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BBC interview on Second Life climate talks

Cafe1.jpg From the BBC radio show Digital Planet:

Bali has not been the only island to host a climate change conference recently.

The science journal Nature has purchased a little archipelago of islands in Second Life called Second Nature.

While participants at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Bali have been agreeing on a roadmap to replace the Kyoto protocol, climate experts – or their representational avatars – have been hosting talks and discussions on one of the Second Nature islands.

Timo Hannay, publishing director at Nature, tells Digital Planet how they went about achieving this series of virtual talks.

The Digital Planet podcast episode with the interview is worth a listen, especially if you’re wondering how a conference in Second Life’s virtual world stacks up against one in the real word (or First Life, as it’s known to enthusiasts) – or against a traditional webcast.

The Second Nature climate conference was announced on CF here; Second Life avatars can visit Second Nature here.

Anna Barnett


  1. Report this comment

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:

    We really do need to sort this out faster because the “window of opportunity” to address the global challenges soon to be confronted by humanity is beginning to close. While we argue, too little action occurs.

    The “powers that be” are evidently in denial of reality and unwilling to openly and honorably express their understanding of what 2000 IPCC Nobel Laureate scientists are reporting with regard to the ominous, distinctly human-induced predicament that is looming before the human community. That many too many economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and minions in the mass media adamantly support the soon to become unsustainable global enterprise of endless big-business expansion, come what may, does not favor our children’s well-being or safety, I believe. The talking heads appear to have pledged their primary allegiance and selfish devotion to their benefactors and to the short-term `successes’ of unbridled economic globalization, regardless of the long-term potential for catastrophe that such a recklessly unrestrained and unrealistic pursuit portends. For leaders of the political economy to conspicuously ignore —- much less debunk by using denialists from ideological ‘think tanks’ —- the carefully and skillfully obtained scientific evidence from the IPCC on climate change, and global warming in particular, is an incomprehensible failure with potentially profound implications for a good enough future of our children.

    Plainly, what is necessary now is clarity of vision, intellectual honesty, coherence of mind and courage as well as a willingness among leaders to begin “centering” their attention on the probability of human-driven threats to humanity that could soon be posed by the gigantic scale and patently unsustainable growth rate of the over-consumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities of the human species, even now engulfing the surface of the Earth.

    Steven Earl Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

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    M said:

    I just took this awesome environment quiz at

    I didn’t realize that I only cared about the environment but didn’t know about it until I scored poorly on this quiz. I think everyone needs to understand the difference between caring and knowledge as the answer to change. Hopefully the quiz will help others realize it is not enough just to care and that we must be informed to make a difference.

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    Steve Salmony said:

    OUR contrived logic, linear thinking, material obsessiveness and mechanistic world view, that we see pervading the predominant culture on Earth in OUR time, could result in the children following OUR EXAMPLE and recklessly charging down a “primrose path” to be confronted by a colossal ecologic or economic wreckage, the likes of which only Ozymandias has seen.

    Steven Earl Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

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    Krishnaraj Rao said:

    Maybe we are going about this thing all wrong — trying to attack the many arms of the Climate Change problem instead of going for its eye.

    On the face of it, Climate Change is a problem of excess CO2 emissions. But analyse deeper, and one finds that it’s a problem of overconsumption by all of us, individuals, corporates, government.

    Analyse still deeper, and one finds that overconsumption is triggered by and funded by CREDIT. There is an overabundance of bank credit — far out of proportion to actual earnings and savings — that gives people the power to overspend and overconsume.

    So this is where the cancerous tumour, so to speak, can be clearly isolated from human flesh. This is where we can start cutting away surgically, methodically, without hurting too many people.

    CONSUMER CREDIT — loans extended by banks for purchase of new vehicles and consumer appliances — is a major artery feeding this tumour. Easy loans warp our purchasing decisions, making our desires seem like needs.

    Two calls from an aggressive marketer of car loans is all I need to make me feel that I NEED to step up from my family car to an SUV.

    CREDIT CARDS make one feel really wealthy, by enabling your to securely carry large amounts equivalent to many months’ earnings in your wallet.

    And when you do that, you are potentially able to do all those wonderful, beautiful, generous things that you see in TV commercials like buying your wife a diamond solitaire, booking the Presidential suite for your wedding anniversary or surprising her with a couple of air-tickets to Paris.

    Consumer credit and credit-cards are the hot air causing the great big Economic Growth balloon to go up… and up… and up.

    Driven by this excessive consumer demand, a number of industries flourish, new corporates are created, and new factories get built, diversified, expanded, acquired… We aren’t only borrowing economically, we are borrowing ecologically.

    Suggested line of action: At an individual level, we should stop buying things with credit, and stop using our credit cards. It is worth cutting up our credit cards. Let us stop borrowing from the future.

    And as a community of concerned citizens, let us lobby for a clampdown on consumer credit. Let us write to the government, to our Central Banks and to individual banks and bankers.

    Let each person in the banking industry be targetted with this message: Cap and roll back. Let us ask for a freeze of consumer credit at current levels this year, and a 50% reduction in the amounts of credit given each year.

    This would give the economy about three years to adjust to the changing scenario.

    Three years is 36 months — far more time than the economy and its stakeholders get for adjustment when the stock-markets crash. So why delay, postpone and vacillate?


    Krishnaraj Rao

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    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:

    Dear Krish Rao,

    Wonderful perspective. Great ideas. Thank you for all of them.

    If you please, two questions follow.

    What are we going to say to our children when they ask…………?

    Question One:

    When did you know your generation was foolhardy and selfish, inadvertently precipitating the massive extinction of life as we know it and ravaging the Earth?

    Question Two:

    Why did you and your leaders not stop what you were doing and at least try to do something different, that might have given life as we know it a chance for a good enough future rather than keep charging ahead down the “primrose path” of endless human over-growth activities, the ones you could see would lead humankind to confront some kind of colossal wreckage, the likes of which only Ozymandias has seen?



    Steven Earl Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001

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    Krishnaraj Rao said:

    My fellow Indians & fellow world-citizens,

    In the closing hours of 2007, I wish you a very Happy New Year. I sincerely pray that all of us find contentment and fulfilment in life… but there is a great deal of rethinking as to the nature of that contentment and fulfillment.

    1) Let me tell you up front that I’m actively praying, in thought and action, that all our earnings and expenditures go into decline mode… and let mine be foremost in leading this trend. I do not wish PROSPERITY on any of us. Contentment, yes, but not prosperity, not richness… because each person’s richness beggars hundreds of creatures, unknown to him.

    2) I wish and pray that in the year to come, we shall learn to cease the endless quest of fulfilment through ever-higher incomes and conspicuous consumption, competition with our neighbours, colleagues etc. On a personal level and other levels — social, professional, industry, national and global — we shall seek NOT TO OUTDO each other, and also not to outdo our own past economic performances. Let us get off this treadmill for three reasons: (i) It is poisoning our planet to death, and causing a wave of mass extinction (ii) It is personally meaningless, unfulfilling, unrewarding and deeply immoral (iii) Another quest patiently awaits us: an infinitely more fulfilling inward-leading quest, an ancient, ageless quest of Magellanic dimensions.

    3) I pray that our economic growth ceases and indeed, declines. I pray that this happens irrespective of what the citizens or governments of USA, Pakistan or other countries do or think with their economies. I hope that this happens with a minimum of suffering all around… but as suffering is an inevitable part of this scenario of necessary decline, I pray that my family and I are among the foremost and not the hindmost in swallowing this bitter pill and smiling through our tears.

    4) At some level, I find myself hoping that our NEEDS, principally food and security, are met. However, there is a problem here: while need for food can be met rather cheaply, there is no end to our need for ‘security’; it is a bottomless pit. My current savings, insurance, retirement annuities etc, may be sufficient to ensure that if I stop earning with immediate effect, my family has enough to get by for another decade or so until one of my two children to start earning a living to support our family. This is far more security than any animal would enjoy, more than EVEN ONE of my millions of ancestors may have ever enjoyed. So let my family, and yours, learn to be content with far lower levels of security; this I pray.

    5) The nature of our economy and our civilization keeps us all on a perpetually moving treadmill. If we stop, we do so at risk of severe injury! Yet, in order to stop this infernal device that is poisonous to our planet, we must earnestly believe that there is indeed a life outside this treadmill. I pray for faith that is as monumental and more unshakeable than this infernal machine.

    6) A word of caution: mere charity and altruism is not enough. Our love of the world must go beyond charity and philanthropy; it must manifest as something infinitely more meaningful than mere ‘purse seva’. Our economies EXPLOIT our altruism as another need, and this includes our concern for a world ravaged by global warming. We are often given the impression that by some acts of charity or philanthropy, we can ‘support’ the greening of our planet. We are offered the comfort of thinking that if we are prepared to ‘pay a tax for our sins’ – such as a carbon tax, buying carbon credits, or paying to plant trees to ‘offset’ our carbon footprint — we can continue to consume more, produce more, pursue economic growth etc. At the heart of such claims, one discerns a deep-seated cynicism and the same devices that make our economies perpetually grow. These charities and these economic devices milk us as surely as corporates manufacturing various goodies; in the end, they lull us to sleep, motivate us to grow some more, and consume the earth some more.

    7) Please, I beg you, do not allow your conscience to be lulled back to sleep. Please refuse the comfort of a bed that is lined with the corpses of your fellow creatures on earth and your own descendents, both unborn and already born. Please refuse the blood-tainted pleasures of consumerism and the opium of economic-growthism. In 2008, please awaken fully and stay alert. Please be aware, and step from awareness into action.

    8) What lies ahead in 2008 and the years afterwards is a steep, stony, mountain. It is not pleasant, it is not pretty, it is not fun by any stretch of imagination. But I beg you, my fellow Indians, my fellow citizens of this tiny planet… please accept this bitter pill with grace.

    9) In 2008, please do the right thing by voluntarily accepting lower standards of living, cutting up your credit cards, paying up your consumer loans and refusing to all inducements to take loans. Please buy less, spend less, and despite all discomforts, use public transport instead of your private cars.

    Please be visibly more frugal, austere, simple… and motivate others to the same. Please love others enough to refuse to compete with them. The time has come to stop being career-minded, business-minded, commercial-minded, consumer-minded. It is time to give back to this world without expectations. It is time to let go of the collective stranglehold that we have on this planet.

    My friends, let us spend more time rediscovering the pleasures of just being with our friends, families, dogs, cats, plants, trees. Hug and kiss them more, serve them with greater humility. Be more loving and caring to strangers and casual acquaintances. And yes, let us learn to lavish on our own inner selves the love and attention that we have hitherto been giving our material possessions, our bank accounts and our portfolio of stocks. Please disinvest in the what is gross, and invest in your sublime self.

    Please understand the spirit in which I offer these somewhat bitter-sounding greetings, and accept them in good grace.

    With all my love


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    Steven Earl Salmony said:

    Dear Krish,

    At least to me, what you are saying in truly significant. Thanks for speaking out loudly and clearly.

    It appears to me that our leaders like things having to do with maintaining the status quo so much that ideas for necessary change are everywhere eschewed by them. Even though, biodiversity, global ecosystems and humanity itself could soon be confronted with calamitous threats to the future of life as we know it, many too many of our leaders can focus only upon their efforts to accumulate wealth and power, come what may for the children.

    Please know that I would like to be mistaken in suggesting that humanity may not have even 20 to 25 years to figure things out with regard to what human beings are perniciously doing to the Earth in our time, and to begin to move with all deliberate speed from soon to be seen as patently unsustainable ways of living in this world to alternate lifestyles that put the human community on a road toward sustainability.

    At least to me, time is of the essence; it is in short supply; and there is no time whatever to waste. I expect that people here in this small community are going to play a large part in developing strategies and implementing able responses to the global challenges posed to humanity by human over-consumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, inasmuch as these activities, when taken together, appear to be approaching a leviathan-like scale of unsustainability on a planet of the size and with the make-up of Earth.

    Young people ask every day, “What needs to be done now?”

    At least one of the correct responses to the children’s good question could be astonishingly simple, so incredibly obvious and yet so difficult to so much as even acknowledge because too many wealthy people, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and their talking heads in the mass media willfully ignore it. For all of the super-rich and their minions, silence is golden. As long as no one talks about what we are discussing here, the status quo remains unchanged.

    All of the trillions of dollars of wealth, that are concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of people within the family of humanity, have been derived from taking something of value from the Earth and doing something productive with it. For a long time, taking from the Earth in this way did not pose a clear and present danger to biodiversity, the environment, the integrity of Earth and, perhaps, humanity. For a moment, consider that the trillions of dollars comprising the global economy is wealth which has been “transferred” from Earth’s body into the bank accounts of people we call “haves.” Millions of “haves” hold almost all of the money. One problem with this distribution of Earth’s resources, however, is that billions of less fortunate “have-nots” in the the human community are hungry and destitute. Even though the “have-nots” have ecological footprints, we know the impact of the “have-nots” on the Earth is a small one. On the other hand, the millions of “haves” who possess the lion’s share of world’s wealth have huge ecological footprints because they have extracted a great deal from the Earth and also have conspicuously consumed Earth’s resources to the point of appearing obscene in our time.

    The task at hand is evident. The “haves” who have almost all of the world’s wealth, almost all of which has been accumulated at the expense of the Earth, need to return to the Earth a portion of that which they have commandeered from it. The wealthy and powerful among us are asked to help humanity transition from a perverse dedication to the endless accumulation of wealth and power that is effectively dissipating Earth’s resources, degrading Earth’s frangible ecosystems and recklessly consuming Earth’s body, to a more fair and equitable sharing of wealth with the “have-nots” as well as to a willing commitment to protect of Earth’s biodiversity, promote renewal of Earth’s resources, and do whatsoever is required of us to save the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by our children and coming generations.

    As has been noted in the Stern Report, the IPCC Report, and in many other reports, those people who hold almost all the wealth are called upon to make effective reparations to a ravaged Earth from which almost all that they possess has been derived.



    Steven Earl Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

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