Envisioning a future without poverty in a world with intact ecosystems
As the world moves toward Copenhagen and I hear the main
discussion about enhanced CDM, REDD, CCS, Geo-engineering, Cap
and Trade and the rest, I'm not left with a feeling of
confidence and I don't know anyone who is. It seems as if these
measures will fail and I don't actually see how they could
succeed because they all leave the fundamental underlying causes
of the problem intact.
This makes me philosophical about Earth's Hope.
What working on "Earth's Hope" has shown me is that the earth's
ecosystems have suffered from understandable impacts that
degrade the functionality and can lead to collapse of these
systems. These systems are the gas exchange coming from
photosynthesis, the nutrient recycling coming from the decay of
organic matter as each generation of life gives up its body to
nurture the next and it is the hydrological cycle in which water
in various states cycles through the atmosphere, the biomass,
the organic matter and geologic formations.
After following this line of inquiry for so long I now know that
soil moisture, relative humidity, fertility, microclimates and
infiltration and retention of rainfall are dynamic. We can
physically change the amount of biomass, accumulated organic
matter and even ensure biodiversity is protected. It is our
What everyone has observed is that we can't do this by
continuing down the same developmental path. We must have a
radical readjustment that is equal to the size of the problem.
Since the problem is quite large we must realize that the
solution will also be Earth Changing.
I have also seen that there is a functional methodology for
transitioning subsistence agriculturalists to sustainable
livelihoods that not only eliminates the damage that they are
doing to the biosphere but employs them as the solution. We have
seen that their lives are transformed together with the planet.
This is true healing for the relationships between people and
the relationships between people and the earth.
Furthermore we have seen that any investment that is required to
make this shift is justified because we are talking about
safeguarding the air, water and food for all living things on
Earth. That the interests of the wealthy and the interests of
the poor are exactly the same and their fates will be determined
by exactly the same thing, Functional Ecosystems on a Planetary
I'm convinced that as the world discusses how to deal with human
influence on climate changes in Copenhagen it is important that
this point of view is heard. I hope you will all agree.
Deciding to employ "Integrated Poverty Eradication and
Large-Scale Ecosystem Rehabilitation" would change everything,
including; carbon disequilibrium, desertification, biodiversity
loss, food insecurity, migration, terror, even gender inequality
and unchecked population growth.
This is the "Major Non-Marginal Change" that Nicolas Stern was
This is where the carbon can actually be made to return to a
higher equilibrium rather than simply lower human impact. And
this is how we can address the massive historic crimes that
enriched some but has left billions of people in abject poverty.
We have the justification for doing this. We have the means as
can be seen by the obscene amounts of money being discussed for
options with much less benefit to everyone but very great
benefit to a few.
The EEMP has been given the opportunity to produce 2 twenty-five
minute episodes of Earth Report for the BBC World to air just
before the Copenhagen COP 15. This will give the "Earth's Hope"
concept a chance to be heard and discussed in the public
Any advice, encouragement or support is greatly appreciated.
John D. Liu
Director, Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP)
Rothamsted International Fellow for the Communication of Science
PhD Candidate (Research), Soil Sciences Department
School of Human and Environmental Studies, University of Reading
Ci Yun Si # 11, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100025
Mobile Tel: 86-13911565016, Studio Tel: