On being a radical

You probably recognize this symbol, though you might have forgotten its name:

When I write the symbol on the whiteboard in a class, and ask what it is, the response is invariable: “The square root.”

I respond, “Yes, its function is to take the root, including the square root or any other root. But what is it called?”

Extended silence ensues, followed by, “The square-root symbol.”

I lead the abundant laughter.

“Really? Nobody took math in junior high?”

Nervous laughter.

“I’ve insulted everybody here within the first minute of our meeting,” I say. “Now that that’s out of the way, we can proceed.”

Long pause before I give away the answer: “It’s called a radical.” Another long pause before I reveal the point of this exercise. “It’s called a radical because it gets at the root. That, by the way, is the definition of radical: of or going to the root or origin.”

I use this anecdote to introduce myself to the class. I’m a radical, I point out. And, whereas this culture has convinced most people that a radical is a bad thing, similarly to anarchy, it’s actually not a bad thing, and it’s different than most people believe.

On this topic, the words of H. L. Mencken resonate with me: “The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”

A good citizen driven to despair. That sounds about right. A few excerpts demonstrate the point:

The perfect parrot was the perfect pupil …. As students in grammar school or in high school we seldom question the truth of any statement. Instead, our concern was to get each phrase exactly as the teacher or textbook stated it …. Imagine the effect of years of such training on the developing mind. The habit of mental conformity becomes almost ineradicable. I was merely one of generations of victims. How many teachers suggested to us that the established order was not all that it might be? Even the possibility of change was hinted at only vaguely. We were not rebels. We were not pioneers. We were not even enthusiastic or devout copyists. We were mere discs on which the language of our generation was cut. At certain intervals, called examination periods, we were expected to reproduce this language, word by word and paragraph by paragraph.

The American Way was not based on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but upon the determination of business men to hold down wages and push up profits. The American Way was designed to make the rich richer while it kept the poor in their places.

Meanwhile the war makers, whose profession is wholesale destruction and mass murder, had taken over control of the United States and its policies, were writing the words, calling the tune …. The United States of my youth was slipping from under my feet and vanishing from my sight. The Mayflower Covenant, William Penn’s charter of love and good human relations, Thomas Jefferson’s Bill of Rights, the Constitution of 1789 which as a schoolboy I had learned word for word, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural had become obsolete scraps paper …. We had begun beating our plowshares into swords and our pruning hooks into spears, transforming tools into weapons and techniques of destruction and murder.

Where did I belong? How could I classify myself? Was I a Don Quixote, tilting ineffectually at windmills? Was I crazy and were my stand-pat conservative fellow citizens sane? Was I alone sane and they all off the track?

This world I saw was not at all to my liking. It was a world in which the destructive forces clearly had the upper hand. I had been taught to believe in the possibilities of well-being for every individual and the probability of social improvement. I found myself in a world hell-bent on its own destruction.

I live in the United States only because my post of duty is there …. I am ashamed of any connection with the oligarchy which presently misgoverns, exploits, plunders, and corrupts the United States and the world.

As an individual, I continue to do what I can. I go about, talk, and write in the face of ignorance, inertia, escapism. I believe there is a growing awareness of the crisis and the gravity of the menace hanging over humanity. There is also a growing awareness that the crucial decision has been made and that the process of vaporizing western civilization is well under way …. My personal contribution is increasingly a form of foreign aid — a contribution to fellow citizens whom I seem not to know. They are a people without history, misled, deluded, inexperienced, baffled. They are people who are turning more and more away from reason and foresight to instinct, emotion, and pathetically desperate efforts to escape a fate that is closing in around them as a fog envelops a ship at sea.

With increasing awareness of the real situation there has grown up in me a conviction that I should do something about it. I have tried talking, writing, speaking, lecturing, and have been bypassed and ignored by my fellow Americans. I continue to do what I can, at every opportunity. I have spoken my lines as I have thought them out and learned them. I continue to offer my help to my fellow Americans as one would offer help to a drowning man who every moment is being carried farther away by an irresistible current. I offer this aid gladly, hopefully, anxiously.

Like the Ancient Mariner, I am saying to preoccupied passersby: you have chosen and are following a path that leads to your destruction and probably to the destruction of hundreds of millions of your fellows. I have advised, opposed, warned, decried, denounced. You continue on your way to perdition. You rush on, unheeding. I continue to warn. You do not look and do not listen. You do not see the infinitely rich possibilities of life, lying unused at your feet. You go your own way — the way that millions of humans have gone before you, lured and corrupted by the glass beads and printed calicos which civilized societies offers to its devotees.

I have turned my back on the American Oligarchy, the American Way of Life, and American Century, the American Empire, western civilization. The entire chain of civilizations have brought a little light, learning, joy, and hope to a very few human beings while multitudes lived and died in darkness, ignorance, misery, despair. I have turned my back on this short-sighted, opportunistic acceptance of that which is, because I am convinced that we could reach out, create, touch, and grasp a better life and make it ours, if only we would put forth the effort.

I have burned the last bridge which connected me with the American Way of Life because I am convinced that the ideas, devices, techniques, and institutions of civilization have been tried time after time and found wanting. They are superfluous and obsolete because better ways are already in being, available to any who will turn their backs on the past and face the future hopefully, confidently, creatively, and conscious of the need for concerted, radical action.

I say farewell to western civilization. With no shadow of regret I try to dismiss it from my life as I try to dismiss any other unsavory, painful memory.

My separation from western civilization and its ways is almost as complete as my separation from the civilizations of Rome and Egypt. I continue to live in the United States, the power center of western civilization because this is part of my assignment, but I have no more sympathy with it or concern for it than an emissary of the United States has in a precapitalist areas of equatorial Africa or South America. The emissary lives in the midst of backwardness, but is not of it. This is exactly my feeling about my relations with the United States, in which perforce I must live.

Who could have imagined in the early part of the century that after a brief foreign sojourn I would return to these shores and find large sections of Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington smoking ruins, sacked, and looted? Who could have foreseen the mounting drug addiction among the population, the vicious crime waves, the riots, the police ferocity? Each time I asked myself, incredulously, can this be home?

The affluent, drugged, debauched, corrupted, polluted, deluded nation is a country I never envisioned in my youth. It is an alien and hostile land. When I return to it I cannot say happily, “I am going home.” Instead, I must gird myself and prepare to return to a foreign and none too pleasant habitat.

No thoughtful person can face the facts of present-day life without realizing the terrible urgency of the situation. It is the dawning of this realization that is largely responsible for the tidal wave of protest, disruption, and destruction that is presently sweeping over the planet. The reaction is more evident among young people. They have their lives ahead of them. The parents, members of the previous generation, are more inured to the situation. Most of them never had it so good.

Man disturbs and upsets the balance of nature. Nature retorts by restoring the balance. From childhood to man’s estate we construct dams and dykes. Before we turn our backs nature is undermining and breaching. Water is again running downhill. Nature is tireless, persistent, implacable.

Teaching is my job. Teaching, in its largest sense means searching out the truth, telling it to all who are willing to learn, and building it into the life of the community. Truth is often unpleasant, annoying, and unpalatable to those who hold a disproportionate amount of worldly goods, who are power hungry, and who are pushing a cause to the detriment of the many. So they try to avoid truth, to cover it up, to forget it. It is the job of the teaching profession, of which I have been a lifetime member, to keep on uncovering the truth, reminding the rich and powerful of its character and its significance, bringing it to public attention, and arguing that it be made the cornerstone of local, regional, national and planet-wide public life.

I have had the rare privilege of being present, and of assisting slightly, at the death process of one social system and through the early stages of the development of an alternative pattern of human society. If this were all that life had granted me it would be a lifetime well spent. I am grateful for the opportunity and hopeful that my fellowmen will carry on to victory in the perilous fight, taking fuller and fuller advantage of the infinite possibilities for creative experiment and persistent improvement.

The preceding words, like those of Mencken, resonant with me. They were written by Scott Nearing and published in 1972 in his autobiography, The Making of a Radical. He was 89 years old at the time. References to his youth and to the early part of the century offer his perspective from the early 1900s.

A full century later, I am afflicted with a form of radicalism similar to that which plagued Nearing. I am ignored or disparaged when I point out the actions taken to prop up an empire in decline, including unprecedented military actions in the Middle East and northern Africa.

Too, I am ignored or disparaged when I point out the obvious signs of human-population overshoot and the likely near-term results, as well as the root causes of overshoot. The calls increase in number and tenacity when I point out the seemingly obvious need to destroy industrial civilization, the system that is driving to extinction several hundred species each day while making us sick, driving us to insanity, and killing us while we further human-population overshoot and the despoiling of our only home.

Imagine this scenario: You walk past a house every day. In the house, an old man kills 200 human babies as you stroll by. What shall you do? The response to which I’ve become accustomed: You walk past the house, plugging your ears to the screams and closing your eyes to the sights.

It’s not a hypothetical scenario, and it’s far worse than I’ve indicated. It’s not merely 200 human babies this old civilization is killing every day. It’s 200 species. In other words, it’s genocide. The majority responds by wishing this omnicidal system will continue forever. A slim minority wish it will end, thereby leaving habitat for humans for another few years. Vanishingly few people are motivated to the type of action that might preserve life, including habitat for humans.

How radical are you? Do you love life? Are you willing to fight for it?

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This essay is permalinked at The Refreshment Center, Ukiah Blog, and Counter Currents.

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Gabrielle Price seeks your support as she makes her way to the mud hut to learn skills. Learn more here.

Comments 136

  • So I’m thinking I could be reincarnated as a dolphin, when our species goes extinct. I always liked Flipper, right? didn’t you? Then I thought that all the wasted chemicals and radioactive debris, Corexit, oil-spew and heating are gonna kill Flipper.
    That’s just wrong, and I always liked coral, too.
    Bummer for all sensitive and beautiful life form.
    Cockroach lives for us.
    Kafka is laughing at us from existential Hell, but he’s not happy, just sort of wickedly laughing..

  • Is it paranoia to see the power of the state?
    When I contemplate the very great power of the state to track, find and disuade the individual from sticking their head up it is almost overwhelming.
    An example of a small, but nevertheless, seemingly ‘radical’ act on my part may illustrate the problem. My radical act? Writing to my elected local, state, and federal/national representatives to pull out all stops to get some action at Fukusjima.
    In my letter I acknowledged that I was aware I was asking them to use up political capital and risk ostracision. I explained, succinctly the dire risks, and all that is being done is a wall of silence in the media and at government level.
    (As an aside only last night on National ABC 7:30 report did Fukushima get a run, which was not too bad. I did notice that the report only spoke of the risk to Japan, not the rest of the world.)
    Well, after sending my letters, I waited 8 days with no reply. So I followed up with phone calls. I spoke to the local Mayor, who listened, and thouhght my concerns were only about food initially.
    I spoke to PAs of both State and federal Members, both of which were in sitting at parliament. I got a letter from the state member 2 weeks later saying it was a federal issue, blah blah. No response to Fedral now 2 months later.
    Here is the rub, 48 hours after my phone calls I was hit by a barage of media call centre phone surveys attempting to assess my political views. My home computer was hacked into and I nearly lost passwords and financial details of my wife and 2 childrens bank details,(I don’t internet bank). I was able to dicsonnect and clean the hard drive just in time. Police had little they could do.
    Several programs were removed from the computer, and cost money to reinstall.
    Low level harrassment. Ok I admit that.
    No one was hurt. What if I was involved in an Action, in a Demonstration, or published material like Mike Ruppert etc.
    Little fish get eaten by bigger fish.
    I am not a soothsayer, but I am not looking forward to the slegde hammer coming to freedom of speech and civil disobedience. We in Western ‘Democracies’ have had a lot of freedom, a huge amount of privelage, the extent of which is equivelent of a Pharoah in the Ancient world, but like everything else in this way of life we will find it is all on credit too, and we will soon have to put our bodies, and those of our youth, on the line if we want a future.

    Detailed record keeping was instrumental to the killing machine of Nazi Germany and its allies. Today it is called Data Matching, and imagine what the Nazis could have done with todays’s capabilities?
    I am all for being a Radical, and writing on spiritual issues is too a form of radicalism, because it seeks to direct the reader to the root cause of materialist and Empirefreindly exploitation.
    What people are going to have to understand is that radical understanding alone will not stop the Beast from devouring its own children,(Saturn). Only action will bring change, and there is a reason ‘our governments’ spend inordinate amounts of taxes on the military, and on expanding the police riot squads.
    A war is coming, and will not be pretty.
    Now how to express love to a living culture in those near future times will be a sight to see.
    Keep it up Guy, we need all the help we can get.

  • I am trying to find out if anyone liked the movies “Melancholia”?The planet the size of Earth approaches and collides w Earth…the music is pretty good.I kind of feel if you can deal w that image and still think life will emerge somewhere..it is ok..

  • I can relate to your experience of being ignored or disparaged when raising the issue of overpopulation. Most people are either in denial or they don’t want to touch the issue as it presses too many hot buttons — for both the right and the left. As Craig Dilworth points out in his book “Too Smart for our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Humankind”, humankind’s refusal to deal with this issue in a serious manner doesn’t bode well for our species’ future (and every other species affected by our actions). The situation is maddening and tragic. But I’ll keep agitating and expressing myself ’til my finale breath.

  • OZ man: if you are using My crow soft Win doze, the following freeware programs used together will provide good security:

    You’ll have to replace the “URL” with “http”, colon, double slash and the triple “w” dot to complete these URLs.

    Avast is a freeware antivirus, and updates automatically. Free registration required. 

    URLavast.com/free-antivirus-download

    Ad-aware is free antispyware, updates automatically, free registration required. 

    URLlavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php

    Comodo is a good free firewall:

    URLpersonalfirewall.comodo.com/

    Axcrypt is a freeware strong file encryption system:

    Just the “http” and the colon and doubles hash, no www for this URL:
    URLsourceforge.net/projects/axcrypt/

    Truecrypt is a strong freeware file encryption software that will encrypt an entire hard drive, and even hide a section of a hard drive:

    URLtruecrypt.org/

    PassKeep 2 (different and more powerful program than PassKeep 1) is free and will store an unlimited number of passwords in strong encryption, with their associated usernames, URLs and notes. Only one master password is needed, and if you forget it, you’ve lost the rest  It has free versions for iPhone and Android, so the same data files can be transferred by Dropbox to both those devices and used on them:
    URLpasskeeper.com-about.com/

    Dropbox is a free (upto 2 Gb) online (cloud) encrypted, password-protected file storage system with freeware versions for iPhone and Android, so files can be transferred between these devices:

    URLdropbox.com

    ComboFix will dig out rootkits and deal with them:

    URLcombofix.org/

  • I never really considered getting a tattoo but a radical on my shoulder is tempting!

  • It is interesting to me that the agenda of obedience is so inculcated into the culture.Combined with the stomp on the radical’s mentality it is not hard to see how the omnicidal culture has built in strategies for survival of the culture from within…. but seems to have completely divorced itself from the world community of creatures. That incredible myopia is in and of itself almost fascinating….. that it is so set on surviving but missing it’s ‘place in space’ so to speak. I had not heard of Scott Nearing before…. thanks for that. From what I have read of his experiences and his work he was quite a kindred spirit.

  • Oz

    “Low level harrassment.”

    You joined an elite club. The “1%” that gives a damn.

    Eagan-Jones got attacked when they dared to issue realistic ratings:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/moodys-sp-remain-at-large/

    Michael Burry got attacked when he told the truth in a NYT’s Op Ed.

  • “the seemingly obvious need to destroy industrial civilization”

    Key words: seemingly, obvious, destroy

    I can’t help but think of the “Terrorists Plots Foiled” by the Authorities the past year.

    I can’t help but think those were close to the exact words used by the False-Flag divisions of FBI/NSA/CIA (whatever). The words their agents used to recruit clueless hoodlums to “blow something up.”

  • Yes, I’m a radical, and an anarchist, if anyone’s asking, but where’s the fight? Nobody I know will continue the conversation beyond “we’ll have to consume a lot less in the sustainable future.” The people who should be fighting are home watching Thrive, the movie for liberals that tells them they will still have it all.

  • Another Jean.

    You so right. The disinformation being created by the likes of people behind Thrive ensure that the majority of the junta will not start adaptation to a new living arrangement, until they are met with the next supply side oil shock, by which time it will be too late.

  • My first post here. This is the first site I have seen that tracks with my thoughts, thoughts that track back to the 70’s and the creeping realization that we are not “up” to making it out of this mess.

    I don’t particularly like to go “anti” because it constructs a counter-dependent identity. I do like the idea of walking away from the king, and to design a personal space while awaiting the inevitable.

    It is difficult to accept that you have no power — you have none. Likely you never have had any. BUT, you do have the power of choice, and to design a life. Those are in your circle of control.

    I personally believe all governments have been corrupt for all of time. The only distinction in the present is our technological bullying of the environment capability to oppress people. Past leaders would have done the same. It is our nature. Only now do we have the ability to destroy the world with such rapidity and leverage.

    We are in the end game, but we can choose joy. The moments we are given one by one are as good and precious as those we experienced in our innocence, the time before our realization of this dark vision of the future.

    This is my two part program. Embrace your power inside your circle of control and forget changing the system, you can’t do it and you know it, instead become self-reliant. Second, choose joy in the moments that remain.

    We can only do what we can do. We can choose joy and community. What is coming is probably unstoppable. It is time for acceptance, mitigation, and palliative community. If as Guy has researched we are done, perhaps as early as the end of this decade, why not enjoy what remains moment by moment? We can. There is no fix now, only acceptance (and joy).

  • Michael – EXACTLY

  • Nature, red in tooth, claw, and knife,
    Underlies our more civilized strife;
    Living systems are built
    Without morals or guilt:
    All animals eat other life.

  • Thanks Kathy.

    Maybe the crash course on attitude would be to visit the happiest patient at a hospice.

    I am 63. For us old folks, mortality is always in our frame of reference. Perhaps if we are thoughtful we get clear on things that younger people miss because of the arc of our lives clarity that they will soon end.

    Besides death, I think older people worry about becoming insignificant. Some of the paranoid ideation about being a radical counterpoint to the evil empire is about constructing a myth to feel significant. I don’t want an anti-identity. I want my identity. I consider the evil empire irrelevant and unsustainable. We need to just walk on by and say no thanks, we have important work to do.

    So what about significance in my space? I am working very hard to build up my community, and build community at different levels from my neighborhood through the creation of a regional small business organization focused on capacity building.

    Like many I am in legacy mode, but clearly it is not about me. It comes from the sense that I will serve until I can no longer serve. I try not to take credit, not to be central. True community building is selfless and other directed. It is the gift I can give from the gifts I was given by the accidents of birth.

    It is my hope I will not be remembered in obvious ways. I want the young I am shaping to be inflected to become more effective, I take the time and build them up. A gift of competence rather than the memory of a leader is my goal. This is my core idea about immortality. Inflections left here and there that iterate into the community even if we have a short time to go.

    I was struck by a quote I read recently that I sadly misplaced. It went something like this “The measure of culture is that the old men plant trees that will never shade them”.

    Saint-Exupery rightly contended that teaching is a leading out and not a forcing in. I affirm and develop talents in others they don’t see in themselves. I want them to face the world with courage and resourcefulness. They are this old man’s trees.

    Michael

  • The Chinese saying:
    For a return on your investment in one year – plant rice.
    For a return on your investment in ten years – plant fruit trees.
    For a return on your investment in a hundred years – educate men.

  • Michael,
    “If I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree today. ” Martin Luther

    I am too cantankerous to do the work you are doing, but there is a piece of fertile ground in Alabama where once there was nothing but red clay. It will be here for someone to use if humanity doesn’t go extinct and the climate doesn’t turn into desert. I have left fruit trees and fertile plots all over the country. I hope we have gone down enough by the time I die that no one will care if I am buried in the garden, returning to it the minerals I have borrowed from it 🙂

    Your community is lucky to have you!

  • Robin, line three only holds true if we avoid extinction

  • Guy and Sheila arived safely in New Plymouth at 3:15pm (Wednesday), greated by near-horizontal rain. It all got better from then on.

    Kevin

  • “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
    Henderson, Nelson

  • Whoops. That should be ‘greeted’. It’s been a long day.

  • Thanks Robin. I knew someone would know it. I love that quote and its many variants.

    I love that Martin Luther quote too. If he had said “If I knew I would perish tomorrow I would plant an apple tree today” it would seem more spiritual.

    I am with you Kathy C. My drought-stricken garden should prevail for a while past me. This is north central Arkansas on a mountain top and my soil is a mix of clay and chalk. What a mess. It does feed some neighbors now and then if the climate does not kill it.

    This heat sure feels like severe climate shift. We are about 10 degrees above normal now. Moved at least one zone this year.

    MD

  • Robin Datta
    Thanks for the advice on computer safety. I’m not going to get mixed up in computer stuff. Its not going to be the war front for me now. I’ve learned a small but valuable lesson. When outgunned, put up a decoy and move on.
    I plan to walk around Australia, and just talk to people.
    I will not be the first, Nobby did it in 1996, aand a woman did it some yers later, with sponsorship, but who could pass up the chance to see and live that walk..
    I will probably just go. but when I’m not sure yet.
    Family may not like it though.

  • Here is a good 2 hour video, about the destructiveness of Empire, largely through American eyes.
    Many have probably seen it , it came out in 2007.

    What a way to go: Life at the end of empire.

  • Wow! We Arkansawyers are getting to be a crowd on here. Rita in NW Ark, Michael in NC Ark, and yours truly in NE Ark. For such a little state, we are well represented. 🙂

  • Hello – I’ve been reading your stuff, watching your videos, etc, and I agree with much of what you say. Your living arrangements really appeal to me. But, I’m not clear on how far you have really walked away from empire. E.g. You blog, publish books, give speeches in many locations (I assume you fly to most of them), you provide consulting services, you give media interviews. All of which are very much part of the empire, in fact wouldn’t be possible without the empire. If the topic of your work was something else entirely, your new situation would look very much like any number of other writing/speaking/consulting second-career pursuits.

    So it seems like your words and actions don’t quite mesh. I know this sounds really critical, but I don’t mean it to. I myself am eyeball-deep in contradictions. (E.g. I’m concerned about the environment and I’m attracted to off-grid living, but that isn’t stopping me from going to Iceland on vacation. I even see how hypocritical that is, and I’m still doing it.)

    What I’m getting at is: what should we do about these contradictions? How does one make it work? Or will it only work when things really hit the fan and we have no choice?

    Then there is the whole other topic of trying to mesh one’s words and actions and facing the loneliness of being the weirdo in your family/social circle/office. E.g. I couldn’t care less about keeping up with fashion and would happily wear plain serviceable clothes for years on end, but in my world even that would be “too” weird and would even affect my career prospects! (Just typing that last bit drives home how jacked our culture is.)

    Whew. Big questions.

    Thanks.

  • margarets – welcome to the club. I figured out 30 years ago that as simply as I was willing to live I wasn’t willing to live at a level that would be necessary to save the planet or that all the humans on the planet could live equally at. Recently I figured = would mean about $8 a day per person as a back of the envelope figure – others have confirmed that is about right. But that would still leave us with using far more than 1 planets worth of resources, it would only spread that use equally. I decided I could not preach to people to do what I was not willing to do. I have learned to live with my own inconsistencies without too much angst.

    OZ oh go for it. A walkabout seems just the thing to do at the end of the world as we know it if and it is calling to you. Are you familiar with Peace Pilgrim who walked for peace from 1953 to 1981? She carried almost nothing with her – clothes on her back, toothbrush, pen and paper etc. She accepted shelter and food when offered and did without when no offers were forthcoming
    http://www.peacepilgrim.org/

  • excellent essay, guy.

    my view of radical understanding of our predicament is that our species became clever enough to become ecologically dominant, but not wise enough to understand that in the end, nature bats last. any technology that improves our lives must be compensated for by understanding that with power comes the need for self restraint (i.e. voluntary restriction of reproduction and ecological impact).

    ‘The perfect parrot was the perfect pupil …. As students in grammar school or in high school we seldom question the truth of any statement. Instead, our concern was to get each phrase exactly as the teacher or textbook stated it …. Imagine the effect of years of such training on the developing mind. The habit of mental conformity becomes almost ineradicable.’

    ah, oligarchically controlled ‘public’ education stands staunchly in the way of free thought, as does it’s ‘spiritual’ relative, religion. these shall be destroyed in the great collapse, after which it may become possible once again for our species to live free of insanely destructive dogmas and laws, but by then it will almost certainly not matter anymore.

  • Kathy C, it would certainly help if there were fewer humans, which will probably happen in the worst possible way. As for $8/day, I think part of the solution lies in no longer having a money economy, so that those calculatons are unnecessary.

  • What I’m getting at is: what should we do about these contradictions?

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
    “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
    When missionaries go abroad, they speak, dress and eat like the natives, inspite of their intent to modify behaviour. The same can and is done at home.

  • margarets, I am always advocating the best preparation for the crash that is coming is to have a vasectomy or tubal. It will not only help have less humans but each who makes that decision will not have to see the child they conceived suffer and die an early death in the crash.

    The $8 is only a way of thinking about things. I could have posed it in products that you could buy – ie each person being allowed X number of calories and X amount of fuel to cook etc. When we no longer have a money economy we just loose the intermediary between us and what we want to consume. $1 a day is slow starvation, $2 a day is undernourished. That describes the lives of half the people on the planet. How close are any of us to living that way.

    In fact those people are the real survivors, the winners of Darwin’s race for they know how to live and reproduce on next to nothing while we require huge resources to do the same. When Jesus supposedly said “Blessed are the poor” and “the poor you have with you always” perhaps it was a statement about the evolutionary success of a subgroup of humans. Since there are more poor than rich and their numbers increase every day, for now – and evolution’s winners are always just for now – they are the winners of the human evolutionary race. Winning that race is not about lifestyle but numbers and rates of reproduction…..but I digress.

  • Derrick Jensen “promoing” his book Endgame in a video (1 hr 20 min well worth it):

  • Thinking globally, acting locally and defining sustainability

    http://normantranscript.com/opinion/x1915499482/Seek-true-sustainability-over-growth Â

    The Norman Transcript

    June 24, 2012

    NORMAN – Editor, The Transcript:

    My opinion is that the current global recession will not end until human societies change. Very difficult, given the nature of political systems and the human condition.

    Global human population tripled during the 20th century and is currently near 7 billion. Human population diminishes the planetary resource base, increases demand and prices, and is a cause of the present global recession. Nevertheless, global human population is presently increasing by about 80 million annually. Norman and the United States as a whole have contributed. The U.S. human population quadrupled during the 20th century and continues to increase today. Norman’s population was about 27,000 in 1950, 52,000 in 1970, 97,000 in 2000, and was 111,000 in 2010.

    None of this population increase seems enough for Chambers of Commerce in Norman, in Oklahoma, and across our land. In The Norman Transcript on June 19th, John Woods, current chair of the Norman C of C, called for us to “build a community of economic success, strong quality of life amenities that attract the next generation of young professionals and families to help fund the critical components of our city that we all care about. We need to begin a dialogue…” This letter is an effort to contribute to that dialogue. My view is that we already have the above listed attributes in Norman and that CofCs call for more growth is detrimental.

    One of our City Councilors recently said to me, “If you don’t grow, you rot.” This reminds of another local issue, NEDA, which is treated here only by implication. In my opinion, the City Councilor’s opinion is true only for cultural growth. Human numbers and society are past the point that physical growth becomes detrimental. Furthermore, all forms of physical growth are not sustainable, though often so-called. Malthus spoke more than a century ago to an imbalance between population growth and food supply, an imbalance detrimental to human welfare. Forty-five years ago, Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb, and Hardin published a collection of numerous papers with dire predictions. These authors were not mistaken, but they were premature because they did not and could not anticipate effects of burgeoning technology, which has greatly facilitated extraction of resources.

    Technology does not contradict science; technology is science in application. The increased rate of resource extraction and still rising human populations are grave threats to future human welfare. But, what can we do? What should we do?

    One action that should be helpful would be for CofCs to renounce population growth as an appropriate objective and to devote their intelligence and efforts to formulation of a healthful alternate paradigm of true sustainability.

    Edwin Kessler

    Norman, Oklahoma

  • Re: On Being A Radical

    Prof. McPherson:

    I have enjoyed the narrative of Mencken. I have also enjoyed your articulation of the concept of Walking Away From Empire. As per above, you have defined radical as follows:

    “It’s called a radical because it gets at the root. That, by the way, is the definition of radical: of or going to the root or origin.”

    That suffices as a mathematical definition, however I want to take issue with that definition, as it serves to motivate our discussion here. We are talking about radicalism as a socio-political force also. While the mathematical definition is obviously relevant, I posit that it is incomplete for explaining the concept and implications of Walking Away From Empire. Therefore, I submit this alternative definition to the discussion group:

    Radicals are unhappy with certain parts of society and have an alternative vision for how society should operate. They attempt to live within that alternative vision, despite it being different from the dominant structure. Moderates are unhappy with certain parts of society, yet live within the dominant structure.

    I think that this definition would better allow me to explain to you what I will do to answer the questions you have presented:

    How radical are you? Do you love life? Are you willing to fight for it?

    Meanwhile, getting to the root is somewhat different for each of us and sometimes confusing to new entrants to our discussion. I think that by defining the differences, we can bring corruption to the forefront of our discussion, thereby determining better alternatives, where seeking consensus further hides the root beneath power structures. Our differences are not inherently positive, though we each might think so. I suggest that there might be a more productive manner in which we could evaluate differences of opinion in this space. I know not exactly what that means.

    Best Regards,

    Nathan

  • Heat wave: 1,000+ weather records fall in U.S. in a week

    By Staff and Wire Reports
    Published: 6/27/2012 

    Hundreds of heat-related records recently have fallen across the United States.

    In the past week, 1,011 records have been broken around the country, including 251 new daily high temperature records on Tuesday.

    Tulsa tied its calendar day record high for June 25, 105 degrees, on Monday.

    The heat is creating consequences ranging from the catastrophic to the comical, from wildfires in the Rocky Mountains to frying bacon on an Oklahoma sidewalk.

    If forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country.

    University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver says the current heat wave “is bad now by our current definition,” but that this will be “far more common in the years ahead.”

    Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=669&articleid=20120627_669_0_Hundre97403

  • Those fires in Colorado are likely burning some rich peoples homes. Do you think they will make the connection, and finally say, enough, is enough? Naw, they will blame Algor.

  • One of the things I hold to is that adaptation is not identity, it is action. Values we hold close mean nothing if they do not hit the ground. It seems that anything we might do continues our world-wide overshoot.

    It just cleared 100 here at noon on a mountain top in Arkansas. I question whether I can survive without the grid although I was just out there working in my garden. Too many of the conversations about sustainability are negotiations with our soon to be lost comforts.

    The water system we rely on pumps water from 70 miles away. We need all sorts of external energy and resource inputs to just live day to day and we are pretty simple folks. We are still real participants in overshoot. In this way I see myself as a total hypocrite. I must act very differently and walk away from every comfort to contribute nothing to overshoot. I don’t see how I can get to that place technically. I think Bushmen are 99% in that place.

    When everything fails, it won’t matter who contributed less to overshoot. When we die, the Bushmen will die too. Somehow I have to come to terms with my selfishness, my part in this global demise, my lack of meaningful concern about justice. If the entire first world lived as modestly as I do, it would not be enough.

    We can blame and we can expand our awareness but that does not lessen our responsibility. The deep sadness I feel about all of it is only deepened by my continuing participation in overshoot, and failure to meaningfully stop it. It is very difficult ground. There is no mitigation of these feelings by calling myself radical.

    Michael

  • Hey Oz man, good to have you here M8!
    I was on the research team for that doco “What A Way To Go: Life At The End Of Empire”, a real honour to help Tim and Sally.

    I’m about to host Guy here in Nelson, after he’s done in the North Island.

    I like your idea of a walkabout, being of service to truth, and going out there to have conversations, and while you’re doing it I’m sure you’ll walk into your Shambhala Warrior self…
    http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/web/web1/processes.htm#shambhala

  • LINDEN, Ind. — Valero Energy Corp. idled its Linden ethanol plant, a decision drive by high corn prices, officials said today.

    The 110-million-gallon plant halted production on Tuesday, a casualty of growing drought conditions that are causing grain prices to skyrocket.

    “It’s not profitable to run an ethanol plant because margins are negative,” said Bill Day, executive director of media relations for Valero Energy Corp.

    The Linden plant shutdown is the second for Valero since June 19, when its Nebraska facility temporarily stopped operations.

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20120628/BUSINESS/206280339/Linden-ethanol-plant-suspends-production-drought-factor?odyssey=nav%7Chead

  • Kathy C, one of my patients grows his corn for a local ethanol plant. He was telling me how challenging it’s been lately to figure out what to do. The price of fuel has come down some making it cheaper for him to drive his tractors. But, cheaper fuel drives down the price that ethanol producers can get for their product meaning the price they pay farmers is going down. At the same time, due to the drought and excessive heat, most corn is requiring irrigation which increases the cost to produce it significantly. For the same reasons, the yield on corn this season is expected to be quite low driving up the price of corn. Ultimately, he would like to sell his crop for food this year to take advantage of the increase in prices but he has some sort of contract to sell to the ethanol plant. Perhaps he’ll “get lucky” and his ethanol plant will shut down as well.

    Long and short of the situation: if you like corn (or your livestock does) and aren’t growing your own crop, buy it now before the price goes up. 🙂

  • What a tangled web commercial farming has become TRDH. My corn patch has become irrelevant as a raccoon got in it and ate it all. Oh well one less thing to water.

  • Seeking complete satisfaction
    Is normal human reaction;
    But since we’re so fucked,
    Instead we construct
    Lifestyles lost in distraction.

  • Kathy,

    When life gives you corn-fed coons, make raccoon bar-b-cue?

    I can’t help smiling at your misfortune. I am socially incompetent maybe. It reminds me, this morning one of my male cats (Grey1, aka Uno) was doing his job marking the garden fence. He is a hard working cat. He always seems exhausted, so he must be working hard.

    A japanese farmer who plants by hand and trades with relatives, refuses to join a co-op because it becomes “bizness” instead of farming, relates this story:

    “For example, we had a typhoon come through here two weeks ago. That’s twenty-four hours, or forty-eight hours of wind and rain. The flower on the rice plant only opens for three hours. Then it closes. That’s it… so the rice wasn’t pollinated…

    It’s not the think I want,/i> to eat, but the thing that I have available to eat. What i have now: that’s what’s for dinner.”

    I am giving my son a part-time job of finding all of the edible roots in our area. What, where, when and how edible. Compete with the wild-things on their own turf 😉

  • oops. hope that stops the italics stream. sorry.

  • Navid, I am planning to put out our live trap tonite. Planning to kill it if we catch it but you are right maybe we should cook it if we get it.

    RACCOON POT ROAST
    4-5 dressed young raccoons (no old Ridge-Runners)
    5 lb. potatoes
    4 lb. carrots
    6 lg. onions
    6 whole celery stalks
    2 pkg. brown gravy mix
    2 beef bouillon cubes
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Soak raccoon in salt water overnight. Drain and quarter the meat the following morning. Place meat in the bottom of a 16-20 quart kettle, cover with water, adding brown gravy mix, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, celery, carrots, onion and potatoes in that order. Cover and cook 2-3 hours or until potatoes are done. This will serve 6-8 with enough usually left for raccoon sandwiches the next day.
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,raccoon,FF.html

    Ben the donkey – I think you are on a roll. Great.

  • Kathy C, thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  • Kathy – one of my mini-disasters: my young apple trees bloomed too early, we had another frost, and Mother Nature said, “No fruit for you.” (bitch… such a bitch sometimes).

    Two winters ago the local rabbits ate a perfect circle out of the cambium layer of one of those young apple trees… my own fault for not taping the damn thing. But good news – I am lazy, I let the dead apple tree just sit there like a tombstone – the old root system sent up new tree shoots. Maybe Mother Nature is saying, “Here, learn how to graft now.” Also good news – I found a dozen baby rabbit heads around the yard this spring – natural Cat Food (no preservatives!).

    ——-

    I had onions on the grill last night (it was what was available to eat) and it brought to mind Hugh Glass – I read about him in “Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls” (Leslie) a while back. If I remember correctly I think he was a pirate for a while (by accident) and then learned to live with the Pawnees for a while.

    “Glass survived mostly on wild berries and roots.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Glass

  • On being a radical, margarets Says: “…facing the loneliness of being the weirdo in your family/social circle/office….” MHO:

    You need to learn special technique
    For dealing with everything peak,
    But what matters much more:
    Who you are at your core,
    And it helps if you’re kind of a freak.

  • Navid, If you bought young apple trees they were very likely grafted on to a wild apple tree root stock. When the rabbit killed the top what came back was the wild apple tree. Might be good, might not. The root stock would be picked for hardiness not flavor.{per wiki in the wild, apples grow quite readily from seeds. However, like most perennial fruits, apples are ordinarily propagated asexually by grafting. This is because seedling apples are an example of “extreme heterozygotes”, in that rather than inheriting DNA from their parents to create a new apple with those characteristics, they are instead different from their parents, sometimes radically.[33]} Thus apples are rarely grown from seed and almost always grafted.

    For more, see this on apple trees by Michael Pollan from Botany of Desire – http://www.pbs.org/thebotanyofdesire/apple-sweetness.php
    I haven’t read the book but the movie was generally good and instructive. Netflix carries it.
    “At its core, each apple contains seven or eight seeds, each of which contains the genetic ingredients for a tree radically different from its parents and its siblings. More than any other trait, it is the apple’s genetic variability that accounts for its ability to make itself at home in places as different from one another as New England and New Zealand, Kazakhstan and California. Wherever the apple tree goes, its offspring propose so many different variations on what it means to be an apple—at least seven per apple, several thousand per tree—that a couple of these novelties are almost bound to have whatever qualities it takes to prosper in the tree’s adopted home.”

  • Geez Louise, Guy – your Living With Fire book should be a best seller in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada right now. Not to mention there are active large fires in Alaska,
    South Dakota and even one of the Hawaiian islands! The place is burnin’ up!

  • I’m disappointed that so far there hasn’t been a serious answer to my questions.

  • Tom, news not bothering to tell us about other wildfires eh?
    Land surface temperature anomalies
    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/usa/20120629-westernUS.html

  • Margarets I thought I gave a serious answer to your questions. It may not have satisfied you but it was my response to what you wrote. One can’t dictate the type of response you want – if you do you are just answering your own question.

    Benjamin’s limerick format is often a format considered humorous but his content is anything but humorous. The limerick actually allows you to express rather strong and profound sentiments in 5 short lines. Read it again.

  • What I’m getting at is: what should we do about these contradictions? How does one make it work? Or will it only work when things really hit the fan and we have no choice?

    Margarets,

    Sorry no one has answered your questions in a satisfactory manner to you. Perhaps you are looking for something we can’t give – a step-by-step to disconnect NOW? Look, you were born and raised in the industrial civilisation. It’s really at heart the only world you truly know. And you also know that it has a very limited life and beyond it is certain death (we all gotta go sometime, eh, Kathy?) if you are fortunate enough to live in the right place and everything around you forms the right opportunity (good luck there!).

    So what do you do about that? Feel guilty for still living in industrial civilisation with all its comforts? Perhaps you should look at it this way. Use your current world as a tool to bridge to the future world. Make use of the internet to learn what others are doing and use that knowledge and those contacts to start building towards the new world. You have a job today – keep at it to fund the future. You have an internet connection and a pc – use them. You own a home and garden? Use them to begin growing things and developing new skills. Why not go to Iceland – the plane is going there anyway. Today’s grid is the opportunity to develop the tools to survive tomorrow.It’s likely you simply don’t have the tools to survive should the shit hit the fan tomorrow. So use today to get ready for that.

    There should be no guilt involved. Only hard work – outside of your career. Put the simple dress in a wardrobe for future needs, not today’s needs, along with anything else you have the opportunity now to acquire.

    And in the middle of all that, try to have fun and relax a little. Say, how about a trip to Iceland whilst you still can?

  • @Margarets

    Here is how I think about those issues.

    First, to move people off the dominant culture you need to be an evangelist in their church. They won’t come to ours. The heart of the matter is we are outsiders in our views. If we withdraw and refuse to participate in the dominant cultures, there is no hope to reach them.

    Second. How to deal with the identity issues (you know, the Cassandra wierdo thing). I have found it easier to pose the questions and plant viral thoughts rather than mount head-on assaults. Everyone encounters the exceptional situations like our 100+ heat, I attack the “frames” behind the answers with well crafted questions.

    I do wear old clothes, but I can and still run a business organization. I am accommodated as the eccentric smart guy who can get results. I do costume up for the “CIA” action. Old hippies in suits can infiltrate too.

    Much of this stuff comes down to word games. A part of my education is in general semantics and semiotics. We all get lost in our symbols and word choices. Speak to others in their cultural frames. If you can help them re-interpret the world inside their frames you have better chances. They are probably doing the best they can in the context of their world view. They are scared to death if they have any sense.

    This explains my concern over any worry about calling ourselves “radical”. It is only a label, it is not the thing labeled. We humans march around wearing our self-labeling like Indy car drivers but often there is no match up with our actions. I am radical because I don’t accept anyone’s definitions without examination, including many so called radicals who are merely going for radical chic. “Sunday radicals” lets say.

    So what does a real radical do? What needs to be done to prepare for the future you see coming. Consume less, question more. Build a new infrastructure for your community. Think carefully about what a no-growth, post-cabon community means in the community. Think about the how this transition (collapse) will be managed compassionately. Bring along the young. Translate hope to action, make dreams of new futures translate to action. Help the frustrated reframe their role to become effective and engaged. Build mediating organizations that can absorb rapid change. etc.

    So, what I am saying is get busy. Screw the labels. You can create capacities that work in collapse without ever having to make the case for collapse. For example, sponsor workshops on canning and preserving, freecycle organizations, local barter communities, work with the churches to become activist in helping members cope with economic hardship. I am meeting periodically with some very smart friends to think through the mediation of great change in our region. How will it happen, how can we make it happen better?

    Do you think it matters how people think? I don’t. I think it matters most what they do. The doing will change the thinking. If we work together we become community and it becomes instinctive to look to one another for solutions. That is RADICAL, meaning interdependent. One person will see the biblical end times, the next the collapse of the biosphere. Does it matter which explanatory strategy moves them to change? I don’t think so. That is really radical.

    We need to get busy, learn the right things, and build true community. Radicalism is competent action potentiating nimble local responses to the challenges that are coming. If I am swapping eggs for veggies with my neighbor, I could not care less what he believes other than to try to respect him. I think you get my point on this.

    But to move them, we need to evangelize with deep respect for one another valuing community above all our differences. You do have to meet them on their ground. There is no other way.

    Michael

  • Yep, I’m a radical. I like the word. It makes me think of radishes. Same root. Roots in the soil. Roots going to the source of conviction and meaning.

    margarets: I don’t think there’s an ultimate resolution of the contradictions for most people. My usual m.o. is “doing the best I can.” Sometimes I’m very impressed with my best, and other times not so much. I have also not been willing to completely walk away from some creature comforts or some social expectations (like dressing “appropriately” in certain situations). I think some of this is adaptive, though. It doesn’t serve me to alarm or annoy others indiscriminately by dressing overly strangely; if I’m going to alarm or annoy, I want to do it for very good reasons and in a strategic way. Also, having internet access while it’s available is an excellent tool for accessing and disseminating information. Mostly, I don’t think it’s a great use of time to agonize over all the ways we’re still enmeshed in industrial empire and attempt perfect disentanglement. The only total disentanglement I see comes with death. We aren’t perfect.

    I agree with Michael above, about getting busy, and also with Victor, who advocates using the current world as a tool to bridge to the future world. These are frames of mind I turn to often in my own life. This never erases inevitable contradictions, but I don’t know a single soul who can live 100% in accordance with their highest ideals and priorities. I have spent a long time trying to undo my own perfectionism. It’s a hard thing to let go of, especially when it comes to such dire issues. It’s even harder when I place the highest value on living with integrity. But the truth is that even if I were living impeccably at all times, it wouldn’t really make much difference at this point. And continually beating myself up about not being utterly consistent and perfect is incredibly damaging to my spirit.

    You write about “the loneliness of being the weirdo.” This is a real phenomenon, definitely. I’m wondering if you’ve already experienced this, or if you’re just anticipating experiencing it if you dare to not walk in lock-step with the others? I know from experience that it can be extraordinarily painful. I also know that I wouldn’t trade my thoughts, beliefs, and actions for anything. I’ve also found ways to connect with other “weirdos,” which brings great comfort, and ways to adapt to being around people who are completely mesmerized by industrial empire and “not weird.” (Except they always seem odd to me.) It’s a strange skill set to have to put together, indeed. I have learned when to be silent and when to speak, in ways that make me feel relatively empowered and/or protected, depending on the context.

    I’m not sure if any of this was along the lines of what you were seeking.

  • Kathy C
    Thanks for the encouragement, and the Shambalah link. Although I had not heard the story before I am familiar with some forms of Buddhism, and readily see the significance.
    I have been preparing for the walk for 2 yers now, and have tracked up to 25 km per day at my best. Shoes are an issue, and blisters!!.
    A lot depends on my present work – to provide for 5 children family. The youngest boy is 12, and pretty independent, so when I go it will only be if I know he will be ok. I asked him 6 months ago how he felt about the idea, me being gone maybe 12 to 18 months? He said on one condition, that he could come with me. What a guy. He is my hero, for all sorts of reasons.
    I would like to live-stream the walk to a website 24/7 so others can come too.
    My idea is to use that time to discuss with the world these issues, and the issue of true spirituality. Walking seems to be my thing in this later half of my life.
    I have decided to do some smaller walks for reconciliation,with indigenous peoples, to begin with to test my equipment and my resolve.

    There is a funny song about a bird called Johnathan Livingston Bugderigar, and speaks to the need to be practical. Here is the link: http://mp3.watchtvstreaming.net/Music/Jonathan-livingston-budgerigar/1.html
    It is a spoof on Johnathan Livingston Seagull. There are better versions around but this one is by the original guy who wrote it.

    Walking for me is a way to achieve several simple but profound aims at the same time. The most important to me is developing Intuition as a stabalised function. I have seen small examples so far on the road. Objects and signs that have meaning that one could not convine others of, but one knows the meaning in the heart. I’ll offer a small example to illustrate.
    One day while walking at the end of my day, after having a hard time with work colleagues about being impractical etc, re. walking around Australia, I asked myself if this idea wasn’t just some fang doodle way of coping with life now, and if it was a workable thing to work towards? Just in that moment I turned a corner on the dirt track and there was an empty large can of some stimulant drink, the kind kids, ‘need’ to be alive these days.
    Dang! That was an instant reply.
    I had just finnished 2 months of experimenting with home made metho stoves from soda cans, and wanted to get my hands on one of these big cans to see if it would work well enough.
    The thing is that I could buy some fandangle gas stove that is super light etc. My idea,(not original I know), is to become knowledgeable in using the debris of the oil age, DOTOA, to reuse and adapt found objects for some new purpose. I had put the stove thing aside to more pressing matters for a brief time. Then in answer to my question, there it was.
    To my son, who I told about the week later when he came with me on the same trail, it was only a can. We talked and he found some way to accomodate the ideas I have I guess.
    Intuition is a way to be in the moment, but being practical is a balancing function to keep one functioning. I have had many more experiences, especially since I’ve ween walking in prep for the big walk, like these. Some people will never understand these things in their normal identity.

    I have another example about the role of intuition but it is a bit laterally related. It is a great story. I will post it after this. Its about a manI met in Nepal,while walking, named David B. Pearson.

    I dont see it as any kind of response to the coming problems of collapse and climate horror. Not directly, but like a lot of these personal projects poeple do they want others to wake up to the enormity of the coming Sledgehammer To Empire, STE. I do see it as a way of making a site/forum for people to follow and enter into discussion about, to debate the way power refuses to acknowledge the basic truths of Empire wreckage. I have other reasons for doing it, but they are rather of a more inner nature, and will come to fruition by and by.
    I will post if I leave soon.

    Does anyone know how to set up a live stream webcam to a website?

  • The story of David B. Pearson and OZman in Nepal.
    David and I met in Nepal in 1990, and I decided to accompany him on a 7 day walk up into the Annapurna Range. I later did the Annapurna Circuit with my brother, which took 30 days. I was getting in some badly needed conditioning for the circuit walk, and David was my companion.
    We set off and chatted about things as we went.
    David was a retired scientific instrument maker and was about 60 then. I was in my late twenties. David had lived through the Sixties in America and had largely been skeptical about cosmic forces, spiritual matters etc. But he had only later in his life come to view these things with less scepticism.
    David explained that as a scientific instrument maker, he had done work for NASA, and contractors building some of the scientific instruments for the early space probes etc. He said he was pretty well sold on the ideas of science and Empire etc.
    While holidaying in South America he purchased a bead necklace from a ‘Voodoo’ woman in a local market. She claimed to have psychic powers and the necklace was in a tradition of warding off evil. David said he didn’nt really believe that story but purchased it as a small souveneer. Yet there was something different about the woman that did unnerve him.
    That was in his youth. He claimed to have worn the necklace for many years, never taking it off, not when showering, swimming, making love etc. He said it was a kind of reminder of those earlier, carefree days for him.
    One day he was in the shower, and the large central bead fell off the necklace. The necklace did not break, however. He managed to retrieve the big bead before it went down the plughole. Later he looked at the necklace and the bead.
    He was dumbfounded. T
    he bead was not broken, nor was the necklace. Some days later, being so troubled by this event, he took the bead and necklace to work and had it scanned under a very powerful microscope, the type of which I’m not certain. But he said that if there was any defects in the bead, or anomalies that the microscope would easily show them.
    To his surprise there was no such cracks or anomalies. I think he then asked a colleague to do it for him, without giving much background to the colleague,to get an independent test. Still nothing.

    David said this led him to seriously doubt all that he had been taught about the world. He begun to investigate many ‘new’ ways to see the world, and he did find a new way of living, which he said was far better than he had previously.
    It was only some 10 years later that the necklace finally broke altogether. From looking at the remains he could deduce that the necklace was made from three strands of catgut, and the original larger bead had been strung on only one strand, which had broken. That left the necklace intact.
    He said that when he figured this out he laughed very heartily.
    So I asked him, did he then begin to doubt his earlier transformation?
    His reply was that it was by then too late to go back to that older way of seeing. He had discovered too many things to revalidate a purely scientific western way of life.
    That is a story of how the world was changed for one man by some hoodoo voodoo.
    My thanks to David B. Pearson.

  • NZ update.

    The two events in New Plymouth were successful. A radio interview has been recorded, and a DVD may be available later.

    This afternoon Guy anbd Sheila did some rock climbing and sightseeing, followed by socialising.

    Tomorrow I will take them to Tawhiti near (Hawera), from where they will be transported to Wanganui.

  • KathyC, Really, thanks for that Pollan link.

    I want to try to graft several kinds of apples onto that little root system – early, mid-summer and late varieties.

  • Margarets,

    Contradictions – You were born in this little “domesticated” ecosystem, it is not your fault. Maybe think of it as a maze you will spend your life negotiating? Unlike other critters, we can plan long-term to “move out.” But it really does take a long time to learn to live so differently.

    Sometimes we make artificial rules in our own heads. Some “industrial” tools may not seem appropriate (e.g. internet, cars). Imagine birds discussing the ethics and morals of nest-building in hi-rise complexes ; ). I don’t think the fish or weeds in a ship’s ballast, waiting to be discharged in the next lake, have a moral dilemma about it.

  • ASSUMPTION PARISH, LA (WAFB) – http://www.wafb.com/story/18910913/assumption-parish-mysterious-bubbles-in-bayou
    Mysterious bubbles are rising up out of an Assumption Parish bayou. Officials are trying to figure what’s causing them.

    Take a ride down Bayou Corne, and there are bubbles of all sizes along the waterway.

    “We have reported on May 30th a pipeline leak, which started us coming out and investigating a bubbling in Bayou Corne,” said Assumption Parish Homeland Security Director John Boudreaux.

    Since then though, pipeline officials have not ruled that out just yet, but said it’s unlikely. So now, investigators are going through the process of elimination.

    By coincidence, since the bubbling began, many in Assumption Parish are worried

    “Our houses shifting and cracks in our sheet rock and our foundation,” said Jason Hugh.

    “My home moved, and my home shook. My home moved, and I’m on cement,” said Debra Charlet.

    Officials don’t know yet whether the two are related. Boudreaux has taken samples of the bubbles and sent them off for testing. Those samples are expected back in the next couple of weeks.

    Officials are monitoring the bubbles twice a day. As for now, no evacuations have been issued and the waterways remain open.

  • So-called super fires — like the fire currently rampaging through the Colorado Springs area, spurring mass evacuations, destroying property and endangering lives — are not going away.

    They will continue to flare up, not just around the U.S. but also around the world and, possibly, become more severe, one expert says.

    Peter Fulé, a longtime professor in the school of forestry at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, talked to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday about the “perfect confluence” of factors fueling fires such as Colorado’s Waldo Canyon fire…. Fulé said, climate change has brought warming conditions over the last couple of decades — meaning longer fire seasons, starting early in the spring and extending late into the fall.

    Even if rain and snow amounts remain the same, he said, warmer temperatures mean more evaporation, drying out the landscape. Individual drought years increase the risk of huge fires: “This winter in Colorado, it was quite dry.”

    And the future looks only drier and warmer.

    “The predictions climatologists are developing for the 21st century don’t look any better,” Fulé said. With plentiful fuel and warming conditions, super fires likely will continue to ignite….But Fulé isn’t ready to suggest a doomsday scenario.

    There are things that can be done — and are being done — to combat this fiery future.
    Thinning smaller, younger trees from forests and using proscribed burning can greatly reduce the chance of a super fire. “Those are two important forest restoration techniques that are being done around the U.S.,” to some extent, he said.

    The problem is, such efforts are expensive — several hundred dollars to $1,000 per acre — and there are millions of acres. The U.S. government manages most of the nation’s forest lands, he said, “and the federal government really doesn’t have a lot of extra money it doesn’t know what to do with.”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-super-fires-20120627,0,2411143.story

    Now if he would just have connected that with peak oil he would have realized that most of those efforts require the money in order to purchase the fuel to carry them out. Just when we have created climate change by using fossil fuels we need fossil fuels to save us, only we are well on our way to using them up.

    Benjamin perhaps a limerick on this conundrum?

  • For what it is worth, Fukushima Diary has been reporting problems with the cooling system on the Spent Fuel Pools of Reactor 4. Some of his info comes from tweets from a worker.

    [Reactor4] Back-up coolant system failed. Backup power is lost. 47 hours left.
    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/06/reactor4-back-up-coolant-system-failed-backup-power-is-lost-47-hours-left/

    If true not a happy scenario for Japan. Or the rest of the planet

  • Back up on the story above http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fukushima-reactor-cooling-system-suspended-kyodo-2012-06-30
    By MarketWatch
    TOKYO–The cooling system for the spent fuel pool at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant’s No. 4 reactor automatically suspended operation Saturday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said, Kyodo News reported Saturday.

    The utility known as Tepco has been unable to activate a backup cooling system for the pool and is looking into the cause of the trouble, officials of the plant operator said later in the day, adding it is unlikely the temperature will rise rapidly.

    The water temperature of the pool was 31 C at the time of the suspension at around 6.25 a.m. local time and no leakage of water with radioactive materials has been found, Tepco said.

    The temperature of the pool rose 0.26 C per hour by late Saturday afternoon, according to the utility.

    If Tepco continues to be unable to cool the pool, the temperature could reach 65 C, which is the upper limit designated in the safety regulations, on Tuesday morning. The cooling system at the No. 4 reactor was previously suspended on June 4.

  • Kathy C,

    While I was reading a story about the fires in CO, I saw in the comments one fellow decrying human causes of global warming leading to the fires while in the next sentence, he was incensed that the Forest Service had not done its job to mitigate the dangers of such fires by “controlled” burning. Cognitive dissonance? Meddling is meddling, in my view.

    In thinking about this just now, I managed to step back from my normal tree view to look at the forest. From this perspective, I think we Homo sapiens are to planet earth as was whatever caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. We are a cycle, no more, no less, in the grand scheme of things. That we are Homo Sapiens sapiens means nothing. Ultimately, Mother Earth will shake us off like the fleas we are; then she can go about the repair of what we’ve wrought on the planet.

    It will take some time(understatement), but the planet will recover. When our sun dies, however, Earth is toast(metaphorically). Another cycle.

    I agree with Victor above. All the hand wringing in the world about what we do from here on out is useless. I don’t believe there is much we can do to stop where all this is going, and I’m not going to waste energy worrying about it. Where I will spend my energy, however, is to learn new ways to cope with what is surely coming by growing my own food (thankfully with the help of friends), developing community so I can share what I/we have, and learning about herbal medicine for the time when we have no more Big Pharma.

  • Kathy C.

    Nice to see you on board. Pull up your lawn chair and open a cold one.

  • Curtis, I am currently booze free, but when I am sure the final act is starting I will get that cold one and several more 🙂

  • We might have some fireworks right after the 4th. Perhaps now IS the time to pop open a cold one.

    http://endthelie.com/2012/04/21/fukushima-is-falling-apart-are-you-ready/#axzz1zJgCDPGK
    Prof. Takeda [Link] estimates the coolant water of SFP4 will reache 100℃ in the evening of 7/5/2012.

    Tepco was removing the upper part of reactor4 on 6/25/2012. [Link] He assumes it damaged the pipes of the coolant system.

    ↓ Prof. Takeda received this picture from his reader. It looks like it was damaged by dropping debris during the construction. The damaged pipe looks like a flexible pipe made of plastic (Picture at the link)

  • Kathy C Says: “Mysterious bubbles are rising up out of an Assumption Parish bayou….Boudreaux has taken samples of the bubbles and sent them off for testing. Those samples are expected back in the next couple of weeks.”

    A couple of weeks?

    Some lab tests by which one discerns
    Basic nature, a good doomer learns;
    A quick test for gas
    From sea, tap or ass:
    Light a match, and see if it burns.

  • NZ update.

    Guy and Sheila left New Plymouth this morning, did some sightseeing, visited Whangamomama and Tawhiti, and are now headed for Wanganui.

  • Guy has very limited access to Internet (few places support the system he uses) and litle time -travelling, preparation, meetings and presentations- but will undoubtedly respond when he can.

  • There are many “powers” or “abilities” that one comes across as awareness develops. Insight is one of them. They may be helpful in the furtherance of awareness, but they are all externalities that can become diversions if one chases after them, leading one astray – and even to perdition. It is the very nature of wisdom to have neither attraction nor aversion to them.

    An similar approach to all sentient beings, including humans, upeksha, described in the Vedantic tradition is more along the lines of “non-clinging” and the term has very similar connotations in Buddhism:

    Equanimity (Upeksha)

  • http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html
    Historic heat wave topples Dust Bowl-era extreme heat records
    A historic heat wave on a scale and intensity not seen in the U.S. since the great heat waves of the 1930s Dust Bowl era set new all-time heat records for at least ten major cities Friday. According to wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt, fifteen of the 303 major cities he maintains records for on the wunderground extremes page have set all-time heat records in the past four days. The only year with more all-time heat records is 1936, when 61 cities set all-time heat records. In 2011, which had the 2nd warmest summer in U.S. history, only ten of the 303 cities set all-time heat records during the entire summer. With the the hottest month of the year (July) still to come, 2012 threatens to rival the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936 for extreme heat.

    All-time records for any date tied or broken on Friday:

    109° Nashville, TN (old record 107° 7/28/1952
    109° Columbia, SC (old record 107° on two previous occasions)
    109° Cairo, IL (old record 106° on 8/9/1930)
    108° Paducah, KY (ties same on 7/17/1942
    106° Chattanooga, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952)
    105° Raleigh, NC (ties same on 8/21/2007 and 8/18/1988)
    105° Greenville, SC (old record 104° 8/10/2007 although 106° was recorded by the Signal Service in July 1887)
    104° Charlotte, NC (ties same on 8/9 and 10/2007 and 9/6/1954)
    102° Bristol, TN (ties same on 7/28/1952-this site now known as `Tri-State Airport’)
    109° Athens, GA. This is just 1° shy of the Georgia state record for June of 110° set at Warrenton in 1959.

    All-time state June heat records set Friday:

    113° Smyrna, TN (old record 110° in Etowah in June 1936)
    109° Cairo, IL (old record 108° in Palestine in June 1954)

    Also of note: Atlanta, GA hit 104° (its all-time June record), and just 1° shy of its all-time record of 105° set on 7/17/1980. The forecast for Atlanta on Saturday calls for a high of 105°F, which would tie for the hottest day in the city’s history

  • @ Margarets

    What my wife and I are trying to do is move towards the exit of the dominant paradigm. We are trying to gain a set of skills, speak out, and enjoy our lives along the way. Yes there are loads of contradictions along the way BUT if one doesn’t have the tools its impossible to just jump ship so to speak. As long as we continue to move towards the exit and improve…well that’s enough for us. We can’t control collapse or what others think. We know where we’re headed and are enjoying the journey. So if you have to fly or drive somewhere to learn a new skill…do it. That skill may allow you to give up fossil fuel transportation someday.

  • Looks like the got the cooling going again on Spent Fuel Pool 4.

    Found this today
    “The Fukushima disaster was not ‘unexpected’ as much as it was ignored, tsunamis of that magnitude had occurred in the past, TEPCO knew that a tsunami of only 10 meters would cause a potential loss of power, and they should have reasonably foreseen it to happen again.

    The location of the plant was on a bluff which was originally 35-meters above sea level. During construction, however, TEPCO lowered the height of the bluff by 25-meters. The lowered height would keep the running costs of the seawater pumps low.

    TEPCO’s analysis of the tsunami risk when planning the site’s construction determined that the lower elevation was safe because the sea wall would provide adequate protection for the maximum tsunami assumed by the design basis. However, the lower site elevation did increase the vulnerability for a tsunami larger than anticipated in design.”
    http://enformable.com/2012/06/fukushima-the-accident-waiting-to-happen/

  • Hello all, Just a small point to consider. It is not necessary to think you have to change the world to be a radical. Being a radical is an end in itself and does not require you to be a saint. So enjoy your life and its radical expression.

    Socrates said that it was better to be a dissatisfied man than a satisfied pig and better to be a dissatisfied man of virtue than a satisfied man.

  • Privileged

    I tend to agree with you on most fronts in your last entry,;all but one. You say: “So if you have to fly or drive somewhere to learn a new skill…do it. That skill may allow you to give up fossil fuel transportation someday.”
    I think the “Someday” has got to be now.
    When I was 15 in 1978 and still at school, I came to the conclusion that cars and the like were killing the planet. I have never driven, nor own ed a car. I accept lifts, and hitch hike, and catch public transport. So far I have managed to get around without my own personal chariot.
    If you make the change mentally, then yes your global choices are less without personal fossil fuel transpot, and the political economy many live in does penalise you for that.
    I have been able to accept that and live with it. Imagine if more people did without a chariot?
    The ‘someday’ is not going to come voluntarily, and if not, then it will be by fuel price rise or government rationing, or yes systemic collapse. Better to start today, than tomorrow. We have only ever had today, and now it seems even that is in jeopardy.
    Walk I say.

  • A little gallows humor for your Monday morning. The world with respect to nature. . .

    https://youtu.be/0XM3vWJmpfo

  • David, “It is not necessary to think you have to change the world to be a radical.” Yep. Its probably not even possible to change the world, except in very small ways. When Ghandi was told by the Brits that the Indians would do no better than the British he said that may be true but at least we would be ruled by our own people. Certainly India is not at all like what Ghandi wanted and oppression of the poor continues by their own people. What Ghandi did was good but it did not in the end accomplish freedom for his people, only a change of masters.

    We probably cannot change the course of history but we can make little changes here an there and who is to say that the little changes don’t matter even if they don’t save the world.

  • Dr House, thanks for the humor

    And here is a bit more dedicated to Benjamin the Donkey

    Fukushima has lots of spent fuel
    Which needs to be kept very cool
    When the pumps stop working
    No one will be smirking
    As the water boils out of the pool

    Without water in the fuel pool
    We are left with no good tool
    To sequester waste
    Which we made in such haste
    So who is the ultimate fool

  • Kathy, that is fantastic! 🙂

    BTW, test for mysterious bubbles, in case anyone hasn’t seen this already (not recommended indoors if gas has been leaking for a long time!):

  • oops–demonstration is at 1:18

  • What does ‘BTW’ mean, is it a reference to a website? Anyone?

  • My 12 y/o son isn’t talking to me because he says I’m a doomer!
    I also don’t follow through on various projects too, aparently. It’s not so much fun when your kid hates you. He’s cooling though. Another day and he’ll be ok.
    I try to explain how discovering many things that are going to mean the enevitable big changes,( I don’t say “end of the world as we know it”), looks like a series of moves from one thing to the next, which even to a smart 12 y/o seems pretty negative. I have told him that these things are related, and it takes some time to get a handle on just how dependent one thing is on the others.
    How far do you drag your children with you? I mean 12 is a pretty fun time, new friends, a new high school. Soon there will be girls to obsess over,( pretty sure it will be girls, and it doesn’t matter if it isn’t). Last thing he wants is to have Peak Oil for dinner and Climate Change for desert every other day.
    The thing about being a radical is that you have to first think about things and make some personal value judgments about how to live. I have known a lot of people who haven’t got it in them to do that study, investigation, and asssessment. I’m past telling people to “believe me”, or “believe Mike Rupert” or “believe Matt Savinar”. People need to invest some time themselves in figuring stuff out. Still, its good to have some clear sites like this one to direct interested people to.
    Just on Matt Savinar, does anyone know the full story with him. I have read his Book, and website, LATOC – Life After The Oil Crash, which were a great eye openner to me, 3-4 years ago.
    Some of his regular readers were mystified that he went silent for a time and popped up with a fairly solid online Astrology service now called North Bay Astrology.
    I suspect he got to a crisis point, where he and others had been putting in a huge effort to get the machine of industrial civilisation to stop, or at least begin to seriously plan for big changes, and after some time he felt ‘no one’ in the ‘high places of power’ was doing anything. I suspect people around him too, but that’s only a hunch.
    Does anyone know much more than that?
    I haven’t met him, but he’s an important person of the PO movement to me.
    Matt are you out there? Do you read Guy’s Essays?
    I think you got a story to tell one day if you feel comfortable.

  • OZ and others
    most of the time you can type the letters of any acronym into google and fine the answer, but some acronyms mean other things. However when I used BTD to refer to Benjamin the Donkey it got everyone confused 🙂 so that doesn’t always help. And TRDH is short hand for The Real Dr. House. VT is shorthand for Virgin Terry. So when seeing an acroynm at the front of a post check back and see who recently posted, it might be a shortening of their name. After that you can google or to weed out non-acronyms check out netlingo or urban dictionary

    http://www.netlingo.com
    You searched for: btw

    BTW – By The Way
    BTWBO – Be There With Bells On
    GBTW – Get Back To Work
    OBTW – Oh By The Way

  • Matt Savinar told us why he was taking his site down just before he did. I think it was something like “I have said all there is to say on this subject.” I think you can only spend so much time in the future.

    Children live more in the now also. It is really all we have, ultimately. For me, I am working toward becoming very nimble, which means not having dependencies – on me or on others or on systems. If I had young ones now, I would not talk about the future in a negative way at all, but teach them how to do, grow, make things. I did that with my girls. They can use tools, cook and sew, bake bread, grow food, etc. and those skills are helping them now.

    Actually, my grown girls don’t respond well to any negative talk even now. I have to just trust them. Fear is toxic. And unnecessary.

  • TRDH (the real dr. house) I raise you one on the gallows humor
    http://www.coolestone.com/media/4155/Last-Weather-Forecast-You%27ll-Ever-Need/

    BTW (by the way)on the clip you sent, whether intended or not, isn’t it true that we like to tame nature down to landscapes and cute pictures and yet nature has a mind of its own which has a different agenda. Perhaps that is why we like to tame it? Landscapes sit on your wall doing nothing, while real landscapes include lions and tigers and bears or at least mosquitoes and ticks. Do you know how many well meaning people have given us chicken cups, pictures, candles etc with nary a one depicting like what a real chicken looks like much less including the in the depicting the chicken shit that goes with every chicken?

  • What does BTW stand for?

    By The Way
    Back To Work
    Be That Way
    Back to Wall
    Between the Wars
    British Traditional Wicca
    British Traditional Witchcraft
    Bike This Way
    Breaching the Web
    Born This Way
    Born to Win
    Bridge the World
    Books That Work
    BioTech World
    Between The Words
    Beyond the Wall
    Beyond These Walls
    Big Time Wrestling
    Below the Waist
    Below the Water
    Balls to the Wall
    Before the War
    Behind the Wheel

  • Oz man especially for you a song by an Australian, Judy Small
    The Futures Exchange – Judy Small

  • some time in the past year, i gave a modest monetary donation to the ‘union of concerned scientists’, out of tribute to the strongly worded ‘warning to humanity’ statement they put out about 20 years ago. they didn’t mince words back then. they were largely ignored, but at least they tried. anyhow, that’s why i sent a small donation. so now i get their quarterly periodical. i’m disappointed with it. it’s simply not radical enough. no one is calling the status quo insane, saying it’s destroying the living planet we need to survive on. no one is calling loudly for radical reduction of human reproduction, or the need for the coming glut of elderly baby boomers spoiled by advanced industrial technology to voluntarily die with much more grace, dignity, and support than previous generations, before becoming overly burdensome.

    it’s not a ‘doomer’ publication. on the back cover is a plea for support for the organization. it begins with a broad, majestic picture of a lovely scenic blue lake surrounded by snow-streaked mountains. a caption in bold capitals says: ‘your legacy: a healthy planet’

    yeah, right!!! what bs that is. if only all it took was giving a painless donation to a small politically disconnected organization of concerned scientists who will then convince ‘decision makers’ to reasonably decide to expeditiously terminate industrialism while educating the masses on their former duplicity, current repentence, and the need for everyone to get on board with radical frugalism and contraception. then we might indeed have hope for a surrealistic chance of remotely claiming such a legacy.

    surrealistically, there is no such hope. only prayers for those who believe in prayer, or figure wtf? it’s worth a try. that’s what this publication i have from the union of concerned scientists strikes me as: prayerful. i prefer ‘doomerism’/surrealism. less bullshit, more resignation to collapse and other matters beyond control, and more preparation/doing what can be done personally.

  • Kathy C
    Thank you for the links.
    Offering Judy Small could be showing which generation you hail from, not that that matters.
    The article on Crazy Horse was well worth reading.
    In and around Sydney there was a similarly defiant Aboriginal warrior, named Pemulwuy,(c1750 – 1802). He was a member of the Eora people. He led a resistence to the Brittish invasion of Native Aboriginal lands, and was hunted and killed by governor’s decree.
    Here is the Wiki link:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemulwuy

    The name Pemulwuy translates into English as: ‘The Rainbow Warrior’, and I believe the Greenpeace ship that was attempting to disrupt French Nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in the Pacific, which was sunk by French Secret Service Agents in Aukland harbour in 1985 was named after Pemulwuy.

    I read some years ago, Pemulwuy was involved in coordinated resistance in the Hawkesbury River area, and this held up an exploration and expansion of settlement over the Blue Mountains, where I was born and now live, West of Sydney, by some significant years.

    There is no doubt that Empire covers its tracks, for a time anyway. I was taught when a boy at school that the reason it took so long and many failed attempts to cross the Blue Mountains was that it was such rugged terrain, and so inhospitable.

    Although the terrain is not easy, the truth is that these parties that tried to find a way over were resisted and forced back. The denial was part of the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’, latin, but coming from Roman Law,(no surprises there), “land belonging to no one” meaning, a Brittish law that allows the siesure by the Crown of any unocuppied land. The first settlers conveniently assigned Aboriginal People as Fauna, and because they made no permanent settlements the land was deemed unoccupied. Recent studies have shown that there were large structures erected for large gatherings, but the policy of keeping them beyond such uses were not normal.(Looking for the reference on that).

    This is one reason that no treaties were ever offered to native Aboriginal Peoples in Australia, unlike New Zealand and the North Americans.

    That doctrine of terra nullius remained in Australian law
    until contested by a Torres Straight Elder named Eddie Koiki Mabo, in his claim for Native Title, on June 3rd 1992!!
    Yes 1992!!
    The situation for Eddie Mabo was not clear regarding his ownership of the land on Murry Island in the Torres Straight. An exerpt from Wiki on Eddie Mabo below brings out the huge collision between the two systems of ownership:

    “Mabo worked on a number of jobs before becoming a gardener with James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland at the age of 31. The time he spent on the campus had a massive impact on his life. In 1974 this culminated in a discussion he had with Noel Loos and Henry Reynolds, who recalled Mabo’s reaction:

    “…we were having lunch one day in Reynold’s office when Koiki,(Eddie) was just speaking about his land back on Mer, or Murray Island. Henry and I realised that in his mind he thought he owned that land, so we sort of glanced at each other, and then had the difficult responsibility of telling him that he didn’t own that land, and that it was Crown land. Koiki was surprised, shocked and even…he said and I remember him saying ‘No way, it’s not theirs, it’s ours'”.
    And:

    “In 1981 a land rights conference was held at James Cook University and Mabo made a speech to the audience where he explained the land inheritance system on Murray Island. The significance of this in terms of Australian common law doctrine was taken note of by one of the attendees, a lawyer, who suggested there should be a test case to claim land rights through the court system.

    Of the eventual outcome of that decision a decade later, Henry Reynolds said, “… it was a ten year battle and it was a remarkable saga really.”

    Sadly Eddie Mabo died of cancer in Jannuary 1992, and he didn’t see the great impact his claim had:

    “Five months later, on 3 June 1992, the High Court announced its historic decision, namely overturning the legal doctrine of terra nullius – which is a term applied to the attitude of the British towards land ownership on the continent of Australia.

    “…so Justice Moynihan’s decision that Mabo wasn’t the rightful heir was irrelevant because the decision that came out was that native title existed and it was up to the Aboriginal or Islander people to determine who owned what land.” Henry Reynolds
    That decision is now commonly called “Mabo” in Australia and is recognised for its landmark status. Three years after Mabo died, that being the traditional mourning period for the people of Murray Island, a gathering was held in Townsville for a memorial service.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Mabo

    In 1992 the Liberal Federal government was in power, with John Howard as Prime Minister. The frenzy began, shoring up parstoral leases and scare mongering the non Aboriginal population into thinking that their homes would be taken.
    What a FUBAR reversl. The Aboriginal’s ‘homes’ WERE taken!!!

    ‘The Empire’ did succeed in serverely limiting any future claims to native title, but Eddie Mabo succeeded in extinguishing forever the terra nullius doctrine.
    Depending on which Anthropologist, Archaeologist orGeneticist you wish to quote Native Aboriginal peoples arrived over land bridges on the continent between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago, and there is consensus that they were from the first wave of humans to leave Africa.

    They have survived as a living culture the decimation and attempted genocide of Brittish Empire. Recent statistics have shown a large growth in people identifying as Aboriginal Australians on the latest Census.

    Some are attributing this to the historic national Apology by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 13th of February, 2008, as an act of reconcilliation for the Stolen Generation,( many state agencies removed Aboriginal infants and children from their families and put them in institutions, some religeous, that later were shown to be places of great abuse, notwithstasnding the suffering from being separated from family to begin with).

    I wish only to add that Kevin Rudd did what John Howard, the bastard Prime Minister, for years he refused to do. That is to publicly say ‘Sorry’ for the revages of Empire. He will rot like the rest after the worms get him.
    My view is that as successful hunter gatherers, without the use of metals, using only inherited knowlegde and stone tools, their previous way of life is very likely to be how we will end up in the future. They have kept their knowledge alive, for very, very good reasons.
    Few Westerners accept the Dreaming as real. I do.

    I was told that their shamans new a terrible animal was coming to eat them and trample their land. I assume they then had some stratergy, but unlike other Native peoples, they had little artifacts to hide away in caves. Their ‘wealth’ was stored in their Intuitive rituals almost exclusively. Witness the outpourng of western desert Art in the 1980’s as one example,( but I hasten to caution, these were very quickly traded as valuable comodoties – the shame!)

    Even when some of that knowledge was lost from the death of elders, their ancestors would come in dreams and visions and advise them of how to recover their associationa with the lands.
    That is a pretty smart system to me!!!

    Funny how we derive ‘our’ Western understanding of the beginning of a people or a group from when they occupy an area of land. We are after all one people, with minor surface changes.

    If humans survive the new threats, I’m betting that the Native Peoples of the world will be out there batting close to the plate near Nature, neck and neck, to borrow Guy’s analogy, NBL- Nature Bats Last.

    But then one reason they survive(d) is that it was not an adversarial relation. Ha!

  • the virgin terry
    You might be onto something there.
    It seem that the recently abandoned ‘One Chil Policy’, OCP, introduced in 1978 by China has led to between 700 to 800 Million less births, up to 2011.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_child_policy

    This to me gives China ‘some’, and I stress some, moral authority for speaking on world population and climate change affairs. They did something. The reality has led to tragic selling of children from rural regions to wealthy infertile couples, in cities. and to unsupported 2nd children, not getting state education and healthcare; some people went ahead and had more anyway, and selectd boys. Awhole generation of young men looking for their female cohort which was missing. So problems there.

    Imagine if the UN decreed this OCP to come into effect immediately.
    That would throw the cat among the chickens, or is it Pidgeons?

  • kathy, i second btd’s praise for your poetry! however btd still reigns as house poet by virtue of the volume of quality he produces. and thanks for the hilarious last weather forecast. lmao

  • OZ man, yes I am 63 and my music likes do date me. I was acutally looking up a piece by Fred Small (US) who I also like and in the side bar found the piece by Judy which I had heard years ago but seemed pertinent.

    China’s OCP did prevent a lot of births but did not stop population growth. Surprising to many is that the population increased by 300 million since 1978. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China – partly because the elderly started living longer. In fact if everyone stopped having children now it would take some 20 years to bring down our population by 1 billion given 57 million deaths per year. In 50 years we would bring it down by almost 3 billion but by then with no new births almost every woman would be past menopause. Clearly many additional deaths than the usual number are required to reduce population. Birth Control cannot do it quick enough.

    Thanks for the info on Aboriginal history.

    VT not to worry, no attempt is being made to unseat BtD – I stand in awe of his volume and skill, its just that limericking is contagious.

  • @Oz man
    I agree…sold both cars but still travel in one from time to time. I think walking or cycling are the way to go but I’ll still use fossil fuel transportation if needed. I will never own a car again but that surely will not stop the car culture. My feeling is the car culture will collapse with the rest . Big Ag is what I really need to give up.

  • Many thanks to Victor, Michael, Jennifer Hartley, navid and Privileged for their thoughtful replies to my questions.