AuthorTopic: The Environment Board  (Read 10719 times)

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🌎 Climate Strange
« Reply #75 on: February 07, 2018, 01:20:31 AM »

Climate Strange

The eco-obsessed often get labeled as weirdos -- even by their peers. Weird, however, is looking better and better.

By Eve Andrews   on Feb 1, 2018

Alec Mitchell doesn’t like praise for what he’s doing. Not for loaning out reusable coffee mugs at farmers markets near his Arcata, California home, nor running a compost collection service on a bike, nor renting out dishware at events to discourage disposable plates. Mitchell spent months sleeping in a tent on the beach to conserve housing-related resources. He never, ever gets in a car.

“Great job!” so many would say. “You’re doing such wonderful work!”

Ask Umbra

But the cars and the disposable coffee cups don’t seem to diminish, so the praise feels meaningless. “You try and you try and you try, and you don’t know what you can do, so you do what you can,” he told me over the phone. (We had to plan the call in advance, as Mitchell does not keep his cellphone on unless he knows he needs to use it, to conserve battery life.)

Why keep it up? Why be such a weirdo? What can you possibly change?

Even within the environmental movement, there’s a fraught and often ugly debate over people like Mitchell, who radically change their lives to fight climate change. Critics say they are wasting their time and scaring away the critical audience of the unconverted. Major voices in the climate movement are dismissive of the choice to, say, forego a major flight. Why sacrifice, they chide; focus on what matters.

But Mitchell has also worked on the kind of systemic change that many environmentalists would criticize him for distracting from. He’s volunteered for habitat restoration, worked at the local recycling facility, run for local office, knocked on doors for voter registration campaigns. He’s just upset that for so much talk about wanting to fight climate change, most people don’t reflect it in their daily lives.

As much as policy shapes behavior, a mass shift in behavior can push policy and change the world. The shift has to start somewhere — and it starts with the weirdos.

Mitchell, who is 25, would have fit right in at a radical cooperative that existed a few hundred miles south in San Francisco in 1970: Ecology Action. The group espoused an “environmental awareness starts at home” ideology: reuse everything, bike everywhere, mend and compost and say no to meat. In an organizational manifesto, Ecology Action described their activities as “doing new things for new reasons.”

In 2018, Ecology Action has grown up into an advocacy organization behind a lot of pro-climate legislation in California. And, nearly a half-century later, the activities they “lived” are no longer new. (One could easily argue that they were never new — they’re simply resurrecting the old.) They’re not even particularly strange.

But neither are they remotely mainstream — which is mind-boggling to people like Mitchell in the face of runaway climate change. While vegetarian and vegan options proliferate, only about 3 percent of U.S. adults don’t eat meat. Bike share programs have multiplied by a factor of nearly 90 since 2010, but they struggle to survive and are criticized for only reaching a small, elite portion of urban populations. The amount of stuff an average person throws away peaked in 2000 and recycling rates are on the up-and-up — but we still don’t even know how to do that that well.

Still, these commitments persevere in different houses, on different streets, on different social media accounts. Because there is still the hope that the environmental awareness that starts at home (particularly as “home” expands in the digital age) can be contagious.

Behavior normalization is a powerful driver of climate-conscious lifestyles. A 2014 study in the International Journal of Psychology examined the values, social forces, and personality traits that correlate with pro-environment actions. “If one believes that the ‘usual thing to do’ is to recycle, one is likely to recycle,” the authors write. (The most important “usual things” to change, according to a major study last year, include our diets and transportation habits.)

Basically, in “norm activation theory,” we make decisions based on our sense of personal moral obligation, expected consequences, and, significantly, the expectations of our peers. It’s why it’s easier to quit smoking if people around you quit smoking.

Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist, has transformed his own lifestyle based on moral obligation (save humanity from climate change) and the consequences of his actions (everything we do makes the climate change a tiny bit more). Now, he’s working on changing that whole “expectations of our peers” part.

Kalmus described to me his “climate awakening” moment: As a physics grad student at Columbia University, he attended a James Hansen talk on the idea that the Earth absorbs more heat than it releases — a death sentence for everyone on the planet. But immediately after the talk, he went to lunch with his classmates and tried to talk about this impending doom, and no one seemed to care.

That is the entire point of Kalmus’ book, Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution. In his opinion, there wasn’t a satisfying discussion of what a regular person can do to fight climate change so he set out to create a point of reference, a guide, for anyone nervous and curious. When I told him it’s currently on a deep wait list at the Seattle library, he laughed delightedly.

This is what he did: He challenged himself to de-fossil-fuel his own lifestyle in all the most important ways. First, flying less. (“Hour for hour, there’s no better way to contribute to climate change than to get on a commercial plane,” he says.) Then, vegetarianism. (“I felt lighter, more energetic.”) Then, even in the suburbs, giving up his motorcycle for a bicycle. And after that, it became a sort of game. He asked: “What are the most radically emissions-free lifestyle changes that I can make, and still enjoy myself?”

For Shia Su, it started with the Cake Invasion. That was the name of her baking blog, which gradually turned vegan as she began to experiment with that most maligned of diet choices. (“It took a couple of years; I’m not very good with change,” she confides. “I always need to ease into things.”) She wanted to challenge herself to create vegan baked goods that were as delicious as their dairy-laden counterparts: Perfectly moist chocolate cakes, flaky apple pies, delicate puddings made of tofu. It became an obsession.

Cake Invasion spurred her interest in things like palm oil boycotts and, eventually, the zero-waste movement, which launched the spinoff blog Wasteland Rebel. (Not to be confused with the model of assault rifle.) There, Su documented the various measures that she and her husband implemented to not use any disposable things: housing everything in glass jars; bringing their own containers to get restaurant takeout; buying as much as possible from the bulk foods section. It became a challenge to see how much they could cut down, and, again, an obsession.

The Wasteland Rebel Instagram account — a sunlit grid of wholesome grains in glossy glass jars, exquisite rainbow arrangements of farmers market produce, and cloth-swaddled loaves of bread — has 60,000 followers. In fact, there’s an entire #zerowastemovement Instagram community rife with accounts such as these.

“I think the first time people hear about ‘zero waste,’ it’s seen as this hippie thing,” Su says. “The notion is that it’s a bit dirty and not mainstream enough, so people just dismiss the idea as something that crazy people do! Making it visually appealing speaks to so many more people. They think, ‘I want a beautiful home, I want a beautiful pantry, I can do that.’ Because it is doable!”

Su experienced a lot of resistance to both going vegan and zero waste when she started. A close friend and her mother, in particular, were insistent that they weren’t going to be converted by her behavior. But then, gradually, they began to adopt those practices themselves, sans any insistence or even encouragement from Su — simply by being around her. The friend started sending photos of how little trash she accumulated in a week; her mom became a devotée of the organic foods bulk section.

The shift in environmentally inclined behavior from “gross hippie” to “aspirational” is something that Kalmus, the climate scientist, hopes for.

But there are some pitfalls, too, in the aspirational approach. For example, urban biking advocacy organizations have been criticized for selling cycling as an “urban chic” activity, alienating the lower-income cyclists that actually make up the majority of the national biking community.

This comes back to the great bugaboo of the environmental movement: That it’s associated with whiteness and wealth. People of color very rarely see themselves reflected in the messaging of some of the most significant individual-level environmental changes, like biking.

Bike share is one CO2-fighting tool in the urban transit arsenal, and it’s struggled in a lot of cities, because people aren’t using it. And the ones that do tend to be white, wealthy-ish, and from out of town. But Kerdia Roland, a 25-year-old African-American bike delivery messenger was the No. 1 user of Chicago’s Divvy bike share system in 2017. It wasn’t to save the climate, but because it fit his lifestyle.

The Chicago Reader reported that Roland clocked in over 6,000 miles of rides on the powder-blue, 50-pound “tourist bikes” while making deliveries around an endless city that is seasonally unbearable in both summer and winter. Six thousand miles, for context, is roughly the bikeable length of South America.

Roland adores traversing the city on two wheels, no matter the weight of them. He feels freer, healthier, happier, more in tune with his city. And he loves to talk to people about it, particularly in neighborhoods of color, where he gets a lot of “outlandish looks” until he starts a conversation. “If there are more bikers, the city’s gonna want to take care of them — if it gets to be a large enough demographic,” he explains.

At the end of our call, he thanked me for asking about his experience. “I usually am really listening to people in all of these conversations” about bike sharing, he says. “I don’t get that many opportunities to do the majority of the talking. This is a breath of fresh air.”

Let’s go back to Alec Mitchell. He enjoys his lifestyle, but he is frustrated that other people don’t, and this is the first mistake — if a very understandable one.

In the New York Times feature on the radical collective Ecology Action, a girl was quoted: “Every time I go visit the Humphreys, they make me feel like a pig.” So much environmental behavior is seen as threatening, judging, morally superior. (Look no further than public perception of vegans.)

That is because it challenges norms. But, Alec, pal, the norms are changing, even if you can’t see it directly in front of you. Biking across freezing cities and Instagram accounts fetishizing grain organization (!) are actually beloved — because enough people, relatable people, happy people, find genuine joy in doing those things, and they are sharing that with others.

Take a deep breath, abandon some of your frustration with the people who haven’t caught up, and be the weirdo you want to see in the world. And just love being that way. It will become contagious.

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☁️ Who is Guilty of Climate Crimes?
« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2018, 12:46:25 AM »

Published on
Friday, February 16, 2018
Common Dreams
Who is Guilty of Climate Crimes?

These are the key perpetrators of the largest human rights violation in history.
Margaret Klein Salamon

"The Kochs are bigger than either of the Democratic or Republican parties, manipulate both, and are determined to keep the Senate Republican...A major focus of Koch money has been to ensure that no legislation is passed to curb the burning of fossil fuels."(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

"The Kochs are bigger than either of the Democratic or Republican parties, manipulate both, and are determined to keep the Senate Republican...A major focus of Koch money has been to ensure that no legislation is passed to curb the burning of fossil fuels."(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A fascinating exposé of the climate crisis awaits you in Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth’s, “Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival.”  It is a comprehensive look at the climate crisis through a legal frame, discussing the relevant national and international statutes and lawsuits, with a focus on the perpetrators of the climate emergency that confronts us all.

Human rights are explored at length, including the critical concept of “basic rights,” the right to things necessary for human life-- fresh water, food, and non-toxic air, which must come before non-basic rights. The author’s quote the 1980 Presidential Commission on World Hunger on basic rights: “Whether one speaks of human rights or basic human needs, the right to food is the most basic of all. Unless that right is first fulfilled, the protection of other human rights becomes a mockery.” With that frame, it becomes obvious that the climate crisis is indeed an “unprecedented crime,” as it strips people from their access to the building blocks of life, and it is happening on an almost incomprehensibly massive scale.

State-Corporate Crime

Not surprisingly, the authors’ focus is primarily on the fossil fuel corporations--who are engaged in an elaborate, multi-billion dollar misinformation campaign — and on the governments who have subsidized them and colluded with them through inaction. These are the key perpetrators of the largest human rights violation in history.           

It was fascinating, and sickening, to learn more about how the climate-denial machine actually works, such as the Heartland Institute mailing a climate-denying DVD to 200,000  high school science teachers. The description of the Koch brothers’ activities was particularly staggering:                                                       

‘The Kochs are a vertically integrated fossil fuel conglomerate, and they have a vertical integrated influence-peddling apparatus to go with it’… The Kochs are bigger than either of the Democratic or Republican parties, manipulate both, and are determined to keep the Senate Republican...A major focus of Koch money has been to ensure that no legislation is passed to curb the burning of fossil fuels.

Carter and Woodworth also cast their withering gaze on the media. They convincingly argue the media is guilty of criminal negligence for giving airtime to deniers and for failing to warn the public about the true nature of the climate crisis and about the banks that put billions of dollars into fossil fuel projects.

Are Ordinary Americans Guilty?

Clearly, there is a lot of guilt to go around. The authors cast some-- though in my view probably not enough--blame onto the citizens of rich countries, for their their complicity in the climate crisis.

The authors speak of the “moral collapse” that most Americans and other westerners experience regarding the climate crisis, and they quote Clive Hamilton, “there are three kinds of actors in this process of subversion: those who tell the lies, those who repeat the lies, and those who allow themselves to be seduced by the lies.” Most Westerners act as though the climate crisis was not happening, and as if they have no responsibility to help prevent catastrophe.

Americans tend to feel like victims rather than perpetrators. And indeed, we are victimized by the corrupt and cruel system that is deeply unequal and driving hard towards ecocide. But when we are complicit in “business as usual,” we are also perpetrators. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, and she impressed upon me the moral duty to confront evil. She felt so betrayed by the former friends who would not stand up for her and who avoided her on the street. One didn’t have to be a Nazi to be guilty, but just to go along with the genocide.

As citizens, we must start taking personal responsibility for preventing the full and horrific unfolding of the climate emergency.  Even though we did not directly cause the climate crisis, we still have — it is still our job to fix it. More specifically, we must orce our government to treat the climate crisis like the emergency it is. 

One of the most difficult things about climate crimes, is that they are primarily crimes of omission. All we need to do to ensure the deaths of billions of people is…. Nothing. Just continue with our lives and our business as usual. In order to act in accordance with our highest ideals, our morality, and our basic common sense, we need to activate ourselves, and the world’s governments-- we need to enter “emergency mode”.

A Non-Criminal Response

What would an adequate, non-criminal response to the climate crisis would look like? Carter and Woodworth describe it. It starts with a declaration of climate emergency, and that then leads to a program which rapidly transitions our economy to zero emissions and draws-down of excess C02 from the atmosphere. Their ideas are largely compatible with The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan. that they cite.

They include many fresh and exciting examples that The Climate Mobilization should be incorporate into our next version. I will just share a few items that were new and exciting to me: 1) retrofitting fossil fuel cars as electric (indeed 30,000 already have been-- by amateurs!) 2) using small nuclear fission, the type of reactors that power nuclear submarines, to provide industrial power and heating, 3) covering skyscrapers-- not just roofs-- with solar panels.

I believe that it is my moral duty-- and yours, and everyone’s-- to do all we can to ensure that this emergency mobilization for rescuing our climate gets started as soon as humanly possible. Thank you, Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth, for your important contribution to this necessary effort.

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🌎 Someone Tell a Reporter: the Rich are Destroying the Earth
« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2018, 02:48:26 AM »

Someone Tell a Reporter: the Rich are Destroying the Earth
March 3, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt



“I Said Why? They Said They Didn’t Know”
Let history record that on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, 14 days after climate change-fueled Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and 4 days before Hurricane Irma hit southern Florida, the climate-denying President of the United States Donald Trump went to North Dakota to deliver a “tax reform” speech before hundreds of workers and managers at a major oil refinery. The president made comments so senseless and stupid that one must read them twice to believe they were uttered:

    “I…want to tell the people of North Dakota and the Western states who are feeling the pain of the devastating drought that we are with you 100 percent — 100 percent.  (Applause.)  And I’ve been in close touch, numerous times, with our Secretary of Agriculture, who is doing a fantastic job, Sonny Perdue, who has been working with your governor and your delegation to help provide relief.  And we’re doing everything we can, but you have a pretty serious drought.  I just said to the governor, I didn’t know you had droughts this far north. Guess what?  You have them.  But we’re working hard on it and it’ll disappear.  It will all go away.”

Then Trump got into the real eco-cidal meat of the matter – the de-regulation of energy and the lifting of restrictions on fossil fuel extraction and burning:

    “We’re getting rid of one job-killing regulation after another.  We’ve lifted the restrictions on shale oil.  We’ve lifted those restrictions on energy of all types.  We’re putting our miners back to work.  We’ve cancelled restrictions on oil and natural gas.  We’ve ended the EPA intrusion into your jobs and into your lives.  (Applause.)  And we’re refocusing the EPA on its core mission:  clean air and clean water.  (Applause.). In order to protect American industry and workers, we withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord.  Job killer.  People have no idea…And right here in North Dakota, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is finally open for business.  (Applause.)  Now, what other politician, if elected President, would have done that one?  They would have stayed so far away.  And I did it immediately…It was the right thing to do.  And that is flowing now beautifully.  So it was the right thing to do.  (Applause.)”

    “…We opened it despite so many people that were on the other side calling and asking for this not to happen:  Please, we don’t want it to happen.  I said, why?  They didn’t know.  There was no — they just didn’t want it to happen…So I did that.  I also did Keystone.  You know about Keystone.  (Applause.)  Another other one, big one — big.  First couple of days in office, those two — 48,000 jobs. “

Where to begin in gaging the absurdity of the president’s words in North Dakota?  We’re “working hard” on the drought and “it will disappear”? Seriously?

His militantly anti-environmental EPA was working for “clean air and water.” For real?  The truth was precisely the opposite.

Job-creation?  Renewable energy would generate far more and better paying positions – jobs that would save livable ecology rather than destroy it (and there’s no jobs on a dead planet).

The really mind-blowing statement for me was Trump’s assertion that the people who fought the DAPL – the tens of thousands who camped and protested in Standing Rock, the pipeline resisters (I was one of them) across Iowa – “didn’t know why” they opposed the pipeline.

What was someone supposed to say in response to something that soul-numbingly idiotic? Anti-DAPL activists spoke loudly and clearly about the reasons for their opposition: defense of tribal lands, water-protection, and climate sanity.

Trump’s bizarre Bismarck address included this creepy little daddy-daughter interlude:

    Donald Trump: “And, by the way, Ivanka Trump — everybody loves Ivanka.  (Applause.)  Come up, honey.  Should I bring Ivanka up?  (Applause.)  Come up.  Sometimes they’ll say, ‘You know, he can’t be that bad a guy.  Look at Ivanka.’  (Laughter.) …Now, come on up, honey.  She’s so good.  She wanted to make the trip.  She said, ‘Dad, can I go with you?’  She actually said, ‘Daddy, can I go with you?’  I like that, right?  ‘Daddy, can I go with you?’  I said, ‘yes, you can.’ ‘Where you going?’  ‘North Dakota’.  Said, ‘oh, I like North Dakota.’  Hi, honey.  (Applause.)  Say something, baby.

    Ivanka Trump: “Hi, North Dakota.  (Applause.)  We love this state, so it’s always a pleasure to be back here.  And you treated us very, very well in November and have continued to, so we like sharing the love back.  Thank you.  (Applause.)”

    Donald Trump. “Thank you, honey.  Thanks, baby.  Come.  (Applause.)”

You can’t make stuff like this up.  (In case you think this is a satire and that I am making Trump’s comments up, read his Bismarck speech here).

Missing: The Biggest Story of Our or Any Time
Michael Wolff’s instant bestseller Fire and FURY: Inside the Trump White House is chock full of disturbing quotes from – and alarming reflections on – the malignant orange beast who fouls the White House and makes a laughingstock out of the U.S. Wolff even replicates in its entirety of the  mind-bogglingly moronic, delusional, and disjointed “speech” that the Sick Puppy-in-Chief gave at the CIA’s headquarters on the first day of his presidency – the one where the new president blustered that “we should have kept [Iraq’s] oil” and that “maybe you’ll have another chance.” Reading this weird rant in its entirety is a disturbing experience.  It’s enough to make you cringe (as did most of the CIA agents and managers who heard it) again at the “holy shit!” realization that a man stupid enough to say such things sits in the world’s most powerful job. “In the seconds after [Trump’s CIA monologue] finished,” Wolff notes, “you could hear a pin drop.”

The equally weird Bismarck oration did not make it into Fire and Fury.  Neither does anything else relating to climate, fossil fuels, and the environment.

That is quite an omission, since anthropogenic – really capitalogenic– climate change (CCC) has clearly emerged as the biggest issue of our or any other time in human history and Donald Trump and the Republican Party have shown themselves to be militantly dedicated to the Greenhouse Gassing-to-death of life on Earth – a crime that promises to surpass all others in the ruling classes’ long rap sheet.  Even more than how Trump ups the risk of nuclear war and emboldens the proto-fascist right, this has always been the gravest danger posed by Agent Orange – his threat to advance Big Carbon’s mad determination to trump livable ecology once and for all.

I really shouldn’t single out Wolff.  He is hardly alone in this deletion.  It’s been chilling to watch the entire corporate U.S. media fail to cover the climate question in any serious or sustained way under Trump – this even as epic storms, fires, floods, and landslides rooted in CCC ravage the nation and world, even as the planet speeds to 500 carbon parts-per-million by 2050 (if not sooner), and even while scientists report the ever-more near-term peril of true, species-threatening catastrophe. The news cycle has been dominated by a seemingly endless series of outrageous Trump Tweets and statements, by a constant White House soap opera (with a bizarre and shifting cast of characters),  and by the related interminable Russiagate story.

The last constant news story is about how Moscow supposedly stole something that doesn’t actually exist – “American democracy” – in 2016. So what if actually existing livable ecology is burning to death under the command of carbon-addicted capital?

Jeff Zucker: “Okay, a Day or So but We’re Moving Back to Russia”

    “So, my boss, I shouldn’t say this. … Just to give you some context, Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half, we covered the climate accords. … The CEO of CNN [Jeff Zucker, the flagship cable news network’s president] said in our internal meeting … ‘Good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with that. Let’s get back to Russia.’ … So, even the climate accords, he was like ‘OK, a day or so, but we’re moving back to Russia.’ ”

So said CNN co-producer John Bonifield to an undercover guerilla journalist with the conservative media watchdog group Project Veritas (PV) last summer.

By “the climate accords,” Bonifield was referring to President Trump’s decision in June of 2017 to keep his campaign promise to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. The accord, at least symbolically, committed the U.S. to joining the rest of the world in reducing carbon emissions with the hope of averting human extinction through anthropogenic global warming.

PV caught Bonifield on the same tape expressing doubts about the Russia and Trump story. Bonifield told PV that CNN had been running with this story to an extraordinary degree in pursuit of liberal eyeballs—and the advertising dollars that follow with a growing audience:

    PV journalist: So you think the Russia thing is a little crazy, right?

    Bonifield: Even if Russia was trying to swing the election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments. You win because you know the game and you play it right. She [Hillary] didn’t play it right.

    PV: Then why is CNN like constantly, Russia this, Russia that?

    Bonifield: Because it’s ratings. Our ratings are incredible right now. … There are a lot of, like, liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump get really scrutinized. If we would have behaved that way with President Obama, and scrutinized everything he was doing with as much scrutiny as we applied to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. They would have felt like we were attacking him. … I’m not saying all of our viewers are super-liberals, but there’s just a lot of them.

    PV: So Trump’s good for business, you’re saying.

    Bonifield: Trump is good for business right now.

Ecocide is bad for business and ratings.  This Week in Terrible Trump and Russia (TWITTR) is good for business (including those parts of the U.S. military-industrial complex invested in the weaponization of Eastern Europe) and ratings.

(For those who like sound empirical data produced by respectable scholars [I do], please see this excellent report by communications professor Jennifer Brook on how the seven leading U.S. corporate television networks severely downplayed the relevance of climate change while obsessing over “Trump” in its coverage of last year’s epic hurricanes. Trump throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria was a huge story.  The role of climate change in the lethal intensification of hurricanes was not. How childish.)

“Everything Else Won’t Matter”
It’s not just the climate issue that has been trumped by TWITTR. Also unduly pushed too far to the margins have been the really big problems of racism, sexism, nativism, class inequality, plutocracy, militarism, nuclear escalation, urban despair, mass incarceration, police shootings, and the general trashing of democracy by the profits system. Arguably, though, the environmental problem has emerged as the most urgent matter of all. It’s not just good jobs, health care, social justice and democracy that are going in the tank while dominant media obsesses endlessly over TWITTR. It’s life itself that’s at risk – yes, life itself.

CCC (global warming) is not just one among numerous “single issues”that should concern progressive and serious liberals. If this unfolding environmental cataclysm isn’t averted soon, Noam Chomsky explained six years ago, then “everything else we’re talking about won’t matter.” All bets are off on prospects for a decent future unless homo sapiens acts quickly to move off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy – a technically viable project. Standard liberal and progressive struggles over how the pie is distributed, managed and controlled (and for whom) lose their luster when the pie is poisoned. Who wants to turn the world upside down only to find it riddled with disease and decay? Who hopes to inherit a dying earth from the wealthy few?

Unlike many of the other issues ordinary citizens, liberals and progressives rightly care about, there are no letter grades with the climate issue. It’s pass-fail. We either quickly (historically speaking) make the leap across the chasm and move from fossil fuels and the madness of nuclear power to water, wind and solar, or we fail to survive. There’s very little room for cutting an incremental deal here. You don’t negotiate with physics.

Of all the endlessly infuriating and insane things about the malignant narcissist Trump, the most dangerous of all is his climate change-denialist promise to “deregulate energy” – rightly described by Chomsky as “almost a death-knell for the species.” Not that the Paris agreement offered anything like a full solution, but Bonifield was right to be disturbed to see “even the climate accords” trumped by the Trump-Russia story at CNN.

There are some Americans who have been paying rapt attention to Trump and the GOP’s exterminist war on livable ecology – a network of hard-right millionaire and billionaire political donors under the direction of carbon ecocide kings and fossil fuel uber-capitalists Charles and David Koch.  According to an important recent reportfrom The Intercept:

    “In the background of a chaotic first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the conservative Koch brothers have won victory after victory in their bid to reshape American government to their interests.”

    “Documents obtained by The Intercept and Documentedshow that the network of wealthy donors led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch have taken credit for a laundry list of policy achievements extracted from the Trump administration and their allies in Congress.”

    “The donors have pumped campaign contributions not only to GOP lawmakers, but also to an array of third-party organizations that have pressured officials to act swiftly to roll back limits on pollution, approve new pipeline projects, and extend the largest set of upper-income tax breaks in generations.”

    “’This year, thanks in part to research and outreach efforts across institutions, we have seen progress on many regulatory priorities this Network has championed for years,’ the memo notes. The document highlights environmental issues that the Koch brothers have long worked to undo, such as the EPA Clean Power Plan, which is currently under the process of being formally repealed, and Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, among their major accomplishments. The memo also highlighted administration efforts to walk back planned rules to strengthen the estate tax in a list of 13 regulatory decisions favored by the network.”

The evil geocidal Koch brothers and their planet-melting billionaire brethren get it – and they approve. They’ve been paying attention, even if CNN hasn’t.

“The rich,” as Le Monde’s ecological editor  Herve Kempf reported 11 years ago, “are destroying the Earth” – and enjoying themselves a great deal along the way. Some of the oligarchs doing that today are Russians.  A much bigger and more significant number of them are U.S.-Americans. Someone tell a U.S. reporter!
 Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014) 

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🌎 Extreme Weather Events: There Is No Planet B
« Reply #78 on: March 17, 2018, 12:44:57 PM »
Great charts!


Extreme Weather Events: There Is No Planet B


Extreme Weather Events: There Is No Planet B

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The current warming of Earth (Figure 1), manifest in the rise in extreme weather events (Figures 2 and 3), including collapse of polar ice sheets, melting of the Arctic Sea ice, penetration of snow storms into mid-latitudes, permafrost thaw and methane release, hurricanes and wildfires (Figure 4), manifests a shift in state of the atmosphere-ocean system, constituting an existential threat to humanity and much of nature.

As extreme temperatures, the rate of sea ice melting, the collapse of Greenland glaciers, the thawing of Siberian and Canadian permafrost and increased evaporation in the Arcticdrive cold snow storms into Europe and North America, and as hurricanes, cyclones, heat waves and wild fires (Figure 4) affect tropical and semitropical parts of the globe, itis becoming clear Earth is entering a shift in state of the atmosphere-ocean system associated with destructive climate tipping points including hurricanes such as in the Caribbean, SE USA and the SW Pacific (Figure 5). With hundreds of Gigaton carbon stored in Arctic permafrost, its thawing and methane release by analogy with geological methane-release and mass extinction events is becoming more likely (Figure 6).

Figure 1. The rise of mean temperatures over the last 1800 years, since the onset of the industrial age and future IPCC projections (after W. Steffen).

Figure 2. The frequency of extreme weather events between 1980 and 2015 (Munich Re- insurance)

Figure 3. Global warming vulnerable tipping points

Figure 4. Climate change sets the world on fire. Southern Europe and  British Columbia have been devastated by wildfires this summer.

Figure 5. The 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean and Southeast USA

Figure 6 (A). A crater on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia. (source); (B) Vulnerable carbon sinks. ( a ) Land: Permafrost – 600 GtC;  High-latitude peatlands – 400 GtC; tropical peatlands – 100 GtC; vegetation subject to fire and/or deforestation – 650 GtC; ( b ) Oceans: Methane hydrates – 10,000 GtC; Solubility pump – 2700 GtC; Biological pump – 3300 GtC

It is reported that climate change will lead to the death of some 500,000 people a year due to food supplies by 20501 and hundreds of thousands of people due to extreme weather events.2

Developments in the atmosphere/ocean system reported by major climate research organizations (including NASA, NOAA, NSIDC, Hadley-Met, Tyndall, Potsdam, the World’s academies of science), and in Australia the CSIRO and BOM, include:

  • A rise of atmospheric CO2 level to 408.35 ppm (February, 2018) at a rate of about 2 ppm/year and in previous years 3 ppm/year [4], rates unprecedented in the geological record since 56 million years ago [5], tracking across the stability threshold of the Antarctic ice sheet estimated variously at 450±50 ppm CO2 [6].
  • The rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and oceans is leading to an increase in extreme weather events relative to 1950-1960 (Figure 2) [7], including tropical storms, such as those in the Caribbean islands and SE USA (Figure 5), Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Philippines, with lives lost and damages estimated in the $billions [8].
  • In Australia the frequency of extreme weather events has been rising, where since 2001, the number of extreme heat records has outnumbered extreme cool records by almost 3 to 1 for daytime maximum temperatures, and almost 5 to 1 and more for night-time minimum temperatures [9].
  • Impacts on a similar scale are taking place in the ocean, where the CO2 rise is causing an increase in acidity from pH 8.2 to 8.1, predicted to decrease further to7.8 by 2100, affecting coral reefs and the marine food chain [10].
  • Ice sheets melt rates and sea level rise have been increasing [11] and the rate of sea level rise has been accelerating, from ~1.7 mm/year over the last century to ~3.2 mm/year between 1993 and 2010 [12] and to 3.9 mm/year [13] (Figure 7A), threatening low-lying islands, delta and lower river valleys, where billions of people live, compounded by changes to river flow regimes (Figure 7B).

The current rates of greenhouse gas level rise and temperature rise exceed those observed in the geological record (Figures 8 and 9).

Global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible, including a possible collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation [14] (Figure 10).

According to Professor James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist “Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. “ [15] According to Professor Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist “We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet” [16].

While the Paris Accord remains non-binding, governments world-wide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of the Earth uninhabitable [15, 16].

Tackling the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy requires a wide range of methods, the main ones being (1) sharp reduction in carbon emissions, and (2) effort at draw-down of atmospheric CO2, using methods such as sea weed plantations, soil biochar, soil re-silicification (applying basaltic rock dust), air-streaming through basalt and serpentine, sodium hydroxide pipe systems and so on.

There is no Planet B.

Figure 7(A) Sea level rise

Figure 7(B). Sea level rise

Figure 8. The fastest temperature rise rate in over the last 65 million years

Figure 9. Current warming compared to geological temperature rise rates

Figure 10. The likelihood of intermittent freeze events (stadial)


Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth and Paleo-climate science, Australia National University (ANU) School of Anthropology and Archaeology, ANU Planetary Science Institute, ANU Climate Change Institute, Honorary Associate Professor, Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence, University of Queensland.









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Offline RE

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💀 On Track for Extinction: Can Humanity Survive?
« Reply #79 on: March 18, 2018, 01:03:04 AM »
2025 to 2040!  RJB must be reading Dr. McStinksion!


On Track for Extinction: Can Humanity Survive?

by Robert J. Burrowes / March 17th, 2018

Anyone reading the scientific literature (or the progressive news outlets that truthfully report this literature) knows that homo sapiens is on the fast track to extinction, most likely some time between 2025 and 2040.

For a taste of the evidence in this regard focusing on the climate, see here; here; here; and here.

Unfortunately, of course, the climate is not the only imminent threat to human survival. With an insane leadership in the White House in the United States, we are faced with the prospect of nuclear war. And even if the climate and nuclear threats to our survival are removed, there is still a substantial range of environmental threats – including rainforest destruction, the ongoing dumping of Fukushima radiation into the Pacific Ocean, extensive contamination from military violence… – that need to be addressed too, given the synergistic impacts of these multiple and interrelated threats.

Can these extinction-threatening problems be effectively addressed?

Well, the reality is that most (but not all) of them can be tackled effectively if we are courageous enough to make powerful personal and organizational decisions and then implement them. But we are not even close to doing that yet. And time is obviously running out fast.

Given the evidence, scientific and otherwise, documenting the cause and nature of many of these problems and what is required to fix them, why aren’t these strategies to address the problems implemented?

At the political and economic level, it is usually explained structurally – for example, as an outcome of capitalism, patriarchy and/or the states-system – or, more simply, as an outcome of the powerful vested interests that control governments and the corporate imperative to make profits despite exacerbating the current perilous state of the Earth’s biosphere and its many exploited populations (human and otherwise) by doing so.

But the reality is that these political and economic explanations mask the deeper psychological drivers that generate and maintain these dysfunctional structures and behaviours.

Let me explain why and how this happens using the climate catastrophe to illustrate the process.

While scientific concern about the increase in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere had been raised more than a century ago it wasn’t until the 1980s that this concern started to gain significant traction in public awareness. And despite ongoing agitation by some scientists as well as climate and environment groups, corporate-funded climate deniers were able to stall widespread recognition of, and the start of serious official action on, the climate catastrophe for more than two more decades.

However, as the truth of the climate catastrophe was finally being accepted by most people and the climate deniers were finally forced into full-scale retreat on the issue of whether or not the climate catastrophe was, in fact, so serious that it threatened human extinction, the climate deniers implemented their back-up strategy: they used their corporate media to persuade people that action wasn’t necessary ‘until the end of the [21st] century’ and to exaggerate the argument about the ‘acceptable’ increase above the pre-industrial norm –  2 degrees? 3 degrees? 1.5 degrees? – to obscure the truth that 0.5 degrees was, in fact, the climate science consensus back in 2007.

But, you might ask: ‘Why would anyone prefer to ignore the evidence, given the extinction-threatening nature of this problem?’

Or, to put the question more fully: ‘Why would anyone – whether an “ordinary” worker, academic, lawyer, doctor, businessperson, corporate executive, government leader or anyone else – prefer to live in delusion and believe the mainstream narrative about “the end of the century” (or 1.5 degrees) rather than simply consider the evidence and respond powerfully to it?’

And what is so unattractive about the truth that so many people run from it rather than embrace it?

Obviously, these questions go to the heart of the human (psychological) condition so let me explain why most humans now live in a delusional state whether in relation to the climate, environment issues generally, the ongoing wars and other military violence, the highly exploitative global economy or anything else.

People do not choose to live in delusion nor do they choose their delusion consciously. A delusion is generated by a person’s unconscious mind; that is, the part of their own mind of which the individual is normally unaware. So why does a person’s unconscious mind generate a delusion? What is the purpose of it?

A person’s unconscious mind generates a delusion when the individual is simply too terrified to contemplate and grapple with reality. Instead, the person unconsciously generates a delusion and then lives in accord with that delusion for the (obvious) reason that the delusion does not frighten them.

This unconscious delusional state is the fundamental outcome of the socialization, which I call ‘terrorization’, of the typical child during their childhood.

Endlessly and violently coerced (by a variety of threatened and actual punishments) to obey the will of parents, teachers and religious figures in denial of their own self-will, while simultaneously denied the opportunity to feel the fear, anger, sadness and other feelings that this violence causes, the child has no choice but to suppress their awareness of how they feel and the reality that caused these feelings. As a result, this leaves virtually all children feeling terrified, full of self-hatred and powerless.

However, and this point is important, each of these feelings is extraordinarily unpleasant to feel consciously and the child never gets the listening they need to focus on feeling them.

As a result, these feelings are suppressed below conscious awareness and this fear, self-hatred and powerlessness become the primary but unconscious psychological drivers of their behaviour and, significantly, results in them participating mindlessly in the widespread ‘socially acceptable’ delusions generated by elites and endlessly promulgated through elite channels such as education systems, the corporate media and entertainment industries.

Hence, as a result of being terrorized during childhood, delusion is the most common state of human individuals, irrespective of their role in society.

And, as one part of their delusional state, most people must engage in the denial of reality whenever reality (unconsciously) frightens them (or threatens to bring their unconscious self-hatred or powerlessness into their awareness). This, of course, means that they are frightened to take action in response to reality but also deny it is even necessary.

So what can we do about all of this? Well, as always, I would tackle the problem at various levels.

If you are one of those rare people who prefers to research the evidence and to act intelligently and powerfully in response to the truth that emerges from this evidence, I encourage you to do so. One option you have if you find the evidence of near-term human extinction compelling in light of the lacklustre official responses so far, is to join those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth.’

Obviously, tokenism on your part – such as rejecting plastic bags or collecting rubbish from public places – is not enough in the face of the profound changes needed.

Of course, if you are self-aware enough to know that you are inclined to avoid unpleasant realities and to take the action that this requires, then perhaps you could tackle this problem at its source by ‘Putting Feelings First.’

If you want intelligent, compassionate and powerful children who do not grow up living in delusion and denial, consider making ‘My Promise to Children.’

If you want to campaign on the climate, war, rainforest destruction or any other issue that brings us closer to extinction, consider developing a comprehensive nonviolent strategy to do so. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

And if you want to participate in the worldwide effort to end violence in all of its manifestations, you are welcome to consider signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘.

In summary, the primary threat faced by humanity is not the synergistic multitude of complex social, political, economic and technological forces that are precipitating our rush to extinction.

The fundamental threat to our survival is our psychological incapacity (particularly because of our fear, self-hatred and powerlessness) to perceive reality and respond powerfully to it by formulating and implementing appropriate social, political, economic and technological measures that address our multifaceted crisis systematically.

Unless we include addressing this dysfunctional individual and collective psychological state in our strategy to avert human extinction, we will ultimately fail and extinction will indeed be our fate.

Robert Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? He can be reached at: Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

Offline Palloy2

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #80 on: March 18, 2018, 08:07:36 AM »
The kids and adults are not living a delusion, they are indeed powerless.  So they think, and say, "Yeah its ridiculous, but I can't fix it, so we'll just have to put up with it."  Some will be more assertive than that, and will go on protest marches.  That won't work, because they are powerless and can be ignored.  Some will even more assertive than that, and will join a political party.  That won't work, because they are powerless, especially in the field that their enemies are experts in.  Some will be even more assertive that that, and join a truly revolutionary vanguard.  Surveillance will follow their activities and put them on The List, ready to be arrested when the Emergency Powers kick in.

"the ongoing dumping of Fukushima radiation into the Pacific Ocean" - only someone who doesn't know about all the US nuclear industry's fuck ups could be worried about Fukushima radiation being dumped in the Pacific Ocean.

His solution "formulating and implementing appropriate social, political, economic and technological measures that address our multifaceted crisis systematically." Duh.
"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #81 on: March 18, 2018, 09:56:06 AM »
"formulating and implementing appropriate social, political, economic and technological measures that address our multifaceted crisis systematically." Duh./i]

Talk about delusional.

Just bend way over and kiss your ass goodbye.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.


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