The transformation of México in the second half of the 20th century reads like a fairy tale. The country went from being a tinhorn dictator puppet colony of the Great Powers — a lampoon backdrop in the films of Cantinflas — to a prosperous and trendy middle class democratic socialist country with less absolute poverty than the United States.
In recent years nearly as many USAnians have flocked to the medical centers, second home sites and loan-free universities of México as there are would-be gardeners and tradesmen slipping North. Not that long ago it appeared as though the two countries were in the process of exchanging populations.
In Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse, William R. Catton called our modern humans Homo colossus — those among our kind living in industrial countries and consuming massive amounts of fossil fuels to motivate and control machines that do orders of magnitude more work than humans or animals could do otherwise. Homo colossus is gradually replacing Homo sapiens as industrial development spreads like a cancer across the Earth.
Fossil fuels artificially boosted carrying capacity for human occupancy, at least to outward appearances. It could never last. Read More
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
TEPIC, Mexico, Dec 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A group of Caribbean nations, many devastated by recent hurricanes, will work with companies, development banks and other organisations to curb damage from climate change and grow cleanly, under an action plan launched this week.
The countries aim to restructure up to $1 billion in debt to free up cash for coastal defences, switch from costly imported fuels to cheaper green energy, and buffer their communities and economies against the effects of global warming, including rising sea levels and heavier storms and floods.
Angus Friday, Grenada's ambassador to the United States, said the idea was to "inject a new DNA", breaking away from business-as-usual and bureaucratic measures so as to be able to act faster.
"Given the next hurricane season is just seven months around the corner, it's really important we move with the speed of climate change now," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Hurricanes Maria and Irma left a trail of destruction as they crashed through the Caribbean earlier this year, and many low-lying nations fear their infrastructure and economies will be devastated by more powerful storms and encroaching seas.
With many economies in the region plagued by high levels of debt, Caribbean nations have been pushing for rich countries to help bolster their defences and in turn, protect livelihoods.
Eleven nations, including Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands, signed up to the plan to create a "climate-smart zone", unveiled at the "One Planet" summit in Paris on Tuesday.
The plan's backers include the World Bank, the Nature Conservancy, the Green Climate Fund, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and British businessman Richard Branson, whose Caribbean island Necker was hit by Hurricane Irma.
Branson has pushed for a scheme to help vulnerable islands, centred on replacing outdated fossil-fuel power grids with renewable energy systems that can better withstand extreme weather and boost economic development.
The Caribbean region needs $8 billion to roll out national plans to tackle climate change under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Around $1.3 billion has been pledged to help islands rebuild in the wake of the recent hurricanes, while a further $2.8 billion has been committed through longer-term investment and debt restructuring plans.
The Nature Conservancy, a U.S.-based environmental charity, wants to work with lenders and governments to find ways to restructure $1 billion in sovereign debt and free up funds to invest in the "blue economy", a statement said. More
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure.
Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?
[Estonian] citizens can vote from their laptops and challenge parking tickets from home. They do so through the “once only” policy, which dictates that no single piece of information should be entered twice. Instead of having to “prepare” a loan application, applicants have their data—income, debt, savings—pulled from elsewhere in the system. There’s nothing to fill out in doctors’ waiting rooms, because physicians can access their patients’ medical histories. Estonia’s system is keyed to a chip-I.D. card that reduces typically onerous, integrative processes—such as doing taxes—to quick work. “If a couple in love would like to marry, they still have to visit the government location and express their will,” Andrus Kaarelson, a director at the Estonian Information Systems Authority, says. But, apart from transfers of physical property, such as buying a house, all bureaucratic processes can be done online.
Less expensive more efficient government anyone?
Estonia is a Baltic country of 1.3 million people and four million hectares, half of which is forest. Its
government presents this digitization as a cost-saving efficiency and an equalizing force. Digitizing processes reportedly saves the state two per cent of its G.D.P. a year in salaries and expenses. https://goo.gl/iwMb2B
Monday, December 4, 2017
A new Bill to decriminalise small quantities of cannabis was tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday.
Hamilton, Bermuda, Dec 04 2017: The Misuse of Drugs (Decriminalisation of Cannabis) Amendment Act was formally proposed by Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Social Development and Sport.
The Bill would decriminalise quantities of cannabis less than 7 grams.
However, the Bill states police will still have the authority to seize any amount of cannabis, and the minister shall make regulations to provide for substance abuse education or treatment for those found with the drug.
A similar Bill was debated and approved by the House of Assembly in May, but the legislation never reached the Senate due to the timing of the General Election.
While both pieces of legislation were aimed at decriminalising quantities of cannabis less than 7 grams, the latest Bill specifies that the Director of Public Prosecutions can still proceed with charges if there is evidence the drugs were intended for supply.
The new legislation also lacks a commencement date. More
Moody’s Investors Service, one of the top credit rating agencies in the world, warned cities and states in the U.S. that unless they prepare for climate change, the agency could lower their credit ratings, making it harder for them to obtain low-interest bonds.
The agency told clients this week that Moody’s analysts examine the climate risks that municipalities and states face and their efforts to plan and prepare for these impacts. These include both long-term threats, such as sea level rise, as well as what Moody’s calls “climate shocks” — extreme weather like floods, droughts, and coastal storms. These impacts, the company said, increase a city or state’s risk of defaulting on a loan. https://goo.gl/xiLj6T