generate enough proceeds to help pay what clubs owe the government. In addition, Brazil has led three refinancing programs for financially strapped clubs over the past 15 years. The bill under consideration by legislators is the latest version of a recurring story.

Attempts to professionalize the sport have failed. Even legendary soccer star Pele went nowhere fast with the “Pele Law” he helped usher in when he became the country’s sports minister in the 1990s. The legislation was meant to push teams to become professional sports businesses and to regulate the relationship between players and employers. But interest groups managed to water down the law over time.

These days, even the richest teams have trouble with cash flow. When Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo — Brazil’s fourth-largest club as ranked by 2012 revenue — struggled to pay soccer star Ronaldinho last year, the player’s agent and brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, apparently attempted to take more than 40 items without paying, including shirts and hats, from the club’s store in protest. “Flamengo aren’t paying my brother, so I’m not paying, either,” he allegedly told the store’s staff.

Brazil’s soccer teams now feel empowered to make their own rules. The Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol, or CBF, a member organization controlled by soccer teams, suggested earlier this year that in exchange for longer repayment times, it would offer to penalize member teams that default on tax debt or delay wage payments to players. CBF suggested it could go so far as to bar noncompliant teams from games. That’s about as realistic as expecting a World Cup final to run smoothly without referees present.

Romario, the World Cup player turned lawmaker, took a shot at the absurdity of that proposal: “Do you really think that the CBF has the moral courage and the ability to make Vasco, Flamengo or Corinthians fall because they did not pay debts?” His answer: “That’s a lie. This won’t happen. This is a utopia and will not exist.”

An amendment to the Pele Law that President Dilma Rousseff signed in October, intended to increase sports teams’ financial transparency and limit the tenure of executives running sports institutions, is a good call. But rewarding clubs for their notorious incompetence is not. Brazilian politicians managed to botch the country’s economic resurgence by not getting out of the way. But on the soccer field, Brazil’s role as a strong referee is not just desirable, but also necessary.

(Raul Gallegos is the Latin American correspondent for the World View blog. Follow him on Twitter. E-mail him at rgallegos5@bloomberg.net.)

Something Is Rotten at the New York Times (Huff Post)

By Michael E. Mann

Director of Penn State Earth System Science Center; Author of ‘Dire Predictions’ and ‘The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars’

Posted: 11/21/2013 7:20 pm

Something is rotten at the New York Times.

When it comes to the matter of human-caused climate change, the Grey Lady’s editorial page has skewed rather contrarian of late.

A couple months ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishedits 5th scientific assessment, providing the strongest evidence to date that climate change is real, caused by us, and a problem.

Among other areas of the science where the evidence has become ever more compelling, is the so-called “Hockey Stick” curve — a graph my co-authors and I published a decade and a half ago showing modern warming in the Northern Hemisphere to be unprecedented for at least the past 1000 years. The IPCC further strengthened that original conclusion, finding that recent warmth is likely unprecedented over an even longer timeframe.

Here was USA Today on the development:

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the internationally accepted authority on the subject, concludes that the climate system has warmed dramatically since the 1950s, and that scientists are 95% to 100% sure human influence has been the dominant cause. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the past 1,400 years, the IPCC found.

And here was the Washington Post:

The infamous “hockey stick” graph showing global temperatures rising over time, first slowly and then sharply, remains valid.

And the New York Times? Well we instead got this:

The [Hockey Stick] graph shows a long, relatively unwavering line of temperatures across the last millennium (the stick), followed by a sharp, upward turn of warming over the last century (the blade). The upward turn implied that greenhouse gases had become so dominant that future temperatures would rise well above their variability and closely track carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere….I knew that wasn’t the case.

Huh?

Rather than objectively communicating the findings of the IPCC to their readers, the New York Times instead foisted upon them the ill-informed views of Koch Brothers-fundedclimate change contrarian Richard Muller, who used the opportunity to deny the report’s findings.

In fact, in the space of just a couple months now, the Times has chosen to grant Muller not just one, but two opportunities to mislead its readers about climate change and the threat it poses.

The Times has now published another op-ed by Muller wherein he misrepresented the potential linkages between climate change and extreme weather–tornadoes to be specific, which he asserted would be less of a threat in a warmer world. The truth is that the impact of global warming on tornadoes remains uncertain, because the underlying science is nuanced and there are competing factors that come into play.

The Huffington Post published an objective piece about the current state of the science earlier this year in the wake of the devastating and unprecedented Oklahoma tornadoes.

That piece accurately quoted a number of scientists including myself on the potential linkages. I pointed out to the journalist that there are two key factors: warm, moist air is favorable for tornadoes, and global warming will provide more of it. But important too is the amount of “shear” (that is, twisting) in the wind. And whether there will, in a warmer world, be more or less of that in tornado-prone regions, during the tornado season, depends on the precise shifts that will take place in the jet stream–something that is extremely difficult to predict even with state-of-the-art theoretical climate models. That factor is a “wild card” in the equation.

So we’ve got one factor that is a toss-up, and another one that appears favorable for tornado activity. The combination of them is therefore slightly on the “favorable” side, and if you’re a betting person, that’s probably what you would go with. And this is the point that I made in the Huffington Post piece:

Michael Mann, a climatologist who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, agreed that it’s too early to tell.

“If one factor is likely to be favorable and the other is a wild card, it’s still more likely that the product of the two factors will be favorable,” said Mann. “Thus, if you’re a betting person — or the insurance or reinsurance industry, for that matter — you’d probably go with a prediction of greater frequency and intensity of tornadoes as a result of human-caused climate change.”

Now watch the sleight of hand that Muller uses when he quotes me in his latest Times op-ed:

Michael E. Mann, a prominent climatologist, was only slightly more cautious. He said, “If you’re a betting person — or the insurance or reinsurance industry, for that matter — you’d probably go with a prediction of greater frequency and intensity of tornadoes as a result of human-caused climate change.”

Completely lost in Muller’s selective quotation is any nuance or context in what I had said, let alone the bottom line in what I stated: that it is in fact too early to tell whether global warming is influencing tornado activity, but we can discuss the processes through which climate change might influence future trends.

Muller, who lacks any training or expertise in atmospheric science, is more than happy to promote with great confidence the unsupportable claim that global warming will actuallydecrease tornado activity. His evidence for this? The false claim that the historical data demonstrate a decreasing trend in past decades.

Actual atmospheric scientists know that the historical observations are too sketchy and unreliable to decide one way or another as to whether tornadoes are increasing or not (see this excellent discussion by weather expert Jeff Masters of The Weather Underground).

So one is essentially left with the physical reasoning I outlined above. You would think that a physicist would know how to do some physical reasoning. And sadly, in Muller’s case, you would apparently be wrong…

To allow Muller to so thoroughly mislead their readers, not once, but twice in the space of as many months, is deeply irresponsible of the Times. So why might it be that the New York Times is so enamored with Muller, a retired physicist with no training in atmospheric or climate science, when it comes to the matter of climate change?

I discuss Muller’s history as a climate change critic and his new-found role as a media favorite in my book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” (the paperback was just released a couple weeks ago, with a new guest foreword by Bill Nye “The Science Guy”).

Muller is known for his bold and eccentric, but flawed and largely discredited astronomical theories. But he rose to public prominence only two years ago when he cast himself in theirresistible role of the “converted climate change skeptic”.

Muller had been funded by the notorious Koch Brothers, the largest current funders of climate change denial and disinformation, to independently “audit” the ostensibly dubious science of climate change. This audit took the form of an independent team of scientists that Muller picked and assembled under the umbrella of the “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature” (unashamedly termed “BEST” by Muller) project.

Soon enough, Muller began to unveil the project’s findings: First, in late 2011, he admitted that the Earth was indeed warming. Then, a year later he concluded that the warming was not only real, but could only be explained by human influence.

Muller, in short, had rediscovered what the climate science community already knew long ago.

summarized the development at the time on my Facebook page:

Muller’s announcement last year that the Earth is indeed warming brought him up to date w/ where the scientific community was in the the 1980s. His announcement this week that the warming can only be explained by human influences, brings him up to date with where the science was in the mid 1990s. At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of a few years!

The narrative of a repentant Koch Brothers-funded skeptic who had “seen the light” andappeared to now endorse the mainstream view of human-caused climate change, was simply too difficult for the mainstream media to resist. Muller predictably was able to position himself as a putative “honest broker” in the climate change debate. And he was granted a slew of op-eds in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, headline articles in leading newspapers, and interviews on many of the leading television and radio news shows.

Yet Muller was in reality seeking to simply take credit for findings established by otherscientists (ironically using far more rigorous and defensible methods!) literally decades ago. In 1995 the IPCC had already concluded, based on work by Ben Santer and other leading climate scientists working on the problem of climate change “detection and attribution”, that there was already now a “discernible human influence” on the warming of the planet.

And while Muller has now admitted that the Earth had warmed and that human-activity is largely to blame, he has used his new-found limelight and access to the media to:

1. Smear and misrepresent other scientists, including not just me and various other climate scientists like Phil Jones of the UK’s University of East Anglia, but even the President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences himself, Ralph Cicerone.

2. Misrepresent key details of climate science, inevitably to downplay the seriousness of climate change, whether it is the impacts on extreme weather and heat, drought, Arctic melting, or the threat to Polar Bears. See my own debunking of various falsehoods that Muller has promoted in his numerous news interviews e.g. here or here.

3. Shill for fossil fuel energy, arguing that the true solution to global warming isn’t renewable or clean energy. No, not at all! Muller is bullish on fracking and natural gas as the true solution.

To (a) pretend to accept the science, but attack the scientists and misrepresent so many important aspect of the science, downplaying the impacts and threat of climate change, while (b) acting as a spokesman for natural gas, one imagines that the petrochemical tycoon Koch Brothers indeed were probably quite pleased with their investment. Job well done. As I put it in an interview last year:

It would seem that Richard Muller has served as a useful foil for the Koch Brothers, allowing them to claim they have funded a real scientist looking into the basic science, while that scientist– Muller—props himself up by using the “Berkeley” imprimatur (UC Berkeley has not in any way sanctioned this effort) and appearing to accept the basic science, and goes out on the talk circuit, writing op-eds, etc. systematically downplaying the actual state of the science, dismissing key climate change impacts and denying the degree of risk that climate change actually represents. I would suspect that the Koch Brothers are quite happy with Muller right now, and I would have been very surprised had he stepped even lightly on their toes during his various interviews, which he of course has not. He has instead heaped great praise on them, as in this latest interview.

The New York Times does a disservice to its readers when it buys into the contrived narrative of the “honest broker”–Muller as the self-styled white knight who must ride in to rescue scientific truth from a corrupt and misguided community of scientists. Especially when that white knight is in fact sitting atop a Trojan Horse–a vehicle for the delivery of disinformation, denial, and systematic downplaying of what might very well be the greatest threat we have yet faced as a civilization, the threat of human-caused climate change.

Shame on you New York Times. You owe us better than this.

Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (now available in paperback with a new guest foreword by Bill Nye “The Science Guy”)

Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real, study shows (The Guardian)

Study suggests far-reaching acceptance of climate change in traditionally Republican states such as Texas and Oklahoma

, US environment correspondent

theguardian.com, Wednesday 13 November 2013 19.40 GMT

Texas droughtA cracked lake bed in Texas. Findings in this study are likely based on personal experiences of hot weather. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

The research, by Stanford University social psychologist Jon Krosnick, confounds the conventional wisdom of climate denial as a central pillar of Republican politics, and practically an article of faith for Tea Party conservatives.

Instead, the findings suggest far-reaching acceptance that climate change is indeed occurring and is caused by human activities, even in such reliably red states as Texas and Oklahoma.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview.

States that voted for Barack Obama, as expected, also believe climate change is occurring and support curbs on carbon pollution. Some 88% of Massachusetts residents believe climate change is real.

But Texas and Oklahoma are among the reddest of red states and are represented in Congress by Republicans who regularly dismiss the existence of climate change or its attendant risks.

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma stand out for their regular denials of climate change as a “hoax”, even among Republican ranks.

However, the research found 87% of Oklahomans and 84% of Texans accepted that climate change was occurring.

Seventy-six percent of Americans in both states also believed the government should step in to limit greenhouse gas emissions produced by industry.

In addition, the research indicated substantial support for Obama’s decision to use the Environmental Protection Agency to cut emissions from power plants. The polling found at least 62% of Americans in favour of action cutting greenhouse gas emissions from plants.

Once again, Texas was also solidly lined up with action, with 79% of voters supporting regulation of power plants.

The acceptance of climate change was not a result of outreach efforts by scientists, however, or by the experience of extreme events, such as hurricane Sandy, Krosnick said.

His research found no connection between Sandy and belief in climate change or support for climate action.

Instead, he said the findings suggest personal experiences of hot weather – especially in warm states in the south-west – persuaded Texans and others that the climate was indeed changing within their own lifetimes.

“Their experience with weather leaves people in most places on the green side in most of the questions we ask,” he said.

There was some small slippage in acceptance of climate change in north-western states such as Idaho and Utah and in the industrial heartland states of Ohio. But even then at a minimum, 75% believed climate change was occurring.

The findings, represented in a series of maps, were presented at a meeting of the bicameral task force on climate change which has been pushing Congress to try to move ahead on Obama’s green commitments. There was insufficient data to provide findings from a small number of states

Henry Waxman, the Democrat who co-chairs the taskforce, said in a statement the findings showed Americans were ready to take action to cut emissions that cause climate change.

“This new report is crystal clear,” said Waxman. “It shows that the vast majority of Americans – whether from red states or blue – understand that climate change is a growing danger. Americans recognise that we have a moral obligation to protect the environment and an economic opportunity to develop the clean energy technologies of the future. Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists.”

Some 58% of Republicans in the current Congress deny the existence of climate change or oppose action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.

Is BP “Trolling” Its Facebook Critics? (Aljazeera)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 13:04

By Dahr JamailAljazeera English

BP.BP Critics using BP America’s Facebook page allege they have been harassed. (Erika Blumenfeld / Al Jazeera)

New Orleans – BP has been accused of hiring internet “trolls” to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

“Marie” was deeply concerned by the oil spill, and began posting comments on the BP America Facebook page. Today, she asks that she remain anonymous out of what she described to Al Jazeera as “fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case”.

In internet slang, a troll is someone who sows online discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, often posting inflammatory messages in an online community, or even issuing physical threats.

Marie sought assistance from the Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington DC, and has produced boxes of documents and well-researched information that may show that the people harassing BP’s critics online worked for BP or Ogilvy.

“We’d been hearing of this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest,” GAP investigator Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera. “We saw Marie’s documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate.”

According to both Marie and Devine, some of the threats began on the page, but then escalated off the page.

Threats included identifying where somebody lived, an internet troll making reference to having a shotgun and making use of it, and “others just being more derogatory”, according to Devine. “We’ve seen all this documentation and that’s why we thought it was worth bringing to the ombudsman’s office of BP, and we told them we thought some of it even warranted calling the police about.”

Death Threats

“We have thousands of documents regarding communications posted through various Facebook websites,” said certified legal investigator Steve Lockman of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor. “In addtion, we are in possession of communications between the federal government and the ombudsman’s office of BP regarding the [harassment] Internet communications, and the federal government requesting BP to control the harassment through their Facebook page and their interactions.”

“The harassment communications are not something that BP and their people are not aware of,” Lockman told Al Jazeera. “It’s not a hidden secret that the personal attacks, broadcast abuse, and type-written harassment were happening and continue to go on.”

Marie provided the firm and Al Jazeera with files of complaint letters, computer screenshots of the abuse, and a list of Facebook profiles used by the people who harassed her and others.

According to Marie, the harassment didn’t remain on the BP page. Trolls often followed users to their personal Facebook pages and continued to harass them there.”I was called a lot of names,” Marie added. “I was called a streetwalker and a lot of things like that, and eventually had gun threats.”

“They resorted to very demeaning methods of abuse,” Marie said. “They were racist, sexist, and threatened me and others with legal action and violence. They’ve insinuated that some commenters are ‘child molesters’, and have often used the tactic of mass reporting with the goal of having their targets completely removed from Facebook.”

One troll using the name “Griffin” makes several allusions to gun violence in order to distress and harass users, even going so far as to edit a photo of a BP critic’s pet bird into the crosshairs of a gunsight, before posting the photo online – along with photos of an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.

Another instance occurred involving “Griffin” and an environmentalist who posted a picture of a rendition of Mother Earth saying “Mother Earth Has Been Waiting for Her Day in Court, BP”. “Griffin” posted a comment to the picture that read, “A few rounds from a .50 cal will stop that b**ch”.

According to Marie, Lockman and GAP, BP’s “astroturfing” efforts and use of “trolls” have been reported as pursuing users’ personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics’ family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual claims.

Marie, along with several other targets of harassment, wrote and sent two letters to BP America, asking the company to respond to the allegations and deal with the matter.  Neither letter received a response, which is why Marie decided to contact GAP, as well as the law firm.

While Marie’s evidence appears to tie Ogilvy and BP together via the trolls, the law firm Lockman works for is investigating further in order to conclusively determine the extent of BP’s involvement.

Spinning the Disaster

Stephen Marino worked for Ogilvy during the BP disaster. BP had been a client of Ogilvy for five years before the spill, and when the disaster occurred, “we were responsible for all the social media for BP during the spill”, Marino said during a lecture he gave at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 19, 2012.

His team, which he called the “digital influence team”, was “responsible for the crisis response”.  Marino told the audience that his job during the BP disaster was to run a ” reputation management campaign ” and gave this specific example of the depths to which Ogilvy worked to maintain a positive appearance for BP:

“We were putting out ads, if you guys remember those ads that came out where it would be Iris in the Gulf of Mexico and she’d be talking about how she grew up there and she wasn’t going to go away,” he explained . “The way we were working with the strategy on that was we would cut the ads one day, we would edit them overnight, we’d air them on Tuesday let’s say, and then we’d look at social media to see what the response was to the ads – and based upon the feedback we were getting on social media, the advertising agency would then go back and re-cut the ads to fix the message to make it resonate more with what the constituents wanted… that was the first key strategy.”

Chris Paulos, an attorney with the firm investigating Marie’s case, believes this is a perfect example of “subversive attempts by corporations to put forward their ideology of what we should think about them, and doing it in a way that is not decipherable to the average person”.

According to Paulos, the public should be concerned about this because we can no longer tell if people online are truly who they say they are, “or are working for a corporation and talking their script to control the dialogue about whatever issue they are addressing”.

“We are in unprecedented times with technology, and [in] the disparity between the power of corporations and autonomous consumers,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. ” Citizens United has basically emboldened corporations with their ability to speak as individuals with First Amendment rights. Ever since that decision, corporations have been outspoken and vigorously protecting themselves while doing it.”

BP’s Response

Billie Garde, BP’s deputy ombudsman, in a letter to the Government Accountability Project dated December 18, 2012, stated clearly that “BP America contracts management of its Facebook page to Ogilvy Public Relations” and added, “Ogilvy manages all of BP America’s social media matters”.

2013 1120-51

2013 1120-52

2013 1120-53

“According to BP America, Ogilvy has a group of 10 individuals in different time zones that perform comment screening of the page,” wrote Garde.

Interestingly, Garde’s letter addressed the fact that, at that time, according to Ogilvy’s data, 91 percent of all the comments on BP’s Facebook page were considered to be “unsupportive” of BP, while only nine percent were considered “supportive”.  She added that “i n previous years, the number of comments that were ‘unsupportive ‘ of BP was larger than the present 91 per cent “.

Her letter stated that Ogilvy follows a “three strike” policy for all comments, “meaning if they find a comment to be in violation of the commenting policy, they delete the comment and record a ‘strike’ against the user, and three strikes means a user is no longer able to comment on the page. It is also noted that Ogilvy will delete offending comments and send a note to the user indicating the comment was inappropriate”.

Garde added: “BP America has informed our office that Ogilvy strictly adheres to the Commenting Policy as stated on the BP America Facebook page. This policy serves as the guidelines that Ogilvy follows when evaluating the appropriateness of comments. Ogilvy does not evaluate a comment with respect to it being a positive or negative statement towards BP. Likewise, they do not delete any comments based on either of these qualifiers.”

According to Garde, BP America’s Director of Employee Concerns Oversight, Mike Wilson, was apprised of the situation. Wilson was provided examples of harassment and was asked if the examples were reviewed by Ogilvy. “The discussion is ongoing, and Mr Wilson is addressing these specific concerns internally, ” Garde added.

A BP spokesman provided the following statement for Al Jazeera: “The BP America Facebook page, and its moderators, do not endorse or dictate any user activity. All users’ comments and actions are their own. BP created the BP America Facebook page to engage the public in an informative conversation about our ongoing commitment to America and to facilitate constructive dialogue for any and all who wish to participate. No users are compensated for participating in the Facebook community. More information on our commenting policy can be found here .”

Marie, however, staunchly believes that BP is responsible for the pro-BP Facebook trolls.

“I have no doubt that they are, and I’ve found the links between the trolls and their friends who work for BP,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Government Accountability Project, through the inquiry they’re conducting for me, is still trying to find out. But we are being stonewalled on the other end, as far as BP doing some type of an internal investigation into these connections that I’ve uncovered.”

According to Marie, the harassment “almost ceased completely at around the same time GAP received Garde’s letter. I say ‘almost’ because at least two of the people who were involved in the prior harassment are still allowed to comment on BP’s page to this day, and [one of those] was still checking on people’s profiles to obtain their state of residence, and would use this against them on the page.”

“Terroristic Threats”

Lockman’s investigation continues, as do efforts of recovering additional documentation and sifting through information on hand that links the trolls to both BP and Ogilvy as well as other subcontracted companies used by BP as creative storytellers.

“The information we possess regarding Marie’s claims, printed out, fills two file boxes, and that does not include all the DVDs which are currently being duplicated at this time,” Lockman said. “It is an unbelievable amount of documentation that has been developed. This documentation, support materials, and information is coming from several different sources. It is like a spider web and we just got started.”

Al Jazeera asked the firm Lockman works for what the possible legal ramifications would be for the alleged actions of BP and Ogilvy.

“What these guys are doing is bordering on illegal,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. “Marie’s allegations are that these guys have made overt acts beyond what they did online, and it does sound like people who’ve been the victims of these actions believe they are in imminent danger of bodily harm, and that can become the basis for a claim of assault.”

Paulos went on to say that if money were involved, like if the threats made by the trolls were against people who had pending claims against BP, or offered to cease the harassment in exchange for funds or other benefits, “it can become a claim of extortion or fraud, depending on how the money is being used”.

Yet these are not the worst possible crimes.

“They [BP/Ogilvy] are obviously trying to silence folks who are opposed or critical of what they are doing,” Paulos claimed. “But it appears as though it has moved into threats that can be considered terroristic threats depending on the intent behind them, so there are a lot of laws they can be treading on, including stalking, and tortious interference with someone’s businesses. I understand they’ve called the workplaces of people on the websites, and depending on what’s being said that may become actionable under US civil law. So there are a lot of ways they could be breaching the law based on the intent of their communication and how that has been received.” Paulos believes Marie’s case is an example of how corporations such as BP use their money and power to take advantage of a lack of adequate legal regulations over the use of internet trolls and vigorous PR campaigns, and that this should give the general public pause.

“Marie’s story shows that corporations do not refrain from cyber-bullying, and they are doing it in a very aggressive fashion.”

Other Harassment

Linda Hooper Bui, an associate professor of entomology at Louisiana State University, experienced a different form of harassment from BP while working on a study about the impact of the oil disaster on spiders and insects.

“BP was desperately trying to control the science, and that was what I ran into,” Bui told Al Jazeera. According to her, BP’s chief science officer “tried to intimidate me”, and the harassment included BP “bullying my people” who were working in the field with her on her study that revealed how “insects and spiders in the oiled areas were completely decimated”.

While collecting data for the study, Bui and her colleagues regularly ran into problems with BP, she said.

“Local sheriffs working under the auspices of BP, as well as personnel with Wildlife and Fisheries, the US Coast Guard – all of these folks working under BP were preventing us from doing our job,” Bui explained. “We were barred from going into areas to collect data where we had previous data.”

Bui said personnel from the USCG, Fish and Wildlife, and even local sheriffs departments, always accompanied by BP staff, worked to prevent her from entering areas to collect data, confiscated her samples, and “if I’d refused to oblige they would have arrested me” – despite her having state permits to carry out her work.

Bui has also been harassed online, by what she thinks was “a BP troll”, but she remained primarily concerned about what BP was doing to block her science. Her frustration about this prompted her to write an opinion article for The New York Times , titled A Gulf Science Blackout .

That is when she received a call from BP.

“August 24, 2010, at 7:15am the morning my op-ed was published, I received a call from BP’s chief science officer who tried to get me to be quiet,” Bui said. “He said he’d solve my problem, and asked me how much money I needed.”

Bui explained to him she was only interested in being allowed to conduct her studies, and was not interested in working with BP, “that I was publishing science and it involved the entire scientific community”, and she never heard back from him.

She believes her method of dealing with the overall situation was a success. “When somebody starts to mess with me, I publicise it and say: ‘Don ‘ t f**k with me,'” she concluded. “And if you do, I’m going to go very public with it, and that’s what I did.”

BP did not respond to Al Jazeera for comment regarding her specific allegation.

GAP’s Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera she believes the onus is on BP to investigate the possibility that there is a connection between the harassment and Ogilvy and BP employees.

“But so far they’ve taken a very hands-off approach,” she explained. “They’ve not taken responsibility and they are not willing to share information with us. So if it’s through BP’s silence that the public is willing to draw their conclusions, I think that is legitimate.”

Hence, Devine concluded: “The BP America Facebook page is not a safe place to be.”

2013 1120-5aInternet troll “Griffin” here complains to Facebook that “D**” is a troll, making up fabrications about BP. “Griffin” posts a link to “D**”‘s profile page, next to a picture of a gun.

2013 1120-5bA second internet troll, “Ken Smith”, is understood to have taken a photo of “D**”‘s pet bird from the BP critic’s profile, printed it out, superimposed a rifle’s crosshairs upon the image – and shot it several times.

2013 1120-5c“Griffin”‘s profile, using an anonymised portrait, also features images of target practice. It is understood that his message has a threatening tone.

2013 1120-5d“Ken Smith”, who posted the previous image of a BP critic’s pet bird being used as target practice, here posts a picture of his considerable arsenal.

2013 1120-5e“Ken Smith” goes on to call BP critics “haters”, and one in particular a “drunken moron”.

2013 1120-5hOthers leave comments on BP America’s Facebook page supportive of the oil giant, claiming that scientists and others critical of the spill are attention-seeking drug users.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

By DAHR JAMAIL

Dahr Jamail, a journalist for Al Jazeera’s Human Rights Department, is the author of “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,” (Haymarket Books, 2009), and “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions (The Guardian)

Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

, US environment correspondent

theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 November 2013 16.07 GMT

 Sandbag’s report into the emergence of emissions trading in China : carbon pollutionOil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Goreas a “crucial step forward” found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.”There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. “But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.”Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its “carbon budget” – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming. The former US vice-president and environmental champion, Al Gore, said the new carbon accounting could re-set the debate about allocating blame for the climate crisis.Leaders meeting in Warsaw for the UN climate talks this week clashed repeatedly over which countries bore the burden for solving the climate crisis – historic emitters such as America or Europe or the rising economies of India and China.Gore in his comments said the analysis underlined that it should not fall to governments alone to act on climate change.”This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming,” Gore told the Guardian. “Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution.”Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 wereenergy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom and Norway’s Statoil.Nine were government run industries, producing mainly coal in countries such as China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of this week’s talks.Experts familiar with Heede’s research and the politics of climate change said they hoped the analysis could help break the deadlock in international climate talks.”It seemed like maybe this could break the logjam,” said Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard. “There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it’s not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor.”Michael Mann, the climate scientist, said he hoped the list would bring greater scrutiny to oil and coal companies’ deployment of their remaining reserves. “What I think could be a game changer here is the potential for clearly fingerprinting the sources of those future emissions,” he said. “It increases the accountability for fossil fuel burning. You can’t burn fossil fuels without the rest of the world knowing about it.”Others were less optimistic that a more comprehensive accounting of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions would make it easier to achieve the emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.John Ashton, who served as UK’s chief climate change negotiator for six years, suggested that the findings reaffirmed the central role of fossil fuel producing entities in the economy.”The challenge we face is to move in the space of not much more than a generation from a carbon-intensive energy system to a carbonneutral energy system. If we don’t do that we stand no chance of keeping climate change within the 2C threshold,” Ashton said.”By highlighting the way in which a relatively small number of large companies are at the heart of the current carbon-intensive growth model, this report highlights that fundamental challenge.”Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.”For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action,” she said.The data represents eight years of exhaustive research into carbon emissions over time, as well as the ownership history of the major emitters.The companies’ operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. “These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth,” Heede writes in the paper.The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.By Heede’s calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.The historic emissions record was constructed using public records and data from the US department of energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre, and took account of emissions all along the supply chain.The centre put global industrial emissions since 1751 at 1,450 gigatonnes.

Selecting Mathematical Models With Greatest Predictive Power: Finding Occam’s Razor in an Era of Information Overload (Science Daily)

Nov. 20, 2013 — How can the actions and reactions of proteins so small or stars so distant they are invisible to the human eye be accurately predicted? How can blurry images be brought into focus and reconstructed?

A new study led by physicist Steve Pressé, Ph.D., of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, shows that there may be a preferred strategy for selecting mathematical models with the greatest predictive power. Picking the best model is about sticking to the simplest line of reasoning, according to Pressé. His paper explaining his theory is published online this month in Physical Review Letters.

“Building mathematical models from observation is challenging, especially when there is, as is quite common, a ton of noisy data available,” said Pressé, an assistant professor of physics who specializes in statistical physics. “There are many models out there that may fit the data we do have. How do you pick the most effective model to ensure accurate predictions? Our study guides us towards a specific mathematical statement of Occam’s razor.”

Occam’s razor is an oft cited 14th century adage that “plurality should not be posited without necessity” sometimes translated as “entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” Today it is interpreted as meaning that all things being equal, the simpler theory is more likely to be correct.

A principle for picking the simplest model to answer complex questions of science and nature, originally postulated in the 19th century by Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, had been embraced by the physics community throughout the world. Then, in 1998, an alternative strategy for picking models was developed by Brazilian Constantino Tsallis. This strategy has been widely used in business (such as in option pricing and for modeling stock swings) as well as scientific applications (such as for evaluating population distributions). The new study finds that Boltzmann’s strategy, not the 20th century alternative, assures that the models picked are the simplest and most consistent with data.

“For almost three decades in physics we have had two main competing strategies for picking the best model. We needed some resolution,” Pressé said. “Even as simple an experiment as flipping a coin or as complex an enterprise as understanding functions of proteins or groups of proteins in human disease need a model to describe them. Simply put, we need one Occam’s razor, not two, when selecting models.”

In addition to Pressé, co-authors of “Nonadditive entropies yield probability distributions with biases not warranted by the data” are Kingshuk Ghosh of the University of Denver, Julian Lee of Soongsil University, and Ken A. Dill of Stony Brook University.

Pressé is also the first author of a companion paper, “Principles of maximum entropy and maximum caliber in statistical physics” published in the July-September issue of the Reviews of Modern Physics.

Um balanço da primeira semana da COP19 (Vitae Civilis)

Ambiente
18/11/2013 – 09h10

por Délcio Rodrigues e Silvia Dias*

cop19 ecod 300x183 Um balanço da primeira semana da COP19

Ao fim da primeira semana da CoP19, a sensação de dejá vú é inevitável. Mais uma vez, o negociador filipino foi o responsável pelo discurso mais emocionante. Mais uma vez, o Germanwatch divulga que os países pobres são os mais vulneráveis aos eventos climáticos extremos. Mais uma vez, aliás, temos um evento climático vitimando milhares de pessoas enquanto acontece a conferência. Mais uma vez, temos a divulgação de que estamos vivendo os anos mais quentes da história recente do planeta, de que a quantidade de gases causadores do efeito estufa na atmosfera já está em níveis alarmantes, de que o certo seria deixar as reservas de combustíveis fósseis intocadas…

Mesmo o novo relatório do IPCC chega com um certo gosto de notícia velha. Pois apesar da maior gama de detalhes e da maior certeza científica, basicamente o AR5 confirma que estamos seguindo em uma trajetória que esgotará já em 2030 todo o carbono que poderemos queimar neste século sem alterar perigosamente o clima do planeta. Da mesma forma, a Agência Internacional de Energia (IEA) confirma o exposto por uma forte campanha feita na CoP18 contra os subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis. Segundo a IEA, os governos gastaram US$ 523 bilhões em subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis em 2011 – uma completa inversão de prioridades, do ponto de vista da mudança climática: para cada US$ 1 em apoio às energias renováveis​​, outros US$ 6 estão promovendo combustíveis intensivos em carbono. Parte dos subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis estão acontecendo em países emergentes e em desenvolvimento, haja vista os subsídios à gasolina impostos pelo governo brasileiro à Petrobrás. Mas talvez sejam mais importantes nos países ricos. Pesquisa do Overseas Development Institute, do Reino Unido, mostrou que os subsídios ao consumo de combustíveis fósseis em 11 países da OCDE alcançam o total de US$ 72 bilhões dólares, ou cerca de US$ 112 por habitante adulto destes países.

Essa perversidade econômica estrangula, no nascimento, as inovações tecnológicas que podem contribuir para evitarmos a colisão iminente entre a economia global (e o seu sistema energético) e os limites ecológicos do nosso planeta. Os recentes desenvolvimentos em energia eólica, solar, bio-combustíveis , geotermia, marés, células de combustível e eficiência energética estão aumentando as possibilidades de construção de um cenário energético de baixo carbono. Além de poderem afastar a crise climática, estas tecnologias poderiam abrir novas oportunidades de investimento, fornecer energia a preços acessíveis e sustentar o crescimento. Mas este potencial somente será realizado se os governos perseguirem ativamente políticas industriais sustentáveis. É necessário alinhar o objetivo de mitigação da crise climática com desincentivos para as fontes de energia intensivas em carbono por meio de impostos e apoio a alternativas sustentáveis.

O fim dos subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis precisa ser acompanhado por políticas que favoreçam a transferência de tecnologias limpas. Não podemos deixar de lado o exemplo da China, da Índia e também do Brasil, para onde multinacionais historicamente enviam plataformas de produção sujas e energo-intensivas. Infelizmente, as negociações sobre tecnologia estão entre as mais emperradas – tanto no formato anterior, estabelecido pelo Caminho de Bali, como agora, na chamada Plataforma Durban. Simultaneamente, tomamos conhecimento, pelo WikiLeaks, da Parceria Trans-Pacífica (TPP) referente a patentes e proteção intelectual – acordo que vem sendo negociado secretamente entre líderes de 12 países que concentram 40% do PIB e um terço do comércio global e que visa impor medidas mais agressivas para coibir a quebra de propriedade intelectual.

A discrepância entre o que a ciência recomenda e o que os governos estão promovendo permanece, independente do formato das negociações climáticas. Saímos dos dois trilhos estabelecidos em Bali para a Plataforma Durban, mas os compromissos financeiros ou metas mais agressivas de mitigação não vieram. Na primeira semana da CoP19, os discursos dos negociadores reviveram posicionamentos arcaicos e obstrutivos ao processo. Sim, é certo que já sabíamos que esta não seria uma conferência de grandes resultados. Mas o fato é que os bad guys resolveram ser realmente bad sob a condução complacente de uma presidência que não se constrange em explicitar sua conduta em prol do carvão e demais combustíveis fósseis. Tanto que a Rússia abriu mão de atravancar o processo, guardando suas queixas sobre o processo da UNFCCC para outra ocasião.

Esta outra ocasião pode ser a CoP20, no Peru, para onde as esperanças de negociações mais produtivas se voltam. Antes, porém, haverá a cúpula de Ban Ki Moon, para a qual as lideranças dos países estão convidadas. O objetivo é gerar a sensibilidade política que faltou em Copenhague e tentar definir metas antes da reta derradeira do acordo, em Paris. Esse encontro deve ser precedido e seguido de várias reuniões interseccionais para que os delegados avancem na costura do acordo e para que os itens críticos, como metas de mitigação e financiamento, comecem a adquirir contornos mais concretos.

Em outras palavras, uma agenda consistente de reuniões e o compromisso para apresentar metas no ano que vem são o melhor resultado que podemos esperar de uma conferência que corre o risco de entrar para a História como a CoP do carvão.

Délcio Rodrigues é especialista em Mudanças Climáticas do Vitae Civilis. Silvia Dias, membro do Conselho Deliberativo do Vitae Civilis, acompanha as negociações climáticas desde 2009.

Crops, Towns, Government (London Review of Books)

Vol. 35 No. 22 · 21 November 2013
pages 13-15 | 3981 words

James C. Scott

The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared DiamondPenguin, 498 pp, £8.99, September, ISBN 978 0 14 102448 6

 

It’s a good bet a culture is in trouble when its best-known intellectuals start ransacking the cultural inventory of its ancestors and its contemporary inferiors for tips on how to live. The malaise is all the more remarkable when the culture in question is the modern American variant of Enlightenment rationalism and progress, a creed not known for self-doubt or failures of nerve. The deeper the trouble, the more we are seen to have lost our way, the further we must go spatially and temporally to find the cultural models that will help us. In the stronger versions of this quest, there is either a place – a Shangri-la – or a time, a Golden Age, that promises to reset our compass to true north. Anthropology and history implicitly promise to provide such models. Anthropology can show us radically different and satisfying forms of human affiliation and co-operation that do not depend on the nuclear family or inherited wealth. History can show that the social and political arrangements we take for granted are the contingent result of a unique historical conjuncture.

Jared Diamond, ornithologist, evolutionary biologist and geographer, is best known as the author of Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years, one of the most influential accounts of how most of us came to live in places with huge concentrations of people, grain and domesticated animals, and how this helped create the world of massive inequalities and disparate life chances with which we now live. Diamond’s was not a simple, self-congratulatory ‘rise of the West’ story, telling how some peoples and cultures showed themselves to be essentially cleverer, braver or more rational than others. Instead, he demonstrated the importance of impersonal environmental forces: plants and herd animals amenable to domestication, pathogens, a favourable climate and geography that aided the rise of early states in the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean. These initial advantages were compounded by interstate competition in metallurgy for armaments and navigational devices. His argument was much praised for its bold and original synthesis, and much criticised by historians and anthropologists for reducing the arc of human history to a handful of environmental conditions. There was no denying, however, that Diamond’s simple quasi-Darwinian view of human selection was ‘good to think with’.

The subtitle of his new foray into deep history, ‘What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?’, suggests, without a trace of irony, that it might be more at home in the self-help section of the bookstore. By ‘traditional societies’, he by and large means hunting and gathering and small horticultural societies that have survived into the modern world in the marginal and stingy environments into which states have pushed them. They span the globe, but Diamond draws his principal examples from New Guinea and Australia, where his bird-watching interests lie, and from the findings of studies of hunter-gatherer societies (the Hadza and !Kung of Africa, the Piraha, Siriono and Yanomamo of Latin America) that fit best with his argument.

What could these historical relics possibly teach the wired, hyper-modernist residents of Diamond’s home village of Los Angeles? The question is not so preposterous. As he explains, Homo sapiens has been around for roughly 200,000 years and left Africa not much earlier than 50,000 years ago. The first fragmentary evidence for domesticated crops occurs roughly 11,000 years ago and the first grain statelets around 5000 years ago, though they were initially insignificant in a global population of perhaps eight million. More than 97 per cent of human experience, in other words, lies outside the grain-based nation-states in which virtually all of us now live. ‘Until yesterday’, our diet had not been narrowed to the three major grains that today constitute 50 to 60 per cent of the world’s caloric intake: rice, wheat and maize. The circumstances we take for granted are, in fact, of even more recent vintage than Diamond supposes. Before, say, 1500, most populations had a sporting chance of remaining out of the clutches of states and empires, which were still relatively weak and, given low rates of urbanisation and forest clearance, still had access to foraged foods. On this account, our world of grains and states is a mere blink of the eye (0.25 per cent), in the historical adventure of our species.

Why, Diamond asks, should we not plumb this vast historical record of human experience for what it might teach our WEIRD – ‘Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic’ – societies? Though they are the most thoroughly studied of societies, they are totally unrepresentative. If we wish to generalise about human nature, not to mention the history of human experience, we must, he argues, cast our net more widely.

Traditional societies in effect represent thousands of natural experiments in how to construct a human society. They have come up with thousands of solutions to human problems, solutions different from those adopted by our own WEIRD modern societies. We shall see that some of these solutions – for instance, some of the ways in which traditional societies raise their children, treat their elderly, remain healthy, talk, spend their leisure time and settle disputes – may strike you, as they do me, as superior to normal practices in the First World.

The lens through which Diamond, an unrelenting environmental biologist, sees the world affords striking insights but there are still massive blind spots. His discussion of languages, for example, is both passionate and convincing, as one might expect from a scholar whose New Guinea field site is home to roughly a thousand of Earth’s seven thousand languages. Aside from the ‘nine giants’ (Mandarin, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese), each with more than a hundred million speakers, the rest have on average only a few thousand speakers and a great many have far fewer. The ‘giants’ create vast heartland zones of monolingual citizens within which minor languages are exterminated. Inasmuch as language ‘speciation’ depends largely on dispersal and isolation, the contemporary processes of concentration and cultural homogenisation militate against the development of new languages and the survival of those already endangered. Half of the roughly 250 Australian languages are extinct, one third of the hundreds of Native American languages spoken in 1492 have disappeared and another third are unlikely to survive another generation. Each heartland of a ‘giant’ language is the graveyard of the languages it has overwhelmed.

The commonest contemporary cause of death is cultural and economic engulfment: the majority language so dominates the public sphere, media, schools and government that mastering it is the sole route to employment, social status and cultural citizenship. Diamond pauses to consider the argument that the consolidation of languages might be a fine thing. After all, eliminating language barriers makes for better mutual understanding. Why would one prefer a world in which hill peoples navigate through a linguistic thicket in which they must operate in five or more languages, as his informants do in the New Guinea Highlands?

Here, Diamond, as evolutionary biologist, has two choices. He could claim that the extinction of languages is the process of natural selection at work, just as the scientific racists of the late 19th century claimed that the extermination of backward tribal peoples like the Herero was a tragic but inevitable result of the expansion of superior races. But instead, he takes up a position not unlike that held by E.O. Wilson on the disappearance of species. He argues that just as natural diversity is a treasury of variation and resilience, so linguistic diversity represents a cultural treasury of expression, thought-ways and cosmology that, once lost, is gone for ever.

Literature, culture and much knowledge are encoded in languages: lose the language and you lose much of the literature, culture and knowledge … Traditional peoples have local-language names for hundreds of animal and plant species around them; those encyclopedias of ethnobiological information vanish when their languages vanish … Tribal peoples also have their own oral literatures, and losses of those literatures also represent losses to humanity.

It is undeniable that we are in danger of irrecoverably losing a large part of mankind’s cultural, linguistic and aesthetic heritage from the effects of ‘steamroller’ languages and states. But what a disappointment it is, after nearly five hundred pages of anecdotes, assertions, snippets of scientific studies, observations, detours into the evolution of religion, reports of near-death experiences – Diamond can be a gripping storyteller – to hear the lessons he has distilled for us. We should learn more languages; we should practise more intimate and permissive child-rearing; we should spend more time socialising and talking face to face; we should utilise the wisdom and knowledge of our elders; we should learn to assess the dangers in our environment more realistically. And, when it comes to daily health tips, you have to imagine Diamond putting on his white coat and stethoscope as he recommends ‘not smoking; exercising regularly; limiting our intake of total calories, alcohol, salt and salty foods, sugar and sugared soft drinks, saturated and trans fats, processed foods, butter, cream and red meat; and increasing our intake of fibre, fruits and vegetables, calcium and complex carbohydrates. Another simple change is to eat more slowly.’ Perhaps wary of resistance to a fully fledged hunter-gatherer diet, he recommends the Mediterranean diet. Those who have trekked all this way with him, through the history of the species and the New Guinea Highlands, must have expected something more substantial awaiting them at the end of the trail.

*

What were our ancestors like before the domestication of plants and animals, before sedentary village life, before the earliest towns and states? That is the question Diamond sets himself to answer. In doing so, he faces nearly insurmountable obstacles. Until quite recently, archaeology recorded our history as a species in relation to the concentration of debris (middens, building rubble, traces of irrigation canals, walls, fossilised faeces etc) we left behind. Hunter-gatherers were typically mobile and spread their largely biodegradable debris widely; we don’t often find their temporary habitats, which were often in caves or beside rivers or the sea, and the vast majority of such sites have been lost to history. When we do find them, they can tell us something about their inhabitants’ diet, cooking methods, bodily adornment, trade goods, weapons, diseases, local climate and occasionally even causes of death, but not much else. How to infer from this scant evidence our ancestors’ family structure and social organisation, their patterns of co-operation and conflict, let alone their ethics and cosmology?

It is here that Diamond makes his fundamental mistake. He imagines he can triangulate his way to the deep past by assuming that contemporary hunter-gatherer societies are ‘our living ancestors’, that they show what we were like before we discovered crops, towns and government. This assumption rests on the indefensible premise that contemporary hunter-gatherer societies are survivals, museum exhibits of the way life was lived for the entirety of human history ‘until yesterday’ – preserved in amber for our examination.

In the unique case of Highland New Guinea, which was apparently isolated from coastal trade and the outside world until World War Two, Diamond might be forgiven for making this inference, though the people of New Guinea have had exactly the same amount of time to adapt and evolve as homo americanus and they managed somehow to get hold of the sweet potato, which originated in South America. The inference of pristine isolation, however, is completely unwarranted for virtually all of the other 35 societies he canvasses. Those societies have, for the last five thousand years, been deeply involved in a world of trade, states and empires and are often now found in undesirable marginal areas to which they have been pushed by more powerful societies. The anthropologist Pierre Clastres argued that the Yanomamo and Siriono, two of Diamond’s prime examples, were originally sedentary cultivators who turned to foraging in order to escape the forced labour and disease associated with Spanish settlements. Like almost all the groups Diamond considers, they have been trading with outside kingdoms and states (and raiding them) for much of the past three thousand years; their beliefs and practices have been shaped by contact, trade goods, travel and intermarriage. So thoroughly have they come to live in a world of powerful kingdoms and states that one might call these societies themselves a ‘state effect’. That is, their location in the landscape is designed to help them evade or trade with larger societies. They forage forest and marine products desired by urban societies; many groups are ‘twinned’ with neighbouring societies, through which they manage their trade and relationship to the larger world.

Contemporary foraging societies, far from being untouched examples of our deep past, are up to their necks in the ‘civilised world’. Those available for Diamond’s inspection are, one might argue, precisely the most successful examples, showing how some hunter-gatherer societies have avoided extinction and assimilation by creatively adapting to the changing world. Taken together, they might make for an interesting study of adaptation, but they are useless as a metric to tell us what our remote ancestors were like. Even their designations – Yanomamo, !Kung, Ainu – convey a false sense of genealogical and genetic continuity, vastly understating the fluidity of these groups’ ethnic boundaries.

Diamond is convinced that violent revenge is the besetting plague of hunter-gatherer societies and, by extension, of our pre-state ancestors. Having chosen some rather bellicose societies (the Dani, the Yanomamo) as illustrations, and larded his account with anecdotal evidence from informants, he reaches the same conclusion as Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature: we know, on the basis of certain contemporary hunter-gatherers, that our ancestors were violent and homicidal and that they have only recently (very recently in Pinker’s account) been pacified and civilised by the state. Life without the state is nasty, brutish and short. Though Hobbes is not directly invoked, his gloomy view of savage life without a sovereign infuses Diamond’s narrative. ‘First and foremost, a fundamental problem of virtually all small-scale societies is that, because they lack a central political authority exerting a monopoly of retaliatory force, they are unable to prevent recalcitrant members from injuring other members, and also unable to prevent aggrieved members from taking matters into their own hands and seeking to achieve their goals by violence. But violence invites counter-violence.’

*

In a passage that recapitulates the fable of the social contract, Diamond implies that it was explicitly to end this violence that subjects agreed to found a sovereign power that would guarantee peace and order by restraining their habits of violence and revenge.

Maintenance of peace within a society is one of the most important services that a state can provide. That service goes a long way towards explaining the apparent paradox that, since the rise of the first state governments in the Fertile Crescent about 5400 years ago, people have more or less willingly (not just under duress) surrendered some of their individual freedoms, accepted the authority of state governments, paid taxes and supported a comfortable individual lifestyle for the state’s leaders and officials.

Two fatal objections come immediately to mind. First, it does not follow that the state, by curtailing ‘private’ violence, reduces the total amount of violence. As Norbert Elias pointed out more than half a century ago in The Civilising Process, what the state does is to centralise and monopolise violence in its own hands, a fact that Diamond, coming as he does from a nation that has initiated several wars in recent decades and a state (California) that has a prison population of roughly 120,000 – most of them non-violent offenders – should appreciate.

Second, Hobbes’s fable at least has nominally equal contractants agreeing to establish a sovereign for their mutual safety. That is hard to reconcile with the fact that all ancient states without exception were slave states. The proportion of slaves seldom dropped below 30 per cent of the population in early states, reaching 50 per cent in early South-East Asia (and in Athens and Sparta as much as 70 and 86 per cent). War captives, conquered peoples, slaves purchased from slave raiders and traders, debt bondsmen, criminals and captive artisans – all these people were held under duress, as the frequency of state collapse, revolt and flight attests. As either a theory or a historical account of state-formation, Diamond’s story makes no sense.

The straw man in his argument is that contemporary hunter-gatherer societies are oases of peace, co-operation and order. Of course they are not. The question, rather, is how violent they are compared to state-societies and what are the causes of the violence that does exist. There is, contra Diamond, a strong case that might be made for the relative non-violence and physical well-being of contemporary hunters and gatherers when compared with the early agrarian states. Non-state peoples have many techniques for avoiding bloodshed and revenge killings: the payment of compensation or Weregild, arranged truces (‘burying the hatchet’), marriage alliances, flight to the open frontier, outcasting or handing over a culprit who started the trouble. Diamond does not seem to appreciate the strong social forces mobilised by kinsmen to restrain anyone contemplating a hasty and violent act that will expose all of them to danger. These practices are examined by many of the ethnographers who have carried out intensive fieldwork in the New Guinea Highlands (for example by Edward L. Schieffelin in The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers, Marilyn Strathern inWomen in Between, and Andrew Strathern and Pamela Stewart’s work on compensation), but they make no dent in Diamond’s one-dimensional view of the desire for revenge.

On the other side of the ledger, when it comes to violence in early agrarian states, one must weigh rebellion, war and systematic violence against slaves and women (as a rule of thumb, agrarian states everywhere created patriarchal property regimes which reduced the status and freedom of women) against ‘tribal conflicts’. We also know, and Diamond notes, that hunter-gatherers even today have healthier diets and far fewer communicable diseases. Believing, against the evidence, that hunters and gatherers live in daily fear of starvation, he fails to note that they also work far less hard and thus have far more leisure. Marshall Sahlins called hunter-gatherers, even when relegated to the most undesirable environments, ‘the original affluent society’. It’s hard to imagine Diamond’s primitives giving up their physical freedom, their varied diet, their egalitarian social structure, their relative freedom from famine, large-scale state wars, taxes and systematic subordination in exchange for what Diamond imagines to be ‘the king’s peace’. Reading his account one can get the impression that the choice facing hunters and gatherers was one between their world and, say, the modern Danish welfare state. In practice, their option was to trade what they had for subjecthood in the early agrarian state.

No matter how one defines violence and warfare in existing hunter-gatherer societies, the greater part of it by far can be shown to be an effect of the perils and opportunities represented by a world of states. A great deal of the warfare among the Yanomamo was, in this sense, initiated to monopolise key commodities on the trade routes to commercial outlets (see, for example, R. Brian Ferguson’s Yanomami Warfare: A Political History, a strong antidote to the pseudo-scientific account of Napoleon Chagnon on which Diamond relies heavily). Much of the conflict among Celtic and Germanic peoples on the fringes of Imperial Rome was essentially commercial war as groups jockeyed for access to Roman markets. The unprecedented riches conjured by the ivory trade in the late 19th century set off hundreds of wars among Africans for whom tusks were the currency that purchased muskets, power and trade goods. Borneo/Kalimantan was originally settled more than a millennium ago, it is now believed, by Austronesians who regarded it as an ideal foraging ground for the Chinese luxury market in feathers, camphor wood, tortoiseshell, bezoar stones, hornbill and rhinoceros ivory, and edible birds’ nests. They were there for trade, and that meant conflict over the most profitable sites for foraging and exchange. It would be impossible to understand intertribal warfare in colonial North America without considering the competition for fur trade profits that allowed the winners to buy firearms and allies, and to dominate their rivals.

In the world of states, hunter-gatherers and nomads, one commodity alone dominated all others: people, aka slaves. What agrarian states needed above all else was manpower to cultivate their fields, build their monuments, man their armies and bear and raise their children. With few exceptions, the epidemiological conditions in cities until very recently were so devastating that they could grow only by adding new populations from their hinterlands. They did this in two ways. They took captives in wars: most South-East Asian early state chronicles gauge the success of a war by the number of captives marched back to the capital and resettled there. The Athenians and Spartans might kill the men of a defeated city and burn its crops, but they virtually always brought back the women and children as slaves. And they bought slaves: a slave merchant caravan trailed every Roman war scooping up the slaves it inevitably produced.

The fact is that slaving was at the very centre of state-making. It is impossible to exaggerate the massive effects of this human commodity on stateless societies. Wars between states became a kind of booty capitalism, where the major prize was human traffic. The slave trade then completely transformed the non-state ‘tribal zone’. Some groups specialised in slave-raiding, mounting expeditions against weaker and more isolated groups and then selling them to intermediaries or directly at slave markets. The oldest members of highland groups in Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Burma can recall their parents’ and grandparents’ memories of slave raids. The fortified, hilltop villages, with thorny, twisting and hidden approaches that early colonists found in parts of South-East Asia and Africa were largely a response to the slave trade.

There is plenty of violence in the world of hunter-gatherers, though it is hardly illuminated by resorting to statistical comparisons between the mortality rates of a tiny tribal war in Kalimantan and the Battle of the Somme or the Holocaust. This violence, however, is almost entirely a state-effect. It simply cannot be understood historically from 4000 BC forward apart from the appetite of states for trade goods, slaves and precious ores, any more than the contemporary threat to remote indigenous groups can be understood apart from the appetite of capitalism and the modern state for rare minerals, hydroelectric sites, plantation crops and timber on the lands of these peoples. Papua New Guinea is today the scene of a particularly violent race for minerals, aided by states and their militias and, as Stuart Kirsch’s Mining Capitalismshows, its indigenous politics can be understood only in this context. Contemporary hunter-gatherer life can tell us a great deal about the world of states and empires but it can tell us nothing at all about our prehistory. We have virtually no credible evidence about the world until yesterday and, until we do, the only defensible intellectual position is to shut up.

Climate change pledges: rich nations face fury over moves to renege (The Guardian)

Typhoon Haiyan raises fear over global warming threat as Philippines leads attack on eve of key talks

 in Warsaw

The Observer, Sunday 17 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan form a queue to receive relief goods at a devasted coastal area in Leyte. Photograph: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Developing nations have launched an impassioned attack on the failure of the world’s richest countries to live up to their climate change pledges in the wake of the disaster in the Philippines.

With more than 3,600 people now believed to have been killed byTyphoon Haiyan, moves by several major economies to backtrack on commitments over carbon emissions have put the world’s poorest and most wealthy states on a collision course, on the eve of crucial high-level talks at a summit of world powers.

Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the UN climate change summit being held this weekend in Warsaw, spoke of a major breakdown in relations overshadowing the crucial talks, which are due to pave the way for a 2015 deal to bring down global emissions.

The diplomat, on the sixth day of a hunger strike in solidarity for those affected by Haiyan, including his own family, told the Observer: “We are very concerned. Public announcements from some countries about lowering targets are not conducive to building trust. We must acknowledge the new climate reality and put forward a new system to help us manage the risks and deal with the losses to which we cannot adjust.”

Munjurul Hannan Khan, representing the world’s 47 least affluent countries, said: “They are behaving irrationally and unacceptably. The way they are talking to the most vulnerable countries is not acceptable. Today the poor are suffering from climate change. But tomorrow the rich countries will be. It starts with us but it goes to them.”

Recent decisions by the governments of AustraliaJapan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change have caused panic among those states most affected by global warming, who fear others will follow as they rearrange their priorities during the downturn.

In the last few days, Japan has announced it will backtrack on its pledge to reduce its emission cuts from 25% to 3.8% by 2020 on the basis that it had to close its nuclear reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Australia, which is not sending a minister to this weekend’s talks,signalled it may weaken its targets and is repealing domestic carbon lawsfollowing the election of a conservative government.

Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto accord, which committed major industrial economies to reducing their annual CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels.

China’s lead negotiator at the Warsaw talks, Su Wei, said: “I do not have any words to describe my dismay at Japan’s decision.” He criticised Europe for showing a lack of ambition to cut emissions further, adding: “They talk about ratcheting up ambition, but rather they would have to ratchet up to ambition from zero ambition.”

When the highest-level talks start at the summit on Monday, due to be attended by representatives from 195 countries, including energy secretary Ed Davey, the developing world will seek confirmation from states such as Britain that they will not follow the path of Japan and others. David Cameron’s comments this weekend in which he backed carbon emission cuts and suggested that there was growing evidence of a link between manmade climate change and disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, will inevitably be used to pressure others to offer similar assurances.

The developing world also wants the rich western nations to commit to establishing a compensation scheme for future extreme weather events, as the impact of global warming is increasingly felt. And they want firm signals that rich countries intend to find at least $100bn a year by 2020 to help them to adapt their countries to severe climate extremes.

China and 132 nations that are part of the G77 block of developing countries have expressed dismay that rich countries had refused to discuss a proposal for scientists to calculate emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Ambassador Jose Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho of Brazil, who initially proposed the talks, said: “We were shocked, very much surprised by their rejection and dismissal. It is puzzling. We need to understand why they have rejected it.

“Developing countries are doing vastly more to reduce their emissions than Annexe 1 [rich] countries.”

Members of the Disaster Emergencies Committee, which co-ordinates British aid efforts, also warned leaders that the disaster offers a glimpse of the future if urgent action is not taken.

Aid agencies including Christian Aid, Cafod, Care International, Oxfam and Tearfund said ministers meeting in the Polish capital must act urgently because climate change is likely to make such extreme weather events more common in the future, putting millions more lives at risk.

A Climate-Change Victory (Slate)

If global warming is slowing, thank the Montreal Protocol.

By 

An aerosol spray can.

No CFCs, please. (Photo by iStock)

Climate deniers like to point to the so-called global warming “hiatus” as evidence that humans aren’t changing the climate. But according a new study, exactly the opposite is true: The recent slowdown in global temperature increases is partially the result of one of the few successful international crackdowns on greenhouse gases.

Back in 1988, more than 40 countries, including the United States, signed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase out the use of ozone-depleting gases like chlorofluorocarbons. (Today the protocol has nearly 200 signatories.) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CFC emissions are down 90 percent since the protocol, a drop that the agency calls “one of the largest reductions to date in global greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s a blessing for the ozone layer, but also for the climate. CFCs are a potent heat-trapping gas, and a new analysis published in Nature Geoscience finds that slashing them has been a major driver of the much-discussed slowdown in global warming.

Without the protocol, environmental economist Francisco Estrada of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México reports, global temperatures today would be about a tenth of a degree Celsius higher than they are. That’s roughly an eighth of the total warming documented since 1880.

Estrada and his co-authors compared global temperature and greenhouse gas emissions records over the last century and found that breaks in the steady upward march of both coincided closely. At times when emissions leveled off or dropped, such as during the Great Depression, the trend was mirrored in temperatures; likewise for when emissions climbed.

“With these breaks, what’s interesting is that when they’re common that’s pretty indicative of causation,” said Pierre Perron, a Boston University economist who developed the custom-built statistical tests used in the study.

The findings put a new spin on investigation into the cause of the recent “hiatus.” Scientists have suggested that several temporary natural phenomena, including thedeep ocean sucking up more heat, are responsible for this slowdown. Estrada says his findings show that a recent reduction in heat-trapping CFCs as a result of the Montreal Protocol has also played an important role.

“Paradoxically, the recent decrease in warming, presented by global warming skeptics as proof that humankind cannot affect the climate system, is shown to have a direct human origin,” Estrada writes in the study.

The chart below, from a column accompanying the study, illustrates that impact. The solid blue line shows the amount of warming relative to pre-industrial levels attributed to CFCs and other gases regulated by the Montreal Protocol; the dashed blue line is an extrapolation of what the level would be without the agreement. Green represents warming from methane; Estrada suggests that leveling out may be the result of improved farming practices in Asia. The diamonds are annual global temperature averages, with the red line fitted to them. The dashed red line represents Estrada’s projection of where global temperature would be without these recent mitigation efforts.

131115_CDESK_chart

Courtesy of Francisco Estrada via Mother Jones

Estrada said his study doesn’t undermine the commonly accepted view among climate scientists that the global warming effect of greenhouse gases can take years or decades to fully manifest. Even if we cut off all emissions today, we’d still very likely see warming into the future, thanks to the long shelf life of carbon dioxide, the principal climate-change culprit. The study doesn’t let CO2 off the hook: The reduction in warming would likely have been even greater if CO2 had leveled off as much as CFCs and methane. Instead, Estrada said, it has increased 20 percent since the protocol was signed.

Still, the study makes clear that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—like arecent international plan to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a group of cousin chemicals to CFCs that are used in air conditioners and refrigerators, and the Obama administration’s move this year to impose strict new limits on emissions from power plants—can have a big payoff.

“The Montreal Protocol was really successful,” Estrada said. And as policymakers and climate scientists gather in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest U.N. climate summit next week, “this shows that international agreements can really work.”

Oldest Clam Consternation Overblown (National Geographic)

A photo of ming the clam.

Shell valves from a specimen of Arctica islandica that was found to have lived for approximately 507 years are pictured here. The creature’s death has generated some consternation about marine researchers that looks a bit overblown.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BANGOR UNIVERSITY

Samantha Larson

for National Geographic

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Consternation over the death of the world’s oldest-recorded animal, a 507-year-old clam nicknamed Ming, has earned marine researchers unhappy headlinesworldwide.

But a closer look at the story—”Clam-gate,” as the BBC called it—finds the tempest over Ming a bit overblown. (Also see “Clams: Not Just for Chowder.”)

News of the clam’s death, first noted in 2007, took on a life of its own this week after researchers led by James Scourse, from the United Kingdom’s Bangor University, reanalyzed its age and announced the 507-year estimate.

Contrary to news reports, the researchers say they did not kill the elderly clam for the ironic-seeming purpose of finding out its age.

“This particular animal was one of about 200 that were collected live from the Icelandic shelf in 2006,” explains climate scientist Paul Butlerfrom the same U.K. university, who, along with Scourse, dredged up the clam as part of a research project to investigate climate change over the past thousand years.

All 200 clams were killed when they were frozen on board to take them home. They didn’t find out how old Ming was until they were back in the lab and looked at its shell under a microscope.

Ming Dynasty Survivor

When Ming first made headlines in 2007, the researchers said they thought it was about 405 years old, earning it even then the title of the oldest-known animal.

After the more recent reanalysis, they realized that the bivalve was even more impressive than they had thought.

In the year Ming was born, Leonardo da Vinci was at work on the “Mona Lisa,” the first recorded epidemic of smallpox hit the New World, and the Ming dynasty ruled China (hence the name). Ming was 52 years old when Queen Elizabeth I took the throne.

Clam Age Counting

The researchers determined Ming’s age by counting the number of bands in its shell. This type of clam, the ocean quahog, grows a new band every year. (Also see “Giant Clam.”)

The 100-year age discrepancy resulted from the 2007 analysis examining a part of Ming’s shell where some of the bands were so narrow they couldn’t be separated from each other.

Scourse, a marine geologist, says that the new age has been verified against radiocarbon dating and is “pretty much without error.”

Clams Don’t Carry Birth Certificates

When Scourse and Butler dredged up the live clam, they had what appeared to be an everyday quahog, an animal that could fit into the palm of their hand.

As Madelyn Mette, a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University in Ames who also studies these clams, explains, “Once they reach a certain age, they don’t get a lot bigger per year … If you have a large clam, you can’t always tell if it’s 100 years old or 300 years old, because there’s very little difference in size.”

Scourse points out that the 200 clams they sampled represented a very small fraction of the world’s entire clam population. For that reason, even if Ming was the oldest animal that we knew, the chances that it was actually the oldest quahog out there in the ocean depths are “infinitesimally small.”

How About Some Chowdah?

In fact, it isn’t unthinkable that someone might eat a clam of Ming’s age for lunch—ocean quahogs from the North Atlantic are one of the main species used in clam chowder.

If nothing else, Ming’s sacrifice should help out Scourse and Butler’s research, looking at long-term climate impacts on sea life over the past few centuries.

“The 507-year-old is at the top end of the series,” Scourse says. “From this we can get annual records of marine climate change, which so far we’ve never been able to get from the North Atlantic.”

China considers end to mandatory animal testing on cosmetics (CNN)

By Zhang Dayu, CNN

November 15, 2013 — Updated 0649 GMT (1449 HKT)

A worker holds white rats at an animal laboratory of a medical school in 2008 in Chongqing, China.

A worker holds white rats at an animal laboratory of a medical school in 2008 in Chongqing, China.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • China considers allowing sale of some cosmetics without requiring them to be tested on animals.
  • The proposal covers products made in China, but not imported products
  • Campaign group said change came quicker than expected
  • But does not expect wholesale end to animal testing of cosmetics in China

Hong Kong (CNN) — Cosmetic companies and animal rights groups have welcomed a proposal by China to allow sales of some cosmetics without requiring them to be tested on animals.

Animal testing would no longer be mandatory for “non-specialized cosmetics”, including shampoo, soaps and certain skin products manufactured in China from June next year, according to a document posted on the website of the China Food and Drug Administration earlier this month.

Beauty companies have long faced an ugly dilemma in China.

Local laws and regulations require animal testing for cosmetic products sold in the country, which has made the lucrative market a tricky area for brands that want to sell in China without alienating consumers in other places that frown upon animal testing.

“Non-specialized cosmetics produced in China could avoid toxicological testing after going through risk and safety checks,” the China Food and Drug Administration said.

Imported cosmetics are not covered in the proposal. But the document indicated that China would gradually ease regulations on animal testing, which would allow more international firms opposed to animal testing to enter China’s 134 billion yuan ($22 billion) cosmetics market.

READ: From poison to potion: Toxins turned into life-saving drugs

Current regulations require all cosmetics to go through a lengthy approval process known as “toxicological testing” which involves testing on animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.

“The Body Shop welcomes the signals that the Chinese authorities are adopting a new approach to cosmetic testing,” spokeswoman Louise Terry said in emailed comments from London.

“We have campaigned against animal testing for over 20 years and we look forward to selling our products in China one day.”

Cosmetic brand Urban Decay last year abandoned plans to sell its products in China in response to pressure from consumers and campaign groups, according to Cruelty Free International.

Dave Neale, animal welfare director at campaign group Animal Asia, told CNN the planned changes had come quicker than expected given that local campaigns against animal testing have only been going for two years.

“That’s a very significant development because it took many years for European Union to allow these products to be sold (without being tested on animals).”

Earlier this year, a complete ban on the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing took effect in the European Union.

But Neale added that this proposal would not mark the end of animal testing in China.

“As far as I’m aware, products can still be tested on animals. It just opens the opportunity for non-animal products to be sold,” he said.

The shaman’s-eye view: A Yanomami verdict on us (New Scientist)

18 November 2013 by Daniel L. Everett

Magazine issue 2943S

Book information
The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami shaman by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert (translated by Nicholas Elliott and Alison Dundy)
Published by: Harvard University Press
Price: $39.95

Davi Kopenawa hopes to overturn prejudices towards his people (Image: Vincent Rosenblatt/Camera Press)

In The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami shaman, Davi Kopenawa looks from the other side of the anthropological lens – and the result is a literary treasure

STORIES are quilts. They are patches of brightness sewn together by narratives. And as with a quilt, each patch is chosen, not random. No two people will make the same quilt or tell the same story, even if they choose the same material.

So it is with The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami shaman, one of the first and best autobiographical narratives by an indigenous lowland Amazonian. It is the result of a collaboration between French anthropologist Bruce Albert, who worked among the Yanomami for 38 years, and Davi Kopenawa, a shaman who became spokesman for all Amazonians through his work with indigenous-rights organisation Survival International. Albert wrote the introduction and the conclusion; the rest is Kopenawa, translated.

Each offers his perspective, but the central story is Kopenawa’s, his personal history, the philosophy and spirituality of the Yanomami, and his view of the outsiders who have both attacked and celebrated his people, in Brazil, the US and Europe: the “white people”.

One interpretation of the book is that it is little more than 600-plus pages praising superstition, interspersed with lengthy, mistaken condemnation of modern societies. But this misses the main point: all descriptions of other peoples will be affected by how the writer’s perspective was formed within their own society, simultaneously full of truth and rife with misunderstanding, wrong focus, or attempts – conscious or unconscious – to impose the author’s beliefs.

Kopenawa labels whites as “fierce people” with deliberate irony, playing on the label applied to the Yanomami by some anthropologists, the best known of whom is Napoleon Chagnon. His book about the Yanomami, The Fierce People, is perhaps the bestselling anthropological book of all time. His work has been attacked by Survival International for promoting the idea that the Yanomami are more violent than whites, a view that has informed the work of other academics.

Kopenawa makes it clear that the Yanomami revenge fights are nothing compared with whites’ mastery of destruction, which dwarfs anything the world has seen. So he rejects the label “war” as a description of his people’s violence, saying that they fight over “funerary urns” – the desire to avenge loved ones killed by the sorcery and violence of others.

You may not like the way he portrays whites because, surely, we are not like that? Yet Kopenawa bases his interpretation on personal experience, training and observations – no different from any anthropologist. And the story that emerges of our people is unpleasant. Even when he gets us wrong, The Falling Skyteaches us that it hurts to read partial truths about one’s society from the pen of a largely unsympathetic observer. Just as it hurts the Yanomami. Anthropologists and travel writers, take note.

Yet ironically, the fame of the Yanomami and the interest this book is generating are partly due to anthropologists like Chagnon and their views. Kopenawa condemns the whites who “…continue to lie about us by saying: ‘The Yanomami are fierce. All they think about is warring and stealing women. They are dangerous!’ Such words are our enemies and we detest them.”

The effect whites had on him as a child is more complex, though. “If the white people hadn’t appeared… I would probably also have become a warrior and would have arrowed other Yanomami in anger when I wanted revenge. I have thought to do it. I always contained my evil thoughts… and stayed quiet by thinking of the white people. I would tell myself: ‘If I arrow one of us, those who covet our forest will say I am evil and devoid of wisdom… they are the ones who kill us with their diseases and shotguns. And it is against them… I must direct my anger today!”

Fierceness is indeed a trait of the Yanomami, one that comes from the ancestor spirit Arowë, Kopenawa tells us. But so too are gentleness, hard work, love of family, deep philosophical thought, fun, and more. Your quilt will look different depending on which patch – the one for fierceness, understanding of nature, or love of family – you sew in the centre. None of the quilts is false: each shows the variety of human perceptions and why no quilt, story or book should be taken as “the truth”. The true contribution of this book is to show us the richness of the Yanomami spirit and culture through the eyes of a respected leader of the community.

The author’s name, too, speaks volumes. “Davi” is the name the whites gave him. Kopenawa is his Yanomami name, referring to the vicious kopena wasps found in the area, while the “omamo” part of Yanomamo – as it is sometimes transliterated – means “sons of God”. The book’s title, The Falling Sky, is also significant. It refers both to the periodic destruction of the world in Yanomami lore, and to the threat of final destruction if the “white man” does not adopt more of the Yanomami values.

The book is a mix of autobiography, history, personal philosophy, and cultural criticism of whites for their destruction of the world, worship of the material, and lack of spirituality and vitality. It extols the virtues of Yanomami life and culture and their deity, Omama, placing him at the foundation not only of their culture but of white culture, too. Tellingly, Kopenawa’s first impression of Stonehenge, which served a society that some would label truly fierce, was that it was most likely built by and dwelt in by Omama.

Kopenawa’s life began when he “fell on the ground from the vagina of a Yanomami woman”. Pride in the lack of euphemism and in his origins is evident in this phrase. He has no desire to pretend he is like a white man, though he enjoys being among them. And the book is not only finely detailed and full of challenging philosophical points, it also contains much humour. Take Kopenawa’s reaction on seeing the large populations of Brazilian cities: “White people must never stop copulating.”

More darkly, he reminds us what it is like to be on “the other side” – to be missionised, anthropologised, and regulated by government. These are not pleasant experiences. His story is particularly pointed when he describes the ham-fistedness of Brazilian state employees. He singles out the officious attitudes of the FUNAI, the body that makes and carries out policy relating to indigenous peoples.

The book is also in part the story of anthropologist Bruce Albert. His narrative is clear and compelling as the story of an anthropologist working among a particular people in the Amazon. But the presence of a second narrative dilutes Kopenawa’s story, and overall the book would have been stronger without it – though it would, no doubt, make an excellent stand-alone book.

Ultimately, it is Kopenawa’s voice that tells us who he is, who his people are, and who we are to them. It is complex and nuanced; I’d go so far as to callThe Falling Skya literary treasure: invaluable as academic reading, but also a must for anyone who wants to understand more of the diverse beauty and wonder of existence.

This article appeared in print under the headline “Those fierce white people”

Daniel L. Everett is dean of arts and sciences at Bentley University, Massachusetts. His latest book is Language: The cultural tool (Profile). He has translated for Davi Kopenawa, and lived with the Amazonian Pirahã people and studied their language

Conheça o animal que mais salvou vidas humanas até hoje (Engenheria É)

Acessado em 18/11/2013.

Por Mauro Sérgio Ribeiro de Souza

Nas últimas semanas muitas pessoas tem protestado por conta do uso de animais em pesquisas. Teve o caso dos Beagles, testes em macacos, ratos e etc. Mas e você, sabe qual o animal que mais salvou vidas humanas até hoje?

Não é o cão, como muita gente pode ter pensado, nem mesmo o leal cavalo, nem o valente pombo-mensageiro. O salvador vem do mar: é o caranguejo-ferradura!

caranguejo_ferradura_03O caranguejo-ferradura (Limulus polyphemus) é um dos seres vivos mais antigos que existem no planeta. Uma estranha criatura que parece saída do filme “Alien”, capaz de suportar até um ano sem se alimentar e de resistir temperaturas e salinidades extremas. Um fóssil vivo que habita nosso planeta há 445 milhões de anos, antes mesmo que os dinossauros.

Hoje em dia, seu número encontra-se em decréscimo de forma lenta, mas constante, devido à mudança climática, a pesca predatória e a captura para a indústria farmacêutica. Infelizmente para o bicho, seu cotado sangue azul tem numerosos usos médicos e é utilizado para salvar inumeras vidas humanas.

Desde 1950, quando cientistas descobriram que o sangue de cor azul do caranguejo-ferradura se coagulava em contato com as bactérias E.coli e Salmonela, as pesquisas nunca mais pararam. Um destes últimos estudos se concentrou em um peptídeo que os caranguejos-ferradura elaboram e que inibe a replicação do Vírus da Imunodeficiência Humana.

Os ensaios pré-clínicos mostram que é tão efetivo como a zidovudina, um medicamento clássico contra a AIDS. Inclusive astronautas da NASA testaram na Estação Espacial Internacional um dispositivo médico de alta tecnologia que utiliza enzimas primitivas dos caranguejos-ferradura para o diagnóstico de doenças humanas.

O segredo que faz com que o sangue do caranguejo seja de grande utilidade para a indústria biomédica está baseado na simplicidade e efetividade de seu sistema imunológico. Uma verdadeira cascata de enzimas, que produzem coagulação quando se encontram com o material das paredes celulares da maioria das bactérias. Os caranguejos-ferradura vivem sob constante ameaça da infecção em um habitat que pode conter milhares de milhões de bactérias por mililitro.

A diferença dos seres humanos, os caranguejos não têm hemoglobina no sangue, com isso, eles utilizam a hemocianina para transportar oxigênio. E é devido à presença de cobre na hemocianina e não de ferro, que o sangue adquire a peculiar cor azul.

caranguejo_ferradura_07É tão importante este sangue azul que provavelmente muitos de nós devemos a vida a esses caranguejos. E não é um exagero já que o LAL (lisado de amebócitos de Limulus) extrato aquoso de amebócitos do caranguejo é utilizado com frequência em testes para detectar as endotoxinas bacterianas em numerosos produtos farmacêuticos. Além de ser uma forma singela, barata e segura para detectar impurezas, é uma ferramenta importante no desenvolvimento de novos antibióticos e vacinas.

O sangue do caranguejo-ferradura não só se converteu em uma poderosa “arma médica”, como também é um grande negócio. No mercado mundial, um litro de sangue deste caranguejo tem um preço aproximado de 15.000 dólares.

Ao ano, precisa-se do sangue de pelo menos 500.000 caranguejos, dos quais são extraídos em torno de 100 mililitros perfurando o pericárdio de seu primitivo coração. Mas, calma! Antes que você ache que os bichinhos precisem morrer para isso, saiba que o sacrifício deles não é necessário. Para obter o seu sangue valioso, os caranguejos são “ordenhados” manualmente por profissionais cuidadosos e, apesar de perderem 30% de seu peso, depois eles se recuperaram rápido e são devolvidos à água. Durante o processo, “apenas” 15% dos caranguejos morrem.

Os caranguejos passam por essa ordenha apenas uma vez por ano, sendo que seu sangue é posteriormente congelado, desidratado e, em seguida, enviado às instituições de pesquisas médicas e laboratórios.

caranguejo_ferradura_05