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A Desert Oasis – A Synonym For Mirage

Wrong Kind of Green Op-ed

September 9, 2016

by Forrest Palmer

 

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Cheetahs as accessories: no rainforest required. Cheetahs are status symbols for the ultra rich as they are expensive and  illegal to obtain. (Credits: pixte.com)

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“The world’s first hotel with a tropical rainforest is set to open in Dubai. The Rosemont Hotel & Residences will open in 2018, and will be managed by Hilton Worldwide.” [Source]

It was recently revealed that Dubai is in the midst of building an actual rainforest in a luxury hotel within the city.  According to CNN, this stroke of genius (or more likely, insanity) will have the following amenities available to its guests as detailed by DJ Armin, principal architect and managing partner of ZAS Architects Dubai:

“Inside the rainforest, we’ve created a landscape akin to a full-scale tropical environment — complete with adventure trails, a sandless beach, a splash pool, waterfalls, streams and a rainforest cafe,” says Armin.

There will also be a “prehistoric Jurassic-inspired marsh.”

“Technological features include an advanced sensory rain system that creates a 360-degree experience, simulating the sensation of being surrounded by rainfall without actually getting wet.”

Sensors control where the rain will fall depending on where people are detected.

Water will be collected, stored from condensation and recycled to create a humid environment similar to a tropical rainforest.

The outdoor rainforest will be located on the top level of the entertainment podium that connects the hotel and residential towers.

The project is still at an early stage, but it appears the rainforest will be open to the public as well as hotel guests.

By any rational reasoning, this is a veritable waste of resources that is indicative of the momentary and dwindling spoils of war that man has decided to utilize in its short Pyrrhic victory with the environment itself .  Yet, this is one of many projects that are ongoing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country in which the capital city of Dubai resides, to build a desert wonderland for anyone with enough money to experience a ‘genuine heaven on Earth’.

And although this dance with fantasy is beyond delusional as this incessant growth continues presently, there is an acknowledgement by the leaders in the UAE that the ongoing building of this dream world is in danger by their acknowledgement that an absolute storm is brewing in the form of catastrophic climate change.  F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”, but this missive doesn’t hold true when it comes to conflicting ideas that are manifested in the tangible aspect of everyday life which can’t exist under illogical circumstances.  Hence, the UAE can’t in one hand have an entire economic system  whose solvency is wholly dependent on 85% of its exports being oil and at the same time address the fact that said oil being exported is responsible for the entire region in which the country resides no longer able to maintain human life in the not too distant future.

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And at a more detailed level, this dreamland built by way of the largesse available through the amount of oil produced per day in the country means that the cause of their ultimate demise will be the liquid that lies underneath the feet of its citizens and provides them the economic resources to build such opulent edifices as an artificial rainforest. The UAE is currently producing approximately 2.9 million barrels of oil a day.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a barrel of oil constitutes 0.43 metric tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.  This means that the UAE’s oil production is responsible for daily emissions equivalent to 1.25 million metric tons of carbon and yearly emissions of 455 million metric tons.  And although this is a small percentage of the total amount of oil and overall fossil fuels that are drilled, mined and consumed each day, it still illustrates how the United Arab Emirates is complicit in its inevitable demise.   It is but one brick in a wall constituted of the fossil fuel industry that is built upon a global community (mainly Western nations)  consuming 94 million barrels of oil a day (2014 estimates). Yet, it is still a very vital component of the oil equilibrium that allows the economy to function which is to the overall detriment of the physical world we depend on for our continued existence.

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Source: Squares Real Estate

And as the rainforests are an indispensable component of our global ecosystem that sustains life on Earth and has now been relegated to the décor of a hotel for the rich and famous, we must ask ourselves what exactly the frivolity placed on such an important part of our survival is causing at the grassroots level.  To ascertain the precarious situation in which the once expansive rainforest, the lungs of the Earth, are in currently, it is important to look at the destruction that has been caused and its continuing to be placed on its ever weakening back. The rainforests are a network of vegetation that is found  in Asia, Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, as well as small vestiges in the Pacific Northwest, with the largest expanse being that found in South America.  At one time, rainforests covered 14% of the land surface; now it is a mere 6% and dropping precipitously.  This is almost entirely due to man’s insatiable need for consumer growth through extracting irreplaceable resources and minerals from these regions.  At the current rate of destruction, which is about 1 acre each second, the rainforest will be wholly destroyed by the middle of the 21st century, the most optimistic of assessments.  With the loss of this forestation, the diversity of species will continue to fall at apocalyptic rates and ensure that human life will dissolve with all the other species that are being designated for extinction with each passing day.

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Yet, the ornamental aspects of biodiversity ensure that the removal of the rainforest from its natural habitat to a small facsimile amount  will go on unabated for the foreseeable future.  Consequently, the people have been indoctrinated into believing that it is now possible to visit a self contained rainforest with all the Western amenities and luxuries you can imagine at your disposal in the coziest of conditions.

Geoengineering for consumerism within a sweltering desert – branded as sustainability.

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The orangutan is just one species of thousands losing their rainforest habitat to the Western whims (“sustainable” palm oil, “green” biomass, FSC-certified logging, etc.) of industrial civilization.

This is the maniacal ongoing process of removing an actual rainforest from where it can thrive and maintain itself as a living organism and instead transplanting it to an area where not only vegetation is no longer sustainable, but where life itself may be unsustainable in the not too distant future.  It is beyond maddening to see this type of behavior by anyone who is aware of the consequences of our daily actions in terms of the desecration of what may be all living organisms on the planet Earth.

The folly of man is to believe that science will be the magic elixir that will sustain planetary survival outside of a natural word.  Hence, all the components that make a living, breathing planet have no usage any longer as we transition from a natural world to an artificial one. As alchemy, which was at one time deemed a science, has been proven to be useless, at what juncture are we to say that science and technology is rubbish in being ascendant to nature?  As science is at the basis of all advances in a technocratic society, such as the Western world, the problems caused by the resulting technology are increasing at such a rate that any honest assessment must come to the following conclusion:  Even though modern technology may have solved certain woes in societies, subsequent matters have worsened globally through utilization of these technologies that are more numerous in nature and even just as bad or worse than the original troubles.  Wherever the line resides between a sane and insane world, it has definitely been crossed when man actually has scaled to the mythical and illogical heights of believing it can actually displace a rainforest from its natural environment to a replication of sorts in the most unnatural of places.

Palm-Dubai-UAE-Extension

“Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah will soon bear yet another pricey piece of “fruit,” with the manmade archipelago—one of three artificial islands in the UAE city—plotting to add yet another item to its long list of lodges by 2017.Sporting an estimated cost of $1.4 billion, the sweet resort—whose interiors will be dressed by London-based company GA Design—is being touted as a “foodie paradise,” with several upscale restaurants (led of course by award-winning chefs) inked into its blueprint, on top of an assortment of retail spots. One of the structure’s coolest components is undoubtedly its sky pool, set to sit 295 feet off the ground near its median.” [Source]

Out-Of-This-World-Water-Discus-Hotel-1

“This bold project belongs to Deep Ocean Technology (DOT), a company that plans to develop spectacular underwater hotels for luxe travelers. One of these hotels, called the Water Discus Hotel, will be built in Dubai, and it will look very much like an alien spaceship that landed into the coral-populated ocean.” [Source]

As there are definite undertones and intimations of a problem brewing by just the existence of these enclaves, such as the luxury hotels in Dubia, that are used as enclosures to divide the haves from the have nots, there is no glass thick enough or technology advanced enough or place removed far away enough to distance those who reside inside the domes of safety from the ramifications of the same inventions that give them their privileges in life.  Even though the administrators of Dubai have been able to actually devise temporary settings that mirror the mirage of any desert dweller who has lost his mind due to the extremities of heat prostration, the tangible aspects of it are just as imaginary when it comes to the realities of longevity and sustainability.

A mirage is just a mirage – no matter how many people profess its presence is anything but.

 

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

 

 

WATCH: WWF SILENCE OF THE PANDAS | A Journey into the Heart of the Green Empire

HectorLaurenceWWFDorteWWFJasonClayWWF

Above: Three of many individuals creating mass-misery and ecological devastation via WWF. Clockwise: Dr Hector Laurence – WWF Argentina (also president of Agricultural Association AIMA and Director of two GMO companies (Morgan Seeds & Pioneer), Dörte Bieler – WWF spokesperson for Germany, Jason Clay – Senior Vice President, Market Transformation.

The WWF is the largest environmental protection organisation in the world. Trust in its “green projects” is almost limitless. Founded on September 11, 1961, it is the most influential lobby group for the environment in the world, thanks largely to its elitist contacts in both the political and industrial spheres and to its ability to walk a constant tightrope between commitment and venality.

This film will dispel the green image of the WWF however. Behind the organisation’s eco-façade, the documentary maker uncovered explosive stories from all around the world. This documentary reveals the secrets of the WWF. It is a journey into the heart of the green empire that will hopefully shatter public faith in such so-called conservation groups forever. [Synopsis below video.]

A film by Wilfried Huismann, Germany, 2011

Synopsis:

The WWF, the most famous and powerful environmental organization worldwide, is facing accusations of working too closely with industries that destroy the environment and of ‘greenwashing’ dubious companies. The Fund allegedly collaborates with companies that deforest jungles, displace farmers, destroy the habitat of animals and contaminate the environment, German journalist and documentary maker Wilfried Huismann reveals.

WWF Denies Palm Oil is the Problem, then Counts the Cash

November 23rd, 2011

The Unsuitablog

It seems there is no depth to which the corporate world’s own favourite NGO, WWF, will not sink. An article in this week’s Guardian was happy to give WWF some free publicity, implying that the group actually give a stuff about the wildlife they were apparently set up to protect (or simply to ensure there is enough to shoot, as some sources suggest). The Palm Oil industry is growing month on month as new swathes of rainforest and other critical habitat are razed to the ground. According to Rainforest Action Network:

Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) on industrial plantations[3] that have severe impacts on the environment, forest peoples and the climate.

The Indonesian government has announced plans to convert approximately 18 million more hectares of rainforests, an area the size of Missouri, into palm oil plantations by 2020

This is just on current growth in demand, but just you wait what happens when conventional oil supplies start drying up and biofuel demand starts shooting through the roof. No more rainforests.

So, what do WWF think of the palm oil situation?

Palm oil itself is not the issue,” [Adam] Harrison [of WWF] noted. “The problem is how and where palm oil is produced.

Oh, I see. What he is saying is that we can have as much palm oil as we like so long as it’s produced in the right way. Let’s put that into context by quoting from the article some more:

The WWF’s Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard, published on Tuesday, rates 132 mainly European companies, 29 of which received full marks, including 15 from UK such as Cadbury, Boots and Waitrose. No company achieved that level in the last scorecard report in 2009. At the bottom of the 2011 list are big retailers like Aldi, Lidl and Edeka from Germany, who refused to answer any questions about their palm oil policies.

“In the UK in particular we see progress,” said Adam Harrison, palm oil expert at WWF UK. “Due to several campaigns highlighting the damage caused by the rapid spread of palm plantations, companies see they are under pressure and respond.”

But he added: “Although there has been some progress on sustainable palm oil, new commitments are simply not translating fast enough into increased use of certified sustainable palm oil.” The report gives Unilever, the world’s biggest buyer of palm oil, 8 out of a possible 9.

Some companies bad, some companies good, apparently. Unilever are the world’s largest processors of palm oil, so that should instantly put them near the front of the queue for criticism, after all if the companies didn’t put palm oil into their products then it wouldn’t be used, as was the case as little as 10 years ago when “vegetable oil” meant all sorts of different oils that invariably didn’t contribute to the removal of vast areas of rainforest. So how do WWF justify giving a company like Unilever such a brilliant score?

The Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard 2011 measures the performance of more than 130 major retailers and consumer goods manufacturers against four areas which WWF
believes show whether or not these companies are acting responsibly in terms of palm oil use and sourcing:

• Being an active member of the RSPO;
• Making a public commitment to RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil;
• Disclosing how much palm oil they use;
• Showing how much of the palm oil they use is CSPO or is supporting sustainable production.

Let’s break that down a bit:

Being an active member of the RSPO;

The RSPO were founded by a band of palm oil growers, processing giants and WWF. According to WWF’s definition of “sustainable palm oil” the RSPO is the only organisation that has any credence; just like with “sustainable” timber WWF ignores, and positively campaigns against, any certifier other than FSC. WWF’s investment arm is raking in billions of dollars (I have been told this could be in the range of $60 billion for just one standards-based scheme in the Amazon) from the various schemes it oversees and then takes a cut from. The RSPO is just another such scheme: if WWF can convince everyone that this burgeoning market can be made “sustainable” then the potential from their founder member status for making money is enormous.

Making a public commitment to RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil;

The public commitment, along with the branding on products as strongly suggested by WWF, provides further credibility for this pork barrel scheme. No other certification counts, even if the palm oil was produced in an area that always contained oil palm.

Disclosing how much palm oil they use;

This serves to show the extent to which RSPO is cornering the palm oil market. Not just that, the relationship between RSPO members and WWF is a circular one; according to RSPO:

By joining the RSPO, organizations publicly communicate their commitment to sustainable palm oil production and use as well as to raise their reputation as a pro-active, solution-oriented and socially responsible organization. Ordinary Members have the right to vote at the General Assembly and can be elected to represent the relevant sector in the Executive Board by the category in question. They can have access to all materials produced by RSPO for its members, through the RSPO website and newsletter. Ordinary Members have a say in the development of criteria for sustainable palm oil production. They also have the opportunity to network with other companies in the palm oil value chain that share their values. By demonstrating their efforts towards sustainable palm oil, they can thereby improve their access to markets and investment sources.

Become a member, especially a large-scale member, and you can even change the meaning of the word “sustainable”. More importantly, you have access to all that filthy lucre. WWF, of course, get a cut of that filthy lucre.

Showing how much of the palm oil they use is CSPO or is supporting sustainable production.

CSPO means Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (a.k.a. RSPO Certified Palm Oil). Simply put, the more RSPO palm oil you use, the better your score. No matter that the members of the RSPO can manipulate the certification to suit the industry and it is in WWF’s interest to keep the biggest members on the table to ensure the RSPO monopoly is retained. As reported by Rebecca Zhou:

WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Manager Lydia Gaskell says that companies wanting to be certified are given action plans and targets according to ‘the size of the company and how sustainable they are.’

“To take a company off certification for failing to meet standards and criteria is at the very least, impractical,” said Gaskell. “There would be no need for the RSPO if everyone was meeting those principles and standards from day one.”

What really shouts out, though, is the text from WWF’s own report, which demonstrates in black and white how much value they really give to a sustainable future as compared to one in which industry holds sway over everything. They do not recommend stopping the industrial use of palm oil; instead they look forward to a thriving palm oil future. I recommend a strong stomach if you are to read the following slice of corporate-friendly PR (the emphasis of doublespeak and greenwash is mine) – after which I feel only 5 more words are necessary:

Oil palm yields more oil per hectare of land than any other crop in the world. That is one of the reasons why palm oil makes up more or less a third of the 151 million tonnes of vegetable oil produced worldwide. Its wide availability and low price combined with certain unique characteristics means that it is used in many packaged food and personal care products that line supermarket shelves. Ice cream, margarine, biscuits, cakes, breakfast cereals, soup stock cubes, snacks, ready meals, instant noodles, shampoos, soaps, lipsticks, candles and washing-up liquids—all of these items often contain palm oil that was produced in tropical countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

And palm oil is here to stay. Demand is expected to reach 77 million tonnes in 2050 to help feed the world’s growing population and the increased affluence of emerging economies like China and India. And its use may possibly grow even more if demand increases for palm oil as a biofuel.

The thriving palm oil industry also contributes significantly to the well-being of producer countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, and increasingly in the palm oil frontiers of Africa and Latin America. In these countries and regions, the palm oil sector can create employment that helps to lift rural people out of poverty.

Established brands such as ASDA , Carrefour, IKEA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, that are relatively large users of palm oil (using tens of thousands of tonnes each year) have progressed very well. Medium-sized users such as Co-op Switzerland, Co-operative Group UK, ICA, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Royal Ahold and Waitrose, have also performed well in their size class. Among the small palm oil volume retailers, Axfood, The Body Shop and the Boots Group are ahead of the curve.

There is a second group of retailers that are at the start of their journey and that WWF expects to do better in future Scorecards. These include Casino, Coles Supermarkets, Delhaize Group, E.Leclerc, Kesko Food, Metcash Trading, REWE Group, the SOK Group and Woolworths.

Unfortunately there is still a large number of companies that are not yet performing as well as they should, and certainly not as well as the Scorecard’s leading companies show is possible.

Disappointingly, 12 out of the 44 retailers scored have still not joined the RSPO, a very basic first step in taking responsibility for the palm oil they use.

…and benefiting WWF’s financial performance.

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2011/11/23/wwf-denies-palm-oil-is-the-problem-then-counts-the-cash/

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