Urgent Questions



They continue cutting the Indonesian rainforest down to skeletons

Is the unlimited growth of global population OK?

Terrorism, to cool down by economic development programs?

Global responsibility of national governments

Bio-fuel and Ethics
or: Is it ethically and socially responsible to produce bio-fuel?


They continue cutting the Indonesian rainforest down to skeletons
10 July 2010

Responsible portions of humankind still don't seem to have understood that the conservation of rainforests is a decisive climate factor. The rainforests at least in Africa, Brazil and Indonesia are continuously cut down and the world is standing on the sidelines. The man on the street is powerless and the big ones in politics and economy don't seem to have an interest in change, neither in a stop nor in a slowing of these developments. As an excuse, one is informed that the “much demanded Palm oil” is needed for the cosmetics industry and also for the production of biofuels…

A press note of 7 July 2010 contains this most impressive photo that speaks volumes:

Rainforest replacement by palmoil plants in Indonesia

Doesn't the land look almost like a skeleton? Greenpeace informs that most actively involved are Sinar Mas (as producer) and Carrefour and Nestlé as selling organizations.

There is a video, from a different source, my friend Roberto, amazingly fitting into this context. Its title is “Where are the timber workers gone…?” To watch it, please click here.

Isn't cutting the rainforest totally socially irresponsible? Would anyone believe that the forthcoming guidance standard on social responsibility, ISO 26000, would help remedying the situation and educating responsible persons in politics and economy? It seems more than evident that this situation needs a variety of more powerful interventions on the political level and towards business leaders.

As a good start, actions of environmental organizations help at least creating awareness (about Indonesian government actions and omissions and about collaborating organizations) and should be heavily supported.

See also http://members.greenpeace.org/blog/greenpeaceusa_blog/2010/07/06/greenpeace-exposes-sinar-mas-pulping-th or google for “greenpeace sinar mas





Is the unlimited growth of global population OK?
        6 March 2010Weltkugel umrahmt

Trivializing, we speak about climate change, because the change is so slow; we are reluctant to use the term climate crisis or, more realistically, climate catastrophe. Since the 1970’s we have known that pollution of the atmosphere has already progressed so far that global warming will continue, even if air pollution would have stopped totally around 1980. But we happily continue to pollute. In consequence, temperatures will continue to increase for an unforeseeable number of decades. The political declaration of intent to limit the increase of temperature to 2°C is an illusion, even before reaching such an agreement.

Even before the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, it was obvious that a single-state attitude prevails - although everyone must know since Chernobyl that atmospheric ‘dirt’ produced in one country returns as fallout on other countries.

Positively, it can be noted that efforts towards mitigation of the climate crisis continue and they will hopefully yield successes. But much too little discussion is devoted to

  • an inevitably approaching soil catastrophe, as consequence of the climate crisis (desertification,
    over-fertilization), and
  • a looming sea catastrophe (ocean warming, continuous waste dropping), and, even more, to
  • the prospect that all successes on climate recovery will be nullified if
    global population growth continues without limit.

The United Nations stated in 2009 that already one billion people are suffering hunger, out of a total count of seven billion.

We see resources getting scarce, and we see this causing an incalculable potential for conflicts. We can sense a drastic intensification of climate and social problems, if population growth continues in an unlimited manner.

From a Christian perspective, we all have a duty to sustainably preserve Creation, yes: each individual, each organization, and each government. And all can contribute if they so will. This will is an ethical obligation!

What is to be done?

These interrelations can be brought to the attention of the broader public, so that everyone can adapt his/her own responsible attitude accordingly. Next to all individuals, particularly science, politics and churches are called on to counter-act the unlimited growth of global population.

          Science is called on to develop the formula for a regionally responsible density of population.

         Politicians are called on to issue the necessary national regulations and particularly to agree on
international treaties.

        Churches are facing an extensive task of education and particularly the Catholic Church is called on to
       decide on an amelioration of its dogma on contraception and to make it effective:
an amelioration that takes demographic change into account, that is socially responsible and
                  regionally flexible, and puts the personal responsibility into the foreground.

More thoughts and the dialogue with scientists, political parties and churches are available at
http://www.kaguigu.com/Bevoelkerungswachstum-unbegrenzt/ , for the time being only in German.

This article is available for download, here.


Terrorism, to cool down by economic development programs?

The German TV news in the “Tagesschau” reported on 20 March 2008:

“Saddam is no more – but the balance sheet is disastrous

Tpolitische Weltkarte 100060ens of thousands died, Al Qaida is stronger than ever, the anti-Americanism has globally increased. The balance of the Iraq war, after 5 years, is disastrous….”

Many other quotes and photos could be presented, but I don’t wish to do that. I want to look at symptoms and possible causes.

Symptoms are manifold, mostly assassinations killing lives that didn’t want anything else but to live a normal life. Since decades we can observe such symptoms, but nothing has really changed. Every time we are again shocked.

Do we get used to this kind of information, or do we just look away?

The symptoms are eagerly looked after: assassinations are identified, the guilty ones are judged, border controls get tighter, photos are collected and stored, fingerprints are taken when crossing borders, fingerprints of millions of citizens are taken to possibly identify a terrorist. Laws are tightened and some nations seem to try to curl up into a ball, basically ignoring that the nation’s infrastructure remain as vulnerable  as ever.

Here is the medical interpretation: the symptoms get cured, the causes do not. The patient remains sick, in spite of widely known and important causes.

Terrorists have nothing to lose, neither economically nor mentally. They are full of hate and receive more hate-driven education. They won't die away; suicide attackers get the glory of heroes. Why don’t they have anything to lose? Why do they hate other people and nations? What did these people and nations do to them?

Next to many emotional causes there is a high probability that the economic gap is one of the main ones. And there are many options for change. Economic development programs can help increase welfare. The bigger one’s welfare, the bigger the awareness of having something to lose, the lesser the envy-hate-potential!

A lot of economic development programs exist. Among others, the United Nations and the European Union undertake great efforts. But a breakthrough has not yet been achieved.

Who would be good leaders of nations? Those, who launch economic development programs that have a volume up to some 50% of their military expenditures? Sure, even such programs can help but only on a longer term. But, as long term terrorism exists, it will continue, unless its main causes are cured, be it in a long-term perspective.

It will pay off, for our children and grand-children, to make this an issue with Politicians.
In all nations, with all political parties,
everyone can do this,
, privately,
verbally or in written form.

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Global social responsibility of national governments

AA008024Example Brazilian rainforest: as satellite photos show, an area like Switzerland has been “cleared”, within a few years; that signifies a major further climate change, getting effective far beyond Brazil. The example is only deputizing for so many others, but they all address a fundamental issue:

Are today’s governments aware of their global social responsibility that reaches far beyond their national sovereign territory, because                                                         their action (or failure) affects humankind?

If governments don’t take that responsibility and thereby violate, at the end of the day, the human rights of people living in other countries, who would be their judge?

What do we tell our children and grand-children, if actions or failures of other countries’ governments will affect their lives?

Possible answers/actions:

  • Support of transnational cooperation of governments, far beyond today’s’ possibilities of the United Nations or the World Bank
  • Promotion of conferences of those countries that do wish to jointly improve things; so to speak special conferences that lead to self-committing agreements, mutually monitoring their implementation
  • Election and support of those political parties that act truly farsighted and combine the ecologically necessary with economically reasonable
  • Organization of a better coordinated consumer behavior
  • …..
  • What would be your opinion?

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Bio-fuel and Ethics
or: Is it ethically and socially responsible to produce bio-fuel?

At various occasions it has been reported that the prices of agricultural products increase because of greater market demand. That woke me up. Up to date I thought: Great technology, that it is possible to get Diesel and petrol from so-called “regrowing raw material”. But I have stopped thinkiWeizen teuerer Rohstoff, Südd 2008-02-12ng this way.

Natural cycles have developed in an evolution of thousands of years to make plants the primary source of food for the whole fauna; mankind is part of that fauna. Human beings depend on an intact and sufficiently available fauna.

This globe’s areas suited for cultivating plants can’t be enlarged indefinitely and in consequence there is no unlimited production of “bio mass” (what a word, despising Creation!). But humankind continues to grow, and everyone wants to get food. I sense that a discussion will emerge on “a fundamental right to sufficient food”.

It is only some 150 years that Europe was anxious about its ability to produce enough food for the growing population. Usual practice was the so-called “rotation with three crops” where one third of the land could pause one year in order to be fertile again the coming year. How was it celebrated, in 1852, that Justus Liebig invented the artificial fertilizer: now all land could produce crops, every year, without pause; and on top of that farmers could bring in bigger harvests. Europe had mastered its anxiety, for the time being.

If today plants were used increasingly for “non-natural purposes”, a number of contradictory aspects come up, like:

  • The foundation “Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e.V.”, like many other organizations, informs with impressive numbers; the organizations ask for donations to help the hungry ones
  • Taxes are partly used to subsidize the production of bio-diesel (the German association of bio-fuel producers made it publicly known that sales declined dramatically since the reduction of tax subsidies)
  • We see photos of increasing soja cultivation on “cleared” Brazilian rain forest areas, and know that the rain forests are decisive for the Earth’s climate. Could it be true that this increased soja cultivation relates to the higher national demand on ethanol-based fuel?

Lots of further aspects could be mentioned but this wouldn’t change the basic conclusion:

While mankind continues to grow, the areas for plant cultivation stay limited, so plants will remain a scarce good, and people will be hungry without them. Plants processed to fuel can’t be used for food.

One could object that bio-fuel may be mainly processed from plants like rapeseed and human beings don’t eat rapeseed. OK, but that land could well be used for food generating plants.

My conclusion, therefore, is:

To process plants to fuel is ethically not responsible; the goal should be to stop production and sales of bio-fuel.


What are possible actions? There are a number of options:

  • Would newspaper articles help sharpening the general consciousness?
  • Should everyone think this issue through, more critically, not only in Germany?
  • Should a reliable institute elaborate a comprehensible eco-balance?
  • Should car drivers no longer fill up with bio-fuel?
  • Should the issue get on the “German Ethic Council’s” agenda (this council advises the German Government)?
  • Since crude oil reserves are limited: would completely new engines be a solution, based e.g. on fuel cells?
  • Would it be a way forward if vehicles were driven by hybrid engines that load their batteries through solar energy?

What would be your opinion, your proposals? Which actions would you support?


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