Symphony of Failure: Environmental Activism in Four Movements

by Gregory Vickrey, a consultant in the environmental and political arenas who may be reached via email at gregory@gregoryvickrey.com

Allegro — Local Failure

In 2010, I wrote an article titled, “Environmentalism is Dead,” decrying the ineptitude and/or downright skullduggery of large environmental nonprofit organizations. At the time, I still held the foolhardy belief that we could keep environmental activism alive at the local level through traditional nonprofit vehicles, particularly because of the “good people” typically involved in such outfits and the hypothesis suggesting small and nimble – and the development of personal relationships — could create more effective tactics within a comprehensive strategy or agenda.

Of course, I was wrong.

I suppose one could argue isolated circumstances prove exceptions to the more idealistic rule, but conversations with activists around the United States and Canada, in particular, have only supplemented my own experiences to the point where the hypothesis above demonstrates abject failure in practice among the grassroots, local and regional fare.

Environmentalism truly is dead.

Please bear this in mind: idiots like me try things like this because we are, in some sense, fatalistic optimists. Our hope and our fear coagulate into things that make momentary sense to our egos and the dichotomies of expectation and the need to eat. Despite knowing the science and openly challenging false environmental saviors — and, in some cases, putting together the science ourselves — we fall into a fundamental, error-prone pattern of belief that this or that or our scrappy little group may be effective. Occasionally we even win. But those occasional successes make the fatalistic optimist a dangerous — if temporarily effective — sort to tradition and classical liberalism and foundation moneys.

Unfortunately, proving the rule applies to more than a privileged white dude is too easy. Traitors to Mother Earth and fashionable sellouts exist in every corner of the world, as Macdonald Stainsby and Drew Oja Day demonstrate in this seminal report about the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada. Within and without organizations and coalitions, those with personal and profitable agendas over-run good people utilizing the methodology and corrosion of conformity in explicit and implicit lock-step with your fiat currency. Some of those good people — abandoned and desperate — even end up dead.

(Read more uncompromising and relevant prose from Stainsby in “Corroding our Democracy.” In case you missed it, I shudder when recalling how many times I sat down at the same table with Steven Kallick.)

Sounds just like your favorite big enviro, does it not? Nearly all of us might as well say we work for The Nature Conservancy.

Andante — Global Failure

Let’s slow it down. Let’s take the wide view. Let’s go back, again, to 2010. Escaping from the morass of the corporatized UN COP system and the debacle that was Denmark, more than 32,000 people descended upon Cochabamba, Bolivia, in order to spark what could have been a purposeful revolution with clarity. Those enacting souls embraced reality and the future by composing a powerful dialogue. The immediate outcome was The People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Hopeful and relevant, the document portrayed the planet as it was three and a half short years ago, and injected insight and fortitude into the climate justice movement.

In response, the climate justice movement did — and has done — nothing.

I know this because I am part of the problem. Remember? “Idiots like me try things like this because we are, in some sense, fatalistic optimists.” And in every superlative sense, I have tried nothing beyond the vagaries of ego and avarice, joining Climate Justice Now! (CJN!), today a faltering collective of small-time excellence and megalomaniacal and sold-out behemoths purporting to be friends of the earth.

Despite “actions” attempting to display the contrary, large environmental organizations have co-opted Climate Justice Now! to the point where it is indistinguishable from Climate Action Network, the condescending, well-funded, corporatized shill for Green Capitalism and mass affiliate for Rockefeller-produced 350.org and, yes, nearly every politicized branch of Friends of the Earth. And while steadfast, small-time excellence consistently pushes for acceptance of the People’s Agreement, those in control at CJN! maintain a measurable silence on the matter and an inherent lust for a Green Climate Fund — capitalism and progress and growth, oh my! — to save us all.

Again the fool, as an individual I spent most of the last 1000 days or so in a weary state of delusion believing reality and reason would prevail. To no avail. But, damn, we sure do get some vigorous pleas to sign on to innocuous statements, and there’s always a chance one crony or another will invite me to expand my carbon footprint and fly me to COP19 in Warsaw where I can hobnob at the same table with Greenpeace and BASF.

These days, CJN! means jet-setting every fall and demanding everyone has universal access to the false prophecies of “clean energy.” It demonstrates cabalistic communications among the funded elites of the collective behind firewalls and closed doors. It stands for Climate Justice Never.

Yay.

(To discover the latest goings on at CJN!, don’t visit our all-but-defunct website. Visit CAN’s authoritative guide to selling out.)

Scherzo — Quick & Marketable Failure

Back in the cushy United States we embrace the marketable phrase over simple realism, as here our t-shirts say such things as, “I am Herman Wallace,” (I am not Herman Wallace — I have no way of knowing what more than 40 years of solitary confinement or dynamic heroism is like), our Facebook statuses ring, “We are all Trayvon” (no, we are not – most of us have not been stalked by a racist, pathological killer), and we commodify individuals like Chelsea Manning and Bidder 70 into fundraising mechanisms and membership pleas.

We typically avoid rudimentary words and difficult-to-market pursuits like, “ban.” A recent case in point comes from the weak-kneed Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) and their dismissal of the general public’s opposition to fracking. Because OEC, itself, maintains a fossil-fueled complexion due to its root relationships with groups like The Nature Conservancy and National Wildlife Federation, this top-down Council proposes the proverbial “win-win” — laughable new standards to improve fracking and make sure localized groundwater contamination rates increase.

Ouch.

Rondo — Finale

All this is to say, of course, we are essentially out of time. My idiocy and our complacency and their skullduggery, all decades in the making, will provide us with an untenable Mother Earth in a few more. Our collective modalities of unabashed narcissism and ironic nihilism will continue to defend the status quo while hoping for a prayer in the first world and death in the third. Even now I feel unrealized shame visualizing the end of civilization’s symphony; sardonic nepotism conceptualizing an appropriate uprising to avoid the crescendo; and a desire to continue listening, even if the music stops.

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Thanks to ulvfugl for pointing out a technical fix to the problem of the disappearing comments: “I’m using Chrome browser. Go to top right corner, click three horizontal bars, says ‘new incognito window’, get NBL, and everything is immediately updated. Can’t advise for any other browsers, but I assume it’s something to do with cookies and being tracked, etc, because being anonymous fixes it.”

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Any comment containing more than two hyperlinks will land in the spam folder. This website receives more than 500 spam messages every day, so I do not take the time to read them.

Comments 107

  • I stopped believing in environmentalism some time ago. I recall a 1992 discussion with fellow environmentalists who went on to be aids to Al Gore. They wanted to celebrate some “success” or other. My mind was somewhere else entirely. I asked them whether, on the whole, we were gaining or losing ground. Losing ground, they sheepishly admitted. But that didn’t stop them with their pointless missions. One later became a “green” developer…

    I don’t give money to environmental groups, since I have very little, but I sign the petitions that generally only require one click. Hearing environmentalists on the news, their projections seem generally better than the status quo. So I say, let the environmentalists be environmentalists. Let the protesters protest. Something might stick. Something might help. Let people do what they want, I say. Stopping this or stopping that, especially at the local level, is often better than the alternative. I will sign the petitions while hardly ever attending meetings. I will attend (sparingly) meetings where people are actually DOING something useful.

    (sp) Satchel Page (the baseball legend) would say, don’t look back; something might be gaining on you. Something is definitely gaining on us. So we keep on going. Let the symphony of the world continue, each player playing as s/he may. We play our part, and invite the dead bury the dead.

  • Gregory: my environmental activism lasted until about a month ago. All through college I “got the message” by reading Ehrlich (Population Bomb), Carson (Silent Spring) and others. I was involved with many organizations and outlets for my concern. Just like you, I figured out all-too-late that I was being played. i’m now convinced that most of these organizations are there to capture the people who care, slow them down to a (decades long) crawl to (political) change and thereby “work from within the system.” Well, that didn’t and doesn’t work, so now I just sit by and watch it all unfold.

    If Fuk-you-shima goes up in a radioactive fireball of particles and pollution – as I expect it will from the gross negligence, constant lying and obfuscation, and clear signals from both the government and the Japanese mafia (yakuza) that they aren’t serious or interested in actually getting expert help from the world – we’ll all be paying for it with our health (not to mention how dead the Pacific is becoming in the meantime, and how all that radioactive crap is going to climb up the food chain and effect the marine life of the world).

    We’re fucked at this point. We either continue burning fossil fuels and die because of the climate change that will catch up to us in short order (like it has been ramping up over the past few years, breaking all kinds of records), or we stop industrial civilization and go out in a hail of bombs, bullets and bodies and from starvation, thirst, chaos, fear, revenge and suicide (to name a few “routes”).

    This 12 and a half minute rant video captures it all in essence:

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/a-rant-on-fukushima.html

  • Do not give up the fight. Don’t listen to quitters. Vickrey’s message is the opposite of empowerment. We need you. Please join us in making this movement grow into a revolution. This is about all people everywhere, not just indigenous peoples. If you despair, it only serves their, and its, purposes. We can and will turn this around and reclaim the environment from the hands of the destructive ones and set it free from any claim unto it in perpetuity. Let’s get out there and do this. We need your body. We need your spirit. We don’t need your online pledge or monetary donation. The latter is a poor substitute for the former. Live again. Don’t die on the vine as some in this space imply. Thank you.

    https://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/17/1248395/-Native-Americans-Declare-War-on-Fracking-Canada-Declares-War-on-Native-Americans#

  • I like this Gregory Vickrey.

    Make sure you check out his collaborative project — with Cory Morningstar — over here: http://wrongkindofgreen.org

  • I’m 64, and when about twenty-two I read Limits To Growth, and it has been on my mind ever since. But I got busy in careers of the Navy and a dental practice, marriage, raising kids, and all of that. I kept up reading about our horrible treatment of the environment all these years but didn’t do too much about it until a few years ago when I joined and even helped plan some protests.
    I agree. It is hopeless. My first awakening was when I watched the movie, What A Way To Go.
    WAF.
    But I continue to live my life much as before I realized NTE. I have five people dependent on my income. I have a staff at work who depend on my coming to work every day for their jobs. I’m busy. That keeps me sane as I watch our society, and biosphere, head towards the ultimate catastrophe, and systems that we rely on begin sprouting more and more leaks.
    I have a little hobby farm with sheep and goats, chickens, many fruit and nut trees and bushes, two ponds, all of which I feel could possibly help one day, but I know the time will come when all of these preparations will be useless as climate changes and civil strife, wars and hunger and epidemics spread across the land.
    Really, I can’t do anything but watch, and my job now is assuring my kids, wife and employees enjoy what they can while they can.

  • Leading US Publications Mislead on Climate Change. Together.
    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2013/09/18/leading-us-publications-mislead-on-climate-change-together/

    For those who think “resistance is fertile”…, perhaps we should organize a boycott of some media outlets? Or something?

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. Nothing can be done. So, never mind.

  • PS: I agree with Shakes Fist. Stay in the fight. I have little hope of it helping in the long term, but I want the fossil fuel industries and the rest of the mega corporations to lose this fight, even as we sink into the abyss. And, really, what else are you going to do with spare time?
    I’m reading McKibben’s newest book, Oil And Honey. I just simply like the guy and want his side to win. I don’t like watching real lying bastards win all the time. I’d love to see, before I die, a real awakening of humanity about how they have been manipulated into serving the selfish interests of these monsters. I’d like to see a real revolution, and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it becomes less than peaceful.

  • @Paul f getty – Do you offer free dental to those putting their bodies and freedom on the line in this battle to preserve the biosphere? Glad to hear that you’ve had such a nice life.

  • Gregory, thanks for the article and thanks for at least trying.

    Somewhere along the way, our little ragtag environmental group was lured into the mainstream. Suddenly we were faced with ‘win-win’ situations, and expected to be happy if we got a fraction of our demands. Suddenly there were 5013c’s, certain things you couldn’t do, certain things you couldn’t say, and a full time staff on salary and having babies. And so here we are today.

    At what point did it become too late? I became convinced when a mid week contra dance in our very hip little town could draw hundreds, and a rally to save old growth maybe a couple dozen…. That’s a rally conveniently located in the town square. The numbers showing up for actual tree sits were even more dismal.

    I agree that environmentalism is dead. But there are still brave warriors out there fighting the good fight against all odds. Please, those of you out there who are affluent (@paul f. getty!) or can spare anything, please support http://www.seashepherd.org/ . Sponsor a Cove Guardian, send anything you can. There are other great groups too. The Primate Protection League rescues, provides habitat, and interferes with international trade in primates. Like Sea Shepherd, they have been effective enough to receive death threats. Is there absolution in these times? Doesn’t matter, just do it and see.

  • For several years I worked for a wildlife conservation charity (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, it was a long time ago anyway, doesn’t matter) and one day there was a massive oilspill on their patch (by an big oil corp whose name everyone knows but which I shall not name to protect the guilty) and me, in my naive innocence, expected that our organisation would be in the frontline leading an outcry at the outrage, because there were thousands of oiled and dead seabirds and the ocean was covered with slick and so on.

    But no. The public statement was something to the effect that it didn’t really matter because such things had happened before and though regrettable the population would recover eventually, blahblabla.

    And the reason ? Well, whenever this conservation organisation wanted to hold a conference, premises were provided free, by the oil corp. And whenever the conservation organisation wanted to publish a glossy brochure with cute wildlife photos to raise funds to pay the salaries of the bureaucrats who ran it, the oil corp would pay the printing and publishing costs, out of their public relations budget.

    And on and on. And this had been going on for years and years. So, effectively, the oil corp had bought the nature conservation organisation as a sort of subsidiary, to give it some good publicity and feature its logo alongside nice green pictures of how the wildlife was being protected.

    The whole episode was a shocking disgrace… I could go on, because there were many other scandals, but you get the idea, and I think this is standard procedure right across the field. The exceptions are few and hard to find. Really radical genuine dedicated activists are RARE and always POOR.

    Bill McKibben KNOWS that getting CO2 down to 350 or whatever is impossible. The whole idea is a con trick and a fraud. How are his followers going to feel when they eventually discover that ? Because one day they will…

  • @Gregory Vickrey

    Thanks for your post. I haven’t read Ray’s essay yet. Been busy. I’ll get around to it eventually. The best one can do at this juncture is to try to protect life for whatever life forms may exist in the future if any. It passes the time for me and it seems a worthy endeavour no matter how futile.

    Observed a red tail hawk today floating in sky. The prevailing north west wind was at the right velocity and the hawk appeared suspended in the sky not moving its wings. That looked so cool and the view must have been terrific. Lots of slate-gray juncos on the ground looking for grit to aid their digestion. Woodpeckers all around and the chipmunks haven’t burrowed into winter quarters yet. Lit the first fire in the wood stove today and scheduled my friend the chimney sweep for a flu liner cleaning. Garden clean-up, composting and maintenance in progress. Planted next year’s garlic this week. Kale, lettuce and “Bloomingdale” spinach are at their peak and excellent tasting. Parsnips still in the ground purposely.

    Lou Reed – RIP
    Liver failure.

    Velvet Underground-“Who Loves the Sun” from “Loaded”

  • thanks for the insider’s perspective of ‘environmentalist’ groups that have been corrupted, gregory. not exactly news, but it’s good to have such knowledge reinforced now and then. as for feeling shame at having failed, don’t. some battles simply can’t be won. being human is being flawed, limited, and at the mercy of circumstances (including other sheeple) that are beyond our control.

  • Dont feel too badly about losing the battle and ultimately the war…..

    Personally, I think turning to 2010 as a starting point for the failure of Mainstream enviro groups is too short sighted. This latest failure began upon inception WAY WAY back in 1992 when an economist was allowed to steer the IPCC to establishing 2 degree C as the benchmark beyond which we must not pass. No scientist at the time agreed this benchmark provided any level of safety. Everything that has occurred since has been a series of half measures based on conservative estimates of the risk and optimistic estimates of what could be achieved and how fast.

    Unlike every other environmental issues, where passing a single law and enforcing it could address it quite nicely (i.e. ozone depletion, water quality, air quality, etc), climate change is a system problem. If you are unwilling to look at the root cause, you will never solve a systemic problem like climate change or ecological collapse.

  • @ogardener — thanks for the wildlife reports — having them present amidst our litany of horrors provides some relief.

    =========

    I’ll keep this rant limited, smart enough not to walk into a bear trap, but the peace/enviro movements lost the ability to force change when they all learned to “play nice” and the boys all agreed to put their cojones in the sensitivity lockbox for the rest of their lives, as they remain today. (Now extending to most of their children.)

    Was it Marx or one of his cohorts who said that only the working class could be revolutionary? American liberals certainly proved it from the 1970s NPR era onward, and with a few more degrees and a pensioned tenured job with the state or city or school system, were able to stretch into a cozy adulthood and eventual irrelevance.

    I guess I’m with Wendell Berry in being a Rural Chauvinist. I think city life is essentially debilitating to men (and women, in differing ways), and the past few days, it’s summarized in me as “The only options for young urban males to express their masculinity is in crime or obsession with sports.”

    The excess population engendered by Petroleum Agriculture is going to act out its absurd existence, and CERTAINLY NOT be able to backtrack its own culture into a less heavy burden upon the Earth.

    Not that agriculture (over hunter-gatherer) did not have its own fatal direction, but the past century’s excesses (e.g., plastics from the 1940s on) put the acceleration beyond human comprehension, let alone remedy.

    Somewhere back in my memory is reading accounts of the young Russian student-intellectuals sitting around in cafes wondering how and when they could get the serfs to revolt. I also remember seeing a list of peasant revolts (somewhere in the high hundreds up to a thousand) in Europe during Medieval times. (The great accomplishment of IndCiv elites is convincing their educated minions that they are not peasants like those of yore.)

    But what did those illiterate, dirty, grunting, heaving, and utterly repulsive 1400s peasants have that we today do not?

    Cojones.

    They lived at the edge of starvation, each Spring and summer. They had no idea that they were supposed to play nice, and when someone pushed them too hard, they snapped, and they pushed back.

    Nice educated white American/European people know how to keep themselves from snapping, long after they should have. We discuss the major outcome of that self-suppression every day in these pages.

    Not gonna be dirty and nasty like those Medieval ancestors, are we? Just dead.

    So I’ll just close with a couple of people who have inspired me, at one degree of separation, and, with links limited, room for Brian Willson on Democracy Now, bearing witness what can happen to you when you do stand up for what’s right.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/28/blood_on_the_tracks_brian_willsons

    and Julia Butterfly Hill, whose Wikipedia entry explains most of what I’d like to say about her commitments, especially toward the ending, so you should look for it.

    Having spent over 4 decades trying to point out the self-destructive submission to the MIC, and thinking for most of that time that the issue of militarism surpassed the environmental — as in, “if we can’t get past this first, we’ll never even get to touch that” — I’ve seen the American populace slide backward seriously in any ability to comprehend, let alone change, its destructive ways.

    The kind of miraculous “Day The Earth Stood Still” necessary would have to come, if not from aliens, then from its own small children lying down across highways to block the emissions that will soon enough cut their lives short.

    But the gonadic arrogance of a young man jamming his foot down on a gas pedal still outweighs the urge to protect life by blocking a destructive highway or coal plant or slaughterhouse, doesn’t it?

    Guess I’m done.

  • Protecting the environment by addressing the depredations is treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease. The disease in this case is the increasing burden of population and the increasing per capita consumption of resources. As long as the demand for resources increases, the depredations will continue apace, until resource depletion or resource + demand destruction. The latter is playing out in the concomitant environment degradation, a major result of which is climate change.

  • The disease in this case is the increasing burden of population and the increasing per capita consumption of resources.

    No, they’re still symptoms. The disease is the system that inculcates these symptoms. A system that is predicated upon growth and accumulation and disparity.

  • It is still important, if not vital, to know which groups claim to be Green but are in fact fronts for oil money or lunacy. Nice sounding groups like the Heritage Foundation are in fact Koch brothers deniers and criminally insane. Related to this are the various fraudulent charities out there that rake in tons of money and give pennies to their “cause.”

    http://www.tampabay.com/americas-worst-charities/

    No longer know if this is a joke or true (or both) but con man set up a Save the Blind Raccoons campaign and set up jars for people to drop their money into at several gas stations and made several hundred thousand in about a week.

    Cute and furry always wins. Talking in terms of people giving up their cars and having to do without and it’s a guaranteed loser. The environment groups to support should be monkey wrenching and delivering dead fish to companies. Environmentalist need to be merry pranksters — as well as mean-spirited pranksters — not out to Save the Whale, but to make the lives of the oil barons miserable. The focus should be less on reducing green gases and more upon reducing the profits of these murderous psychopaths. Money is all they care about, so make money the target.

  • We see now that it isn’t JUST Fukushima’s radiation poisoning of the Pacific that’s killing the ocean and damaging the food chain. No, it’s that COMBINED with ocean acidification, huge gyres of plastic debris, dumping of garbage, pesticides and farm run-off and the rest that will soon affect our ability to sustain ourselves (not to mention keeping marine life alive). It’s damaged to the point of big trouble:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028163011.htm

    Toxic Ocean Conditions During Major Extinction 93.9 Million Years Ago Quantified: Doesn’t Take Much Sulfide to Impact Ocean Life

    Oct. 28, 2013 — Oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean rose dramatically about 600 million years ago, coinciding with the first proliferation of animal life. Since then, numerous short lived biotic events — typically marked by significant climatic perturbations — took place when oxygen concentrations in the ocean dipped episodically.

    (read the rest)

  • When the situation is hopeless, failure is inevitable and goal is unreachable, most of people deny the truth because it is much easier. For very few people who are courageous enough to face with bitter truth, I want to say that when the goal is unreachable then change the goal. Modern human civilizations will collapse. Most of people including environmentalists won’t do enough to avoid the collapse of ecosystem and civilization. As a result most of earth surface will be inhabitable for humans and most of human population will die out. These are unavoidable but total human extinction may be avoidable. If some people can survive at the end, survivors can create a new civilization which can be sustainable because I know that humans can create sustainable civilizations. This is my only hope for humanity. I also believe that some of my work may help these survivors. The help can be in the form of technology, book, shelter, idea or anything. Who knows? Therefore I keep fighting. Moreover, do you know anything better to do except denying or fighting?

  • @ Bahadir ARAL:

    Very well said. The goal of the Resistance is to bring down Industrial Civilization – even though they don’t seem to have a plan for how to dismantle the toxic infrastructure of industrial civilization or deal with the billions of people that depend on that infrastructure.

    It’s like being suspended over a volcano – yes, it’s hot, miserable, but hanging on is better than falling into the lava.

    The Resistance also seems to have factions with divergent tactics:

    – blowing up power stations and attacking corporate interests

    – petition the govt and “march on Washington” and civil disobedience

    – forming local communities – reduce, recycle, reuse

    – attempt to speed up collapse by encouraging consumption, do NOT reduce, reuse or recycle

    I don’t see any point to any of it. And that was my true epiphany, though I had suspected it all along.

    Grant wants to punish the guilty. Well, the Koch brothers don’t exist without the rest of us buying their shit. I think there are very few innocent among us here in the USA. If we want to measure our guilt – then by what measure?

    The children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #72

    Sardines bleed. Starfish
    melt. Orca fall silent, as
    their matriarchs die.

  • For your viewing and thinking:

    http://www.care2.com/causes/scientists-proclaim-animal-and-human-consciousness-the-same.html

    Scientists Proclaim Animal and Human Consciousness the Same

    A remarkable thing happened at The First Annual Francis Crick Memorial Conference held at the University of Cambridge, July 7 in U.K. A group of prominent neuroscientists signed a proclamation declaring human and animal consciousness alike. Called The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness, it states:

    We declare the following: The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.

    To many pet parents and animal lovers, the conference only confirms what they already believed through their own observations and interactions with animals – albeit, not with the credibility of scientific research.

    Stephen Hawking — considered the greatest mind in physics since Albert Einstein — was the guest of honor at the signing ceremony. The declaration was authored by Philip Low and edited by Jaak Panksepp, Diana Reiss, David Edelman, Bruno Van Swinderen, Philip Low and Christof Koch, all well-respected neuroscientists. The signing was memorialized by 60 Minutes.

    What is Consciousness?

    There is an important distinction between intelligence and consciousness. Intelligence is measured by the “capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.” So, is it fair to say humans are more intelligent than animals? Animals certainly have a capacity for learning. They cannot create an atomic bomb; maybe that should define them as smart?

    The dictionary defines consciousness as “aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.” Take a good, hard look at your pet; for that matter, watch a zoo elephant or a deer in the woods. They are always aware of their own existence. They feel pain and other sensations. Your dog may get annoyed with you if you tease him with a treat for too long before tossing it his way. A deer caught in your headlights feels fear before deciding to take flight. Elephants mourn their family members just like humans.

    What This Means for the Future

    For millennia, humans have held onto their hubris regarding the belief in human superiority. Perhaps The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness will inspire a different attitude and further research into the minds of all non-human creatures.

    Starting with animal rights through to veganism, changing the minds of those who believe humans are “top dog” will be a challenge. Notable scientists formally recognizing animal consciousness on a level with humans should make for some interesting conversations.

  • @Henry – nice summary, but in the end, it’s not much more than howling at the moon. I guess it’s somewhat therapeutic for some to organize their respective thoughts as a message to their future, ‘aware’ selves.

    It’s funny, but even though I disagree with Jeff S’s main contention that humans have been trained to behave in a self-destructive manner, he did make a good point that our present representative system is a complete farcical joke: yes, our ‘representatives’ are **always** going to cater and respond to their must influential constituent(s).

    Taking both Henry’s & Jeff’s perspectives together, does anyone recall that my primary thesis all along is that all groups are ultimately corrupted by (money) power? The left goes on about evil corporations, while the right rails against government tyranny, but in the final analysis, it’s really a blend that is difficult to assess where one starts and the other ends.

    This recent interview with Katherine Austin-Fitts:
    http://usawatchdog.com/u-s-system-dependent-on-crime-and-fraud-catherine-austin-fitts/

    sums up quite nicely the impossibility of separating the disparate pieces. It’s an organized criminal syndicate that is eviscerating the former middle class. But what actually was the M-C? Did they not steal the land from natives? Did they not leverage slave & virtual slave (Chinese) labor to build out the infrastructure? At which point has (any) society ever NOT exploited someone else for their own personal gain?

    At the end of the day, all life forms want a “Tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit”. Attributing it to shiftless blacks was simply a way to play the political divide & conquer strategy. When you finally understand what living is all about, then you will no longer be surprised, angry, upset, dismayed, shocked or otherwise unsettled when you discover the “truth”.

    Now, combine this ‘fact-of-life’ with the recognition that we’re at the end of the line, resource & population wise, and it starts to become very clear about why even nominal civil ‘rights’ are being (permanently) sequestered, as described by C Hedges, and why Fuke is completely fucked with no hope of remediation: anyone with any position of ‘authority’ knows it’s fucking over, and is making plans to somehow survive by trampling on the backs of others.

    So, yes Virginia, everything at this point in the game is suspect. My rule-of-thumb is, any organization that has even nominal mainstream awareness should be considered compromised.

  • We are all living within a prison, some dying from starvation, many from poisoning, many from direct human brutality, some from sheer angst, all the time witnessing each other, and especially, every day, our mother, being tortured to death.

    And some of this torture – of our own selves and others and our mother- is at our own hands.

    Some little pockets of resistance within the prison try to fight it, try to find a way to stop the torture, try to get out, to free the animals, to free everyone. But each finds we have gone nowhere, we have ultimately not been able to stop anything, the death march continues with greater and greater momentum, and its headed our way. We may even realize we were feeding the prison’s wardens with our energies, without realizing it. We participated all along in perpetually creating the prison.

    We want to escape from this prison. What are its boundaries? The earth is not the prison, though its activities are located here. How can we be free?

    We must know that we are free, inside. We must claim this truth. And then we do what feels right for each of us, in each moment, to do as free beings. Letting go of outcomes.

    Yesterday I sat on a cliff by the ocean and wrote this song along with some simple chords on my little traveller’s guitar:

    When the ocean calls me
    I go stumbling in
    When my sister calls me
    I feel a warmth within

    When my mother calls me
    She asks me how ya been?
    When the earth she calls me
    I feel at home again

    chorus:
    Mama mama mama
    I’s sorry that I lost ya
    But I’m so glad to be home…

    Mama mama mama
    I wish I could protect ya
    I hurts me to see what we’ve done…

    When the moon she calls me
    I know I need a rest
    I walk into the forest
    and build a little nest

    When the night has fallen
    I close my eyes and dream
    Thus begins my journey
    into the darkest deep

    mama mama mama
    I’m sorry that we lost ya
    But I’m so glad to be home…

    Mama mama mama
    I wish we could protect ya
    It hurts me to see what we’ve done…

    music, then to the chorus melody:

    I am the ocean
    I am the motion
    I am the surging sea

    I am the mountain
    I am the starlight
    I am the air that you breathe

    I am the honu (sea turtle)
    I am kohala (humpback whale)
    I am ohia, I am trees

    I am the fungi
    I am the jungle vine
    I am the peace that you seek
    Yes, I am all of these…

    Mama mama mama
    I”m sorry that we lost ya
    But I’m so glad to be home…

    Love to you all.

  • I have finally admitted to myself that the only part of the environment which I can realistically save is my own farm and perhaps adjoining land. I talk to the trees daily. I ask the woods what it wants [to be left alone, thanks]. I pick up the fossils which abound on my place and try to imagine what it was like 325 million years ago at this place [obviously part of a shallow inland sea].

    In quiet moments usually late at night I sense how easy it would be for me to just give up and begin to drink heavily until the end. Then I realize that to give up is the coward’s way out. Guy is right. You don’t do the actions because there may be a chance of success. You do those actions because you know that you will lose. It demonstrates to the Universe that: I’m human. So what?

  • @Christy Ceraso: Thanks for sharing your lovely song, as well as your thoughts. Love back attya!

  • Rob writes: “Grant wants to punish the guilty.”

    No, actual punishment requires some actual legal actions. I just want revenge. Petty, pointless, revenge. Blind rage as a response to being murdered.

    Rob continues: “Well, the Koch brothers don’t exist without the rest of us buying their shit.”

    You can say that about McDonald’s and their industrial waste they pass off as food, but the Koch brothers stayed hidden behind the curtain for decades, slowly building their fortunes and suddenly coming forward as billionaire political players. People are clearly the blame for the popularity of Adam Sandler. It is harder to blame people on the Lovecraftian nightmare of the Koch brothers and other billionaires. If the law of the land is openly perverted so people can make money by destroying all life that isn’t necessarily the fault of the “rest of us.”

    But once you know what’s going on and still do nothing, then sure, lay that blame down.

    Rob also says: “I think there are very few innocent among us here in the USA.”

    Not sure what innocence has to do with anything. Yes, the blood of the Empire does indeed flow rapidly down. But screw that, that isn’t important. Revenge is the thing. Revenge! Burn the bastards to the ground. That will be some most most welcomed carbon release.

  • Here’s some doom/hope for the day:

    “Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn’t exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people – along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street – represent the likeliest source of “friction” to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control. We know that past social movements have “had tremendous influence on . . . how the dominant culture evolved”, he pointed out. So it stands to reason that, “if we’re thinking about the future of the earth, and the future of our coupling to the environment, we have to include resistance as part of that dynamics”. And that, Werner argued, is not a matter of opinion, but “really a geophysics problem”.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/29-4

    “The fact that the business-as-usual pursuit of profits and growth is destabilising life on earth is no longer something we need to read about in scientific journals. The early signs are unfolding before our eyes.”

    2nd

  • @ buz painter

    🙂 So the trees want to be left alone.

    @ Christy

    Thanks for the song.

    @ ogardner

    Always nice to hear your garden news. My garden is the faintest, slightest miniature of yours you could imagine.

  • We must know that we are free, inside.

    Within the universe of space-time-causation, freedom and the lack thereof are both illusions. We were committed to an aerobic (oxygen-using) metabolic pathway when a microorganism – the ancestor of our mitochondria – invaded and set up mutually beneficial housekeeping inside the ancestor of our cells. Otherwise we might have been using alternate pathways for energy production as in the case of organisms that produce hydrogen sulphide and methane without oxygen.

    Later, one of the aerobic lineages of cells was invaded by a photosynthetic microorganism, the ancestor of chloroplasts in today’s plant cells. We missed out on that: so we can’t nourish ourselves on sunshine, rain and bulls**t. Our lungfish and then amphibian ancestors wandered too far inland for too long: the loss of the freedom of aquatic respiration remains with us today.

    Yet we do not consider the need for oxygen, the need to eat (instead of photosynthesis) or the need to breathe air as curtailing freedoms.

    The same is true of a plethora of features not just of our biology, but also of our socio-cultural milieu, often in very subtle ways: “Don’t let the government get its hands on our Medicare”.

    Freedom is the instances where one seems to have the upper hand, or the ability to exercise options. But the interconnectedness of all things gives the lie to that presumption.

    And then we do what feels right for each of us, in each moment, to do as free beings. Letting go of outcomes.

    Acting appropriately in accordance with anticipated effects/consequences of action, but without expectation for the results: that indeed is the beginning of the way of action. (Ultimately, the sense of doer-ship fades away.)
    Practice of any one path, such as the path of devotion, brings with it insight and progress in other paths – as in this case.

  • http://dcclothesline.com/2013/10/29/something-killing-life-pacific-ocean-fukushima/

    Something Is Killing Life All Over The Pacific Ocean – Could It Be Fukushima?

    Why is there so much death and disease among sea life living near the west coast of North America right now? Could the hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water that are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day have anything to do with it? When I wrote my last article about Fukushima, I got a lot of heat for being “alarmist” and for supposedly “scaring” people unnecessarily. I didn’t think that an article about Fukushima would touch such a nerve, but apparently there are some people out there that really do not want anyone writing about this stuff. Right now, massive numbers of fish and sea creatures are dying in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, independent tests have shown that significant levels of cesium-137 are in a very high percentage of the fish that are being caught in the Pacific and sold in North America. Could this have anything to do with the fact that the largest nuclear disaster in the history of mankind has been constantly releasing enormous amounts of radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean for more than two years? I don’t know about you, but to me this seems to be a question that is worth asking.

    Since I wrote my last article, major news outlets have reported that large numbers of sea stars living off of the west coast of North America appear to be “melting“…

    Divers were out in Puget Sound waters Saturday to see if they can help solve a mystery. Scientists are trying to figure out what’s causing one species of starfish to die in parts of Puget Sound and the waters off of Canada.

    Seattle Aquarium biologists Jeff Christiansen and Joel Hollander suited up in scuba gear in their search for answers. “We’re going to look for both healthy and potentially diseased sea stars,” Christiansen explained. “We’ve got some sea stars that look like they’re melting on the bottom.”

    The same thing is happening in the waters near Canada and nobody’s sure why.

    If scientists don’t know why this is happening, perhaps there is an unusual explanation for this phenomenon.

    Could it be Fukushima?

    The following is what one invertebrate expert quoted by National Geographic says is happening to the starfish…

    “[The starfish] seem to waste away, ‘deflate’ a little, and then just … disintegrate. The arms just detach, and the central disc falls apart. It seems to happen rapidly, and not just dead animals undergoing decomposition, as I observed single arms clinging to the rock faces, tube feet still moving, with the skin split, gills flapping in the current. I’ve seen single animals in the past looking like this, and the first dive this morning I thought it might be crabbers chopping them up and tossing them off the rocks. Then we did our second dive in an area closed to fishing, and in absolutely amazing numbers. The bottom from about 20 to 50 feet [6 to 15 meters] was absolutely littered with arms, oral discs, tube feet, gonads and gills … it was kind of creepy.”

    That certainly does not sound normal to me.

    Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out why this is happening?

    Something is also causing a huge spike in the death rate for killer whales living off of the coast of British Columbia…

    A Vancouver Aquarium researcher is sounding the alarm over “puzzling” changes he’s observed in the killer whale pods that live off the southern British Columbia coast.

    Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard says he fears changes in the ocean environment are prompting odd behaviour and an unusually high mortality rate.

    Barrett-Lennard says the southern resident orca pod, which is found in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, has lost seven matriarchs over the past two years, and he’s noticed a lack of vocalizations from the normally chatty mammals.

    Once again, scientists do not know why this is happening.

    Could it be Fukushima?

    I am just asking the question.

    (and, further down the article)

    When you consider the evidence presented above along with all of the other things that we have learned in recent months, it becomes more than just a little bit alarming.

    The following are some more examples of sea life dying off in the Pacific from my recent article entitled “28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima“…

    -Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores…

    Wildlife experts are studying whether fur loss and open sores detected in nine polar bears in recent weeks is widespread and related to similar incidents among seals and walruses.

    The bears were among 33 spotted near Barrow, Alaska, during routine survey work along the Arctic coastline. Tests showed they had “alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.

    -There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…

    At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die. It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.”

    -Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low. Many are blaming Fukushima.

    -Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

    -Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

    -One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

    -Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

    • 73 percent of mackerel tested

    • 91 percent of the halibut

    • 92 percent of the sardines

    • 93 percent of the tuna and eel

    • 94 percent of the cod and anchovies

    • 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

    Is it really so unreasonable to wonder if Fukushima could be causing all of this?

    And the total amount of nuclear material in the Pacific Ocean is constantly increasing. According to the New York Times, the latest releases from Fukushima contain “much more contaminated water than before”, and the flow of contaminated water will not stop until 2015 at the earliest…

    The latest releases appear to be carrying much more contaminated water than before into the Pacific. And that flow may not slow until at least 2015, when an ice wall around the damaged reactors is supposed to be completed.

    And that same article explained that cesium-137 is entering the Pacific at a rate that is “about three times as high” as last year…

    The magnitude of the recent spike in radiation, and the amounts of groundwater involved, have led Michio Aoyama, an oceanographer at a government research institute who is considered an authority on radiation in the sea, to conclude that radioactive cesium 137 may now be leaking into the Pacific at a rate of about 30 billion becquerels per year, or about three times as high as last year. He estimates that strontium 90 may be entering the Pacific at a similar rate.

    Right now, approximately 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every 24 hours.

    But apparently we are not supposed to ask any questions about this and we are just supposed to blindly accept that this is not having any significant impact on our environment even though sea life in the Pacific appears to be dying in unprecedented numbers.

    I don’t know about you, but I really think that the people of the world deserve to know the truth about what is happening out there.

    _______________

    There’s a comprehensive look at Guy’s Climate Change Update over on Desdemona Despair’s site. Well worth the look.

  • @Tom said:

    I don’t know about you, but I really think that the people of the world deserve to know the truth about what is happening out there.

    _______________

    There’s a comprehensive look at Guy’s Climate Change Update over on Desdemona Despair’s site. Well worth the look.

    You wouldn’t know the truth, or accept the truth, if it actually existed Tom. This is now an addiction for you. You, and many others in this space, come here and search the internet for more validation of collapse and NTE because it somehow feeds your psyche and makes you feel more secure in your conviction in a chaotic and unsure world. Your wife is doing you a disservice by tolerating your mental illness. I know she’s probably doing everything she can to overlook your proclivities for doom and gloom, but deep down this must concern her. When will Tom snap, she wonders.

    Tell us, Tom, why do you need to read about Guy at Desdemona Despair’s site? Don’t you already know everything there is to know about Guy and NTE? If so, why find more iterations and amplifications of it around the internet? Isn’t this space good enough for you? Like an addict, it’s not. You require more and more to achieve the same high, and like an addict, you want to destroy other lives in the process, hence your “I really think that the people of the world deserve to know the truth about what is happening out there.” If you truly believe in NTE, Tom, there’s no need to tell anyone anything. What will be, will be. It’s baked in. We’re done. End of story, or, if you want to write the rest of your own story as it relates to NTE, i.e. feed your doom and gloom predilections, let it be just your story and leave the rest of humanity out of your perceptual nightmare.

  • @ Seacher08 Says:

    You wouldn’t know the truth…Your wife is doing you a disservice by tolerating your mental illness. blahblahblah blah blah

    Seacher08, the Norwegians have a good place for people like you

    http://ultima0thule.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/troll-station-antarctica-obviously.html

  • For Colorado folks:

    This sounds interesting:

    Deep Green Resistance in Colorado, Denver Anarchist Black Cross, and other local groups are collaborating to organize Extraction Resistance: Solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade & Unis’tot’en Camp. Jan 5th and 6th, the two-day event will include workshops and teach-ins at the 27 Social Center (2727 W 27th Ave Denver, CO) on radical resistance to extraction across Colorado & North America.

    We will also be collecting donations of materials for these groups, so please bring any camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, etc.), bicycles (working or not), warm winter clothes, climbing gear, rain gear, non-perishable food, rope, medical supplies, and tools (shovels, saws, drills, etc.). For a complete list, see the Tar Sands Blockade’s ‘Wish List’:http://tarsandsblockade.org/donate-3/wishlist/

    Every living system on the planet is in decline, and industrial capitalism is killing Earth. While countless communities around the world are fighting back, we must be honest: overall, we are losing. Deep Green Resistance advocates for organized, strategic underground action to collapse the global industrial economy before it is too late. This presentation will explore the history of underground action and the it’s potential as a strategy to save a dying world.

    I’m not sure what they will do with the shovels, saws, and drills, but I would like to see!

  • Within the universe of space-time-causation, freedom and the lack thereof are both illusions.

    Does anyone want to swap seats with me?

  • Cowgirl Apocalypse Haiku #72

    Awaiting post-quake
    status report, Unit 4
    spent fuel pool… hello?

  • Gregory, one most always be careful in making blanket statements. I served on the board of one of those “environmental organizations” so I can report first hand that this NGO, and many others I know personally, operate on a shoe string budget so that just 1 cent of every dollar contributed is deducted for expenses. The remaining 99% is allocated directly to field projects around the globe to privately purchase habitat for flora and fauna at risk of extinction. We have raised many millions of dollars and have preserved hundreds of thousands of acres in perpetuity. The staff work at a fraction of what they would earn in private industry, and the board receives no direct or indirect compensation or reimbursement of any kind. Matter of fact, each board member is expected to donate at least $50,000 annually. We are not an isolated example as I am familiar with numerous similar organizations like American Bird Conservancy, Rainforest Trust, etc. The bottom line is we have to work within the constraints of the society in which we live otherwise we would accomplish nothing. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water to borrow from a well worn cliche.

  • Oops, posted at wrong thread…..But glad it was, great post James R Martin, regarding the gift.

    Regarding the essay. What is it with this tradition of activism that grew up and intertwinded it’self, twin mirror to the movement against mother nature? Against those against? And you failed to promote any resistance? It is not resistance to entangle yourself with the parent of the crime, it’s a form of incest, breeding abomination. This is all part and parcel and evidence of what I originally arrived here to point out. Our minds are hopelessly entangled in the matrix of what is. To unentangle, a herculean task, we would need to go back to the boiling cauldron, to the place we fear the most. The only thing that could break our clinging to these chains? Watching them strangle the life out of the earth. But here we are, we who see it, and our hold remains quite firm as of today. We have many years yet to play this out. My curiosity is this, will we here enter the cauldron, or cling to the chain? Life or death awaits us and all is fair…..and right and good because we go to the cauldron in the end, death and life.

  • photo of me at latest protest:

    http://iwastesomuchtime.com/on/?i=78017

    we expect more people to join us at our next protest

  • FriedrichKling – want to name names of your former organization? I worked for The Nature Conservancy from 2000-02. What I saw was a large, inefficiently run organization — too many unnecessary bean counters and fundraisers. If it were a for profit business it would have gone bankrupt. Everyone receives generous pay and benefits, some are allowed to telecommute which amounts to a day off, etc. There were some good people trying to do good things. But if you send them a $25 donation thinking you are helping save wildlife habitat you are mistaken. All small donations just go to pay their huge administrative budget.

  • Look, there are several folks here that go out of there way to let us all know how great they are at whatever this and that blah blah blah. The more you have to tell us, the less we believe, that’s just how it is.

    It would be much better if you just let us discover your credentials on our own – or, for that matter, be chosen by Guy as a guest poster and he will give us your credentials.

    So maybe Klink has been able to purchase a bunch of land and “save” it from development by designating the land as protected. How long do you REALLY think that will hold up when the army comes and kicks him off the land and starts drilling for oil or doing whatever they damn well please. Let’s not be naive. You’re watching the clock tick just like the rest of us. Still, what you are doing is better than most – so, hats off. Doesn’t change the fact that the UFO stuff really taints everything else you say. But, even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut. oh!, and a broken clock is right twice a day.

    http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/tumblr_mifvgqbziu1qmvy8zo1_500.gif

  • Tom- Yes, I agree, although I admire the work that TNC does in the US. Why do they not replicate this work outside the US. WWF same.

    I served on the board of World Land Trust-US now known as Rainforest Trust. We have a 5 star Charity Navigator rating and as I said we do not pay for meetings and meetings, but land purchases ONLY.

  • Rob@the public library:

    Why must you mock EVERYTHING. I have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of my PERSONAL wealth to save nature. The reason I worked so hard is so that I could do more and more for conservation, which explains why I drive a 1992 station wagon and I live in a modest home. IF I spent this money on myself, I would live in a McMansion, drive a Mercedes, and own every imaginable toy. So I take HUGE UMBRAGE with your remarks.

    EXAMPLE OF MY WORK from Rainforest Alliance web site:

    Yellow-eared Parrot Conservation Corridor established

    In April 2009, World Land Trust-US was presented with an urgent appeal to purchase critically endangered habitat in Colombia, home to five endangered parrot species at imminent risk of extinction. Recognizing the critical importance of this appeal, a WLT-US donor – FRANK FRIEDRICH KLING from Illinois – committed to funding half the acquisition cost as part of a matching gift campaign.

    Colombia’s Andes Mountains are home to a highland cloud forest that supports an exceptional amount of biodiversity and numerous endangered species. Five endangered parrot species are present in this forest, including two of the rarest parrots in the Americas: the indigo-winged parrot and the yellow-eared parrot. There are only 200 individuals of the Fuertes’s Parrots remaining in the entire world and none are held in captivity. They are extremely specialised – feeding on mistletoe and other fruits – and can not survive behind bars.

    This is also the case for the Yellow-eared Parrot that have such tight social bonds between families and groups that when captured they almost invariably die. For example, in the early 1990’s illegal trappers in Ecuador caught 20 Yellow-eared parrots and placed them in captivity. Within two weeks every bird had died. There are no options for either species – their native habitat has to be protected if they are to survive.

    Other rare and endemic species found here include the endangered Mountain Wooly Tapir and the Spectacled Bear, both of which are frequently targeted by hunters.

    The rich volcanic soils of the Central Andes support the highest concentration of rural farmers and residents in all of Colombia. As a result, less than five percent of the original native forest remains standing. Every year, more forest cover is lost as ranchers buy and clear more land for cattle ranching and agriculture.

    For eight years, our partner ProAves Colombia has surveyed and studied the cloud forest parrots in the Central Andes of Colombia (see map of site) with the support of Fundación Loro Parque. This comprehensive research project identified key areas and threats that permitted targeted and effective conservation actions to be undertaken.

    The generous matching support offered by Frank Kling persuaded many WLT-US supporters to donate to this important appeal, who together allowed our partner to acquire 7,448 acres. Our donors also helped leverage additional support matching support from American Bird Conservancy, IUCN Netherlands/SPN in conjunction with the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, Conservation International and Robert Wilson, which allowed a further 2,614 acres to be acquired.

    In total, our partner acquired and saved 10,062 acres on the eastern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia which connect to a further 6,653 acres of cloud forest already under their protection on the mountain chain’s western flank.

    Spanning both slopes of the Central Andes and encompassing an extraordinary diversity of threatened and endemic flora and fauna, we have established the 16,715 acre – 14 mile long Yellow-eared Parrot Conservation Corridor so that today, the Yellow-eared Parrot and many other threatened species have a sanctuary to call home.

  • Rob@publiclibrary is right. When I worked at TNC I told my friends there that when the shit hits the fan people will be cutting down the trees at their preserves for fire wood and killing all the wildlife for food. I was known as a real doomer even back then. Not to mention the fact that preserving a few acres here and there doesn’t really do anything anyway. Its really just so their wealthy donors can feel good and have a nice place to take their grandkids hiking.

  • Tom F- Now you have lost my support. Your comment that, “preserving a few acres does nothing” is complete bull shit. We do far more than a “few acres.”

    You and your buddy Rob are dyed-in-the-wool purveyors of fatalistic cynicism. Why not just blow your brains out now and get the incessant weeping over with once and for all.

  • @FriedrichKling

    Don’t pay those two goons any attention. They’re not serious. They get off on making trouble. It’s fun for them.

    Thank you for the contributions you have made and will continue to make to preserve the environment. Please keep going and I, for one, like your UFO stuff, so screw the few naysayers who poo poo it. It beats listening to Rob’s relentless preemptive dirge and ulvfugl’s vain attempts at filling his father’s much-to-large intellectual shoes.

  • God bless you, Mr. Romano. A single comment from an intelligent observer like yourself is all I need to recharge the batteries.

    You’re a good man indeed.

    Signing off and sorry for over-posting.

  • @ Sylvester Romano

    …and ulvfugl’s vain attempts at filling his father’s much-to-large intellectual shoes.

    Now that really is funny. Whatever else my father was, nobody who knew him would ever have considered him an intellectual, and, btw, he had a relatively small pair of feet.

    F. Kling is easily fooled, he may have a good heart, but he’s not so street wise, but me, I’ve mixed with all the trash, and I can see that it’s YOU that are trying to get off on making the trouble here, yet another slimy troll.

    ——————-

    Friedrich Kling can I ask you when did you last visit that reserve – or any reserve, for that matter – to check that the funds are being spent in the ways that you would wish them to be ?

    Because, you see, in my own experience, there were some very good honest and genuine people who were giving huge amounts of money to what they thought was a good cause – in fact, myself and another activist, quite independently, rewrote our wills leaving our property to the charity, we were that committed – so it was quite a shock to discover that certain people were totally corrupt and exploiting the thing for their own benefit. Sometimes it is easy to be deceived by appearances.

  • @Robin Datta

    Thank you for responding to my post. You said:

    “Freedom is the instances where one seems to have the upper hand, or the ability to exercise options. But the interconnectedness of all things gives the lie to that presumption.”

    What I was/am getting at is that “freedom” within oneself comes from recognizing and participating with that very interconnectedness. Like love, freedom is a loaded word. I am saying that experiencing our deep connections with life – our equality and oneness with all that is – we are free because that is the truth of who we are beyond all roles, good/evil, right/wrong, etc.

    When you described our evolution you begin by describing “us” in this fashion:

    “We were committed to an aerobic (oxygen-using) metabolic pathway when a microorganism – the ancestor of our mitochondria – invaded and set up mutually beneficial housekeeping inside the ancestor of our cells.”

    And then:

    “Later, one of the aerobic lineages of cells (now “us”) was invaded by a photosynthetic microorganism…”

    Who are “we” who got invaded? Where is the beginning of “we” ? Who is invading “us”?

    We are.

    One of the working choral refrains in my song was:

    I am the fungi
    I am the bacteria
    I am that bad disease
    Yes, I am all of these

    I could make up more to illustrate my point:

    I am the terrorist
    I am the militia
    I am the hand grenade

    I am the torturer
    I am the endless greed
    I am the fat elite

    I am in truth free from any role, because I am all of it. So you could say freedom doesn’t actually exist, if you want. But since I am also an individual having experiences, from that limited perspective I experience that sense of equality and oneness, and my aware participation as part of the interconnectedness of life, as “freedom.”

    And, as an individual living “in the prison” of the system, I must make choices. Some of these mean that I knowingly contribute harm towards others “in the prison” because I want to survive. I want to be comfortable. I want my life to continue with relative “normalcy” and ease. A simple example: I drive my car to work and to the store and to my children’s schools, etc., almost every day. Sometimes I drive my car to an anti GMO rally. Am I a victim? a perpetrator?…yes, yes,.and neither. I am all of these. I am in the soup and I am the soup.

    Interestingly, last night I had this dream:

    There are lots of men, rough types, kind of “bad guys.” It seems like a war torn place, and sort of wild west-y. One of the men committed a crime for which he is to be punished. It seems he will be in jail for 7 years and then executed.

    There is a “goddess” who is the spirit of the earth, who is going to help this man. It seems she made a commitment to helping that she has to keep. The lead tough guy knows this, so he sends his henchmen to search for her. She is hiding in a bathroom in the form of a human woman. When one of the rough men comes in she steps out to be seen. He comes up to her and slashes her belly several times with a knife. She falls on the floor and he calls his boss that he has her.

    The men gather nearby her. She transforms into a fairy being. She has a tiny bench, which floats in the air. She sits on it and eats some kind of healthy salad from a little wooden bowl. She seems famished for this nourishment. The men around her are talking and making plans. Even though she is magical and powerful she also seems very vulnerable and rather unhappy.

    She is going to trade places with the condemned man. She will go into his body and he into hers. She will be imprisoned, suffer, and die as him. But, she tells him, when that happens he will die, and she will live on, as herself.

    She is, and will always be, free.

    And I am all of these.

  • @ badlands

    I’m doing a series of copies after Steinberg from the book, “Saul Steinberg (text by Harold Rosenberg).”

    On page 60, a very steep incline starts near the top right of the page and descends to the bottom left. Near the bottom the small alligator is running so hard that it’s off the ground. Behind it is a mounted knight with a helmet, shield, flag-held-aloft, and a forward-pointed lance. More understandably, his horse is also off the ground. Very close behind the knight is a boulder that is very much on the ground, so large it takes up half the page and etched to spherical perfection. You don’t know ominous till you see this boulder on its downhill course. It reminds me of NTE, for the knight is oblivious to it, so intent on chasing the alligator (dragon), which is only intent on escaping him.

    The only hope for the knight, if not the alligator, would be to suddenly swerve to the side. But by the look of it, that would be the last thing one could expect. Just thought this might appeal to your “darker” side. 🙂

  • @Woodsdweller

    funny!

    @ Tom

    depressing!

    Thanks, for both posts!

  • @Artleads thought this might appeal to your “darker” side http://melbourneprints.wordpress.com/books-and-prints/prints/german-prints/durer-knight-death-and-the-devil/
    You know me so well. haha!

    @Christy Very brave of you to post your original work! It was very good, it made me a little sad. Thank you for sharing! It reminded me a little of Joy Harjo’s “She had some horses”. It’s quite long, but here is an excerpt:

    She had horses who danced in their mothers’ arms.
    She had horses who thought they were the sun and their bodies shone and burned
    like stars.
    She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.
    She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet in stalls of their own
    making.

    She had some horses she loved.
    She had some horses she hated.

    These were the same horses.

  • Here is my take:

    Environmental Inactivism
    Let’s face it, Environmental Activism is dead. It’s not for lack of effort, rather it is because Environmental Activism is an oxy-moron in a growth based system running up against the limitations of a finite planet.

    I propose that we align the name and the tactics to fit what would for all intents and purposes be a more accurate description of the movement and it’s goals. So, I came up with an easy change, Environmental Inactivism.

    Why? Because it makes sense, why else?

    Think about it. Let it settle in for a moment.

    All of these various NGO’s exist to protect the environment, but what are they proposing to protect the environment from? It would appear that they are intending to protect the earth from the same system they are actively engaged in and in effect, supporting.

    What should I do to protect the environment? Should I give money to organizations that proclaim to have the environments interest in mind? Maybe I should start my own NGO?

    Both of these paths to action involve supporting and contributing to the same system that is causing the issues we are concerned with in the first place. So how can you be an Environmental Inactivist?

    Stop supporting the system, stop supporting all industrial, non-local systems. Stop spending your money. Grow your own food. Provide for yourself. Do everything you can to NOT be an active participant in our decaying society.

    Being a conscious and concerned citizen has much more to do with what you DO NOT do than what you DO do. DO less, BE more.

    http://futurereferencefarm.blogspot.com/

  • Just adding to the ‘Titanic’ metaphore from the previous thread…

    The actual Titanic was designed to stay afloat with 5 bulkheads penetrated and filled with seawater, but not 6 or more. We have hit the 6th bulkhead, and I suggest the 7th is being hit by CONTINUING biosphere destruction, species loss, and GHG emissions.
    A recent ABC TV program segment on ABC ‘Afraidia’ points to the ‘KOYAANISQATSI-pardox-moment-of-the-NOW’:

    ‘Climate Change Authority rules five per cent emissions reduction ‘inadequate”

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3880597.htm

    This report shows what a complete JOKE the new Federal Gubbmint of Afraidia is….

    But the next one shows there is little stopping the Juggernaut Titanic from ripping open more compartments:

    ‘Conflict of interest threatens Great Barrier Reef’

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3879733.htm

    An Excerpt:
    “LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Australia’s most loved environmental asset, the Great Barrier Reef, has faced many threats over the years. Everything from marine pollution to predatory starfish have endangered the world heritage listed site. Now massive port development s and dredging are fuelling concerns and UNESCO is considering listing the reef as in danger….

    TONY FONTES: We’ve got Abbot Point to the north which is quite small at the moment, but if it goes ahead as planned lit be the largest coal export port on the planet and if Mackay goes ahead it will be the second biggest coal ex)port (port) on the planet. And the Whitsundays lie in the middle.”(my parentheses)

    Now, both the Coal (and Gas) ports referred to in this report(watch the Video!)are in construction and/or expansion!! That means all the Coal and Gas they are being designed to shift is still in the ground.
    JOIN THE DOTS….
    Titanic goes down much faster thanks.

  • when the shit hits the fan people will be cutting down the trees at their preserves for fire wood and killing all the wildlife for food.

    That is what (feral) hunter-gatherers did, not what civilised (domesticated) humans do. Can the civilised revert? Can we shift our focus away from feeding at the government’s tit? It will take more than an “occupy” or a “spring” etc. All of those remained focused on the tit, that’s why they lost. Will the less civilised revert more promptly? Would that help them towards being the “Last Person Standing?”

    “C”: you do have great insight.

    Who are “we” who got invaded? Where is the beginning of “we” ? Who is invading “us”?

    We are.

    Aye, there’s the rub.

    and my aware participation as part of the interconnectedness of life, as “freedom.”

    As long as the “I”, or the “we” is perceived as unconditioned reality (real by themselves), some postulated limitations to that interconnectedness might allow a degree of “freedom”. Once the “I” is recognised for being akin to a snake perceived instead of a dimly-lit rope, the portal to freedom opens.

    When the awareness in “my aware participation” drops the “I”, it drops the “my”. It also drops the “participation”, as in the Parable of the Two Birds. That is freedom. Absence of participation is the absence of the sense of agency (that “”I” am the “doer””). It does not imply a cessation of physical action: the actions continue of their own accord but are perceived by others as done by the person under the person’s volition.

    “The Witness of all minds”.

  • @ Robin Datta

    I dunno. I used to go for that. But then I realized that I am the relative and the absolute, not one or the other. Not trying to drop the “I” nor being completely limited by “it” with a sense of a separate “me”. Just undulating back and forth, particle and wave, fleeting raindrop and infinite ocean. That’s the human experience, as far as I can tell.

    Also, I later came to see that the focus on attainment of “the absolute” is part of the patriarchal religious deception to divert our attention from our actual experiences of interconnectedness here on this physical earth. The transcendent path… all the major religions proselytize this in different ways. If we are focused on “the Self Beyond… where all individuality/personality vanishes”, we won’t care what happens to ourselves, or in general here on the planet. We won’t be anybody! And so we can be easily manipulated, since we and this world don’t exist anyway. I ain’t buyin it. Life is real. And so, as far as I can tell, I am real.

    Lately I have been reading a lot of Mary Daly, a radical feminist philosopher. She loves to discover/uncover the origin of words, how the meanings have been reversed, etc. She informs us that the ancient origin of the word “sin” is “to be”, pointing out how we are conditioned to think we should not be, that it is evil to be. She describes what is referred to as “God’ as a verb, and she calls that verb Be-ing. We are Be-ing and are also participating in Be-ing. Creating. Makes sense to me.

    The reversal of evil is live!

    Live!

    Be!

  • @ Badlands

    Thanks so much for sharing that poem. I never knew of Joy Harjo before. She is a new inspiration for me.
    The song I shared has more feeling, of course, when you hear the way its sung. It was only a little brave of me to post it, since I don’t think its a masterpiece or anything. Just my way of sharing my day.

  • @Timothy

    That all sounds so wonderful until you dig a little deeper and see what these local farms are doing. They’re selling their organic specialty products to the likes of the Martha Stewart crowd, so no, they’re not just growing their own food, but rather they’re making a profit feeding Capitalist Pigs the good stuff for a stiff price, one only the wealthy can afford and shrug off as though it were a mere trifle. Many, if not all, of the small boutique farms in this area sell to the local highfalutin restaurants who’s business model is to cater to the elitist corporate jet set. No thank you. That’s not an answer either. It’s yet another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Everything’s a god-damned scam made to appear as something it’s not. Privileged elitist trust fund progeny returning to the land to eek out an existence. What a joke. That trend too will shortly die out as all trends do. But hey, get it while the getting’s still good. There’s still time. It’s got another decade left before the back-to-the-farm movement peters out, so there remains some upside in it until then.

  • Seacher08: Interesting take on my quote of someone else’s words (everything above the line is a quote – ie. not my words). The post at the linked site fleshes out,corroborates and updates Guy’s observations of the various scientific conclusions. I don’t care what you think about my mental state and/or why I contribute articles to this site, so your opinion of me is acknowledged and then let go. You apparently think all is well and that speaking the truth (the measureable truth, not the hopium world you live in) is somehow a sign of mental illness, and so aren’t worth conversing with, since to me that attitude is a perfect example of how insane living in civilization has become. Fine. Why not visit Fukushima on your next vacation? Enjoy your days pal.

    Here’s one for you:

    http://www.straight.com/news/513406/optimism-abounds-despite-grim-data-climate-change-overpopulation-oil-depletion-and-economy

    Optimism abounds despite grim data on climate change, overpopulation, oil depletion, and economy

    It’s not cool to be pessimistic.

    This is my conclusion after interviewing scores of thoughtful people who’ve wrapped their minds around the most vexing challenges facing humanity.

    Economist Robert Reich, who focuses on growing inequality, says he remains optimistic even though the top one percent of income earners are enjoying 95 percent of the gains in the U.S since the last recession.

    Author Alan Weisman, who has studied the world’s explosive population growth, says he’s optimistic while acknowledging there’s little prospect of another Green Revolution sharply increasing food production.

    Scientist Tim Flannery, who has written extensively on climate change, has an optimistic view of how things might turn out for the world. This depends on Gaia protecting herself from the havoc being wreaked by her most intelligent species.

    Similarly, environmentalist David Suzuki speaks bravely of humanity’s chance of survival in the face of rising greenhouse gas emissions. What’s required is more sensible decisions about the use of fossil fuels. He’s also optimistic that the Fukushima nuclear disaster won’t cause serious health problems for people who eat fish from the Pacific Ocean.

    Gwynne Dyer has written hopefully about geo-engineering rolling back the climate crisis. All it will require is seeding the skies in certain ways to reflect some of the sunlight back into outer space.

    Conservationist Tzeporah Berman seems to think if we work with well-intentioned corporate executives and elect climate-friendly governments, there’s a chance of turning things around before some sort of environmental Armageddon.

    Then there’s economist Jeff Rubin, who has chronicled the depletion of conventional oil supplies. He often expresses optimism about how people will make do in a world with slow-to-no economic growth for the foreseeable future. He also believes international trade will plummet as energy costs increase, but hey, we’ll adapt.

    Meanwhile, media and entertainment executives maintain a cheery disposition even as they acknowledge how the Internet is eviscerating their businesses.

    I spent a fair amount of my Saturday at a workshop with some brilliant young people seeking to enter the media. I’m guessing that they have taken on substantial debts to become educated in ways that I can only envy. Some spoke several foreign languages.

    I’m not optimistic about all of them ending up in their chosen field.

    Later that day, I attended the Amnesty International Film Festival, which featured a movie about brave Mexican journalists killed covering the war on drugs.

    Mexico used to be such a peaceful country, but not any more.

    It’s hard to feel good about Mexico’s future in the face of all of this violence.

    I confess that I’m troubled by all the optimism I encounter from leading thinkers on inequality, climate change, overpopulation, and oil depletion.

    Adding up all the variables, I’ve concluded that more global food shortages and increased famine are inevitable. Despite this, our premier plans to build a new bridge to Delta that will result in the loss of some of Canada’s finest farmland.

    Having a cheery disposition may make someone sound more pleasant in radio and television interviews.

    It might even enhance a person’s likelihood of obtaining book contracts, becoming a media or entertainment executive, or getting elected to high public office.

    But it has a way of sugar-coating problems, diminishing the sense of urgency that we should all be feeling about these crises.

    [hint – this too is simply quoting someone else, so feel free to agree or disagree with their assessment]

  • ULV asks: Friedrich Kling can I ask you when did you last visit that reserve – or any reserve, for that matter?

    Answer: I travel to Colombia several times a year, and on each visit I tour a different group of reserves. You are inferring that this is a scam. You are wrong. All reserves are open to the public for ecotourism and volunteer work, and our books are audited. Same legal and due diligence procedures are followed with our partners.

    Want to try again?

  • Here’s more evidence you can ignore if you’re a denier of reality:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/climate-crisis-unfolding-methane-coming-from-arctic-at-an-all-time-high

    Climate crisis unfolding: Methane coming from Arctic at an all time high (video included)

    (begins)

    While we go about our day, working, taking care of our family and doing life, a crisis that many are unaware of is unfolding in the Arctic that has been, and will affect, every living thing on Earth, including us. As recently as of Monday, October 28, 2013, consistently high levels of methane have been detected through the methane tracker that the Arctic News monitors.

    Not only will the Arctic soon be ice-free, but something far worse and a symptom of climate change is happening in real-time: This methane, previously stored for millions of years in frozen clathrates deep below the ocean, is starting to be released at a staggering rate in October, alarming scientists and researchers worldwide.

    Most people joke and think of methane as the thing that comes from cows and don’t understand the seriousness of what unchecked methane entering the atmosphere will do. Besides accelerating climate change and making the planet warm even faster, a catastrophic release of methane has also been thought to be the reason behind past mass extinctions.

    Throw in the fact that the oceans are dying, and it looks we are indeed watching the unfolding of a major climate change crisis.
    (read the rest)

  • @ FriedrichKling

    You are inferring that this is a scam.

    Are you paranoid ? Or just hyper-defensive ? I asked you a very simple question, quite politely. You’ve answered it.

    I made no inference that your project is a scam. But I’d now point to the fact that flying in planes and ecotourism are not compatible with stopping the destruction of the natural environment, so you’re destroying what you’re trying to preserve, which does not make much sense, does it.

    It’s just slightly less harmful than cutting down the forests to get at the oil and minerals to fuel and build the planes, and flooding the forests with dams to generate electricity to power the industries that provide the jobs for the tourists to pay for their eco holidays.

    As the recent paper in Nature explained, in 30 years, there will be an extreme record severe weather event happening every MONTH in that tropical belt, so none of those forests are going to survive. And that’s taking the mainstream scientific trajectory, not considering Guy’s additional feedbacks, which will bring that date forward.

    So what you going to do ? I’m not knocking what you have done, Friedrich, I applaud and admire your efforts. But climate change defeats all attempts to conserve biodiversity.

  • DAS KAPUTALISM!!!
    China plans to build 500 nuclear reactors before 2050.
    China is down to building just 1 coal power plant per week.
    China now imports more oil than the U.S.!
    The U.S. spends $1 trillion per year protecting Persian Gulf oil.
    if $1 = 1 second: $1 million = 12 days, $1 trillion = 30,000 years.
    The U.S. poisons its own water for natural gas and oil.
    World food riots are foreseen in the near term future.
    :
    Half of all species may disappear before 2040.
    Land Animal populations down 28% since 1970.
    Marine Bird populations down 30% since 1995.
    Big Ocean Fish populations down 90% since 1950.
    Fresh Water Fish populations down 50% since 1987,
    All Marine Animal populations down 28% since 1970.
    Plankton populations down 40% since 1950.
    Bumblebee populations down 70% since 1970.
    There are more Siberian Tigers in zoos than in Siberia.
    Human sperm counts down 50% since 1950.
    Human population up to 9 billion by 2050.
    Ocean acidification to double by 2050.
    World temperature rise may triple by 2050.
    :
    An ECOLOGICAL TIPPING POINT may be by 2025.
    Nobody knows when we will pass this tipping point except in retrospect. Once passed, mass extinction becomes unstoppable and irreversible. It is impossible for me to convey how final this is. Cascading extinction collapse is forever. This is way more important than just climate change alone!
    :
    THE BIGGEST PROBLEM SINCE OUR CAVEMAN DAYS!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38EEOM_0SUY
    :
    THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS!

  • @FriedrichKling

    I’m convinced that this message of NTE is a Koch initiative and many who haunt the venues that carry this message are Koch operatives involved in a brilliant psyops of reverse psychology to diffuse environmental movements and environmental activist action. It’s the only thing that fits perfectly, like a snug glove.

    NTE gives everyone who cares about the environment the reason they need to give up. This is exactly what the Kochs of the world want; for the opposition to fold.

    It’s ulvfugl who is the scam. Do you believe he is who he says he is? You have provided information about yourself which allows for verification. ulvfugl, on the other hand, is an anonymous hack on the internet who has been haunting environmental and collapse blogs for what seems forever. You’re real, and ulvfugl’s an imposter. How people can’t see this is beyond me. Actually, it’s not beyond me. I know why. So do you.

    Keep up the good work, FriedrichKling. What you are doing, despite burning fossil fuels in the process, is far more magnanimous and positive than doing what Guy is doing, which is flying all over Timbuktu burning a bevy of fossil fuel to spread the demotivating message of We’re Done knowing full well the majority of those who truly accept this message will now be completely demotivated and paralyzed. As this message of NTE gains momentum and spreads among former environmentalists to the point they become disillusioned and give up, the Koch Brothers and their elitist ilk toast one another and cheer, once again, Mission Accomplished.

    Instead, I cheer you FriedrichKling, and all those like you who still give a damn and don’t give up in the face of adversity and subterfuge. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do.

  • @ The Fake Thing

    It’s the Real Thing aka Morocco Bama aka Carol Newquist, etc, etc, failed accountant, psychotic, liar, troll.

  • @Tom said:

    Most people joke and think of methane as the thing that comes from cows and don’t understand the seriousness of what unchecked methane entering the atmosphere will do. Besides accelerating climate change and making the planet warm even faster, a catastrophic release of methane has also been thought to be the reason behind past mass extinctions.

    This is nothing short of disinformational fearmongering. The focus on the potential massive release of the planet’s methane hydrates buried in the permafrost and seabeds is a canard with an immaterial probability, not to mention it’s unprecedented in the ice core records as affecting climate in the past if and when it ever occurred. For those who still have some objectivity left, there’s this:

    http://www.livescience.com/38473-arctic-methane-warming-debate.html

    Arctic Methane Claims Questioned

    A scientific controversy erupted this week over claims that methane trapped beneath the Arctic Ocean could suddenly escape, releasing huge quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas, in coming decades, with a huge cost to the global economy.

    The issue being debated is this: Could the Arctic seafloor really fart out 50 billion tons of methane in the next few decades? In a commentary published in the journal Nature on Wednesday (July 24), researchers predicted that the rapid shrinking of Arctic sea ice would warm the Arctic Ocean, thawing permafrost beneath the East Siberian Sea and releasing methane gas trapped in the sediments. The big methane belch would come with a $60 trillion price tag, due to intensified global warming from the added methane in the atmosphere, the authors said.

    But climate scientists and experts on methane hydrates, the compound that contains the methane, quickly shot down the methane-release scenario.

    “The paper says that their scenario is ‘likely.’ I strongly disagree,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

    An unlikely scenario

    One line of evidence Schmidt cites comes from ice core records, which include two warm Arctic periods that occurred 8,000 and 125,000 years ago, he said. There is strong evidence that summer sea ice was reduced during these periods, and so the methane-release mechanism (reduced sea ice causes sea floor warming and hydrate melting) could have happened then, too. But there’s no methane pulse in ice cores from either warm period, Schmidt said. “It might be a small thing that we can’t detect, but if it was large enough to have a big climate impact, we would see it,” Schmidt told LiveScience.

    David Archer, a climate scientist at the University of Chicago, said no one has yet proposed a mechanism to quickly release large quantities of methane gas from seafloor sediments into the atmosphere. “It has to be released within a few years to have much impact on climate, but the mechanisms for release operate on time scales of centuries and longer,” Archer said in an email interview.

    Methane has a lifetime of about 10 years in the atmosphere before it starts breaking down into other compounds. [What are Greenhouse Gases?]

    Defending new model

    Today (July 26), Peter Wadhams, a co-author of the Nature commentary, defended the work against critics in an essay posted online.
    Methane hydrate

    “The mechanism which is causing the observed mass of rising methane plumes in the East Siberian Sea is itself unprecedented, and the scientists who dismissed the idea of extensive methane release in earlier research were simply not aware of the new mechanism that is causing it,” wrote Wadhams, an oceanographer at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

    “But once the ice disappears, as it has done, the temperature of the water can rise significantly, and the heat content reaching the seabed can melt the frozen sediments at a rate that was never before possible,” Wadhams added. “David Archer’s 2010 comment that ‘so far no one has seen or proposed a mechanism to make that (a catastrophic methane release) happen’ was not informed by the … mechanism described above. Carolyn Ruppel’s review of 2011 equally does not reflect awareness of this new mechanism,” Wadhams wrote.

    But Ruppel, a methane hydrate expert at the U.S. Geological Survey who authored a review of research on gas hydrates in 2011, also called the sudden-thawing scenario unrealistic.

    “I would say it’s nearly impossible,” Ruppel, chief of the USGS Gas Hydrates Project in Woods Holes, Mass., told LiveScience.

    Methane: microbial or hydrate?

    Much of the Arctic’s methane sits in permafrost buried under hundreds of meters of seafloor sediments, Ruppel said. The deposits formed on exposed ground during the last Ice Age, when sea levels were lower. The rising seas have been warming the deposits for millennia. Any added warming will have to work down through the thick sediment cap.

    Much of the modeling predictions in the Nature commentary were based on recent discoveries of rising methane plumes in the East Siberian Sea. However, those plumes may be from methane hydrates or from microbes.

    “Methane release in the Arctic from both marine and terrestrial sources is expected to increase with warming climate, as documented in numerous papers,” Ruppel said. “Much of the methane may actually be produced in the shallow sediments by microbial processes and be completely unrelated to methane hydrates.”

    However, there has yet to be a detectable change in Arctic methane emissions in the atmosphere over the past two decades, Ed Dlugokencky, a research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, said in an email interview.

  • @ Fukumethane

    Another stinking troll

    This is nothing short of disinformational fearmongering.

    Bullshit !

    That was July, this is NOW !

    Who cares what Schmidt and the other shills said, we can watch it happening

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/2013/10/methane-over-arctic-ocean-is-increasing.html

  • For those of you with some extra money who would like to contribute to genuine efforts to save biodiversity I would recommend the following two organizations:

    Center for Biological Diversity
    Wildlands Network

    These NGOs are attempting to save entire ecosystems including wildlife corridors and are worthy of support. They are up against it of course dealing with an enormous population of humans with insatiable demands for resources but nonetheless their hearts are in the right place.

    Mr. Kling accuses me of being hopelessly cynical to which I plead guilty as charged. Human beings are headed for near term extinction and are taking most of the living planet down with them. I still contribute what I can to the above organizations. Mr. Kling’s former organization sounds like they are making similar efforts internationally.

    Oh and if you have millions of dollars to donate I would consider The Nature Conservancy because you can ask them to target it to specific projects. They do have the resources to maintain their properties, at least for now.

  • Message to ‘It’s The Real Thing”:

    Thank you for your kind and insightful remarks. I agree. How can anybody place credibility into the comments of an anonymous person. I know that Koch and other conservatives fund persons to troll the internet to make their case. They use paid proxies to spread and reinforce their message.

    Kindest regards and respectfully yours,

    Friedrich

  • Friends:

    Before donating to a charity always check with Charity Navigator first:

    Rainforest Trust: 4 Star//Programs 96.8%//Expenses 3.2%

    Wildlands Network: 3 Star//Programs 81.6%//Expenses 18.4%

    Center for Biological Diversity: 3 Star//Programs 83.6%//Expenses 16.4%

    Wildlands works only within the US and Biological Diversity supports various initiatives.

    Rainforest Trust: Global focus to areas with greatest need, and the best way to ensure the survival of species is to own and manage the properties privately. Parks and reserves outside of the developed world are in name only, I am sorry to say. However, these “private” reserves are “owned” by the people of the world, and always open to the public at large.

  • Just take a look at the classified ads on this website – the ads have been there for years now – and I guess the folks on the island in British Columbia are not too worried about Fukushima ruining their plans…

    @ F. Klink: I too applaud your efforts.

    As for the nay-sayers that do not believe in NTE: it’s much like the rest of the story, most of us are not scientists with the credentials to determine the truth – so we depend on others – and, every day, you can find stuff for and stuff against – it’s hard to KNOW what is true.

    I’ve been waiting for the “imminent” Collapse for over 5 years now! I have pretty much gambled everything I have on the collapse happening quickly and with a high Chaos factor. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on but I do know that I cannot go back and I cannot start over.

  • With thanks to Gregory Vickery for his contribution, I’ve posted anew. The latest is a review of Carolyn Baker’s latest book, among other tidbits, and it’s here.

  • re: methane

    I have to admit that the Nature article did not do us any favors. The $60 trillion number might as well have been $50 squintillion since it isn’t an issue of money, it’s the end of industrial civilization.

    An increase in the rate of methane emissions will contribute to the overall methane levels and thus contribute to overall warming. It doesn’t have to come out all at once, and it probably can’t. This isn’t a Hollywood disaster movie, much as some might want to paint it as such, and others feel justified in ignoring it if it is not. The decay rate isn’t relevant in itself – it only matters when trying to calculate how much a given rate of release will translate into an increase in global methane levels, plus the small amount of additional CO2 it decays into. The releases, once started, will continue beyond any time frame we will be around to witness, maintaining the elevated methane levels. 2000 ppb methane is effectively 200 ppm CO2 equivalent.

    I have to admit to not knowing Arctic sea ice conditions from 8000 and 125000 years ago off the top of my head. Isn’t an ice-free Arctic something that hasn’t happened in millions of years? Or are these guys still in the “not ice-free for 75 years” mode?

  • Pre-industrial methane level in the atmosphere was about 700 ppb. We’ve not had an ice-free Arctic during the last 3.4 million years (and perhaps as far back as 5.2 million years). Thus, as ice-free Arctic pre-dates humanity.

  • Quote of the day : “I am not an alarmist, but I am alarmed.” (Dr. Stephen Hosea, MD), regarding Fukushima

  • Yes, I’ve been waiting for over 5 years, but I did want to add that, over the past 5 years, it’s been pretty clear that the momentum is growing for those of us that believe that:

    1) dire economic collapse is coming – just as the developing nations are trying to mirror the boom of America’s post WWII success. India is launching a mission to Mars, China is planning a mission to the moon, etc.

    2) energy is becoming more expensive – just as the developing nations are trying to provide more, more, more to their growing middle classes.

    3) environmental chaos is growing rapidly – along with the predictions of more and worse to come.

    4) food prices are rising. people are starving to death, lots of people. political instability is increasing, govts becoming more militarized, refugee populations growing.

    All the while, more power plants being built every day – coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.

    All the while, human population out of control and NO worldwide effort even to recognize it much less Do Something about it.

    I sit and wait.

    The children suffer, there is no redemption.

  • Ulvfugl: “As the recent paper in Nature explained, in 30 years, there will be an extreme record severe weather event happening every MONTH in that tropical belt, so none of those forests are going to survive.”

    Was this projection concerning future severe weather events based on a projection of future GHG emissions?

  • Could environmentalism be in the same category as “sensible” government regulations–too little, compromised, too late, but useful?

    If the so called US nanny state were to be immediately dismantled (as Ted Cruz and his friends would like), the society would be in a turmoil that would make collapse more horrendous than it is currently playing out. The protectors of the nanny state include a panoply of liberal politicians, their support networks, liberal activists, many of these overlapping with environmentalist groups, and much of the 99%. All are tainted. None, separately or combined, make a significant difference to the ground being lost to collapse of sea. land, humanity, economy and atmosphere. They slow it down a bit, but the trajectory within the big picture is downward.

    But that is no reason to dismiss them. Some call for the immediate collapse of industrial society (IC) as a way to stave of its homicidal effect on the biosphere, but IC generally appears too resilient to comply. There is even the willingness of some to die for the sake of ending IC. But giving one’s life won’t guarantee that IC will end. How could one know it would end until it actually DOES end? And aren’t conscious people called to witness the unraveling all the way to the finish?

    Meanwhile, there is the corrupted and contradictory movement of the liberal (activist) class that I consider to be holding off the beams falling down on us. I see that as better than nothing.

    Wouldn’t people who see beyond the “liberal class” be well served, even as a short term measure, to build examples (as Guy does) of resilience and independence? Of course, permaculture has its small part to play here, even if it falls in the camp of the liberal class. Food security short (or long) term seems crucial. Maybe some “movement” (insofar as people get the widespread notion) toward food security would preclude a great many ongoing nightmares. Grave robbery is now an epidemic in Bohemia, for instance; what could be far behind? So food security might affect only a minority of people, but why would that not be helpful anyway? Just as society drifted gradually toward dependence on civilization for its food, why, as civilization declines, can’t it drift back toward independence? Even if most people live in cities and can’t produce their own food, why is it not helpful for the rest of us to do so? Quietly. No fanfare. No claim that it will save the world. As Jane Goodall says, they can’t throw us ALL in prison for growing our own food.

    I consider myself a most inept gardener, and one with little interest in gaining formal expertise. I also garden in perhaps the driest state in the US. And I have been favored (at least the past couple years) with relatively thriving food production. My partner, who is hardly concerned with ending IC, has pushed me and provided solid guidance for growing food in winter. We are not exceptional homesteaders in any way. I have an income of around $600 per month. She works half time or less. A lot of retired people have much more, plus yards, plus optimal gardening conditions. Why are they not doing more?

    The combination of activists staving off the worst (and enabling the best) of IC AND a movement toward self sufficiency seems like a pretty good holding mechanism at the very least.

  • ‘the ancient origin of the word “sin” is “to be”, pointing out how we are conditioned to think we should not be, that it is evil to be’

    exactly. this sums up the perversity known as christianity: the idea that humans are inherently evil, worthy of eternal damnation, in need of salvation via blind faith in dogmatic ‘authority’.

    moving on, i have a little request to those who feel that in addition to posting a link to an article that may be of interest, it’s also necessary to copy and paste all or most of the same relatively long article in their comment. why do so? u already posted the link. including a short excerpt from the link is fine, but posting a very long excerpt or the whole damned article is annoying and unnecessary. just more to scroll past for those who don’t wish to read it.

  • tvt: got it. I usually like to include something of importance when I attach a link, but now that I see it’s annoying, i’ll cut back on the pasting. Thanks.

    The problem is that very few people take the time to read the posted links – like Fukumethane above. If he had just clicked on the link he would have seen that the words he pasted under “Tom says” aren’t mine, they’re a quote from the author of the article. If he wants to argue with the author, he can e-mail him and get it on. I think he’s just another denier who thinks civilization is just peachy due to the fact that he’s sittin’ pretty and doesn’t want to lose his advantage.

    It hardly matters, this is all going to change – and probably rapidly, before long – in the direction of scarcity, chaos and death.

    Hey Happy Halloween!

  • Tomf F-

    Please forgive me for failing to compliment you for giving back to the world. The amount does not matter, but the fact that you are a giver not taker speaks volumes about who you are as a person- a kind soul.

  • @ FKling

    Kindest regards and respectfully yours,
    Friedrich

    Dear, oh, dear, how disappointing, I’d have thought someone who believed in aliens would have maybe had just a little more imagination, come up with something interesting, bit of sparkle ?
    But I suppose you were an insurance salesman, that must be the explanation. Yawn.

    How do you know I’m not one of your Extra Terrestrials, Kling ? Logically, that would be the simplest explanation wouldn’t it ?

    I mean, if you don’t understand basic science, you must find so much that goes on is totally bewildering and way above your pay grade, not surprising really that you attribute it all to aliens… bit sad though.

    @ Robthepubliclibrary

    I don’t know how much longer I can hold on…

    Well, according to Nature, the world’s premier science publication, the terminal date for the climate should be around 2046 ish, so you can expect a gradient of horror towards that date as ever more frequent extreme weather events, and resulting human misery, rolls out, along with increasing population numbers, decreasing biodiversity, dying oceans, etc, etc, etc.

    But they are not taking into account the full picture, the feedback loops and the likelihood that there will be surprises, because there is no reason to expect that the progression will be linear and they are using the same kind of calculations that got the Arctic summer sea ice melt wrong by about 100 years. Still, 30 years + or – is pretty tight, considering we’re talking about a mass extinction event and geological time scales, so nobody should complain.

    What I can’t really understand is why you’re struggling, why aren’t you living as if this was the last day of your life, because it might be, that would always be the case, NTE or no NTE, because that has always been the case throughout history. But there we are, your problem, not mine. Sorry to hear you are cold and hungry.

    @ James Martin

    I think this was it, I think the original paper is paywalled

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/one-billion-people-face-entirely-new-climate-by-2050-study-16587

  • @ Artleads

    The combination of activists staving off the worst (and enabling the best) of IC AND a movement toward self sufficiency seems like a pretty good holding mechanism at the very least.

    How ?

    Does nothing to stop CO2, methane, NOx emissions, does nothing to stop the 40 years of warming already in the pipeline, does nothing about the 2 billion about to be born, or about the Fukes, the geopolitics, the melting ice, the destabilised climate, ocean acidification…

    a few old people growing their own veg, good for them, but irrelevant to the global dynamic.

    Five areas most at risk. So these people will be the first lot to be sacrificed and let to die, because nobody will care and they don’t have power and influence to do anything about it.

    http://www.countercurrents.org/cc311013B.htm

    @ WoodsDweller

    re methane

    Good video, you probably know, some facts slightly dated now, explaining methane, and 1 deg C per year, over a decade, that occurred.

  • Some time ago Guy posted a short essay that I wrote.

    What can small countries do about climate change and peak oil?

    The main point was that the problems we face (climate change, oil depletion, among others) are so big that if my country (Chile, 17 million people) stops running business as usual (totally shut down), It wouldn´t have any effect. Because the problem is at a global scale.
    Countries with more population, even “poor ones” (like China), have to lead changes, otherwise, nothing will happen. No matter the efforts of the rest, less populated countries, like Chile. Like ONG´s, like environmental activists.
    This is the reason why I agree that environmental activism has failed, and will fail. They are too litle, and have failed to become from thousands to 700 million (to say a significant nummber). Something that I believe it will not happen, on time. Although, when the time comes, probably millions will want to be part of them. But by that time it will be too late.
    In the same way, as those who are convinced that “we are done” are just a few thousands (or less?), and the truth is so dark, and terrible, that nobody wants to know about it (and at most “hope” for some kind of solution), there is no way that those few thousands can work out necessary changes on time. Even wanting to (like Guy).
    Today I just follow the evolution of the situation, because, if most of “the rest” do nothing, there´s no resaon to do something, that in anycase, will have (almost) no effect. Well, I do something, but I know it is almost totally useless, considering the scale of the problem.
    I have tried to change the system from within (related with other matters), and failed. My sad conclusion about changes “from within” is that, it takes more than a lifetime to see some results. And this time, we do not have that time.

  • thanks, tom.

  • @ ulvfugi

    “The combination of activists staving off the worst (and enabling the best) of IC AND a movement toward self sufficiency seems like a pretty good holding mechanism at the very least.”

    You say:

    “Does nothing to stop CO2, methane, NOx emissions, does nothing to stop the 40 years of warming already in the pipeline, does nothing about the 2 billion about to be born, or about the Fukes, the geopolitics, the melting ice, the destabilised climate, ocean acidification…”

    I thought I made a similar point here:

    “The protectors of the nanny state include a panoply of liberal politicians, their support networks, liberal activists, many of these overlapping with environmentalist groups, and much of the 99%. All are tainted. None, separately or combined, make a significant difference to the ground being lost to collapse of sea. land, humanity, economy and atmosphere. They slow it down a bit, but the trajectory within the big picture is downward.”

    I listen and learn from what you and other thinkers on this blog have to say, and I have incorporated it into my current thinking (or tried to)…with gratitude. Just as Guy entreats us to do no harm, and what we love, I figure that being maximally (or minimally) self-sufficient falls into the category of doing no harm. Helping one person, if not all seven billion plus of us, is still a worthy thing to do.

  • Gregory, I totally share your disillusionment with large ENGOs, and with the failure to really think through the big picture present in even the smaller groups. Though to be fair, we’re trapped in such an interlocking set of huge problems that I can understand why folks find something they care about and do what they think is best within a small realm. Sometimes that includes making big compromises because they don’t believe they can achieve anything better. And sometimes that involves selling out or sabotaging the work of others who are holding out for better results.

    But, not all groups are sell-outs, so it’s just a matter of doing careful due diligence when selecting a place to put your money or time. And rather than wasting time attacking each other for not doing enough or not tackling all of the problems all at once, we should support each other and find ways to work together to strengthen the good work we’re each doing. This doesn’t mean we can’t give each other feedback and even criticism…but it means doing so in a way genuinely meant to build up our work, not tear it down. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t each keep expanding our understanding of the problems and the most strategic and tactical ways of addressing them…but it does mean that we shouldn’t allow lack of perfection to stand in the way of doing *something*!

    Friedrich Kling, I applaud your devotion to preserving forests and entire species. We desperately need that kind of rear-guard defense of what’s still left. Thank you soooo much!

    Deep Green Resistance proposes this model of “We need it all”, with some people taking aboveground actions to legally slow the destruction and rebuild just and sustainable communities, while some work belowground to stop the flow of fossil fuels that allows for accelerated destruction.

    Time is short. Fit yourself into the culture of resistance in whatever way most calls to your passions and strengths. But fit yourself in one way or another!

  • Ulvfugl –

    The link you last provided me takes me to an article which says…

    “According to the study, conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii, about 1 billion people currently live in areas where the climate will exceed historical bounds of variability by 2050. This number would rise to 5 billion people under a business-as-usual emissions scenario, which is the emissions path the world is currently on.”

    My mostly skimming read (limited time! Too much to do!) didn’t turn up an answer to my question concerning whether we’re talking about a projection of future climate based on a PROJECTION of future emissions. I very much suspect it’s just that, as most projections of future climate presume a range of future emissions — which, as I see it, are as yet uncertain.

    I might be seen as lazy for not reading every single word of every single article linked to. And that’s fine. But I pour over too much tonnage of text each day and must choose carefully that which should get a careful and complete read. After all, all that I’m doing here relates to research for my writing projects.

  • @ Artleads

    Look, I’m not against helping blind old ladies to cross the road. Everybody knows that motherhood and apple pie are good things. Just that they are irrelevant to NTE.

    Sure, if it’s hospice, even if it’s not hospice, be kind, compassionate, grow vegetables. Gurus and saints and bodhisattvas have been preaching this for thousands of years and anybody with common sense can see that a decent society benefits from people being virtuous rather than vicious criminals.

    But you went on to say

    The combination of activists staving off the worst (and enabling the best) of IC AND a movement toward self sufficiency seems like a pretty good holding mechanism at the very least.

    It’s not any sort of holding mechanism at all. It’s all irrelevant.

    I mean, you’re arguing for throwing one starfish back into the sea. Fine. A good and noble act. But then you’re deluding yourself that it’s going to have some effect. Which it isn’t because, in this instance, the sea is all so polluted and poisonous that you’re not addressing the source of the problem at all.

    http://mommiesofmiracles.com/star-thrower-loren-c-eiseley/

    The people who could address the source of the problem are the most powerful people in the world, supposedly the people who are listed here

    http://www.monsangelorum.net/?topic=miscellany-15&paged=5#post-9301

    and they are not interested in whether you grow vegetables or what any of us here think or do, because it does not impinge upon any of their concerns.

    To change the trajectory of the world, to the extent that anyone can, would require that those people, or enough of them, decided upon a plan and forced it into effect.

    Alternatively, it would require that sufficient of the ordinary people, without power, agreed upon a plan and insisted it be put into effect.

    If you look at what has happened over the last two centuries, or even a bigger panorama of world history, neither of these two options will work.

    That’s because there is no common global interest that is shared, either by the elite or by the common people.

    You see, in theory, it should be possible to get those powerful individuals together, in a forum, like the United Nations, where they could be informed that we face a mass extinction event, give them the scientific facts, and then for them to agree a strategy.

    In practice, what do we see ? A total fuck up every day. The USA cannot even manage it’s own internal affairs, let alone agree anything with it’s competitors. Britain and Israel and Germany and Russia and China and all the rest, all assert their own selfish independent policies.

    As for the common people of the world, just look at the comments on forums and youtube.

    Another, lesser, point. You seem to think that the ‘worst’ and ‘best’ of Industrial Civilisation can somehow be separated out. That’s ridiculous. How is that going to be decided ? By a grand committee ?

    Everything in IC is linked to everything else, and ultimately to the energy base in fossil fuels. Sure, some aspects are more damaging than others. But what you’re wanting is silly, it’s like wanting to keep the good bits of fire, that keep you warm, and reject the bad bits, that destroy houses and forests. The whole thing is out of control. Nobody can stop it.

    Sure, I could give you a plan. Break up all the corporations and banks. Who is going to enforce that ? Do you think my plan will be welcomed by all the people who will lose their jobs ? Do you think, even if I had millions of people who supported me, like Lenin, or Gandhi or MLK, I’d still be alive after a few weeks, if my plan was being effective ?

    Any mass movement, even one as marginal as Occupy – marginal on the global scale – will be crushed by the powerful vested interests that it threatens. The only things that will work will be ideas, that aren’t attached to any structure that power can identify. Like the Guy Fawkes mask, which has gone global and symbolises resistance.

    And then there is the sheer incompetence and ineptitude and arrogance of power. The total cluelessness of the NSA, despite all their money and technology. They’ll destroy themselves, just like the French Aristocracy, by their own hubris and stupidity. But it will be too late.

    The British did it in Zimbabwe. The Generals sat around all evening eating very expensive luxury meals and drinking very expensive vintage wine, being served by natives who listened closely to every word being discussed and reported every detail back to the guerillas. The British were so puffed up and vain they never even noticed the black men serving them, they were just part of the furniture.

    Eventually, the global elite will be torn to pieces, for sure. I don’t even care about that. I care about all the other species. Everything goes because of the ignorance and stupidity of humans, whether they are rich or poor.

  • @ James Martin

    How can it be anything other than a projection ?

  • @Ulvfugl:

    “How can it be anything other than a projection?”

    ….

    “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    ….

    “How can it be anything other than a projection?”

    It can’t.

    My reason for asking is that I’m wondering how the projection of future extreme weather events (or other climate conditions) was derived. Apparently the original publication proffered a range of GHG scenarios an and climate/weather projections derived from each. So I was wondering which one you were referring to in your prognosis concerning the destruction of the forests.

    I realize that almost no one believes, as I do, that it is possible that humanity could (or would) deliberately choose a radical departure from BAU in the direction of steeply and rapidly declining anthropogenic GHG emissions. And so that scenario fades into irrelevancy for most. But I’m interested nonetheless in what our best case scenario might be should the nearly miraculous occur.

    You know, I don’t think very many people on Earth are aware of the dire emergency level of risk, regards our climate situation. And I think the IPCC, being the most influential organization in these matters, has gotten it badly wrong — again. And so the alarm has not been sounded, not really. So, ironically, I’m nearer to yours and McPherson’s position on the risk spectrum. That’s why I frequent this web space!

    So my point is that because the people of the Earth continue to wrongly underestimate both the time frame and the level of risk … well, they’ve not had an opportunity to respond to the actual situation. So we can’t really know how to project what might become possible which is presently impossible, regards anthropogenic GHG emissions.

    And don’t think I’m talking about conventional political solutions, bla bla bla. I think you’re quite right to say that The Powers will not / cannot serve any significant transformation. My only “hope” lies in the deep green grass roots agrowing. A slim hope, agreed. But still not impossible.

    I’ll jump in on the global hospice work when it’s clear To Me that that’s all, and the best, I can contribute. Until then, I’m baking my pies in the sky.

  • @ James Martin

    It was a scientific paper published in Nature, therefore it can’t just be arm waving of the I realize that almost no one believes, as I do, that it is possible… variety, it has to be based upon something more convincing than that. Without checking, from memory, I think they used a whole range of different climate models from different research groups.

    What they got was that result, that by c. 2050, around the central belt of the globe, every month would be a new record heat event. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand what that does to forests, agriculture, rivers, humans, etc.

    Again, I can’t check, but I’d imagine they’d need to be quite conservative, and the models would be conservative, and very likely that date should be pulled forward twenty years. But even if I was completely mistaken about that, just from the sorts of errors we’ve seen before over the last twenty years, the figure could easily be out by twenty years either way, and the methane, or some other nasty surprise, could easily mean the date suddenly jumps right into our laps.

    I mean, if you stand back, what we see is that we are teetering on the brink. People here and elsewhere are worried for their own skins, or for their kids, but I don’t see it that way. I’m looking from the geological time perspective at the mass extinction event, and really whether that happens in 2020 or 2060 or 2100 what the heck’s the difference ? It’s Life On Earth and WE will have killed it.

    ———–

    Thanks to Mike Sosebee for dropping this link onto xraymike’s site

    My problem with NTHEers is squarely with their actions. NTHEers feel that extinction is irreversible, so there is no point in trying to reduce emissions. They can be vocal advocates, attacking those who seek to create change, arguing that it is futile. This cynicism was the attitude that I criticized in the article I posted originally,

    I believe that inaction, and especially advocating inaction, is morally unacceptable. We must do everything that we can to create a social movement that instigates a massive social and political response to climate change. NTHE claims that the destruction of humanity is so certain that resistance is futile. That the problem is so severe (and, in some versions of the argument, that human civilization is so toxic) that we should not fight for humanity. I strongly disagree. To the last, I will fight for my human brothers and sisters, and will ask them to fight for me. If you are not in favor of saving as many humans as possible from the ravages of climate change, then you are not my ally. I will not hate you; I will even fight for you! But our aims are fundamentally opposed.

    Just for the record, my position is NOT that there is no point in trying to reduce emissions. I don’t attack those who seek to create change.

    Yes, I do try to explain why it will be futile. That is not because I WANT it to be futile. Just that there are very good and obvious reasons why.

    I don’t advocate inaction. Personally, I don’t care about ‘saving as many humans as possible’ as if that was the most desirable thing to aim for in it’s own right. I want to save the other species, whose fault none of this is.

    What I attempt to explain is the REALITY of the situation.

    What I see is this ‘build a mass movement’ syndrome, being exactly like the Children’s Crusade, going off to free Jerusalem from the wicked Musselmen. And what happened ? And countless other similar pointless and tragic and foolish ventures.

    It’s not for me to tell anybody else what they should or should not do.

    What I do, – and I only do it here and on xraymikes’s blog – is to try and explain the reality of the situation as I understand it.

    If whoever it is thinks that NTE is ‘being cynical’ perhaps they’d like to explain how, for example, Bill McKibben is NOT ‘being cynical’, when building a mass movement to reduce CO2 emissions, whilst not having any means at all of achieving such a reduction.

    It’s just as crazy as building nuclear power plants with nowhere to put the waste.

    http://theclimatepsychologist.com/?p=441

  • And re-reading that post and other links, it’s obvious that ‘those people’ are all just miles, years, way behind. They have some catching up to do. It’s going to be very, very painful.

    Which is why I am HERE, because this is the bleeding edge. Emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, philosophically, and scientifically.

    People who push, in their imagination, some catastrophe, some apocalypse, the extinction event, safely into a future where it will not QUITE effect them… decades, centuries, ahead.

    Who are they kidding ? Only themselves.

    It’s here already ! We are in it now !

    All this talk about classical psychological protection mechanisms, like projection, and this shallow, silly, pop psychology analysis of we doomers having frozen hearts and having to reject all hope, blah blah.

    What insulting rubbish that is.

    At least, before making an analysis, it might have been worthwhile to have actually understood the case being made and the positions of the people who have been making it for years. Pity Daniel isn’t here.

    From my personal perspective, it’s like seeing late comers from the waltz in the ballroom on the Titanic, they come rushing out and say’Right we must DO something, we’ll all run and get buckets !’

    But the fucking hull is already under the surface, there’s ALREADY dead bodies in the water, and you people didn’t even notice yet that the deck is tilting at 45 deg and there’s no way that this is going to be sorted…. but go fetch your buckets, anyway, if it makes you happy.

  • Hahaha, from Robin Westenra

    These people are wedded to saying “if we don’t do something about climate change then (some time in the future) things will become very dire.

    Ask them to even entertain the possibility that a tipping-point might already have been reached, and climate change is irreversible and they become apoplectic.

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.no/2013/10/climate-change-denial.html

    So, we few here, pioneers, as it were, who have been discussing this stuff for a couple of years, and agonising and anguishing and grieving and haggling and mourning and raging… and trying to understand how the hell we cope… now suddenly we are extremists. How very amusing.

    There is NO WAY to get CO2 ppm back down in any meaningful time frame.

    Even if it was possible, it does not get you back your climate.

    To think that it does is just naive stupidity and ignorance.

    Ask Tad Patzek. Once a highly complex system becomes destabilised, you do not re-stabilise it by adjusting just one parameter. It’s already been set off on a whole new path.

    It will re-stabilise itself, eventually, but that will take, typically, judging by previous episodes in the geological record, 80 to 100,000 years.

    So, your benign Holocene climate has GONE. Forever. Finished. You don’t get it back, even if you could, by magic, get CO2 back to preindustrial 280 ppm and methane back to 700 ppb.

    It’s a complex system. Nobody knows what will happen now that we’ve wrecked it, because it’s never been subjected to such fast changes in geological history, except by impacts from space and volcanic eruptions which were not equivalent to what we have done.

    We’re not just changing the whole chemistry of the atmosphere, we’re changing the whole chemistry of the oceans, we’re killing of the global land ecology and the ocean ecology, we’ve changed the albedo of the Earth’s surface, we’ve destroyed all the river systems, there’s almost nothing left of the Earth’s natural system at all.

    Nobody has any idea as to what the result of all this will be, except that it is not going to be conducive to continuing life as we have known it. That much is plainly obvious. Except it’s not. To some people. Because the prospect is too horrible and too painful to face.

    Personally, I doubt that there will be any humans left by mid-century.

    Does it matter if I’m right or wrong ?

    I used to think it did, once.

    For thirty years I’ve been fighting pretty much day and night to try and avoid all this, and arguing and trying to persuade people, and telling people about permaculture and climate change and blahblahblah.

    And it didn’t work.

    And last year I understood that it was TOO LATE.

    Eventually everyone will catch up, and it doesn’t matter anymore whether anyone accepts what I say or whether they don’t, because it doesn’t make any difference.

    THERE IS A TIME LAG. WHATEVER WE DO, IT’LL KEEP ON WARMING FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS, BECAUSE OF WHAT IS ALREADY IN THE PIPELINE.

    That will happen even if you cut emissions.

    You can’t stop the ocean acidification, you can’t stop the permafrost melting, you can’t stop the jet stream meandering, you can’t stop the glaciers melting, you can’t stop the sea levels rising, you can’t stop the forests dying, and on and on and on…

    If you keep on with Industrial Civilisation and try to keep going with technology, you just dig an even deeper hole, you’ll lose the whole of the rest of the natural biosphere, and then what ? You may as well be trying to colonise Mars, but it’ll be here on Earth. You’ll have made Earth just as hostile and arid and impossible for life as Mars is.

    But if you end Industrial Civilisation, then most people are going to die, because it is fossil fuels and Industrial Civilisation that has allowed for this population overshoot.

    So, either way, it’s an impossible choice.

    So, nobody will make the choice. Everyone will continue, business as usual, until the whole lot falls apart and everyone dies anyway, from… well, I leave it to your imagination, dear friends.

    The future is impossible. NTE.

  • Ulvfugi

    I don’t disagree with your basic points. When I mentioned the good points of IC that was clearly asking for trouble. Careless wording.

    It’s more that ground is being lost no matter what (due to perverse and all-encompassing web of IC). But exit all forms of resistance and you *immediately* have prison camps, increased die-offs and return of mainstream slavery. Women go back into the kitchen and keep quiet about rape. That sort of thing. I for sure would be eliminated sooner rather than later. Maybe as a white man up on a mountain away from everyone, you would have more time than the rest of us. Maybe that’s why what I say is so absurd to you. Maybe you don’t care about individuals’ wellbeing–one fish in a dead ocean–or even your own. I’m with the ordinary folks who think about themselves first and foremost. None too noble or brave.

    I’m in no great rush to a personal exit gate, which my power to avoid is extremely limited even on a daily basis. I am personally trying to do what makes me happy and what is reasonably consistent with doing no harm. (But even if I were a Jain, I couldn’t avoid doing harm.) If that is an inappropriate view for NBL, I’ll try to modify it so as to minimize pain, fury and distress on this blog.

    If I can’t change, why would I expect anyone else to do so either?

    BTW, I know that YOU IGNORE SEMANTICS AND TRY TO GET AT THE HEART OF PEOPLE’S MOTIVATIONS (sorry, caplock error). So I’m currently trying to restrain my communication, and stick with what most might agree on. I’ve done more than my share of coming out with ideas that drive people crazy. Neither do I relish becoming a beating post. I disagree with the notion that doing small things is useless. I invite you as ever, if that sits ill with you, to sue me. I think you should know better, but WTF? It’s none of my business what you do or believe.

  • @ Artleads

    I have no idea what you mean that ‘I ignore semantics and try to get at the heart of people’s motivations’, and why you suppose that I think small things are useless, I also have no idea. You do whatever you need to do, in your daily life, to survive, and minimise harm, and help others when you can. Isn’t that just common sense and decency ?

    But what has that got to do with NTE or any of the other issues we discuss here, re climate change and so forth ? It’s just not relevant at all.