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Old 06-15-2009, 04:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
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But wasn't Egypt lush and green a few thousand years back? A civilisation wouldn't sprout up in the middle of a dust bowl. Didn't it turn to a desert when man cut down all the trees that helped retain moisture?

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Old 06-16-2009, 07:56 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The Earth Is Shrinking: Advancing Deserts and Rising Seas Squeezing Civilization

Lester R. Brown

Our early twenty-first century civilization is being squeezed between advancing deserts and rising seas. Measured by the land area that can support human habitation, the earth is shrinking. Mounting population densities, once generated solely by the addition of over 70 million people per year, are now also fueled by the relentless advance of deserts and the rise in sea level. Our early twenty-first century civilization is being squeezed between advancing deserts and rising seas. Measured by the land area that can support human habitation, the earth is shrinking. Mounting population densities, once generated solely by the addition of over 70 million people per year, are now also fueled by the relentless advance of deserts and the rise in sea level.

The newly established trends of expanding deserts and rising seas are both of human origin. The former is primarily the result of overstocking grasslands and overplowing land. Rising seas result from temperature increases set in motion by carbon released from the burning of fossil fuels.

The heavy losses of territory to advancing deserts in China and Nigeria, the most populous countries in Asia and Africa respectively, illustrate the trends for scores of other countries. China is not only losing productive land to deserts, but it is doing so at an accelerating rate. From 1950 to 1975 China lost an average of 600 square miles of land (1,560 square kilometers) to desert each year. By 2000, nearly 1,400 square miles were going to desert annually.

A U.S. Embassy report entitled “Desert Mergers and Acquisitions” describes satellite images that show two deserts in north-central China expanding and merging to form a single, larger desert overlapping Inner Mongolia and Gansu provinces. To the west in Xinjiang Province, two even larger deserts—the Taklimakan and Kumtag—are also heading for a merger. Further east, the Gobi Desert has marched to within 150 miles (241 kilometers) of Beijing, alarming China’s leaders. Chinese scientists report that over the last half-century, some 24,000 villages in northern and western China were abandoned or partly depopulated as they were overrun by drifting sand.

All the countries in central Asia—Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are losing land to desertification. Kazakhstan, site of the vast Soviet Virgin Lands Project, has abandoned nearly half of its cropland since 1980.

In Afghanistan, a country with a Canadian-sized population of 31 million, the Registan Desert is migrating westward, encroaching on agricultural areas. A U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) team reports that “up to 100 villages have been submerged by windblown dust and sand.” In the country’s northwest, sand dunes are moving onto agricultural land, their path cleared by the loss of stabilizing vegetation from firewood gathering and overgrazing. The UNEP team observed sand dunes nearly 50 feet (15 meters) high blocking roads, forcing residents to establish new routes.

Iran, which has 70 million people and 80 million goats and sheep, the latter the source of wool for its fabled rug-making industry, is also losing its battle with the desert. Mohammad Jarian, who heads Iran’s Anti-Desertification Organization, reported in 2002 that sand storms had buried 124 villages in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, forcing their abandonment. Drifting sands had covered grazing areas, starving livestock and depriving villagers of their livelihood.

Africa, too, is plagued with expanding deserts. In the north, the Sahara Desert is pushing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria northward toward the Mediterranean. In a desperate effort to halt the advancing Sahara, Algeria is geographically restructuring its agriculture, replacing grain in the south with orchards and vineyards.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Here's the message that the filmmakers rejected unread:

Bonjour mes amis,

I'm sure you are aware that the Contact and English buttons are not working, but I hope you will forward this to the film editing department.

One of my favourite signs was posted in a Vermont newspaper office:

Cherish the english language.
It is the only thing that distinguishes us
from the photographers.

Your film "Home" is a total triumph of photography, but the english narration was so poorly written that I felt that it almost ruined the film. I appreciate the need to simplify, but that does not need to lead to so much distortion and faulty logic. Perhaps the most obvious example of spin was a picture of women building water reservoirs, where the text says "with their bare hands" and the graphics show modern picks and shovels. "By hand" is the proper description.

Also, we are already into terra incognita in Siberia - the lakes are bubbling methane. I didn't make a list of all the errors I spotted, but if you send me the script, I'd be happy to annotate it for you.

If I could add one thing to the credits, it would be a picture of your camera ship or ships. I grew up with an aviation photographer, so I'm most impressed.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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True, the pics are the best part of the movie, while the narration (or at least translation) seems to have been done in a quick and half-@$$ way. When watching in the cinema, I recall that there was a large difference between the English narration and the Polish subtitles. If the English isn't up to specs, then the further translation is even worse.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This film is by Yann Arthus Bertrand. He is famous in France for a serie of TV documentaries based upon his "La Terre vue du ciel" work.

He wanted to build a copyable and usable movie. This is this idea which convinced Luc Besson to help him to find a sponsor to get the 10 millions $ needed to build his movie.

I don't know about English version, but the French one is done by Yann Arthus Bertrand himself and with the same high quality comments compared to his TV documentaries.

After a short description of the growth of human being on Earth, and why we couldn't resist to petrol, he shows how much bad things we are inflicting to Earth.
I don't want to comment about if human being is the main cause of global warming or if there is a global warming. What is certain is that current generations are stealing Earth resources and next ones won't be able to live as we are currently.

Thanks to this film I finally discovered why red meat, build by and for occidental people is so bad for environment. This permitted me to search the web and find much more information about that. I'm understanding now why a French people is generating 6 tonnes of CO2 by year while the calculus for my family, including a guesstimate of gray energies, was lower than 2 tonnes. I'm sad that these personal figures were underestimated, but at the other side I'm happy to see how much I can improve : as 1 kg of red meat needs 10 tonnes of water and generates 200 kg of CO2, I just have to limit my red meat consumption to what my body needs and I'll save an additional couple tonne of CO2 per year... Of course I'll continue to produce green electricity, lower my electricity consumption, eco-drive and ecomod, etc.

At the end of the film, Yann Arthus Bertrand shows good things done to the Earth. In his TV documentaries he was mixing good and bad things and was interviewing people.

Whatever your feeling about global warming, watch this movie at least for the beautiful pictures. Be careful, without the sound you may confuse between good and bad things.

Hope you'll watch the film.. I know I'll watch it again this week-end and several times before the end of the year.

For the "funny story", 2 days after the broadcasting of the movie, there was European elections. In France ecologist made nearly the socialist score. Of course the latter accused the movie to have influenced the result. In fact since several weeks, socialists and centrists were loosing points so this film only confirmed some people into their intention to vote for ecologists.

Denis.

PS I can't put enough positive smileys in this message so I didn't put any.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Salut Denis,

The French version I saw had very good narration too. It's too bad translation was botched, at least in English.

Does anyone know where the huge heard of cows in the movie is located? Looks like some southern state but I'd like to know. It was a bit disgusting. I eat red meat only once every two weeks approximately, but it felt like too much already.

2 days ago I took a long a walk with my wife and 20 months old son. We walked on a cycling trail along a boulevard and I couldn't help but notice how bad it was smelling, you could smell the unburnt HC. Thank god it's not as bad as smogged cities, but I was really angry that my son was breathing that air, and I felt bad I was contributing to that. I swear In 2-3 years there will be at least an EV in our family.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Red face Modern, ethical diet

[QUOTE=groar;110485] <snip>
Thanks to this film I finally discovered why red meat, build by and for occidental people is so bad for environment. <> I just have to limit my red meat consumption to what my body needs and I'll save an additional couple tonne of CO2 per year...

Unless you have an unusual health problem your body needs no meat at all. Vegetarians are over-represented at the Olympics, and live five years longer, on average. Instead of paying to feed animals high quantities of fattening food, I put my money into high quality food for myself. With a balanced, nutritious diet, you won't miss old habits.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Ancient History

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
But wasn't Egypt lush and green a few thousand years back? A civilisation wouldn't sprout up in the middle of a dust bowl. Didn't it turn to a desert when man cut down all the trees that helped retain moisture?
I think that Egypt has always depended upon irrigation from the Nile, although the deserts are usually enlarged by a human population. Nearby, the Cedars of Lebanon, celebrated in Biblical times, are no more. Previously, Greece had been deforested by the Dorians, ending the Mycenaean civilization of Homer, and leading to a 400 year "dark age" until the Greeks learned to trade olives for Egyptian grain. The Parthenon has fake wooden peg ends among the frescoes, because the Greeks still missed having logs to make into proper looking temples. (Thus, American Colonial architecture is wood, imitating stone, which imitated wood!)
Japan and Scandinavia were both badly deforested about 400 years ago, but they have strong management now. Densely-populated Japan is 2/3 forest!

Last edited by Bicycle Bob; 06-17-2009 at 08:17 PM.. Reason: P.S.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:11 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasdrouille View Post
Does anyone know where the huge heard of cows in the movie is located? Looks like some southern state but I'd like to know. It was a bit disgusting. I eat red meat only once every two weeks approximately, but it felt like too much already.
I have seen feedlots of that size in the panhandle of Oklahoma and in west Kansas.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob View Post
With a balanced, nutritious diet, you won't miss old habits.

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