As UN Restricts NGOs, COP15 Side Events Draw Crowds

Video from EUXTV describing the current events (edited by Raymond Frenken), also featuring a short interview to Adela, Diego and me.

p.s. This article was crossposted TH!NK ABOUT IT - Climate Change blogging competition.


Burning our future part 2 - interview with doctor Stefano Montanari

"The story of Stuff" explains very simply the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It becomes very clear that one of the reasons we are in crisis is that we try to operate on a linear system of cyclical consumption, but we live on a finite planet. You can not run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.

In today's world, there is the requirement of perpetual or cyclical consumption in order to keep the entire economy going. If consumption was ever to stop, the whole system would collapse. Products are often made of cheap materials and poor design, for not only are resources being neglectfully used in products that are designed not to last, wasting human energy and materials, but the amount of frivolous waste and pollution that results is staggering. Waste is a deliberate byproduct of industry's need to keep 'cyclical consumption' going1.

The idea of consuming as much as possible, and then simply dumping everything in a landfill is plain ridiculous for anyone having the slightest knowledge of the law of conservation of mass/matter by the father of modern chemistry, Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, and the idea of burning useful materials is even more dishonest and frightening.

doctor Stefano Montanari

Doctor Stefano Monatari,
leading expert
on nanopathologies.

In the last article's we've seen a short video presenting the problems of a typical incineration facility, in which I depicted the problems in a broad view. Today we'll dig deeper and discover the health problems caused by waste incineration. With an exclusive interview, Doctor Stafano Montanari elucidates the current situation, the state of the art in technology and a possible vision for the future.

Stefano Monatanari is the scientific director of Nanodiagnostics, a research lab based in Modena, operating in the medical, industrial and ecological fields. Its main activity is the survey, through an innovative technique of environmental electron-microscopy, of inorganic micro- and nano- particles in any medium (biological tissues, food, drugs, cosmetic products, environmental samples, et cetera). He and his wife, Antonietta Gatti, are leading researchers in the field of nanopathologies. He's author of several articles and scientific publications, most notably "Nanopathology: the health impact of nanoparticles"(Antonietta M. Gatti, Stefano Montanari, Pan Stanford Publishing, 2008), as well as general audience books, and inventor of various medical equipments.

Without further ado, I leave you with the interview.


Silvio Berlusconi: ten more [than fair] questions

The private and public behaviour of Italy’s prime minister is under intense scrutiny. A leading Italian newspaper has asked him for an explanation. Geoff Andrews adds to its list of queries with ten of his own.

Dear Signor Berlusconi,

It is now nearly three weeks since La Repubblica published its list of ten questions in connection with your relationship to Noemi Letizia. You have chosen not to answer their questions, claiming that the newspaper's initiative was part of a campaign organised by the left. In the weeks since, you have accused La Repubblica of orchestrating a left-wing plot that has extended to the international press, drawing in the Times and the Economist, amongst others. In this period you have also described the Italian parliament as "useless" and judges as being fuelled by "hatred" and "jealousy".

It is now only days before the European elections to be held across the European Union's member-states on 4-7 June 2009, with Italy's on 6-7 June; these will be followed by Italy's hosting of the G8 summit in L'Aquila on 8-10 July. Your response has once again raised questions of wider public interest over your performance as Italian prime minister. I would like to put these further ten questions to you now.

1) You have made many criticisms of the role of the press in this case, despite the fact that Il Giornale (a paper owned by your family), as well as other newspapers, have regularly defended your conduct. Few prime ministers have that privilege, yet you persist in saying that the press is against you. What is your understanding, then, of a free press? For example, would you put any conditions on criticisms the press may make of the prime minister?

2) You accused La Repubblica of "exploiting private matters for political ends". Yet, the "public" and "private" boundaries often overlap in your political life, notably through your own vast private ownership of daily newspapers and several TV stations, while you simultaneously wield political power. You agreed to resolve this "conflict of interests" within 100 days of taking office, yet nothing has been done. There are wide criticisms of this situation throughout Europe. Why have you not resolved this "conflict of interests" and do you not think it presents a problem for Italian democracy?

3) On 21 May 2009, you described the Italian parliament as "useless", suggesting that only 100 MPs were needed to get the work done. At the same time, you claim that the Italian people are "with you". Is your view, then, that the Italian electorate would happily give you more power to "get things done" more efficiently?

4) You have compared the role of government to that of a private company, and contrasted legislators unfavourably with entrepreneurs. Do you understand the difference between being a successful salesman and a successful statesman?

5) On 19 May, an Italian court ruled that you had bribed your British lawyer, David Mills, by paying $600,000 to give false testimony on your behalf. Mills was convicted in February, though you have been protected by parliamentary-immunity legislation passed by your government. You have said that you will be making a statement to parliament on the matter "as soon as you have time", but not before the European elections. Why is that and when will the statement be made?

6) In addition to your criticisms of the Italian parliament, you regularly attack Italian judges for their bias and "insanity". You have recently faced criticism for undermining constitutional procedures, leading to conflict with the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, most recently in the right-to-die case of Eluana Englaro. It has been claimed that you yourself have high aspirations to succeed Napolitano. Can you confirm your intention to become president of the republic and what would you bring to the role?

7) In July 2009 you will be hosting a G8 summit in L'Aquila. At previous summits and international gatherings of world leaders, you have had some communication problems with some of your peers. Do you envisage any more this year?

8) What, in your view, are your greatest achievements as Italian prime minister?

9) During the last few weeks you have denied being directly involved in the selection of TV showgirls as parliamentary candidates for your party, even though your own newspaper Il Giornale has admitted as much. Can you clarify whether you have or you have not?

10) Finally, why does Noemi Letizia, your 18-year-old friend in Naples, call you "Papi"?

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Andrews

From OpenDemocracy.

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