Category Archives: Environmentalists

Monbiot Is a Hypocrite and a Bully

It is time for George Monbiot’s legion of supporters to call him out. Not only is he a hypocrite, but he is becoming an increasingly dangerous one.

Turning a blind eye to his behaviour, or worse excusing it, as too often happens, has only encouraged him to intensify his attacks on dissident writers, those who – whether right or wrong on any specific issue – are slowly helping us all to develop more critical perspectives on western foreign policy goals than has ever been possible before.

I do not lightly use such strong language against Monbiot, someone I once admired. But his column this week drips with hypocrisy as he accuses the right wing media of being the real villains when it comes to “no-platforming”. Monbiot writes:

But perhaps the real discomfort is that the worst no-platforming of all takes place within our newspapers. In the publications most obsessed with student silliness, there is no platform for socialism, no platform for environmentalism, no platform for those who might offend the interests of the proprietors. …

I believe that a healthy media organisation, like a healthy university, should admit a diversity of opinion. I want the other newspapers to keep publishing views with which I fiercely disagree. But they – and we – should also seek opposing views and publish them too, however uncomfortable this might be.

What free speech advocate would disagree with that? Except it is Monbiot himself who has been using his prominent platforms, at the Guardian and on social media, to discredit critical thinkers on the left – not with reasoned arguments, but by impugning their integrity.

Denied a platform

It started with his unsubstantiated claim that scholars like Noam Chomsky and the late Ed Herman, as well as the acclaimed journalist John Pilger, were “genocide deniers and belittlers”. It now focuses on childish insinuations that those who question the corporate media’s simplistic narrative on Syria are Assad apologists or in Vladimir Putin’s pay.

But worse than this, Monbiot is also conspiring – either actively or through his silence – to deny critics of his and the Guardian’s position on Syria the chance to set out their evidence in its pages.

The Guardian’s anti-democratic stance does not surprise me, as someone who worked there for many years. I found myself repeatedly no-platformed by the paper – even while on its staff – after I started taking an interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict and writing about the discomforting issue of what a Jewish state entails. My treatment is far from unique.

Now the paper is denying a platform to those who question simplistic and self-serving western narratives on Syria. And Monbiot is backing his employer to the hilt, even as he professes his commitment to the publication of views he fiercely disagrees with. That’s the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

‘Selfless’ White Helmets?

The latest instalment of the Guardian and Monbiot’s long-running battle to silence Syria dissidents arrived last month when Olivia Solon, the paper’s technology writer living in San Francisco, developed a sudden and unexpected expertise in a controversial Syrian group called the White Helmets.

In the western corporate media narrative, the White Helmets are a group of dedicated and selfless rescue workers. They are supposedly the humanitarians on whose behalf a western intervention in Syria would have been justified – before, that is, Syrian leader Bashar Assad queered their pitch by inviting in Russia.

However, there are problems with the White Helmets. They operate only in rebel – read: mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS-held – areas of Syria, and plenty of evidence shows that they are funded by the UK and US to advance both countries’ far-from-humanitarian policy objectives in Syria.

There are also strong indications that members of the White Helmets have been involved in war crimes, and that they have staged rescue operations as a part of a propaganda offensive designed to assist Islamic extremists trying to oust Assad. (Solon discounts this last claim. In doing so, she ignores several examples of such behaviour, concentrating instead on an improbable “mannequin challenge”, when the White Helmets supposedly froze their emergency operations, in the midst of rescue efforts, apparently as part of a peculiar publicity campaign.)

Guardian hatchet job

Whatever side one takes in this debate, one would imagine that Monbiot should have a clear agenda in support of hearing evidence from all sides. One might also imagine that he would want to distance himself from Solon’s efforts to tie criticism of the White Helmets to a supposed “fake news” crisis and paint those critical of the group as Putin-bots. According to Solon:

The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

Those are the same algorithms that have been changed in recent months to make sure that prominent leftist websites are increasingly difficult to find on internet searches and their writers’ views effectively disappeared.

Yet Monbiot has been using social media to promote Solon’s cheerleading of the White Helmets and her hatchet job against on-the-ground journalists who have taken a far more critical view of the group.

As set out by Prof Tim Hayward, the Guardian’s response to criticism of Solon’s piece has been typical. The comments section below the article was hastily closed after many criticisms were voiced by readers. The journalists who were singled out for attack by Solon were denied a right of reply. A group of concerned academics led by Hayward who submitted their own article, which detailed publicly available evidence to counter Solon’s simplistic account of the White Helmets, were ignored. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s editors and the reader’s editor have ignored all efforts by these parties to contact them.

Given his claim to be an uncompromising defender of free speech and a fierce advocate of providing platforms to those who can back up their arguments with evidence, however discomforting, one might have assumed that Monbiot would at the very least have lobbied on behalf of Hayward and his fellow scholars. But not a bit of it. Yet again he has joined the dogs of the corporate media baying for blood. Instead he turned to Twitter to claim Hayward and Piers Robinson, an expert on propaganda, had “disgraced” themselves.

Undermining climate concerns

The many tens of thousands of leftists who defend Monbiot, or turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy, largely do so because of his record on the environment. But in practice they are enabling not only his increasingly overt incitement against critical thinkers, but also undermining the very cause his supporters believe he champions.

Climate breakdown is a global concern. Rewilding, bike-riding, protecting bees and polar bears, and developing new sustainable technologies are all vitally important. But such actions will amount to little if we fail to turn a highly sceptical eye on the activities of a western military-industrial complex ravaging the planet’s poorest regions.

These war industries fill their coffers by using weapons indiscriminately on “enemy” populations, spawning new and fiercer enemies – while often propping them up too – to generate endless wars. The consequences include massive displacements of these populations who then destabilise other regions, spreading the effect and creating new opportunities for the arms manufacturers, homeland security industries, and the financial industries that feed off them.

A true environmentalist has to look as critically at western policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and many other areas of the globe as he does at UK policy in the Welsh hills and the Lake District.

All indications are that Monbiot lacks the experience, knowledge and skills to unravel the deceptions being perpetrated in the west’s proxy and not-so-proxy wars overseas. That is fair enough. What is not reasonable is that he should use his platforms to smear precisely those who can speak with a degree of authority and independence – and then conspire in denying them a platform to respond. That is the behaviour not only of a hypocrite, but of a bully too.

Bury All Fossil Fuel Protesters in the Ground

What do you say about this fellow – practicing to be a Jesuit priest. Yale Law School. His family involved in California politics since the 1930s. His great-grandfather here from Germany for the great California Gold Rush, 1852.

Yes, that genocidal, land-thieving time of California’s history

Gold’s a devilish sort of thing. You lose your sense of values and character changes entirely. Your soul stops being the same as it was before.

— The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

The attacking party rushed upon them, blowing out their brains and splitting their heads with tomahawks. Little children in baskets, even babies had their heads smashed to pieces or cut open. Mothers and infants shared the same phenomenon…many of the fugitives were chased and shot as they ran…The children, scarcely able to run, toddled towards the squaw for protection, crying with fright, but were overtaken, slaughtered like wild animals, and thrown into piles… One woman got into a pond hole, where she hid herself under the grass, and concealed her papoose on the bank in a basket, she was discovered and her head blown to pieces, the muzzle of the gun being placed against her skull and the child was drowned in the pond.

— Captain Jarboe among the Achomawi people of the North-east.

Oh, these bizarre and ignorant politicians, like Brown, yesterday (11/13/17), in Bonn, setting up his philosophy in life, after 79 years on planet earth, 79 years on the stolen lands of native indigenous peoples massacred for gold, for land, and poisoned by the tailings and mercury of the Gold Lust, and, well, the fact that California, thanks to German immigrants like Jerry Brown’s great grandfather, August Schuckman, went from 150,000 Natives right before the Rush down to 16,000 by 1900.

The following are some examples of this mini holocaust.

Clear Lake Massacre ended in disaster as more than a hundred Indians, women, and children were murdered,1852.

The Hayforlk Massacre ended up in even more disaster, following the killing of a white settler, more than one-hundred and fifty Indians were killed, with that they took the three last remaining survivors, most likely to have been a woman and her two children who were sold as slaves.

In 1854 Indian Agent R. McKee plead to the troops to keep peace between the Indians and the settlers, after the Massacre of Klamath River which was the result of forty or fifty brutal Native’s deaths. Any Indians who attempted to seek justice and made amends for their mistakes were rejected by the whites who depended on genocide, or the death to the pleading Indians as the solution to the problem.

The Fresno Massacre of 1854, began when white settlers attempted to bring perpetrators to justice, they invaded and killed an unspecified number of Native Americans, this was the effect of the invasions failure for justice. Klamath County citizens resolved by killing all Indians carrying guns, which most Indians were armed.

Here he was, the great Green Governor, on an 11-day trip around the world, dealing with people – Native Americans and water protectors and those fighting on the front lines of climate change – chanting “keep it in the ground . . . keep it in the ground” (fossil fuels, and the byproducts of fracking) during his speech at the “American Pledge” event.

The protestors had banners, yelled “keep it in the ground” and other chants, as a clear reference to Jerry Brown’s backing of fracking, both offshore and on land in California, and also the governor’s cap-and-trade policies that just might prove catastrophic to the Huni Kui People of Acre, Brazil, and other indigenous communities around the globe.

Brown strongly supports the fossil fuel industry in California, and his recent talk with right-wing, radical anti-climate change activist Ryan Zinke, US Interior Secretary under Trump, belies Brown’s inability to hold on to anything spiritual around this existential threat or critical of these Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Capitalism, War, Climate Warming, Environmental/Cultural Genocide.

As always, these pedicured politicians cannot deal with The People, with the noise that is supposed to be democracy, expression and free speech, even a politician like Brown who once hung around the New Age scene and was called Moonbeam, all of which was parodied in the rock scene in a piece called “California Über Alles”, written by Jello Biafra and performed by him with his punk rock band Dead Kennedys.

Here, the typical capitalist, typical Yale graduate of legal misgivings, Brown, today in Bonn:

I wish we have could have no pollution, but we have to have our automobiles. In the ground, I agree with you. In the ground. Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.

This is very California. Thanks for bringing the diversity of dissent here, the visibly disturbed Brown continued.

A video of Brown’s reaction to the protest is available here.

This is the sum total of California’s love of this man (the state has been re-electing him forever), whose family has been riding roughshod over politics, in the legal arena and in the state’s planning for decades. Brown earlier this year went after critics of his oil industry-written cap-and-trade bill, AB 398.

Again, the Governor who wants water protectors and other indigenous groups protesting him “put in the ground,” states it like it is with NPR in July 2017: Critics are using “forms of political terrorism that are conspiring to undermine the American system of governance.” In an interview with David Greene of NPR (National Public Radio).

They can joke, like Weinstein jokes, but, these comments are windows into these devils’ souls. Again, this simple-minded and racist approach to seeing the 80 percent of the world is Brown’s in a nutshell, and all the others in the political arena making pacts with the devil:

“When cities and states combine together and then join with powerful corporations, that’s how we get stuff done,” said Governor Brown at today’s event at the U.S. Climate Action Pavilion, the exhibition space sponsored by U.S. non-federal leaders at COP23. “We’re here, we’re in and we’re not going away.”

Those darn powerful corporations. Tell that to the more than 100 tribes in California before the Spanish invasion, and the Gold Rush a hundred years later:

The estimated number of Indians killed by new diseases passed on by settlers is around 60% of all the Natives living combined. The white settlers killed and sold the scalps and severed heads of Native Americans, at 25 cents for the scalps, and at more than $5 for the severed heads. $1,000,000 were recovered to the government for the selling of these items. An estimated 4,000 Native children were sold as slaves to settlers. The prices the enslaved children were up to $60 for the young boys and up to $200 for young girls.

Brown’s refused to ban fracking, and all that toxic waste from oil companies put into underground water supplies have gotten a green light from the Gov. He’s incentivizing oil and gas big time in California. According to a news release from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

His cap-and-trade extension includes provisions written by oil lobbyists that prevent state and local agencies from directly limiting carbon emissions from oil refineries. He has also failed to shut down the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, where the largest methane leak in U.S. history forced thousands to flee their homes in 2015.

Just five days ago at Bonn, a newly released Center for Biological Diversity report points to more than three-quarters of California’s oil is as “climate-damaging” as Canadian tar sands crude. “Oil Stain: How Dirty Crude Undercuts California’s Climate Progress” pinpoints eight of the state’s 10 largest-producing oil fields that are producing “very dirty crude with greenhouse gas emissions comparable to tar sands oil.”

This is the state of America, calling for Native American environmental groups, indigenous groups from around the world and their non-native allies to be buried in the ground. Funny stuff from old California (not).

Ninawa Nuneshuni Kui, President of the Huni Kui People of Acre, Brazil, told reporters at Bonn yesterday (11/13/17) that Jerry Brown’s “American Pledge” –which is based on this smoke and mirrors and environmentally racist carbon trading deal — would inevitably precipitate destruction and displacement: both of the land and the cultural resources and the people.

I wanted to leave a message here, for humanity and all of planet, that the peoples need to join to defend Mother Nature, the soil, water and air because they are being threatened. And humanity needs Nature to survive. So I want to say that Nature and the air are not a means of commerce for anyone and it’s every human’s right to live in peace. Jerry Brown’s ‘American Pledge’ will lead to the displacement of my people and the destruction of my territory. We need to respect the rights of Nature and humans beings that need her to survive.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s report claims that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor.

Download the report here.

Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?” at Consumer Watchdog.

For more information on Jerry Brown’s environmental policies, go here.

In the end, though, these climate summits and all the dickering with the devils — giant multinational outfits in finance, banking, Big energy, Big Military Industrial Complex, Big Ag, Big Medicine, Big Chemicals, Big PR, Big War — will get you the same comments from the same people in power:  “If we don’t extract the minerals and the oil and gas and cut down the timber, then the Chinese and Russians will.”

That’s the folly of this game, this Kabuki Theater, these COP 23’s or COP 30s or COP 99s:

“Most of these critics ride around in cars and fly in airplanes, so what we have to do is get the end goal in sight,” Brown later said of the protesters.

This is how these elites roll, my friend. And until we are serious about the destruction of species and cultures, destruction of land and soil, and until we rip the bowels from the billionaires and the military and financial mercenaries, and until we downsize, retrench, go very local, shift the paradigms, and reinvent humanity to think small and be small, then that’s their bottom line, is it not?

The millionaires and billionaires and their Little Eichmann’s have us trumped: We all drive, we all go on Disney cruises, we all throw away things, we all consume, we all can’t wait for Black Friday, we all invest, we all benefit from war-weapons-weather disruption, we all are Americans, we all are for technology, we all live better lives through chemistry and computing and genetic engineering and nanotechnology; we all are willing to give up our freedoms, our rights, our agency, if we can still get to the all-you-can-eat drive-through after Black Friday’s great consumer orgy.

hallelujah, hhallelujah la olam, masha’allah

Harvey: Fierce Climate Change at Work

Is Harvey a force of nature or something more?

Clearly, Harvey is a natural disaster of monstrous proportions. Its destructiveness is the hottest topic on TV coast-to-coast and around the world. Still, cynics of climate change say natural disasters, like hurricanes, are normal and nothing more than nature’s way. The evidence, however, points in another direction; climate change is no longer simply nature doing its thing. It’s lost purity of the force of nature, only nature.

Similar to the record setting massive meltdown of Arctic ice in a flash of geologic time, fierce storms and zany weather patterns are setting all-time records, hyper-speeding nature’s time clock. In point of fact, bigger/faster all-time records have become the norm, racing ahead of nature, prompting the question: Why is this happening?

The likely answer is: The human footprint is driving climate change to hyper speed; in some instances 10xs faster than climate change over the past millennia.

Indeed, today’s rapidly changing climate is the upshot of the Great Acceleration or post WWII human footprint into/onto the ecosystem, with authority, knocking down weather records along the way. Abnormal is now normal. One-hundred-year floods are passé, outmoded, old hat. Epic floods and historic droughts are the norm. It’s all happened within the past couple of decades. Recent examples include the following:

It was only a couple of years ago that Hurricane Sandy caused $75B in damages as the 2nd costliest hurricane in U.S. history. But then again, New York is not located in hurricane country. Still, it happened and is but one more example of a climate gone bonkers.

In France in 2003, the hottest heat wave in over 500 years killed approximately 15,000, as well as 70,000 throughout Europe. Stifling heat hung in the air for months, no movement, atmospheric troughs of jet streams stood still, likely influenced and altered by global warming, specifically via radical changes in the Arctic, which is losing its bright reflecting ice cap that used to reflect up to 90% of solar radiation back into outer space. But, alas, warming 2xs-to-3xs the world average hit Arctic ice, losing much its reflective cover, with danger signals ever-present thereafter, like crazed out-of-whack jet streams (which negatively alter weather patterns throughout the Northern Hemisphere) to methane eruptions from below, potentially endangering all life forms with runaway global warming.

Meanwhile, drought clobbered the Middle East, especially Syria, experiencing its worst-ever drought in 900 years, displacing one-to-two million farmers/herders and contributing to Syria’s socio/economic disruption, leading to conflict.

Throughout the Middle Eastern region “it’s well outside the norm of natural variability indicating that a climate change signal is likely emerging in the region.”1

The regular ole brand of climate change for hundreds and thousands of years is history. In the past, when tropical storms and hurricanes hit, swooshing onshore, they’d die-off when hitting land. That’s nature marching to its own drummer.

Whereas, Harvey hits and then hits again and again while carrying boatloads of moisture, well above and beyond any storm ever recorded. Cause and effect, it’s the human footprint, too much of everything, including too much CO2 emitted from planes, trains, and automobiles and power plants and big fat cows weighing down the atmosphere, heating things up and altering jet streams that dictate weather patterns. It’s a deadly cocktail of nature plus the human footprint of the Great Acceleration deviously at work!

Harvey is so monstrous that it brings forth the best of the best talking heads, a prerequisite with something so momentous, so absolutely huge, all encompassing. For example, Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University), one of America’s most illustrious atmospheric scientists writing for the Guardian, says “human action” made Harvey worse because (1) anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change has raised seawater levels, goosing the storm surge, and (2) higher temperatures than in the past cause more moisture in the atmosphere meaning more rainfall, and (3) Harvey mysteriously hovers over Houston, not dying over land like hurricanes always do because human-caused global warming has altered weather patterns.2

Meanwhile, day-over-day, hour-by-hour Houstonians fight for survival, but back in Washington, D.C., Trump’s proposed budget calls for a 16% cut to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which serves as the public’s eyes and ears for all things atmospheric, satellite and weather-related. For example, $513M is cut from NOAA”s satellite division, potentially crippling NOAA’s ability to keep afloat key satellites relied upon by business, military, and weather services for the general public.

“Scientists and meteorologists have worried that the cuts, and much more devastating reductions in climate change programs at NASA and other agencies, would harm the agency’s ability to forecast storms. In recent decades, the improvement in forecasting technologies has saved hundreds of lives, especially when it comes to tornadoes. The National Weather Service notes that hundreds used to die from pop up tornadoes like the ones that blew through Oklahoma in the mid-1970s, and that deaths are way down due to accurate predictions.”3

The tragedy of Houston is heartrendingly supremely more tragic under guidance of the Trump administration, which is cutting anything and everything related to science. By all appearances, Trump has a bone to pick with intellectual and scientific matters of state. He’s uncomfortable unless involved in primitive elementary scenarios, like speaking before a crowd of glassy-eyed lackeys.

As it happens, Houston’s mourning exposes and brings to the surface Trump’s destructionist mentality in pure numbers that will soon be presented to the public via Congress for consideration.

Trump’s budget proposal cuts $667M from FEMA state and local funding, including disaster preparedness and response programs and cuts $90M from FEMA’s pre-disaster mitigation program and eliminates the entire $190M for national flood insurance analysis program. Henceforth, states and localities will contribute 25% toward grants that they previously did not fund.

The same Trump budget that cuts FEMA programs by about $1B proposes $2.6B in funding for The Wall. For this spending proposal Trump is willing to shut down the government to force Congress to pay up or be damned/blamed for shutting down the fiefdom.

But, will The Wall prevent storms or will it perversely create more?

  1. Benjamin I. Cook, et al, “Spatiotemporal Drought Variability in the Mediterranean Over the Last 900 Years”, Journal of Geophysical Research- Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1002/2015/D023929.
  2. Mann, M. E. et al. “Influence of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Planetary Wave Resonance and Extreme Weather Events”, Sci. Rep. 7, 45242; doi: 10.1038/srep45242, 2017.
  3. Matthew Cooper, “Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Weather Research Could Make it Much Harder to Prepare for Storms”, Grist-Climate Desk, August 25, 2017.

Resting Sea Shepherd: A Pause in the Whale War Saga

What a colourful run this outfit has had. Branded in 2013 by Judge Alex Kozinski of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as pirates, the Sea Shepherd crew will be hanging up their hooks while rethinking their whale protection strategy.  Their long designated enemy, the Japanese whaling fleet, will be given some respite this hunting season.

A crucial point here is evolution.  The environmental battle, spearheaded by the Southern Ocean Whale Defence campaign, had become more troublingly sophisticated. “Military” tactics, claimed founder Captain Paul Watson, were being used by Japan.  An already slippery adversary had raised the bar.

But Watson, in his announcement, was attempting to give some lustre to the long term efforts of the project.  Against absurdly gargantuan odds, a small organisation’s resources were mustered to save whale species from imminent extinction.

“In 2005 we set out to tackle the world’s largest and most destructive whaling fleet.” It was a destruction centred on targeting 1,035 whales, including an annual quota of 50 endangered Fin whales and 50 endangered Humpbacks.  The sceptics were to be found on all sides: they doomed the organisation’s mission to imminent, crestfallen failure.

The humble, worse for wear Farley Mowat was enlisted to harry Japanese whalers across the Southern Ocean.  But to it were added, over time, the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, the Sam Simon the Brigitte Bardot and the Ocean Warrior.

For Watson and his dedicated piratical crew, the law of environmental protection often lagged, while political action and matters of enforcement proved timid.  States with greater power and resources were simply not keen on ruffling Japanese feathers.  Statements of disapproval hardly counted.

Japanese whalers have faced the legal music in a range of venues, though as with everything, the might of the gavel doesn’t necessary restrain the might of a state, whether directly used or incidentally employed.  In November 2015, Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha was fined $1 million by the Australian Federal Court for hunting minke whales within an Australian sanctuary as defined by Australian environmental law. The whaling company cared not to turn up nor subsequently cough up.

Enter, then, the organisation’s insistence on the use of “innovative direct-action tactics”, thereby putting a premium on investigation, documentation and the taking of “action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.”

Preventive tactics, such as those employed in 2013 in the Southern Ocean, would feature attempts to prevent Japanese ships from taking refuelling sustenance from a tanker.  On cue, both the crew of the Japanese vessels, and Sea Shepherd, would release material suggesting that the other had deliberately attempted to ram their ships.

On reaching the legal courts, the Sea Shepherd book of cetaceous protection tended to look more blotted.  The Japanese angle in these instances was to emphasise the danger posed to crews, the potentially lethal bravado of the Sea Shepherd warriors. To do so offered a sizeable distraction from the legitimacy of the hunting activities.

“When you,” directed a stern Judge Kozinski, “ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate.”

For years, the militant nature of the organisation brought various agents, and agencies, into play. It used guerrilla tactics of gumption and daring, though it was the sort of audaciousness that divided opinion, even in the environmental ranks.  Such methods may well have been crude but few could dispute their effects. In 2012/3, Japanese whalers, according to Watson, returned with a meagre 10 percent of intended kills.

The strategy of the Japanese whaling fleet, as Watson reflects, has always been shape shifting, apologetics followed by bellicosity; the fictional narrative of science overlaying arguments of culture.  While still flouting legality, the number of intended whales has fallen to 333, a victory that can be, to a degree, chalked up to Sea Shepherd’s techniques of mass irritation and disruption.  But to this can be added a more expansive scope embraced by their adversary: wider killing grounds, more opportunities to gather their quarry.

By 2016/7, it was clear to Watson that the Japanese were still able to net their quota, albeit at greater expense in terms of time and cost.  That same hunting season also threw up a few new realities: the use by the Japanese of “military surveillance to watch Sea Shepherd movements in real time by satellite”. While the group, assisted by their helicopter, did get close to capture evidence of whaling, they “could not physically close the gap.” Hence the sombre admission by Watson: “We cannot compete with their military grade technology.”

Sea Shepherd’s mission remains, as outlined on its web site, “to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.” But more than a few in the Japanese whaling fleet will be pleased at the organisation’s absence this killing season.

Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grows

Sonoma County, Northern CaliforniaOne of the United States’ top four cannabis-growing counties is Sonoma County, California. In 2016, it became legal for adults to consume marijuana in California. One of the nation’s first dispensaries, Peace in Medicine, was founded here.

Disclosure: I’m a Peace in Medicine patient in small town Sebastopol. CBD-rich cannabis improves my health. I support legal cannabis growing that follows the rules and does not endanger creeks, wildlife, or neighbors, especially children.

Cannabis is a front-page story in our daily Press Democrat. “Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife,” headlines an August 9, 2017, article. It reports four groups faulting state rules for “failing to protect imperiled species.”

“The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit,” the article continues, “and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana.”

Among the threatened wildlife are foxes, eagles, owls, bobcats, raccoons, fishers, and others. The harm comes mainly from eating poisons or rodents killed by toxins. A huge amount of water is needed for marijuana plants; it is often taken illegally from nearby streams and huge wells, compromising both neighbors and wildlife.

“Sixty percent of all cannabis grown in the country comes from four California counties: Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt,” reports the July 4 issue of the region’s weekly Bohemian. Its support for cannabis includes headlines like “Off the Booze…and on the weed” and “Joint Venture: Wine and pot mergers are coming.”

The corporate wine industry has already purchased most of the local vineyards and wineries here in Sonoma County, displacing food farms and driving up land and home prices. Many locals have left for less expensive places and more privacy away from the massive tourism taking over the county.

“California’s cannabis industry is conservatively valued at $7 billion,” according to the Bohemian. Meanwhile, “the state’s grape crop is pegged at about $5 billion.” According to executive director of a cannabis industry trade group “70% or more growers will stay in the black market or find something else to do.” That would be many illegal sites.

Visiting an Illegal Grow Operation

A food farming neighbor here in Blucher Creek Watershed, Lari Adams, emailed this reporter August 7 that a new neighbor had just bulldozed a huge area to construct large cannabis grow buildings. We immediately visited the site—now a disaster to many life forms dependent on that water, including listed endangered California freshwater shrimp, much wildlife, vegetation, and humans.

“What we saw was jaw dropping.  Land cleared, all the topsoil pushed into the creek bed,” wrote Adams.  The environmental consequences will be long-lasting and hard to remedy soon, certainly not before the coming rains that farmers and others depend upon. Then plastic, silt, and sedimentation will wash into the stream, choking and polluting it downstream.

“Landscaping filled the tributary, so needed for flood protection. A 100-foot building replaced what three days prior was a virgin field.  Three more large building sites were cleared, and the topsoil pushed into the riparian zone.  Miles of plastic, barrels of chemicals, fertilizer piles, and marijuana plants arrived. We actually stood there mouths agape! How can this happen?” added Adams.

He contacted the Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association, which researched the parcel and moved promptly into action. No permits existed for this devastation. The violation was reported to various government officials and agencies, including County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins. They responded promptly and effectively.

“Illegal grows are a huge concern, environmentally and socially,” wrote Supervisor Hopkins. “Unfortunately they give the folks doing the right thing (going through County permitting processes and growing in appropriate locations) a bad name,” she added.

Neighbours Push Back

On the next day, representatives from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, the county’s Permit and Resources Management (PRMD), Supervisor Rabbitt’s office, and the Neighborhood Association met at Adams’ farm. The government officials visited the grow, and shut it down. Though the buildings are gone, the damage will be long lasting.

The new owner then put it up for sale, at a higher price, though to remedy his abuse will likely take years and thousands of dollars. We reminded his agent that a full disclosure was necessary; he took the “For Sale” sign down, though he did not take the listing off line.

Another neighbor showed the neighborhood group an un-permitted grow nearby. The group also managed to get that operation shut down. “Weeks ago, huge earth-moving equipment came onto the property that adjoins us, graded a large area and began to construct a massive greenhouse for commercial cannabis, all without a permit,” said Patrick Ball.

“Families with children live on both sides and across the street. We are on wells and worry about the massive amount of water a commercial cannabis operation consumes. If this is allowed on the large scale intended, we will have lost the safety, peace, and well-being that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live,” Ball added.

“Country life shared with neighbors, wild animals that we see daily, domestic animals that we dearly love, and the habitat that we enjoy has been one of life’s greatest rewards,” writes Judy Logan, who lives nearby. “We must steward our land and water and be sensitive to endangered creatures to continue this lovely gift bestowed upon our hearts.”

Hundreds of such un-permitted cannabis operations are popping up around the county and elsewhere, especially in Northern California. This endangers food farming, as well as the environment and neighborhoods.

“I voted to legalize medical cannabis because I value its medical benefits,” writes Roberta Teller. “I hoped that instead of unregulated growers with unknown, questionable agricultural practices, legalization would guarantee a high quality product and consumers and members of the community would be protected from unsavory business operations,” she added.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have a Cannabis Board filled with people from the industry. I know of a case where a realtor falsely advertised a property as agricultural in hopes for a quick sale to the next illegal grower,” Teller said.

“Land is being fenced off, fences are getting higher, animal habitats are being compromised and newly installed security cameras are spying on us. We need Sonoma County to step up to the job of regulating this already spiraling out-of-control Industry,” she concluded.

To cannabis growers out there, please do it the right way. Growing should not only benefit you financially, but also the environment, its many critters, and neighbors. The Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association watches cannabis growing carefully.

Growers without permits should avoid the Blucher Creek Watershed, which has a cannabis watch group with neighbors willing to work to shut you down, unless you have the necessary permits.

This group does not oppose appropriate, permitted cannabis growing. “I’m so grateful that medical CBD cannabis is now available,” wrote Alexandra Hart, co-founder of the neighborhood group. “It provides my 78-year-old arthritic body almost instant relief with no side effects, save a little, quite pleasant buzz. The speed with which the greedy are taking advantage without following environmental guidelines and neighborliness is distressing. Our human greed may well cost us our planet.”

Neighbors Shut Down Illegal Cannabis Grows

Sonoma County, Northern CaliforniaOne of the United States’ top four cannabis-growing counties is Sonoma County, California. In 2016, it became legal for adults to consume marijuana in California. One of the nation’s first dispensaries, Peace in Medicine, was founded here.

Disclosure: I’m a Peace in Medicine patient in small town Sebastopol. CBD-rich cannabis improves my health. I support legal cannabis growing that follows the rules and does not endanger creeks, wildlife, or neighbors, especially children.

Cannabis is a front-page story in our daily Press Democrat. “Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife,” headlines an August 9, 2017, article. It reports four groups faulting state rules for “failing to protect imperiled species.”

“The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit,” the article continues, “and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana.”

Among the threatened wildlife are foxes, eagles, owls, bobcats, raccoons, fishers, and others. The harm comes mainly from eating poisons or rodents killed by toxins. A huge amount of water is needed for marijuana plants; it is often taken illegally from nearby streams and huge wells, compromising both neighbors and wildlife.

“Sixty percent of all cannabis grown in the country comes from four California counties: Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt,” reports the July 4 issue of the region’s weekly Bohemian. Its support for cannabis includes headlines like “Off the Booze…and on the weed” and “Joint Venture: Wine and pot mergers are coming.”

The corporate wine industry has already purchased most of the local vineyards and wineries here in Sonoma County, displacing food farms and driving up land and home prices. Many locals have left for less expensive places and more privacy away from the massive tourism taking over the county.

“California’s cannabis industry is conservatively valued at $7 billion,” according to the Bohemian. Meanwhile, “the state’s grape crop is pegged at about $5 billion.” According to executive director of a cannabis industry trade group “70% or more growers will stay in the black market or find something else to do.” That would be many illegal sites.

Visiting an Illegal Grow Operation

A food farming neighbor here in Blucher Creek Watershed, Lari Adams, emailed this reporter August 7 that a new neighbor had just bulldozed a huge area to construct large cannabis grow buildings. We immediately visited the site—now a disaster to many life forms dependent on that water, including listed endangered California freshwater shrimp, much wildlife, vegetation, and humans.

“What we saw was jaw dropping.  Land cleared, all the topsoil pushed into the creek bed,” wrote Adams.  The environmental consequences will be long-lasting and hard to remedy soon, certainly not before the coming rains that farmers and others depend upon. Then plastic, silt, and sedimentation will wash into the stream, choking and polluting it downstream.

“Landscaping filled the tributary, so needed for flood protection. A 100-foot building replaced what three days prior was a virgin field.  Three more large building sites were cleared, and the topsoil pushed into the riparian zone.  Miles of plastic, barrels of chemicals, fertilizer piles, and marijuana plants arrived. We actually stood there mouths agape! How can this happen?” added Adams.

He contacted the Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association, which researched the parcel and moved promptly into action. No permits existed for this devastation. The violation was reported to various government officials and agencies, including County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins. They responded promptly and effectively.

“Illegal grows are a huge concern, environmentally and socially,” wrote Supervisor Hopkins. “Unfortunately they give the folks doing the right thing (going through County permitting processes and growing in appropriate locations) a bad name,” she added.

Neighbours Push Back

On the next day, representatives from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, the county’s Permit and Resources Management (PRMD), Supervisor Rabbitt’s office, and the Neighborhood Association met at Adams’ farm. The government officials visited the grow, and shut it down. Though the buildings are gone, the damage will be long lasting.

The new owner then put it up for sale, at a higher price, though to remedy his abuse will likely take years and thousands of dollars. We reminded his agent that a full disclosure was necessary; he took the “For Sale” sign down, though he did not take the listing off line.

Another neighbor showed the neighborhood group an un-permitted grow nearby. The group also managed to get that operation shut down. “Weeks ago, huge earth-moving equipment came onto the property that adjoins us, graded a large area and began to construct a massive greenhouse for commercial cannabis, all without a permit,” said Patrick Ball.

“Families with children live on both sides and across the street. We are on wells and worry about the massive amount of water a commercial cannabis operation consumes. If this is allowed on the large scale intended, we will have lost the safety, peace, and well-being that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live,” Ball added.

“Country life shared with neighbors, wild animals that we see daily, domestic animals that we dearly love, and the habitat that we enjoy has been one of life’s greatest rewards,” writes Judy Logan, who lives nearby. “We must steward our land and water and be sensitive to endangered creatures to continue this lovely gift bestowed upon our hearts.”

Hundreds of such un-permitted cannabis operations are popping up around the county and elsewhere, especially in Northern California. This endangers food farming, as well as the environment and neighborhoods.

“I voted to legalize medical cannabis because I value its medical benefits,” writes Roberta Teller. “I hoped that instead of unregulated growers with unknown, questionable agricultural practices, legalization would guarantee a high quality product and consumers and members of the community would be protected from unsavory business operations,” she added.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have a Cannabis Board filled with people from the industry. I know of a case where a realtor falsely advertised a property as agricultural in hopes for a quick sale to the next illegal grower,” Teller said.

“Land is being fenced off, fences are getting higher, animal habitats are being compromised and newly installed security cameras are spying on us. We need Sonoma County to step up to the job of regulating this already spiraling out-of-control Industry,” she concluded.

To cannabis growers out there, please do it the right way. Growing should not only benefit you financially, but also the environment, its many critters, and neighbors. The Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association watches cannabis growing carefully.

Growers without permits should avoid the Blucher Creek Watershed, which has a cannabis watch group with neighbors willing to work to shut you down, unless you have the necessary permits.

This group does not oppose appropriate, permitted cannabis growing. “I’m so grateful that medical CBD cannabis is now available,” wrote Alexandra Hart, co-founder of the neighborhood group. “It provides my 78-year-old arthritic body almost instant relief with no side effects, save a little, quite pleasant buzz. The speed with which the greedy are taking advantage without following environmental guidelines and neighborliness is distressing. Our human greed may well cost us our planet.”

Capitalism and Its Discontents: What Are We Living For?

Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism.

— Max Horkheimer, from the essay “The Jews and Europe”, December 1939

Aren’t we all tired of capitalism? Haven’t most of us gotten sick of the drudgery, the monotony, the exploitation, sucking up to our bosses and management who pretend to care about the average worker? The drive to consume more and more has degraded all art, values, and sense of community in the US.

Capitalists literally are holding the people of the Earth in bondage. As liberal democracy crumbles in the West, the risk of neo-fascism continues to rise in North America and Europe.

It’s worth examining why the US has TV shows like “Hoarders”, where truly sick people have problems collecting useless crap, and where viewers publicly shame and judge the afflicted. Yet, where is the outrage at the real hoarders, the billionaires, the banks, and the military industrial complex? This is serious hypocrisy, a cultural blind spot: a double standard that is not being addressed by our society.

Capitalists are Addicts

Why does society not ask arch-capitalists the obvious questions: when is enough, enough? Who needs a billion dollars? Once you can provide a comfortable life for your family, children, and grandchildren, what is the point of hoarding your money in bank accounts and lording over a monopolizing mega-corporation? Where does this endless desire for more come from?

It’s fairly obvious that a failure to confront death is closely linked to the bottomless appetite exhibited by capitalists. The perceived need to construct towers, monuments, mansions, and manufactured narratives of their own greatness is proof. Not to mention how many of the super-rich have chosen to become cryogenically frozen post-mortem: this is in outright denial of their own mortality, and the necessity of death so that future generations may live.

In failing to confront death, any object can be used as a crutch, an addiction. Addiction is linked to social isolation and lack of community, which the capitalist class creates by artificially creating specialized divisions of labor, alienation, and class differences.

Addiction leads to a disconnection from what some would call a “reality principle”, leading to further and deeper indulgences and lack of restraint. There are further similarities between capitalists and drug addicts: the impatience, the disconnection from others, the neediness, as well as a general childlike need to be validated and pampered.

Methodology and Treatment in an Age of Insanity

We see where capitalism leads: to a permanent crisis, a never-ending state of emergency. Since the 1970s, workers have increased productivity mightily with little to zero increases in wages considering inflation and other factors. Americans are also working longer hours; young adults are even having less sex partly because of this. There is a huge problem with prescription drug abuse (not just opioids), teen suicide is rising (sadly, at a 40 year high for teen girls in 2017), and child poverty isn’t being addressed properly, if at all, by our own government.

All of these absolutely tragic issues are connected to capitalism. When we are forced to compete against each other, in grades at school, for that raise or promotion in the workplace, this breeds a mindset of dehumanization.

I would also posit that the separation of young children from their parents when they begin schooling, either day care or pre-school or kindergarten or afterwards, is one of the first steps in life where the feelings of individual atomization starts, and collective social disintegration begins. Being ripped from your parent’s arms because they have to work just to survive, and the state/private/charter school substituting for the role of a parent, is one of the first deep tragedies inflicted on many of us by the “needs” of the modern world. I believe this suffering is lodged deep in our unconscious selves, and this is not being addressed publicly at all, and barely acknowledged in our private lives.

Treatment starts when we want to become free of the Great Beast of capitalism, the “Babylon system” as some like to call it. We must ground ourselves, and return to a deeper relationship with our mother Earth. Self-reliance is true freedom, and families and communities should begin to grow as much of their own food as possible. I understand the limitations for those in urban areas, or those stuck in jobs where time and effort cannot be adequately put towards farming, of course. Collectively, as a city block, a suburban neighborhood, a rural township, we are all going to have to learn to get together, share food and technology, and become independent of this beast. We must begin to develop a gift economy, an indigenous-based economy, based on reciprocity and trust, not exploitation and coercion, as Charles Eisenstein explains.

Other than that, a mass protest movement must be created so the resources that our federal government receives in taxes can be shifted from weapons of destruction to schools, health care, community projects, and renewable energy.

Analyzing a Popular Alternative

I believe it’s important to discuss some of the budding alternatives to capitalism that are developing around the globe. In the US, support for socialism has risen immensely, especially among the younger crowd, thanks to the work of Bernie Sanders (notwithstanding him not really being a socialist) and others. Yet how serious are most American socialists?

One of the most popular groups in the US is called Socialist Alternative (SA), led by the charismatic Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant. SA has some great ideas, and yet, some of their proposals make it seem as if they’re just going through the motions. Let me explain.

On their about page, a few things stand out. They write: “We see the global capitalist system as the root cause of the economic crisis, poverty, discrimination, war, and environmental destruction.” Very well put. Yet then, this is followed by the line below:

“As capitalism moves deeper into crisis, a new generation of workers and youth must join together to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership under democratic control to end the ruling elites’ global competition for profits and power.”

This sounds nice, but I wonder how much time was really spent thinking through the implications of this policy. What if democratic control only leads to redistribution of the companies’ wealth, and not fundamental transformation of the products, resource usage, and dangerous working conditions?  Where is the sense of urgency, the fact that deadlines are being approached regarding global warming, regarding the ecological damage being done by these companies?

One wonders, has SA bothered to take a look at the list of the 500 top companies? For some, perhaps they can be repurposed to make sustainable products. For others, maybe the factories and warehouses can be dismantled and recycled for public use. For a few, it might be feasible that they could be broken up into smaller entities and non-profit co-operatives.

Yet, we must realize that these companies have only been able to thrive due to government tax breaks, insider trading, off-shoring hidden wealth, and other financial chicanery. Further, these mega corporations rely on specialized division of labor, fueling worker alienation.

Also, the biggest companies choose not to compete against each other in entire sectors, allowing for large profit margins. What happens when “public ownership” leads to stricter competition and price wars, forcing many employees to be laid off? How will these companies be able to compete against Europe and China? Is SA committed to local and bio-regional approaches to agricultural and socially responsible industrial practices?

For many of these companies, though, the only democratic thing I can think of to do is to vote on who gets to throw the first brick or Molotov through the empty building. These corporations have done irreparable harm to the planet. Some of them are simply not going to be able to be reformed.

The only way to transform these entities (the ones that can be saved) properly, with the proper protections, would be to rewrite the constitution to include environmental and social rights, as well as the rights of mother Earth, as Bolivia has done. Without a legal framework based on ecology, there is no way to make sure “democratic control” of a transnational corporation would actually lead to environmentally-safe production.

SA is notable for fighting for a $15 an hour wage. First, I want to say that I support this policy. It is a laudable goal, and may work soon in some of the nations wealthy, tech-savvy, coastal metro enclaves.

Yet we need to ask what would happen if this were enacted nationally, and what we should do to prepare if it ever does. The elites would pull their money out of the system, if only to spite the Left and the socialists who enacted the policy, and give them a taste of pain for disobeying capitalism. The neoliberal economy is designed around low-wage service work, and is so tightly interwoven, not to mention extremely monopolized, that a sudden wage rise would lead to high levels of inflation, and possibly to a severe economic recession or depression. Are groups like SA ready to organize outside the political structure, to make space for a civic society, domestically and abroad, which will need massive influxes of resources, food, and housing when shit hits the fan?

SA also wants to “slash the military budget”, which is great. SA does not clarify where that new money should go. SA also proclaims that they support internationalism. Allow me to make a proposal: money from the military budget should be given away freely to developing countries, with transnational groups, either under UN auspices or some new framework, helping distribute and allocate resources so they are not wasted by corrupt dictators and governments. Poorer nations will need massive influxes of revenue to help them develop and avoid using fossil fuels and habitat-destroying industry, in the realm of trillions of dollars over decades. The West has accumulated ill-gotten wealth from centuries of colonialism, chattel slavery, and genocidal policies towards the “Global South”, and now may be the last chance to give back, before it becomes too late.

Are US socialists committed to these sorts of radical proposals? Are SA and others ready to admit to its followers that real socialism will involve hard sacrifices, and almost certainly (in the short term, at least) lead to less material goods and privileges that Westerners have enjoyed for centuries? Are socialists as ready to support a living wage in China as they are in the USA? Finally, are American socialists committed to transforming the nation, or just promoting an ideology that is centered too much on human needs, and not enough on the needs of non-humans and future human generations?

Ecocentrism, not Anthropocentrism

The Left has been fragmented for decades. Liberals, socialists, communists, greens, and anarchists have all endlessly debated future models for society. One wonders how many are just talking, and how many are willing to listen? There already are models for society to live sustainably and to prosper, very, very old ways: by following the paths set by the indigenous.

For instance: by living in the moment, and observing things as they really are, it becomes quite clear that humanity is facing huge challenges unlike at any other time in history. Just one hundred companies have pumped out 70% of worldwide greenhouse gases since 1988. Is the answer, as SA has posited, really just to democratize these corporations and hope for the best, or to shut them down completely?

Westerners are going to have to realize very quickly that despite our space technology, skyscrapers, and instant media, we are the children in the room when it comes to ecological knowledge, and the indigenous around the world are the adults. Native American tribes and various indigenous peoples worldwide have catalogued thousands if not tens of thousands of local plants in their local ecosystems, often with hundreds of different uses for each individual plant. Indigenous accept their own mortality and have constructed elaborate rituals, ceremonies, and initiations to help each other confront death. Also, and this is critical, indigenous tribes understand their carrying capacity in their local habitat, so are able to regulate and rationally plan for their population levels. Overpopulation now threatens the world with ecosystem degradation, habitat destruction, global warming, resource wars, ocean acidification, plastics proliferation, pandemics, and mass starvation and drought.

The indigenous are plant people, and we can follow just a few basic ideas to help us escape capitalism: conserve what remains of the South American, African, and Southeast Asian rainforests, as many future cures from disease and chronic conditions will be found there. In the Americas, the milpa, a planting of corn, beans, squash, and various nutrient rich veggies allows for huge crop productivity in a small area. We can use hemp and legalize cannabis to make biofuels, produce paper, make innovate building materials like Hempcrete, and provide the masses with a safe, relaxing herb for recreational, medicinal, and spiritual use. Advanced technology in most scenarios will only make things worse. What is the best thing one can do to stop global warming? Not a solar array, but planting a tree. Slow down soil erosion? Plant a tree. What is resistance? Planting a community garden is a more socialist, a more significant thing to do now than attending another symposium on Marxism.

The indigenous are freer and happier than Westerners not by some innate abilities, but because they have chosen to work for their freedom: by co-producing food, tools, clothes, pottery, by hunting, fishing, and foraging together. Westerners have refused to resist thus far, because deep down, many know they are dependent on the system for survival, and don’t want to pull that plug, to bite the hand that feeds. It’s the only way, though. We are going to have to walk away from all this, and activists, protestors, and concerned citizens are going to have to metaphorically step into our own Lacandon jungle, and organize around ecology, democracy, and social justice.

Yet, we must realize that it is too late in the game to rely simply on voting. Citizens will respond to a mass movement to the degree that it represents the will of the people: to the degree it can articulate a political truth on a deeply visceral level. Most mainstream socialists (important exceptions being Ian Angus, Paul Burkett, and John Bellamy Foster) have so far been too committed to a flailing, abstract ideology; specifically, wrongly committed to a Eurocentric, technocratic, anthropocentric worldview; to capture people’s imaginations. Developing an ecological worldview, one that acknowledges our interdependence and interconnectedness with all species, is crucial.

Thus, as the 21st century progresses, Standing Rock will eventually be seen as having more influence than Occupy Wall Street. We are connected to our planet and the web of life more than we can ever know or attempt to explain. For instance, we won’t end warfare until we abolish factory farming: the two are intimately linked, as exploitation of man over animal allows fascists the ideological justification for exploitation and the killing of man by man. Ecology is the keystone science: it allows us to see the linkages between species, food webs, and provides the science needed to develop scale-appropriate, sustainable technology. Ecologists understand that an injury to one is an injury to all, and under capitalism, we’ve all been wounded, plant, animal, and human alike, even the rich, who’ve suffered spiritual decay and moral disintegration.

The only democracy possible is an ecological democracy, with a long-term planning, and rational, sustainably-oriented national constitutions, a 90-95% reduction in fossil fuel use within a few decades at most, and an international consensus which will guarantee safeguards against habitat destruction, even in the face of democratic majority opposition. If we don’t face up to these facts, and collectively and courageously organize, we may, in fact, be due for the Kali Yuga, as the Hindus prophesied.

Thus, perhaps we can update and re-phrase Horkheimer’s famous quote for the 21st century:

“Whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about the 6th mass extinction.”

Not My Brother’s Reefer

Sometimes when I’m kneeling on the outermost rocks in my favorite cove in Big Sur, the spray hitting me in the face and the endlessly popping champagne stallions rearing up on both sides of the cliffs, I feel one with this powerful dynamic being called Earth. I understand that, though I will disappear, it has been a great privilege to have been here. The Earth will go on, regenerate, prevail. If necessary, it will shake off the “disease” of humanity, as my favorite movie hero, Agent Smith of The Matrix, called us. I’m feeling one with the eternalness of the Earth (which doesn’t have anything to do with other human beings) and I’m positive that I know what’s goin’ on, what’s goin’ on — it’s washing over every cell in my body, it is my body. I’m in tune.

And then I see a documentary like Chasing Coral about the destruction of the world’s coral reefs and I think everything could be gone in about 50 years. The Earth does not seem so powerful. It’s on the run from capitalism and the beings that capitalism created.

1) Time-lapse photography covering a two-month span of a section of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of northeastern Australia. Day 1: amazingly colorful and thick vibrant forests of undulating striped and spotted corals, inhabited by fanciful fish and other creatures — symbiotic, neighborly, cooperative. When the corals open their mouths their insides are as spectacular as their outsides. Everything about the corals illustrates “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

But by day 60: the variegated coral forests are “bleached out,” ghostly, skeletal, completely white, which they do as an emergency survival mechanism and then, ultimately, they turn gray and brown and die, almost flattened, looking like bombed-out Aleppos, Gazas and Mosuls. A few fish, who don’t look all that vibrant themselves, investigate the ruins. The cause of this destruction, says the film, is a rise in sea temperature caused by climate change. (One day, instead of saying “global warming” or “climate change,” future newscasters will get straight to the point: “Scientists reported today that if steps aren’t taken to mitigate ‘human devil inferno’…”)

2) The largest structure ever created by any human or non-human, the Great Barrier Reef is 133,000 square miles and as long as the eastern seaboard of the US. In 2016 alone, 29% of the Great Barrier Reef died.

3) Lame attempts by the film’s scientists to get us to care about the fascinating corals by telling us how much income the fishing industry would lose if the other 61% of the Great Barrier Reef dies. Is uninspiring speciesist utilitarianism supposed to activate our revolutionary fervor?

4) The scientists board a floating restaurant near the Great Barrier Reef and walk among the drinking, dancing, karaokeing crowns of creation who have no idea about the incredible undersea world not all that far away from them. Close to the reef physically, they checked out of the natural world socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually a long time ago, if they were ever in it at all. They aren’t their brother’s reefer.

5) The film emphasizes the whiz-bang technology that the scientists use to film the corals and study the data on the long walk/short pier, somewhere in the future, to “save” the corals. But we already know it would be better for the corals and every other living thing on Earth if none of this technology existed in the first place. What’s powering all those boats? And how many more millions of Congolese are going to be killed to get the coltan out of the ground and into those fancy cameras and phones? (We’re a world of Roland headless Thompson gunners with phones up to our brainless heads.) The impotence of techno-fixes is unintentionally illustrated by the 29% of the Great Barrier Reef lost in 2016. Apple, Tesla, Stephen Hawking and Marilyn vos Savant can’t keep up with the sweep of that destruction.

6) At the film’s end, the scientists fight back by giving lectures to sparsely-peopled auditoriums — and one guy turns an RV into a living classroom of the ocean to take the story of the corals on the road to educate people, especially the kids because, if you didn’t know, kids are the future and the future is something we have a whole shit pot full of.

I totally respect the hard work and good hearts of the scientists and volunteers who are trying to save the corals. They’ve got the emotional investment and the passion. (If you don’t tear up watching the turtle at the end of the film, you don’t have what it takes to save the world.) But how many of these disempowering dead-end environmental films have I seen where either no answers are presented or completely inadequate answers to the alarms that are raised?

The film doesn’t mention them but a quick glance at Wiki shows that some of our old friends are also destroying the corals: overfishing, mining, dumping, agricultural runoff, coastal development, oil spills (282 between 1987-2002), ocean acidification, illegal fish poaching, ships running aground, waste and foreign species discharged from ships’ ballast water and — capping off “the beauty of our weapons” as Brian Williams might say — joint US and Australian military exercises in 2013 when US Harrier jets deliberately dropped four thousand pounds of unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef. In short: our non-negotiable sacred way of death. The nebulous-sounding “climate change” almost looks like a scapegoat pushed forward by a gang of thieves who are committing very easy-to-understand crimes.

In every one of these films about the environment and “sustainability,” I think there should be a baseline, some minimal amount of information for viewers to consider — and for the filmmakers to cross-examine the subjects about just so we can see where their heads are:

1) Every film about the environment ought to promote veganism for these bountiful reasons. Concerned about climate change, the villain in the lineup fingered for killing the corals? In 2006, the UN reported that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the combined exhaust of all transportation. Veganism isn’t just right for the earth and the animals, it also empowers its adherents because it directly saves animals’ lives. Consider: we vegans make up a tiny percent of America but we raise hell completely out of proportion to our numbers. We set the food trends and our views from 35 years ago about animal agriculture have been totally vindicated. Capitalists like Bill Gates, Li Ka-shing and even Tyson Foods have realized how unsustainable animal agriculture is and they are investing their stolen wealth accordingly, in vegan food companies. We vegans swim against one of the greatest tides imaginable but we don’t feel disempowered.

In contrast to vegans: America has constant war but no anti-war movement, more blacks locked in cages than were in slavery but no civil rights movement, and only pockets of effective grassroots environmental groups swimming in Gang Green’s noxious, suffocating, spirit-depleting sea — despite the offenders being more outrageous than ever: ghost reefs, Canadian Tar Sands, thousands of fracking-caused earthquakes, etc. (Where are you, leftists? Are you too physically dilapidated from years of animal product consumption that you don’t have the energy to fight back? Active old Commies usually have two things in common: peasant meals and another old Commie as a lifetime partner. These nonagenarians aren’t eating double bacon cheeseburgers and chasing every 70-year-old skirt.)

Tolstoy called vegetarianism the “first step” toward leading an ethical life and George Bernard Shaw said, “Meat eating is cannibalism with its heroic dish omitted.” There are no morally relevant differences between us and the animal species we eat and it’s unjust to raise and kill them for food. Be a better person, be a bigger person: stop eating them. Leftists, your smug human supremacy is more offensive than the rabid right’s open bloodlust because you should know better. Where’s your questioning, your skepticism that you just might not be right about your relationship to other beings? If you really were as superior as you think you are, you would have kicked the right’s ass a long time ago. Right now it looks like you’re just a bunch of small, bullying, violent oppressors of fish, chickens, cows and pigs.

2) Veganism is something we can do individually and immediately but, of more importance, there is something we have to do collectively: replace the production for profit of capitalism with the production for need of socialism. No individuals should privately own productive property. Decisions about what to produce, how it’s produced and whether it’s produced at all should be made collectively by the working class majority. Under capitalism, we have industries fighting to the death to preserve destructive, wasteful, polluting, unnecessary and sickness-spreading work. As Upton Sinclair said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Capitalism is what prevents the work of the scientists in Chasing Coral from being more widely known, let alone acted on. The coral chasers have the science and truth, in the same way that vegans have it: every human nutritional study done over the last 100 years — not funded by the meat, dairy or egg industries — has concluded the same thing: for optimum health, eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and eat less animal products. The science is in. But capitalism has to be kicked out. Capitalists have taken 90% of everything — “study” and delay are how they take the last 10%. We don’t need more study or “education.” We need will and action.

Bonus Fidel Fun Fact: 2006 and 2016 reports by the World Wildlife Fund found that tiny quasi-socialist Cuba, the great bane of the United States of Satan, is the only country in the world with “sustainable development,” defined as a country that “covers their present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This fact should also be in every documentary about the environment. Cuba rocks, Satan sucks. Say it loud, say it proud. The 500 year train wreck of racist genocidal murder and plunder known as America isn’t the model for anything, except for what not to do.

3) Veganism and socialism aren’t the final answers — they are ethical, just, wise, liberatory, mandatory, health-enhancing and the bare minimum. But their chief value is that they buy time. We stop flooring the accelerator to our destruction. Because what really needs to be put out there for discussion, thinking and planning, in all of these “environmental” films, is how to wind down “civilization” as much and as quickly as possible. Chairman Mao intuited that we were all going to end up as peasant farmers and, perhaps, if we press on and get back to primitive communism, he says hello to his little friend: Jesus of the Essenes. And in that future ancient world, I hope those commies will have the good sense to stay there.

Weather Disrupters, Beetle Killers, Tide Changers: Dowsing for the Last Species on Earth

Human Evolution of the Mind Is Like a Hind Teat on a Texas Bull…

Here we are witnessing The Great Collective Amnesia of the Western World…. The great Forgetting, from the political crass class (total), intellectual wanderers (not all, but mostly all) and the general public (most, and these huge blocks against intelligence follow from generation to next generation with a fluidity equal to the amount of information – mostly junk – exponentially increasing on the world wide web and the number eye gazes at the weekly sales worldwide a la eBay, Amazon.dot.steal and any other number of aggregators and on-line scams) is like bubonic clouds in our industrial and post-industrial nations’ cortexes.

The lack of intelligence is deep, to include all those drone makers, the data collectors, the A.I. freaks, the robotics innovators (AKA, people killers), the war makers, the profiteers of toxicity, and any other shill in the giant Facebook-Mass Suicide (intellect) Media Kingdom with their legions of grovelers in their armies of financial and investment classes. Forget History and Forego Other Peoples. This lack of humanness, which is defined by forced and accepted agnotology – large portions of the human fabric and the positive human condition propagandized into complete lies or chopped into meaningless vestiges, remnants of a complete whole – makes daily the thrust of thinking and saying in this country almost like peering into the looking glass. Confusion and anti-thought, anti-knowing.

Thus, the deadening of intellect, atrophying of those so-called smarts, that is, as we hear and see from those Hollywood and Wall Street scum deeming what is and is not smart which includes anyone displaying electronic-coding-algorithmic skills or tinkering or hedge funding acumen, whatever modern business groper brings to the table. They are vapid, lacking true intellect which has always been tied to understanding history and knowing what is right and how to wrest control from the wrong-doers, and, of course, understanding the world, from sea to shining seabed, to lost tribe of Ecuador, to every beetle yet cataloged by science and shaman kind.

The depth of stupidity and genuflecting to all-encompassing consumption (suicide) is astounding in its coverage and voracity. It’s a total great collective forgetting that is both serendipitous and planned, and our dementia has created untenable damage to the rest of the globe. Call it Stockholm Syndrome tied to our murderers’ well-being, their own sustainability while we frog-march into oblivion death marches. We just cannot keep from fawning and vaunting corporations and chemical eaters, war mongers, money cachetting freaks, living off the flesh of humanity. This is US, us-ay, USA, this overvalued by every measure exceptionalist country of the so-called tuned-in, wired-up, and dialed-in leaders of the Western World. Our collective raping and then impregnating the rest of the world with Disneyfication stupidity, and then riding that ol’ train a slow time comin’, but rest assuredly comin’ to all corners of the globe with the splash-splash of glaciers Humpty-Dumpty-ing into their own march to catastrophe, oblivion –this DEFINES us, USA!

You Shit Here, Piss Here, Dump Your Dump Your Carcinogenic Offal Here . . . And We Get to the Now Generations!

The gut reaction and media devolution around probably one of the most coalescing written pieces in the past few years on climate change-global catastrophe caused by humans polluting the planet with cooked up fossil fuels and the various feedback loops of methane releases and the reflectivity (albedo effect) of the earth’s surface going negative (our land masses and oceans sponges for heat, now) are in real time despicable. The flinging shit and mud against the writer and his written facts and projections are now embedded in the very nature of how humanity in this western dystopian paradise of constant growth (with entropy quickly back-filling that sickness) puts the he and the her and the they smack in the middle of creation, which is the middle of destruction. The amount of ire, hate, and condemnation tied to his thinking and pseudo marketing-psychology-rhetoric vilifying the piece by David Wallace-Wells (“The Uninhabitable Earth,” New York Magazine, 7/9/2017) is reflective of the insipid quality of thinking that has come to define the consumer-capitalist-predator investing/divesting society we have shaped and embraced for more than 60 years.

This piece by Wallace-Wells has garnered absurd critiques in the so-called liberal-left greenie press, and the mainstream disastrous press, the pseudo journalism of the big great and digital kings on the east Coast vying for a new Zion in every nook and cranny of the bankster world. The usual libertarian and conservative suspects are trying to burn Wallace-Wells at the stake, for sure, since his article compiles thousands upon thousands of researchers’ work – that is, evidence and prognostications based on those many webs of writing about the research on climate change (which is a catch-all phrase for global warming, weather destabilization, climate uncertainty, geo-engineering, greenhouse gas expulsion through fossil fuel burning and the various parallel defamation of the earth mostly through deforestation and hyper urbanization/ consumption/over-population of Homo Erectus/ Sapiens/ Consumopithecus).

Do we need a list of those thinkers and doers years ago who predicted the outcome of the despoiled commons and over-impregnating Homo Sapiens eating the edges and now the center of all the other species, who, in a quick nod, have so-so much to give than a billion “I Wanna Be A Star” cretins who can’t wait for the next and the next bloody mess viewable in the next Netflix world of lies.

The subtitle of the piece, “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think,” has bristled the hackles of the me-myself-and-I bros and sisters, all from the various stripes of the political quagmire. Imagine, truth to power, truth to stupidity, truth against the prevailing Cellophane-wrapped essence of nano-particle humanity.

Then the greenies start shedding their thin epidermis of green-o-atic colors to show the real flavor of their existence – eating cool, living cooler and propping up everything that is American.

I’ve heard crap from Grist and so many other naysayers splaying (attempting, though) David Wallace-Wells’ thinking; many parts of the many numbers of NGO-like, non-profit “looking” environmental concerns (most are money-making harbors of war-loving, capitalism S & M driving nuts who love Hillary or even think Bernie is twenty-two degrees removed from the party he ran under) think going truthful and objective with the reality of the many dynamics tied to climate disruption which Wallace-Wells does, is worse than being a denier, than a Pence or Trump or any color of them ruling DC and the palaces of the stupids.

I’ve been listening to our local Pacifica Station, KBOO-Portland, and today (7/19/17), on one show, Robert Hunziker, who wrote a piece, “Unhabitable Earth?” over at Dissident Voice talked about Wallace-Wells’ piece with Paul Roland, and, Hunziker is more or less right on, spot on, agreeing (to a degree, though) with the predictions and creative thought experiment David Wallace-Wells unfolds in a very prescient piece. Hunziker still has qualifiers, as is the style of the day – you know, us digital kings and writers having so much more with it and together than the real hard researchers and satirists.

You have to give it to the ameliorating masses in the liberal class, the so-called environmentalists, and the shills that play this marketing/narrative framing/meme-ing game, saying that “too harsh a picture on the global negative implications of climate disaster can cause people to turn off and do nothing . . . scare them into paralysis . . . push them back to the all-you-can-eat/buy/consume/burn/immolate /dump/throw-away ways.” Yep, the so-called environmental b.s.-pushers, the majority of which are happy campers in their Subaru-tooling, Prius-loving, eco-capitalist REI lovefest, go on hyper-drive attack of this man’s well-reasoned and fabulously important piece of climate change writing.

Hunziker and Roland on KBOO talked it out, about the Wallace-Wells piece, and the fallout. The call-in folk, well, they have so-so much mixed-up hope, and some cited Bill Gates as savior (those corporate Nazi saviors, don’t you know), or others talking geoengineering, you know, iron shavings by the millions of metric tons, dumped into the oceans, to, as most readers know, human engineer the planet to absorb CO2 – **“Iron fertilization is the intentional introduction of iron fines to iron-poor areas of the ocean surface to stimulate phytoplankton production. This is intended to enhance biological productivity and/or accelerate carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration from the atmosphere.” **

The absurdity of this human ecocide on the oceans is telling, very telling. How we are living in our own shit and waste, tailings from the crimes of resource theft, the burning and slag piles smoking and curing our unborn, the stripped soils and exploded mountains beautiful images of earth gas chamber, diverted rivers to bred desertification, chemicalized water systems to cause death and migration, the entire mess of genetic engineering ready to latch onto the gene codes of the earth eaters, so perfectly captured in macrocosm with the example of salmon crossed at the DNA level with fat ass bass, and penned by the hundreds of thousands forced to eat soy and chicken entrails tablets.

One good fishy example of humanity’s human shit and total species hate makes for emblematic ways to really show how warped a species we are.

The ever-increasing Franken-fish/Franken-food/Franken-people experiments funded by tax monies, pushed by the controllers, yet average Joe and Jane Blow think this is the new normal. Then we have confused Rachel Maddows and Al Gores and the lot of them on their Van Jones high horses, empty of intelligence, blasphemers of the precautionary principle, small-minded and closed-headed people who look at a climate change article (which should be a triple-clarion call out) with real mettle, real predictions, not only poo-pooing it, but downright eviscerating the facts in order to play some full-of-shit narrative framing, shit, a la Freud and Bernays and Madison Avenue Zionist slave to consumerism shit.

How much shit makes hubris and delusion capitalism?

Imagine, the pencil necks at Grist (“Stop Scaring People About Climate Change: It Doesn’t Work”) attacking the reality, calling this man to task, for his look inside and outside at the real and unfolding possibilities of this that’s world a comin’, like a fast freight train a thousand miles long with every species ready for the Mother of All Dachaus — every species but that lying, raping, murdering, polluting, insane, blubbery, superstitious, vapid, inelegant Hominoid of modern atrocities. These people, advertising-seeking, for sure, and vetted by that political and non-profit enviro class so easily despised for their hypocrisy, they are grandstanding saying scaring doesn’t work? What sort of Wallace-Wells work is this writer leaning on, or wanting? It’s not his job to get people to revolt, overthrow, throw down, end the entire shooting match. “Quit scaring people” is so-so telling of the liberal class who gives shit about the illegal wars, the massive murders of millions by this empire, the massive deportations, massive destabilizations, massive inequities within their own shores. Almost anything coming out of their people’s cloud-digital-print asses is worth less than that one political orifice’s total value.

Sanity Found Not Between the Lines, but in the Alarms and Emergency Sirens Apparent in the Words

To give us a bit more to chew on without replicating the piece, here, the sectional titles of Wallace-Wells’ article:

I. ‘Doomsday’ — Peering beyond scientific reticence.
II. Heat Death — The bahraining of New York.
III. The End of Food — Praying for cornfields in the tundra.
IV. Climate Plagues –What happens when the bubonic ice melts?
V. Unbreathable Air — A rolling death smog that suffocates millions.
VI. Perpetual War  — The violence baked into heat.
VII. Permanent Economic Collapse  — Dismal capitalism in a half-poorer world.
VIII. Poisoned Oceans — Sulfide burps off the skeleton coast.
IX. The Great Filter — Our present eeriness cannot last.

Even the climate change piece looks at the rotten form that is capitalism, and the great day trading of the commons, the willingness of man to barter for more money with the future commons of ancestral havens. We’re talking war, too, rarely mentioned by greenies. War is the power, the engine, of greed, destabilization, the end of food, the lack of preparedness for everyone to adapt and adjust to the impending collapsed societies.

Wallace-Wells nails it.

Then, look at these opposing points of view, sick, really, spewing liberal elites with their pedigrees, whatever that means in this sell-out science landscape:

“Doomsday Scenarios Are as Harmful as Climate Change Denial” By Michael E. Mann, Susan Joy Hassol and Tom Toles

Analysis of “The Uninhabitable Earth” Published in New York Magazine, by David Wallace-Wells on 9 July 2017:

Sixteen scientists (all male, all White/Christian/Jewish) analyzed (attacked) the article and estimated its overall scientific (what is this, really, in a sell-out world of science for their own profits) credibility to be ‘low’. (yet more mumbo-jumbo from the science arena). A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Alarmist, Imprecise/Unclear, Misleading.

This grouping of puke scientists, who we all must bow to, don’t you know, with their Ivy-League and powerhouse Stanford and Big 20 university laurels, well, they are vapid, untenable when you think about their own contexts – first world, elite, white, privileged, ivory towered, and never grasping the reality of an uneven world for not only their fellow billions, but for the entirety of the wild world. Hmm, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has been reporting a huge loss of population in thousands of vertebrate species. Researchers have studied 27,600 species of birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles, finding huge losses in over 8,000 species. The animal species are not yet technically extinct, but the loss of numbers is severe enough to collapse breeding, viability, and their own roles in their eco-webs, let alone their own rights to exist on this planet. The findings mean that billions of animal populations that once roamed the Earth are now gone.

This is the great Sixth Great Extinction of animal species caused by climate change and loss of habitat – all perpetrated by Man and Woman and “they”. “The sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short.”

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, continues: “If we continue the trend we’re on, we’re going to be looking at 50 to 75 percent of our species lost over the next hundred years.”

Here’s what the capitalism-adoring Atlantic magazine says of the work of Wallace-Wells:

It’s into that morass that this week’s New York magazine walks. In a widely shared article, David Wallace-Wells sketches the bleakest possible scenario for global warming. He warns of a planet so awash in greenhouse gas that Brooklyn’s heat waves will rival Bahrain’s. The breadbaskets of China and the United States will enter a debilitating and everlasting drought, he says. And millions of brains will so lack oxygen that they’ll slip into a carbon-induced confusion.

Unless we take aggressive action, “parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” he writes. “No matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.”

It’s a scary vision—which is okay, because climate change is scary. It is also an unusually specific and severe depiction of what global warming will do to the planet. And though Wallace-Wells makes it clear that he’s not predicting the future, only trying to spin out the consequences of the best available science today, it’s fair to ask: Is it realistic? Will this heat-wracked doomsday come to pass?

Many climate scientists and professional science communicators say no. Wallace-Wells’s article, they say, often flies beyond the realm of what researchers think is likely. I have to agree with them.

This is the tribe of elites, the publishing mainliners, the gatekeepers, controllers, the myopics and the critics of anything outside their own narrative frames – America good, or inherently good and all-knowing, all-solving, leaders of the world and technology and in ideas. Words like scary and vision and morass, oh, those wordsmiths, oh those literary kingpins of the big East Coast tribe. Humanity’s chosen people, these publishers and writers and editors and pundits and cultural icons.

Here, from Wallace-Wells in an updated and annotated version of his piece:

Since the article was published, we have made four corrections and adjustments, which are noted in the annotations (as well as at the end of the original version). They are all minor, and none affects the central project of the story: to apply the best science we have today to the median and high-end ‘business-as-usual’ warming projections produced by the U.N.’s ‘gold standard’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But the debate this article has kicked up is less about specific facts than the article’s overarching conceit. Is it helpful, or journalistically ethical, to explore the worst-case scenarios of climate change, however unlikely they are? How much should a writer contextualize scary possibilities with information about how probable those outcomes are, however speculative those probabilities may be? What are the risks of terrifying or depressing readers so much they disengage from the issue, and what should a journalist make of those risks?

The End Game is Capitalism-Delusional Thinking-Soylent Green is People!

Now, let’s get really real. How many minds were talking about no-growth, steady-state economics, the three e’s of sustainability (environment, equity, economy, in that fucking order!), small is better, de-industrializing, eco-socialism, and on and bloody on? Forget Muir, or Pinchot or Stegner or Rachel Carson or Mumford or Kunslter or Jane Jacobs or any number of proponents of fair and environmentally gauged communities.

One part Wallace-Wells, another part, hmm, Derrick Jensen?

While we face ‘hard choices’ about which species and ecosystems to conserve, it’s odd how we face no such quandaries over which of our frivolous luxuries to refrain from, or what murderous weapons system not to build, writes Derrick Jensen.

This look at the hard choices of species and ecosystems, over pornography, sweat-shop clothes, next generation iPhones, animal-shit coffee, Ikea lasting six months, endless cruises and buffets, disposable internal combustion vehicles, jets and satellites and drones and backyard pools and chemical trails circling the globe and, well, you know what humanity is not willing to sacrifice!

Sure, we’re supposed to choose whether to extirpate or save Bulmer’s fruit bats or Sumatran Rhinos, wild yams or hula painted frogs (with the default always being extirpate, of course); and we’re supposed to make careful delineations of how we choose who is exterminated, and who lives (at least until tomorrow, when we all know there’ll be another round of exterminations, complete with another round of wringing our hands over how difficult these decisions are, and another round of heartbreak; and then another round, and another, until there is nothing and no one left).

But just as after Fukushima a Japanese energy minister said that nuclear energy must continue to be produced because no one “could imagine life without electricity”, so, too, entirely disallowed is any discussion of what technologies should be kept and what should be caused to go extinct.

There’s no discussion of extirpating iPads, iPhones, computer technologies, retractable stadium roofs, insecticides, GMOs, the Internet (hell, Internet pornography), off-road vehicles, nuclear weapons, predator drones, industrial agriculture, industrial electricity, industrial production, the benefits of imperialism (human, American, or otherwise).

That’s the rub, every single SOV day (single occupancy vehicle). I can’t even help my homeless and beaten-down young foster kids without being forced to drive miles upon miles and meet them at the quintessential rot gut everything that is bad about society Starbucks, because that’s company policy.

I drive in a rural area near Oregon City, Estacada, and daily, the number of sacrifices on the road, AKA road kill, is in the dozens. Daily. We cut and maul and pave over and build over and divert and seed with invasives, and daily, hourly, each minute, on this planet, not one shit product or idea or lifestyle is sacrificed, but each and every square inch of soil and cubic meter of river and 2000 foot of altitude is raped and re-raped.

By us, the supremacists. The dunces. The ones sitting, lying and sleeping in our own shit, using the cadavers of the real world – ecology, environment – as our rationale for putting us at the top of the dung heap.

The murder of the planet is not some tragedy ordained by fate because we’re too damn smart. It is the result of a series of extremely bad social choices. We could choose differently. But we don’t. And we won’t. Not so long as the same unquestioned beliefs run the culture.

Don’t get me wrong. Anyone who is working to protect wild places or wild beings from this omnicidal culture is in that sense a hero. We need to use every tool possible to save whomever and wherever we can from this culture.

But it’s ridiculous and all-too-expected that while there’s always plenty of money to destroy the Tongass and every other forest, and there’s always plenty of money for various weapons of mass destruction (such as cluster bombs or dams or corporations) somehow when it comes to saving wild places and wild beings, we have to pinch pennies and ‘make difficult decisions’.

Also, I need to say that the whole Ark metaphor doesn’t work. In the original story, God saved two of every species (as He, like the humans who created Him, destroyed the planet). Here, modern humans are going where even God didn’t tread, and explicitly not saving every species, but instead deciding which species to save, and which species to kill off.

This is, of course, both pleasing and flattering to human supremacists: they’re making decisions on questions even God punted. How cool is that?

Trump Follows Previous US Presidents Who Have Undermined Climate Action

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement follows the path of previous presidents who have undermined international climate agreements. We disagree with Trump, but it is important to understand his actions in the context of the history of the United States regarding previous climate agreements. Once again, the political problems in the US are bigger than Trump. His action brings greater clarity to the inability of the US government to confront the climate crisis and clarifies the tasks of people seeking smart climate policy.

The US Has Always Prevented Effective International Climate Agreements

The US has consistently blocked effective climate agreements because both parties in power have put the profits of big energy before the climate crisis when it comes to domestic and international policies. The Republicans proclaimed themselves the “drill baby drill” party while the Democrats are the “all of the above energy” party. Both slogans mean the parties seek to ensure US corporations profit from carbon energy. Both have supported massive oil and gas infrastructure and extreme energy excavation including the most dangerous forms; i.e., tar sands and fracking. Both parties have also supported wars for oil and gas. All of these positions will be viewed as extreme as the world confronts the great dangers of the climate crisis and the US will be deservedly blamed.

If we go back to the Clinton-Gore administration and the Kyoto Protocol we find the US pushing a “free market” trade in pollution credits, where corporations would buy the right to pollute in other places around the world, i.e. poor and developing countries. Gore made sure other countries understood the US’ position. As Mitchel Cohen writes:

Gore commandeered the Kyoto conference. The U.S. government, he said, would not sign the Accord – as limited as it was – if it imposed emissions reductions on industrial countries. Instead, he demanded that the rest of the world adopt his proposal that would allow industrial nations like the U.S. to continue polluting by establishing an international trade in carbon pollution credits. Gore’s “solution” – like Obama’s – was to turn pollution into a commodity and buy and sell it in the form of “pollution rights”. The free market trade in “pollution credits” would simply shift around pollution and spread it out more evenly without reducing the total amount of ozone-depleting greenhouse gases. It would allow the United States and other industrial countries to continue polluting the rest of the world.

The Kyoto Protocol failed. Rather than reducing climate gas emissions by the 5 percent target, there was a significant increase of 58 percent from 1990 to 2012.

In Copenhagen, the story is more complex but has the same result— the US undermined efforts for an agreement with enforceable reductions in climate emissions. The US role in Copenhagen become more fully understood when Edward Snowden leaked documents showing intense US spying on other nations participating in the climate talks. The most important spying was on the Danish government where the US leaked a draft of a plan for enforceable emissions standards; and on China where the US intruded into a meeting where the Chinese, Indians and others were working on a similar plan.Chinese negotiators entered into the talks willing to undertake mandatory emissions cuts but instead the US falsely turned China into the villain. The editor of The Ecologist, Oliver Tickell, summarized what happened:

Looking at the evidence as a whole there can be little doubt that the Copenhagen climate talks were deliberately and highly effectively scuppered by a ‘dirty tricks’ operation carried out by the NSA and other US security agencies – including the pivotal leak to The Guardian of the Danish text.

Following Snowden’s revelations, we know that they had the ability to do that in spades. They also had motives. The US wanted:

* to protect their politically powerful fossil fuel industries, and their right as a nation to carry on polluting;

* to avoid having to pay out billions of dollars in climate funding to developing countries;

* to deny China the global leadership role it sought to secure for itself, and instead leave it humiliated;

* to present the USA and its President Barack Obama as trying against the odds to secure a climate agreement, in the face of obdurate resistance by other countries.

The operation was, in other words, spectacularly successful. The rest of the world were played for suckers. China emerged with a bloody nose. And the US was free to carry on letting rip with its emissions.

Making this more confusing for people in the United States are the false statements of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign where she claimed the she and Obama came to the rescue and saved the world from China. This falsehood is described as an alternative reality by some of those who covered the meetings.

The US Undermines the Paris Agreement

We reported extensively on the Paris climate agreement when it happened noting that it was a small and inadequate step because the goals were not strong enough and there was no enforcement to ensure countries met their promised reductions in climate gasses. We were not alone in this analysis. In a newsletter after the agreement, COP21 An Opportunity For Climate Justice, If We Mobilize, we wrote:

Friends of the Earth International described the agreement as “a sham.” The New Internationalist, measuring the deal against the People’s Climate Test developed before COP21, described it as “an epic fail on a planetary scale.”  Climate scientist James Hansen said it was a “fraud . . . fake . . . bullshit.”

Analysts blamed the United States for the weakness of the agreement, writing COP 21 crafted “the deal according to US specifications in order to insulate Obama and the agreement from attacks.” Obama insisted that the 31-page agreement exclude emissions reductions targets and finance requirements from the legally binding parts of the deal because making those binding would have required US Senate approval, which he could not achieve due to the power of the oil, gas and coal lobbies’ influence, especially over the Republican Party. Also excluded from legal enforcement was a clause in the agreement that would expose the US to liability and compensation claims for causing climate change.

While we are critical of the shortcomings of the Paris agreement we also recognize it is a step to finally — after 21 years of trying — get an international agreement approved by all but two countries (Syria and Nicaragua). Dahr Jamail correctly summarizes the situation when he describes the Paris Accord as not going far enough but Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement endangering life on Earth. He points to the reaction of the world in response to Trump, with uniform opposition to his decision. The new French president Emmanuel Macron urged US scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs to come to France and help “make the world great again” by working to confront the climate crisis. Environmental groups focused on climate change were uniformly critical with some describing the action as making the US a rogue nation. Trump was already unpopular around the world, protested wherever he went, but now he has become a pariah.

The Task of the Movement is Clarified

There was an immediate reaction to Trump’s decision with protests at the White House and around the world, with mayors and governors saying they will abide by the climate pact and with business leaders leaving Trump’s business advisory board in protest. The climate justice movement, already growing, will build on this decision by growing even more. The long history of US climate inaction from both parties demonstrates we must build independent political power that undermines those who profit from the status quo and makes both parties face the reality of climate change.

Persistence is a key. The day before Trump’s announcement ExxonMobil shareholders and investors voted to require the company to report annually on climate-related risks to the corporation. This took decades of work by shareholders inside ExxonMobil. Similar shareholder resolutions are being passed by shareholders of other companies and other votes are very close to passage at energy utilities. The oil and gas industry must be held responsible for their role in the climate crisis. Litigation against ExxonMobil for hiding the truth about climate change for four decades is advancing in what will be the crime of the century with great liability.

There is tremendous momentum around transitioning to a clean energy economy. Jobs in clean energy in the US are at 800,000 and growing and around the world at 10 million workers. In the last three years there has been an 83 percent increase in solar jobs and 100 percent increase in wind jobs. Solar employs more people in the US than oil, gas and coal combined. This January all new energy came from solar and wind without any increase in oil, gas, nuclear and coal. Renewables now account for 18 percent of total installed operating capacity in the US. Renewables accounted for 64 percent of all new electrical generating capacity installed last year in the US. Researchers report that gas-powered cars will disappear in the next decade and the oil industry will collapse. Investor advisors are telling people to expect the demise of the industry. The US is just scratching the surface potential of this new economy.

Keep protesting because resistance to the oil, gas and coal agenda continues to be critical. People power has been reported by the industry as the greatest threat to their expansion. Infrastructure protests continue to grow at a time when science tells us to stop developing such infrastructure.  Similarly protests are occurring against oil trains turning into a nationwide resistance against the oil trains’ high risks to communities.

Another national effort is focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which serves as a rubber stamp for the oil and gas industry. For the past five months, the FERC has only had two commissioners out of five seats, leaving it without a quorum and unable to approve new fossil fuel projects. Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) is working to prevent the conformation of new commissioners until FERC stops serving the oil and gas industry and starts serving the health and safety of communities impacted by its projects. On May 25, BXE disrupted a Senate hearing focused on the FERC commissioners. More actions are planned. Visit BeyondExtremeEnergy.org to get involved. There is something for everyone to do.

Another form of extreme energy is nuclear power. Indigenous communities in the Southwest are mobilizing to stop uranium mining on the rim of the Grand Canyon in a sacred site. If the Canyon Mine succeeds, toxic ore will be trucked 300 miles through tribal lands to a mill close to the Ute Mountain Utes. This month, a Haul No! Tour is being held to raise awareness and hold actions. There is a long legacy of poisoning the air, land and water from abandoned uranium mines throughout the US. On a related note, Ban the Bomb actions are planned on June 17 in support of a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

On the electoral front, Trump’s move ensures climate will be a centerpiece of the 2018 and 2020 elections as the US cannot actually withdraw from the Paris agreement until after the 2020 presidential race. We cannot allow the fraudulent debate commission (really a front for the two corporate parties) to not ask a single question about climate change.  There are massive majorities in favor of staying in the climate agreement – 70 percent of all voters, majorities in both major parties and among independents. In every state this is a majority position. But the reality is the US has a government owned by big energy and Wall Street investors who profit from climate pollution.

The current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, attended a meeting in Saudi Arabia where ExxonMobil made a multi-billion dollar deal to explore gas off the coast of Mexico and build a refinery in Texas. The US government has been marinated in oil for decades, with presidents and vice presidents who have come from the oil, gas and related industries. Now is the time to change that. We need to make 2020 an election that produces a president who leads on effective actions to address the climate crisis.

Finally, we agree with Ken Ward, former deputy director of Greenpeace facing felony charges for shutting  down an oil sands pipeline, that Trump’s action is an opportunity. The fig leaf of the inadequate Paris agreement has been removed. The world can advance in creating an agreement not held back by the United States. The movement for a new energy economy must now build enough power to put in place real solutions to the climate crisis. As with many other issues, Trump’s actions crystallize the reality we have been facing for many presidential administrations so the movement now knows what it must do.