What Does It Mean To “Do Something” About Climate Change?

by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power

WarmingThere is a great difference between being still and doing nothing.

~Chinese proverb~

When I speak about catastrophic climate change and the likelihood of near-term human extinction, I am often accused to “giving up” or choosing to “do nothing” about climate change. Even more charged for some is the notion of “living in hospice” which I argue is now the unequivocal predicament of our species. The typical rebuttal goes something like, “Instead of contemplating our navels or rolling over and preparing for death, we have to do something about climate change!”

Thus, I feel compelled to genuinely ask: What does it mean to actually “do something”?

First, I want to clarify that when I speak of preparing for near-term extinction by surrendering to the severity of our predicament or adopting a hospice attitude, I do not mean that we put on our favorite pair of pajamas, ingest a large dose of Ambien, draw the shades, lie down and set the electric blanket on “womb,” and then proceed to play dead and become comatose as we approach our demise. In fact, there is far too much we can do, both externally and internally to succumb to such meaningless sloth.

Each of us, whether we contemplate near-term extinction or not can consciously reduce our personal carbon footprint. We can drastically curtail our consumption and waste; we can grow our own food and eat local, organic food. Some individuals choose not to have cars or travel by air. Some people choose not to have children; some choose to unplug from empire as much as humanly possible. And yes, we can become climate activists—we can march in protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, we can join the Great March For Climate Action, we can write letters, and as a last resort, move to an area of the planet, such as the Southern Hemisphere, where it appears that the impacts of global climate change may not be as severe as in other regions–maybe. We owe these actions to ourselves, to other humans, and to the plethora of other species that are going and will go extinct. As my friend and colleague, Francis Weller, notes, this is a time to develop really good manners toward other species and make their demise as easy for them as possible. In summary, there is much within our power as individuals that we can do to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and lower the impact of catastrophic climate change.

However, the tragic reality of our personal efforts, as noble or as fervent as they may be, is that they are not enough to prevent near-term human extinction. Why?

In the first place, the impacts of catastrophic climate change are routinely minimized by the scientific community as Guy McPherson points out:

Mainstream scientists minimize the message at every turn. As we’ve known for years, scientists almost invariably underplay climate impacts. And in some cases, scientists are aggressively muzzled by their governments. I’m not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (they couldn’t care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version. The concept is supported by an article in the February 2013 issue of Global Environmental Change pointing out that climate-change scientists routinely underestimate impacts “by erring on the side of least drama.” Almost everybody reading these words has a vested interest in not wanting to think about climate change, which helps explain why the climate-change deniers have won.

What is more, despite the efforts of some nations to “do something” about climate change, the harsh, cold (no pun intended) reality is that it is too little too late. Halldor Thorgeirsson, Senior Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change remarked in September, 2013, stated, “We are failing as an international community. We are not on track.” Now realizing the dire state of warming due to inaction on climate change, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that “Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry.” Of course, we already know that there is probably nothing that geo-engineering cannot make worse—for example the radical altering of rainfall patterns and the assertion by Live Science that “Current schemes to minimize the havoc caused by global warming by purposefully manipulating Earth’s climate are likely to either be relatively useless or actually make things worse, researchers say in a new study.” And earlier this month, Skeptical Science published an article entitled, “Alarming New Study Makes Today’s Climate Change More Comparable To Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction.” Moreover, according to the National Academy of Sciences “A Four-Degree Rise Will End Vegetation ‘Carbon Sink’ Research Suggests.”

For those who “don’t like” Guy McPherson’s analysis, Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University earlier this month penned an article in Scientific American “Earth Will Cross The Climate Danger Threshold By 2036” in which he stated in protest of the voices who assert that global warming has ‘paused,’:

To my wonder, I found that for an ECS (equilibrium climate sensitivity) of three degrees C, our planet would cross the dangerous warming threshold of two degrees C in 2036, only 22 years from now. When I considered the lower ECS value of 2.5 degrees C, the world would cross the threshold in 2046, just 10 years later. So even if we accept a lower ECS value, it hardly signals the end of global warming or even a pause. Instead it simply buys us a little bit of time—potentially valuable time—to prevent our planet from crossing the threshold.

Yes, Michael Mann is hoping that we can still “do something” about catastrophic climate change, but his assertion more closely aligns with Guy McPherson’s projection that even if we “do something” about climate change there are likely to be few habitable places on the planet by 2030 at the earliest and 2050 at the latest.

Less widely discussed in the mainstream climate conversation is the ghastly rate of Arctic melting and the resulting release of methane into the atmosphere. In the video Arctic Death Spiral And The Methane Time Bomb, David Wasdell, Director of the Apollo-Gaia Project explains the absolute runaway nature of Arctic melting. Self-reinforcing feedback loops, he asserts, have taken over, and it is now becoming increasingly obvious that the Arctic will be mostly ice-free by the end of 2015. Other presenters in this video further clarify that we are approximately fifty years ahead of the worst case scenario in terms of Arctic melting. Dr. Peter Wadhams of the University Of Cambridge states that the effect of an ice-free Arctic on the world is enormous because it goes far beyond the Arctic itself in terms of the methane that is released as the ice retreats. Due to self-reinforcing feedback loops, once the melting process generates more CO2 than humans do, it will not matter what humans do to reverse the melting. In Arctic Methane: Why Sea Ice Matters, Dr. Natalia Shakhova notes that Arctic permafrost is losing its ability to seal in the methane, and even more troubling is the increase in seismic activity in the Arctic which creates additional pathways for methane to be released.

“Doing something” implies that developing nations of the world and the fossil fuel industry will come together and: 1) Agree that climate change is actually happening; 2) Understand that the situation is so dire that humanity’s living arrangements must be radically altered; 3) Sacrifice their economic security and industrial profits to significantly reduce carbon emissions; 4) Agree to the reality of climate change and the altering of their living arrangements in time to prevent another 2 degree C rise in temperature.

I dare say that the same people who believe this is going to happen would vehemently protest a belief in Santa Claus, but nevertheless, they cling to this chimera.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tim Garrett, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah tells us that “rising carbon dioxide emissions – the major cause of global warming – cannot be stabilized unless the world’s economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.”

Collapse of industrial civilization? Lovely idea; I’ve been applauding it for years. However, there’s just one small fly in the ointment. The collapse of industrial civilization means no food in grocery stores, no fuel at the gas station, and the breakdown of electrical power grids. According to Physics Forums, here’s what happens when a nuclear power plant loses electricity:

Nuclear power plants as well as power plants in general are not self-sufficient in terms of electricity. If a nuclear power plant loses outside electrical power, the plant must then be powered with emergency diesel generators which typically have about 10-12 hours worth of fuel, and then emergency batteries. When the batteries lose power, and they still haven’t gotten electricity going back to the plant, the cooling systems for the reactors won’t work because of no electricity, and then the reactors will overheat and melt. Inevitably resulting in a total meltdown.

There are more than 400 nuclear power plants around the world. The collapse of industrial civilization, attractive notion that it may be, necessarily means a host of Fukushimas around the planet which in itself would be an extinction event.

On myriad levels, humanity is in territory it has never before navigated. Of this, blogger Robert Scribbler writes:

The last time the world saw such a measure of comparable atmospheric greenhouse gas heat forcing was during the Miocene around 15-20 million years ago. At that time, global temperatures were 3-4 C warmer, the Antarctic ice sheet was even further diminished, and sea levels were 80-120 higher than today. This combined forcing is enough to result in a state of current climate emergency. In just a few years, according to the recent work of climate scientist Michael Mann, we will likely lock in a 2 C short term warming this century and a probable 4 C warming long-term. If the current, high-velocity pace of emission continues, we will likely hit 2 C warming by 2036, setting off extraordinary and severe global changes over a very short period.

My question to climate “doers” is: What do you genuinely, realistically believe can be “done” on the real, external, national and international scene to reverse or end catastrophic climate change? At this point in the progression of catastrophic climate change, it is rapidly becoming impossible to keep up with the self-reinforcing feedback loops related to the release of greenhouse gases. These, of course, are the mechanisms within the progression of global warming that accelerate its severity, and humans have created at least 30 of those in our lifetime–and counting.

I am a two-time survivor of cancer. The first time a doctor gave me a diagnosis, I really didn’t like him. The second time, I liked the doctor even less. And yes, I got second opinions both times. Then I had four doctors I didn’t like.

It seems to me that we can yammer incessantly about how we don’t “like” the deliverers of bad news, or we can critically think their information. We can also consider that some situations like Stage Four cancer, Ebola, and cobra bites are terminal. And rather than responding like the heroic, hopeful, “there must be something we can do” puppets of empire, we might pause to consider that life frequently presents us with existential dilemmas about which there is nothing we can “do” except open to what the dilemma might want us to learn, feel, and experience— and to the relationships it might want us to deepen, evaluate, treasure, or eliminate from our lives. To this end, I wrote “Preparing For Near-Term Extinction” in 2013 and recently published Zhiwa Woodbury’s wonderful article “Planetary Hospice: Rebirthing Planet Earth” on my website. They encapsulate what I am doing and intend to do about catastrophic climate change.

I’ve admitted myself to hospice, and I’m doing something about catastrophic climate change. I support those who join the Great March For Climate Action, but I will not be marching, nor will I write letters or sign petitions with the hope that omnicidal politicians and corporate profiteers will notice. What I will do is commit to a life of service, a life of creating extraordinary moments of beauty and love; I will immerse myself in nature, art, poetry, music, and really good stories. I will practice good manners with all beings; I will nourish my body with nutritious food and restorative movement. I will make every attempt to practice gratitude as often as humanly possible in one day, and I will give from the depths of my soul all of the love I can muster–to the earth and to every living being.

 

Catastrophic Climate Change: A Conversation with Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker from Margaret Emerson on Vimeo.

________

Last night McPherson delivered a presentation in New York City. Hosted by Deep Green Resistance, the presentation was filmed via livestream by Pauline Schneider. It’s presented in five parts here.

Comments 99

  • IMO, the advantage of responding to a “lost cause” is that we needn’t do things that cut against the grain. We can do what we love, and pace ourselves in accordance to an inner sense, to what feels good enough. We have nothing to lose, and it’s all up to our conscience as to what’s enough. I think we know internally whether we measure up.

    Since IC mandates that we tune out that inner voice, with disastrous ripple effects, who know? Taking it easy and enjoying the ride, attending to our feelings, might just be the best form of resistance after all.

  • Good essay Carolyn, in that it clearly points out the predicament we find ourselves in.

    Be kind to animals would mean doing something about factory raised poultry, beef, pork and fish. They are all innocent victims of the human maw. Think about eating your pet and that’s what we’re talking about.

    But what are we supposed to do? The vegan argument is irrelevant, since then we simply transfer the very same rape of the earth to agriculture – another of humanity’s grand mistakes (it allowed us to overshoot the carrying capacity of the planet). What are we to eat?

    Besides being born into captivity and being familiar with no other way but industrial civilization, even becoming aware of our impending demise, we choose sides (on just about every level and situation to persist through our lives), we “negotiate” our ethics so that we can survive.

    Soon enough in the process one realizes that no matter what choices we make, the entire system is insane and that there are no acceptable answers to any of it. Like thinking we’re in control of anything at all, it’s the same incredibly daft response in disguise (so that we’ll do something besides take our own lives – to some the proper response).

    We should all have the same attitude as you profess in the end of your well-written piece. The trouble is that there are way too many of us and we’ve screwed up the chemistry and biology of the Earth beyond recovery. Now the rubber is meeting the road and people are dying from climate change – and we’ll be going extinct in short order (it’s doubtful anyone survives the 2020’s decade imho).

    All we’re doing is prolonging it for as long as possible – because we can! The poor in the African village being hit with a novel strain of Ebola (http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/west-africa-ebola-confirmed-in-outbreak-is-new-strain/) don’t have that luxury. We’re holding it off as long as possible here in the seat of (a dying, awful) empire not of our making, because it’s completely the whim of our births that we’re here and not there (so the situation is not “unethical” but maybe “non-ethical,” and not so much immoral as amoral).

    Let’s lay it right on the line: are we all willing to jump off the bridge so that the empire collapses and maybe, just maybe, some of the other species will survive the coming, pretty much guaranteed, radiation you described?

    Nope. RE won’t, and I hope pat (of the Church of Euthanasia) hasn’t and most of us aren’t doing it or going to either. Nevertheless, being honest, we’re bargaining or jockeying for position as the ship sinks by continuing on until death comes and gets us.

    We’re avoiding the inevitable and we aren’t going to do anything noble between now and then because NOTHING we do is such – the entirety of civilization is horrid to the core, we simply justify what we do. [If you think otherwise, go back to a large industrial chicken farm or slaughterhouse and start there.] We’re deciding who lives and who dies even to the species we rely on and our very selves eventually – we’re killing them all just driving our goddamn cars and living this way! There’s nothing to be done that makes any sense whether it’s being spiritual and doing what you can – that makes it acceptable to you – or doing what the big bankers are doing or knifing someone in the back for their crust of bread if the situation presents itself and you’re starving (for some). The ethics or morality of our actions don’t override our base instincts except in the rarest of cases. [On a side note, notice how many bankers have been jailed.]

    People do what they’re going to do in every situation via (what I like to call) “situational ethics.” All the other stuff is window dressing when it really comes down to it.

    We’re human animals and none of us (or any of the other species) wants to die (unless the situation we’re in is intolerable). Well, we’re all going this time in the cosmic “do-over.” WHEN may be your choice if you’re lucky or prescient, but otherwise you do what you have to in order to eke out another day, hour, minute and ignore the (unimagined) consequences.

  • Beautiful, Carolyn. Exactly my thinking.
    I like that you mentioned, “move to an area of the planet, such as the Southern Hemisphere, where it appears that the impacts of global climate change may not be as severe as in other regions,” since that’s what I’m up to in Ecuador: http://terranovadecorazon.blogspot.com

    Y’all are invited!

  • For whom do we act?

    The idea that things are done to or for others is widespread, and seems apparently valid: the weal or woe that we carry away from each encounter reinforces that idea.

    But the baggage we associate with each encounter and carry away from it is wholly dependent on us. Carrying the idea of “doing good” or “having done good” – or otherwise – to “others” is a part of such baggage. And so we primarily act on ourselves through every act of volition. The effect on others, for good or ill, no matter how great, is secondary. This holds true for the unrealised persons, as they still retain a sense of agency, the sense of doership, as in “”I”am the “doer”” – or for that matter, the “non-doer”.

    To recognise this, that short of realisation we act – or decline to act – for ourselves, is a step in the right direction. Whether or not to act for climate change is up to the person. However, failure of that recognition perpetuates a delusion that we are doing – or not doing – something for “others”.

  • Well, I suppose it’s just me, but Andrew Harvey, Charlie Eisenstein, thing takes away my will to live altogether. Sorry, Carolyn, it’s just all too much like a big Coca Cola ad ‘Let’s teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’ happy clappy. No thanks. Creeps me out. I find it really draining and depressing to listen to. That’s not what keeps me going and stops me doing a Mike Ruppert.

  • I’ve been told, “You never laugh” or “You laugh a lot.”
    Guess that just depends on who is visiting.

  • Cat – great to see what you are doing with Terra Nova de Corazón.

  • Paraphrasing James Hansen, first people say it is just natural climate variations, then they say the impacts will be negligible and far in the future, and finally, “All is lost.”

  • Hope Springs Eternal

    Some advice that’s not moralistic
    Nor unduly pessimistic:
    As we slide down doom’s slope,
    Don’t abandon all hope—
    Just hope that’s unrealistic.

  • If people really wanted to do something about climate change, they would be blowing up the offices of oil companies, assassinating business leaders and their political puppets. Instead, they occasionally go to rallies, hold up signs and think that’s enough. Moveon or some other group recently sent me an email about signing a petition to ‘Stop the Koch bros.’ as if a petition was all that would take to stop them. We are so far down the path away from any rational solution, only irrational acts are left to try. But that might cause trouble. And with NTE in the offering, there’s certainly no need to cause trouble. So get the low watt light bulbs and water the lawn with stored rain water unless that’s against the law. And try to take cover when whole fucking thing caves in.

  • Grant,

    Yes, we need more petitions…oh, wait…mebbe not, huh ?

    https://rt.com/usa/us-democracy-oligarchy-policy-512/

    Maybe we should start replying to those types of emails with a counter-request for donations to offset the cost of ‘supplies and logistical support’ (aka ammo, fuses, and maps)…oh, wait…DHS has put a serious crimp in the availability of the first of those.

    And try to take cover when whole fucking thing caves in.

    Reminds me of part of “The Greatest Story Ever Told”…

    Gideon come in with his eyes on the floor
    Says: Y’ain’t got a hinge, you can’t close the door
    Moses stood up a full six foot ten
    Says: You can’t close the door when the wall’s caved in

  • I don’t know what the right words, or the right language is, for how I’ve come to terms with NTE, but whatever it is, it’s something fierce and wild and smouldering and savage and bears no resemblance at all to the sort of bourgeois platitudes and privileged entitlement I hear from Harvey and Eisenstein and their kind, that’s something quite different, that gives me no power, or strength to face adversity, or the horror of all this, it’s like you guys seem to think that there’s some way that you can go on holiday together and that’ll help, and for me that’s just self-indulgence for rich people to play a game. Making a movie about it makes it even more fake and removed from any reality worth bothering with, doesn’t it ? I wonder how far this will go ? I mean, this sort of narcissism and reflexion, where we watch ourselves responding and then get the feedback and then watch ourselves some more..

    I think it’s quite ghastly. Like a reality tv thing, interviewing Christians asking how they feel about going into the arena to be fed to the lions, and they all smile and say how good they feel because they’ve come to terms with it all and it’s just great to be alive and centre stage…

    I really don’t want any part of it. My inner world and emotional responses don’t seem to work that way at all. Listening to Harvey makes me want to puke. He is a Christian, isn’t he ? Perhaps that’s what it is. Dunno.

  • An acquaintance of mine says, “I plan to milk this sucker for everything I can get.” In other words, knowing our demise is inevitable and his lifestyle is hastening it, he still intends to exploit the privileges he has gained no matter what the cost to other people, future generations, and other life forms.

    Another person I know says, “Well, it won’t happen in my lifetime, so I don’t care.” Of course, we know that was an assumption she couldn’t realistically make if she knew the evidence.

    These two selfish attitudes are widespread — I would guess that the vast majority of humans think in these terms. That is why the ensuing chaos will be much worse than any of us can imagine. The lizard-brained humans are running roughshod over everyone and everything else, and it doesn’t look like there will be anything to stop them.

  • Oh, you like minds and soulmates, you! Thank you for being and seeing.

    I grieve that this marvelous Earth is being killed. The killers stop at nothing. They are ruthless and demonic, and the array of their attacks – their variations on the theme – is
    nearly incomprehensible. Their raw power unbeatable.

    That’s why – while I agree with Grant that it beats letters and petitions – I no longer think there’s any point to “blowing up the offices of oil companies, assassinating business leaders and their political puppets.”

    I agree with Tom, too –
    “… no matter what choices we make, the entire system is insane and… there are no acceptable answers to any of it.”
    And nevermind “acceptable” – there are no effective solutions. The damage is already too great and, as if that weren’t enough, that evil radioactive genie is out of the bottle.

    There is certainly no point in being
    “… willing to jump off the bridge so that the empire collapses and maybe, just maybe, some of the other species will survive the coming, pretty much guaranteed, radiation you described?”
    No amount of human suicides will save this planet.

    SO, I too figure I’ll live out my days “until death comes and gets us.”
    And while I so appreciate the realism of Carolyn’s essay, I will not seek “hospice”.

    What I will be sure to do is to continue to immerse myself in nature. But I’ll be very selective about immersion in “art, poetry, music, and really good stories” as so much of that is part and parcel of the very culture that’s killing the planet.

    I AM full of gratitude for my life on this marvelous Earth. And I will – as I should always have been doing – “give from the depths of my soul all of the love I can muster to the earth and to every living being.”

    Thank you for some heart’s ease,
    Jude

  • Tom,

    No other way but industrial civilisation? But there are other ways. There are the ways of village life in Guinea, one of the world’s most underpopulated countries. And yet you call them poor. Please know that I’m just teasing, but notice that you perpetuate the terms of the “maw” of Empire, which has not captured these people, and so pronounces them poor. You live in the great plantation called the United States, possibly in a house whose every brick has been accounted for on a ledger. Because your life is legible to the State, you are called rich.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you grant that Guineans live close to the Earth, don’t foul their land, and live in the kind of tight-knit communities we once enjoyed, and that if we lived as they do, we would not be in this predicament, and therefore save your pity for those who need it, which is us. Or, you call them poor, as the UN does (even though the number of children they have makes them rich in their eyes), and perpetuate the sad spectacle of deracinated, alienated, and boxed in Westerners, with no escape from our jail cells, jaundiced, sickly, guiltily fussing over what we can put in our mouths, sending money and Médicins Sans Frontières so that, in the name of pity, we can count them, sort them and medicate them.

    Are we fucking confused, or what? 🙂

  • In a previous thread, PMB says: “I have also begun to wonder if the entire presentation is comparative to a PhD program while the audience barely got out of high school….how many in the audience really have enough foundation to even understand the basics of what Guy is talking about.”

    Scapegoat

    Most humans don’t have time or skill
    To grasp doom, and so they never will;
    But they’ll try to hold sway
    In our time-honored way:
    Finding people to torture and kill.

  • Dave Gardner is doing something

  • Carolyn

    I miss in your words the word “children”.
    By the way, children is word seldom mentioned on NBL. I wonder why.

    To me your message keeps on being somehow selfish. Only about us, adults. It is about our conflicts with NTHE. But considering that we have already lived maybe half life, or maybe more than that. You are clearly saying that everything ends with us.
    It is like in this world there are no children.
    Even being things as dire as they look, we cannot live out our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren out of the action related with “doing something”.

    I am doing something that probably is the only really effective thing I can do (to my level and limits). That is in general terms, giving guides to my children and grandchildren about relevant issues we are seeing, living or we are about to live, and how we can face and live them. Giving special attention to what is causing this. I know they will give special consideration to my message and words mainly because I am their father or grandfather. It is not the same than either hearing this message from a stranger, or giving it to a stranger.
    So to me, “doing something” means:
    -To provide awareness about what is happening, and that things may change drastically in the near term. Things in the future will not be as they have been so far. The world will change.
    -Saying that life is not “consume”. We can live with less. I do not press them to have more “stuff” as a symbol of success.
    -To insist on taking full care of children, and guiding them to become “good people” in the full meaning of the concept. They are the only way to make this world a better place, if there is any chance of that.
    -Telling them that we do not live to have success, and stuff, we live to become part of nature, as much as possible.
    -Inviting them to live in small towns, close to nature, and having their own vegetables, and some animals. To go back to land.
    This actions will not change the trend of the world, but they are one seed that may provide the basis for something different. My two cents as OZ says.

    In general terms, I have been trying to revert the trend that IC culture poses on us, to revert the mind setting. So they may be better prepared to face what is coming ahead, and they may be open to live with a smaller ecological footprint. This may be the basis for a new way of living. We have to start somehow.
    I believe that some humans, against all odds, will survive this crisis, and if for any reason one of them is one of my descendants, they will need a reference to understand that life-after have to be different, it will have to be based on other values.

  • Judy notes: That’s why – while I agree with Grant that it beats letters and petitions – I no longer think there’s any point to “blowing up the offices of oil companies, assassinating business leaders and their political puppets.”

    Oh there is no point, other than grim satisfaction. Violent outbursts now, while there is still time for it at least to be noticed before violent outbursts are the only remaining form of human communication left. But relax. Nothing is going to happen, least of all in the US. We sit still like good boys and girls until boots come down and we’ll all be very pleased to turn each other in for a few more crumbs from the billionaire’s table. Now roughly half way through the 34th year of the Reagan administration, I have zero illusions about any democracy-loving freedom fighters (or terrorists depending on your point of view) in this country. If you really want to get Americans riled up, don’t mention NTE, but screw with Black Friday and watch the sparks fly. As a nation, a culture and a group we deserve destruction. Too bad we’re going to take the whole damn planet down with us.

    I’m generally more relaxed, but I’ve been sick for almost a week now and cranky. It becomes so wearying hearing the ghosts of the liberal class telling us what we should or shouldn’t do or feel or think. Burn them all. Let no one sort them out.

  • Signs of increasing desperation to maintain control:

    States Moving to Penalize Home Solar Installations

    “Oklahoma’s legislature has now followed Arizona’s in authorizing a penalty to be charged people who install small solar arrays or wind turbines and connect them to the grid. This is happening as a result of a campaign by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an industry-financed group (backed heavily by the Koch Brothers, among others) that writes and distributes “model” legislation for state governments. This is the equivalent of the crew of the Titanic systematically smashing holes in lifeboats to make sure everybody does their best to save the ship.”

  • First time commenting on here-I just wanted to say thank you to Grant and Ulvfugl for your posts here that bring realism to the sometimes uncomfortable “newage” introspection amongst certain people that seem to be trying to create an industry out of the Holocaust of Life.

    To Professor McPherson- keep on at it.
    In Love and Rage…

  • Martin: Oh please. Here we go with the “if we all lived like (name your favorite marginalized or extinct tribal group)there’d be no problem” meme. This has been gone over at length in previous threads and the only conclusion is that it’s too late! We can’t just start living tribally – especially since there are now over 7 billion of us. i’m not confused about our reality – it sucks and it’s only going to get worse!

    I sincerely hope the few indigenous cultures that still manage to exist despite what industrial civilization has done to the biosphere and atmosphere survive, but i’m afraid climate change will end up degrading the most remote places like everywhere else despite their efforts (how are these people going to keep their climate from changing or the seas from rising?). Once the ability to grow food and eat non-tainted fish is removed it’s over.

    I wish it were otherwise, but unfortunately we’ve painted ourselves into a corner and there’s no way out of a ruined habitat for all the species of plants and animals we’ve come to rely on for our survival.

  • “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can still do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” Helen Keller

    Seems apropos here.

  • “…it’s something fierce and wild and smouldering and savage…”

    That language seems right to me.

    Learn to swim

  • By all means, do no harm (if that’s even possible) and do what you can. Examples of such, below:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-first-open-source-seeds [4 min. video]

    A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

    It’s inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone’s proprietary product.

    At an event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. In fact, any future plant that’s derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well.

    Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, helped organize the campaign. It’s an attempt to restore the practice of open sharing that was the rule among plant breeders when he entered the profession more than 20 years ago.

    “If other breeders asked for our materials, we would send them a packet of seed, and they would do the same for us,” he says. “That was a wonderful way to work, and that way of working is no longer with us.”

    These days, seeds are intellectual property. Some are patented as inventions. You need permission from the patent holder to use them, and you’re not supposed to harvest seeds for replanting the next year.

    Even university breeders operate under these rules. When Goldwin creates a new variety of onions, carrots or table beets, a technology-transfer arm of the university licenses it to seed companies.

    This brings in money that helps pay for Goldman’s work, but he still doesn’t like the consequences of restricting access to plant genes — what he calls germplasm. “If we don’t share germplasm and freely exchange it, then we will limit our ability to improve the crop,” he says.

    Sociologist Jack Kloppenburg, also at the University of Wisconsin, has been campaigning against seed patents for 30 years. His reasons go beyond
    Goldman’s.

    He says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. “The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put,” he says.

    Kloppenburg says one important goal for this initiative is simply to get people thinking and talking about how seeds are controlled. “It’s to open people’s minds,” he says. “It’s kind of a biological meme, you might say: Free seed! Seed that can be used by anyone!”

    The practical impact of the Open Source Seed Initiative on farmers and gardeners, however, may be limited. Even though anyone can use such seed, most people probably won’t be able to find it.

    The companies that dominate the seed business probably will keep selling their own proprietary varieties or hybrids. There’s more money to be made with those seeds.

    Most commercial vegetable seeds are hybrids, which come with a kind of built-in security lock; if you replant seed from a hybrid, you won’t get exactly the same kind of plant. (For this reason, some seed companies don’t bother getting patents on their hybrids.)

    John Shoenecker, director of intellectual property for the seed company HM Clause and the incoming president of the American Seed Trade Association, says his company may avoid using open source seed to breed new commercial varieties “because then we’d … have limited potential to recoup the investment.” That’s because the offspring of open source seeds would have to be shared as well, and any other seed company could immediately sell the same variety.

    The initiative is probably more significant for plant breeders, especially at universities. Goldman says he expects many plant breeders at universities to join the open source effort.
    Meanwhile, two small seed companies that specialize in selling to organic farmers — High Mowing Organic Seeds in Hardwick, Vt., and Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, Ore., are adding some open source seeds to their catalogs this year.

    _________

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/04/ecuador-will-have-referendum-on-fate-of.html

    Ecuador will have referendum on fate of Yasuní National Park after activists collect over 700,000 signatures

    In what is a major victory for environmentalists, campaigners with United for Yasuní have collected 727,947 signatures triggering a national referendum on whether or not oil drilling should proceed in three blocs of Yasuní National Park in Ecuador. The effort started last year after Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, announced he was killing the Yasuní-ITT initiative, which called on the international community to pay into a trust fund to keep the most remote portions of the park free from oil exploitation. Currently, Yasuní National Park is considered the likeliest candidate for the most biodiverse place on the planet and is home to several indigenous tribes who have chosen voluntary isolation.

    “Not only did we mobilize to get the needed signatures for the popular referendum, but we mobilized civil society for a greater call for a new development model that keeps oil in the ground and addresses the needs of its people,” said Esperanza Martinez, President of Acción Ecologica. “We proved that defending Yasuní is not just about monetary contributions, or political statements, but a mobilized civil society.”

    Activists needed to gather half a million signatures, but collected over 100,000 more to make sure the results wouldn’t be invalidated. But several hurdles remain for activists: signatures need to be verified by Ecuador’s National Electoral Council and then the referendum needs to be deemed constitutional by the Constitutional Court. If the referendum passes these two tests, the question of whether or not oil drilling should go ahead in the Yasuní’s ITT (Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini) blocs will go to the Ecuadorian public. Yet, victory isn’t assured. Although opinion polls show a hefty support in Ecuador for keeping the ITT blocs unexploited, debate will likely be fierce given Correa’s popularity and his pro-oil stance. [more]

    _____________

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/04/virginia-supreme-court-rules-for-u-va.html

    Virginia Supreme Court rules for U-Va. in global warming FOIA case – ‘This is a victory for science, public university faculty, and academic freedom’

    Unpublished research by university scientists is exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting an attempt by skeptics of global warming to view the work of a prominent climate researcher during his years at the University of Virginia.

    The ruling is the latest turn in the FOIA request filed in 2011 by Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute to obtain research and e-mails of former U-Va. professor Michael Mann.

    Mann left the university in 2005 and now works at Penn State University, where he published his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” about his theories on global warming and those who would deny it. Lawyers for U-Va. turned over about 1,000 documents to Marshall and ATI, led by former EPA attorney David Schnare, but withheld another 12,000 papers and e-mails, saying that work “of a propriety nature” was exempt under the state’s FOIA law.

    In 2012, Circuit Judge Paul Sheridan sided with U-Va., saying that Mann’s work was exempt and that the FOIA exemption arose “from the concept of academic freedom and from the interest in protecting research.” Marshall and ATI appealed. […]

    (Note: The Washington Post joined an amicus curiae brief in the case filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press supporting Marshall and the ATI.)

    Mann said after the ruling, “This is a victory for science, public university faculty, and academic freedom. We are grateful for the vigorous defense waged by the University of Virginia in protecting their faculty and the integrity of research and scholarship. Hopefully the ruling can serve as a precedent in other states confronting this same assault on public universities and their faculty.” [more]

    _____________

    Now I must go and do what I can in the garden (mostly removing weeds today). Good day everyone.

  • Tom,

    Here we go with what Camille Paglia memorably called testosterone flats. Count me out.

  • When I realized CC was irreversible, I felt compelled to act even more. To tackle our carbon footprint, we moved so that we were 7 minutes from our offices. And, it freed up 2 hours a day to enjoy even as the end draws closer. But, it places us 15 miles from a nuclear plant. Life is give and take, but I’d rather have the two hours a day at home with my family. I’ll take my chances on a quick exit when things get funky and enjoy today for what it is with two extra hours to enjoy.

  • Killing will not solve anything, only sign for which way the killers are headed-into the ground.
    When will people learn this?

  • @ Ozman

    Killing will not solve anything, only sign for which way the killers are headed-into the ground.
    When will people learn this?

    Typical dumb hippie dogma.

    Why do you think the white people have got Australia and the Aborigines lost it, Ozman ? Because the white people were better at killing.

    If the people who loved the Earth and their own future had been willing to fight and kill and give their lives, then we’d have avoided this NTE thing, but the only one who was, was Ted Kaczynsci, whom everyone said was a terrorist and a psycho and nobody else had the guts to follow that example did they.

    They all went the easy self-indulgent dumb hippy route, ‘Make love not war’, and look how well THAT’s worked out as a strategy, eh.

    They got all the benefits of the capitalist megamachine by closing their eyes, letting others do the killing for them.

    When will people learn this ?

    We are out of time, fella. No more time for learning anything Too late now.

    Why do you think the Feds backed down at Bundy’s the other day ? Because the opposition had GUNS and there’d have been a lot of killing if they’d have pushed any harder. It’s all about KILLING. If it was a bunch of unarmed hippies doing Occupy they’d have beaten the shit out of them.

    When will people learn THIS ? It’s all about power, which is basically the threat of violence, which is basically the threat of death.

    The only countries that remain independent of the US Empire are those with nuclear weapons, that can stand up to the aggression.

    Why does the Harper Gvt in Canada rip up the land to get the oil from the tar sands ? Because they CAN. If there was enough people there with guns who were willing to die to stop it, so that it was a major war zone, it’d be very different.

    Almost nobody has been willing to fight for the Earth, or even for their own future, everybody has joined in raping the planet to grab as much as they could for themselves. Now they all go extinct as a result.

    There was a CHOICE.

    Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd tried to save the whales by non-violent direct action risking their lives. If nobody had acted and whaling had continued, all the whales would be gone by now. Same re the CFCs and the Ozone Hole.

    People CHOSE to act.

    On other issues, people chose NOT to act, and they voted for people who brought is what we have now.

    The vast majority are self-serving and ignorant. The politicians and CEOs and key figures who make decisions are totally cowardly and irresponsible, and if they thought they were at risk of physical pain or getting prosecuted, they’d behave differently. They do their criminal acts because they KNOW they can get away with it.

  • There’s a very good interview with Paul Kingsnorth in the NYT. I remember finding out that Paul Kingsnorth had walked away from environmental activism, and thinking, “Finally, someone else who understands. I’m not alone.

    Of all the writers on world environmental stage, Kingsnorth’s thoughts resonate most deeply with me. Are we ever going to stop lying to each other and ourselves?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/magazine/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-he-feels-fine.html

    It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine

    “I had a lot of friends who were writing about climate change and doing a lot of good work on it,” he told me during a break from his festival duties. “I was just listening and looking at the facts and thinking: Wow, we are really screwed here. We are not going to stop this from happening.”

    The facts were indeed increasingly daunting. The first decade of the 21st century was shaping up to be the hottest in recorded history. In 2007, the Arctic sea ice shrank to a level not seen in centuries. That same year, the NASA climatologist James Hansen, who has been ringing the climate alarm since the 1980s, announced that in order to elude the most devastating consequences, we’d need to maintain carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a level of 350 parts per million. But we’d already surpassed 380, and the figure was rising. (It has since reached 400 p.p.m.) Animal and plant species, meanwhile, were dying out at a spectacular rate. Scientists were beginning to warn that human activity — greenhouse-gas emissions, urbanization, the global spread of invasive species — was driving the planet toward a “mass extinction” event, something that has occurred only five times since life emerged, 3.5 billion years ago.

    “Everything had gotten worse,” Kingsnorth said. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years, and every single thing had gotten worse. And I thought: I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit here saying: ‘Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we’ll save the world!’ I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! So what do I do?”

    Instead of trying to “save the earth,” Kingsnorth says, people should start talking about what is actually possible. Kingsnorth has admitted to an ex-activist’s cynicism about politics as well as to a worrying ambivalence about whether he even wants civilization, as it now operates, to prevail. But he insists that he isn’t opposed to political action, mass or otherwise, and that his indignations about environmental decline and industrial capitalism are, if anything, stronger than ever. Still, much of his recent writing has been devoted to fulminating against how environmentalism, in its crisis phase, draws adherents. Movements like Bill McKibben’s 350.org, for instance, might engage people, Kingsnorth told me, but they have no chance of stopping climate change. “I just wish there was a way to be more honest about that,” he went on, “because actually what McKibben’s doing, and what all these movements are doing, is selling people a false premise. They’re saying, ‘If we take these actions, we will be able to achieve this goal.’ And if you can’t, and you know that, then you’re lying to people. And those people . . . they’re going to feel despair.”

  • Over the last few days, stories about the Australian corporate plan to gut the heart of Borneo for its coal resources, along with their plan to dump millions of tonnes of dredging waste onto the Great Barrier Reef, have revitalized my interest in the operation of human organizations.

    It is intensely frustrating to those of us who clearly see what’s going on, are saddened and outraged by the devastation of the planet, yet have so very little leverage on the policies that drive it. The fact that individual values and morals have little influence on their operation seems to be a feature of organizations of every kind.

    John Steinbeck recognized this quality of organizations back in 1939, when he described banks this way in “The Grapes of Wrath”:

    “We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.”

    “Yes, but the bank is only made of men.”

    “No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”

    This inhuman quality seems to be endemic, at least to some degree, to virtually all formally structured organizations, whether they are banks, religions, political parties, governments, retail businesses, industrial corporations, energy corporations, and certainly police and military forces.

    This apparent universality makes it unreasonable to assign the blame for their loss of humanity simply to the greed or psychopathy of individuals. The phenomenon is far too widespread for it to be the result of individual pathology or moral failure.

    Instead, I propose that it stems from the fact that these organizations become organisms in their own right, structured around goals particular to the organization. As organizations are formalized, their goals and values become progressively more distant from those of the individual people that make them up. The values, goals and operation of these entities end up reflecting ours as little as ours reflect those of our constituent cells.

    At progressive levels of organization – from molecules to cells, human beings, social groups, structured organizations, nation-states and finally civilization as a whole – the operation of the entity at each level reflects its own needs, not those of its constituent entities.

    It’s time we recognized that the organizations that are wrecking the planet are fundamentally different from human beings. If we want to have any success at asserting humane values in this situation we must begin by recognizing this reality: our organizations are not us.

    If we persist in thinking like the foreclosed farmers in “The Grapes of Wrath” we will never be able to influence the monsters we have created – but do not control.

    Over the last decade, I’ve held a number of views on the cause of our predicament. I started off thinking that human beings are a broken species, a planetary pathology if you will.

    However, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea that we could have evolved as a broken species, when no other species appears to be broken. After I read Daniel Quinn’s book “Ishmael” I shifted to the view that it’s not that we’re flawed as a species, but that we’re telling ourselves a flawed “Story of the People” – a story that creates separation and exploitation.

    For a while I even played with the idea that the emergence of self-awareness was the culprit, since that’s what allows us to divide the universe into “Self” and “Other”

    However, even that didn’t seem adequate to explain what I saw as universal, historically continuous patterns of behavior going back to emergence of hominids. Quinn’s “bad story” hypothesis was further undermined when I encountered the anthropology of Marvin Harris. In his view our stories do not control or direct our situation, but arise from it as ways to explain what’s going on. I still believe his view is more or less correct.

    Then I encountered American ecologist H. T. Odum’s “Maximum Power Principle”, and started investigating the role that thermodynamics might play in shaping our behavior as a species. I’ve come to the conclusion that while physical laws may not completely govern individual behavior, they have a lot to say about our collective behavior – which is precisely where the problem lies.

    Reading about complex adaptive systems, self-organization and the emergence of hierarchies in both animate and inanimate contexts gave me more evidence that energy flows are central to any deep understanding of organization.

    Finally, reading about evolutionary psychology gave me a likely candidate for the mechanism by which physical laws are translated into human behavior.

    The upshot of all this investigation is that I have dropped any notion of human agency being the root cause of the mess we’re in. That led me to discard the idea that morality and blame have any bearing on what’s happening. It has been a humbling experience, and the transitions have been wrenching to say the least. My current view is that our situation is largely the product of forces beyond our conscious control. For me this explanation has more internal consistency and explains what I see happening in the world around me better than any others.

    This viewpoint is very hard for most people to see, let alone accept. We are all acculturated to believe strongly in human agency. In order to achieve more clarity on our situation, I think it is essential that we do whatever it takes to deprogram ourselves from that belief.

  • What we can do, the only thing that matters, is to leave the toxic industrial psychic energy system behind. A mental system of death traded for one of life.

    But who wants to live now? We have been habituated to death, fear, hate, division, separeation, exclusion, death. . What better excuse for fully expressing that death cult in cahoots with the men who physically orchestrate it than psychically sitting in the stillness of that choice and alliegance? Fine veil, I see right through it and I understand how fearful we have become and that to reach for life and feel that wholeness at this point can appear impossible, unwanted, dangerous.

    Just let nature be your guide. She is alive, living, sustaining you and still quite well.

    Lets die when it is our time, this premeditated psychic death is simply a byproduct of that we supposedly are against, artificially induced death, fabricated by human insanity.

    Pawn of death or gift of life?

    The choice is yours. That choice is all you can and will ever need to do.

  • @BTD

    Well, I’m honored to have inspired your creativity and produce one of your lovely poem.

    Oddly enough I’m a capricorn (as if that really means anything), but more oddly my role in life (whether at home, work or play) has been scapegoat. Speaking my truth and erecting boundaries to keep myself safe from others usually enrages others.

    @Paul

    Yes that piece is great. Paul, author of the Dark Ecology piece gets it, more than many others. I wonder how many NYT readers will now be booking a flight to “experience” these events.

    @Godofredo

    Now come on Guy be honest. Children are mentioned here quite frequently so how can you can they are not written about. What I speak of is that you shouldn’t have any if you really love them.

    I know, I know you think the future is children and I’ve just learned to agree to disagree with you regarding the future. We’ve been above 400ppm every day in April, sometimes hitting 405 or 402 if you look at the Keeling Curve.

    As Tom says Climate Change knows no boundaries. It will hit all over and even relocating to the Southern Hemisphere only gives you more time to die horribly. I still don’t understand how one can encourage people to have children when the wolf is at the door and never will get it.

    @Wildwoman

    From previous thread.

    I agree things will speed up like the soccer ball Guy talks about in his talk. Worse, much, much worse than AIDS.

    I continue to bring up AIDS (and if I was a survivor of Auschwitz I’d bring that up) as an analogy. Let them know that it’s silly to say things such as “I’ll ride it out to the end” or “I want to see the end of the movie.” Silly because they know not what they speak. When they can’t get to the internet and they are digging for turnips a la Scarlet O’Hara (of someone in the third world) they might not be so sure in their assumptions.

    About 15 years ago I was embarking on changing careers. I went back to school to obtain credits needed to apply for a Masters/PhD in Psychology. I was/am good at reading people and listening, a skill most “experts” and “professionals” do not have.

    During one class we were discussing Millgram and his experiment about authority. I was 45 then with a class of 18-20 year olds and an orthodox Jewish woman professor who favored the women over me in class. The discussion centered around what would you do in the situation Millgram’s participants were in.

    The way the question was asked to the class wasn’t very well done, but everyone raised their hands when asked if they would stand up to authority. Everyone that is except for me. One of only three males in a class of 25, one of two queers, the only one over 20.

    I spoke up and said I don’t really know how I’d behave. First I said that I would like to believe I would stand up, but like Winston Smith in 1984 I don’t know how I’d react if someone held a gun on me. I added that I don’t believe the rest of the class knew either.

    Well, call a person who thinks they are heroes a coward and they’ll be on you like white on rice. Chaos ensued as everyone couldn’t wait to let me know what for. How could I say that about them? Who the hell was I.

    Even that “lovely” progressive liberal professor who was seeing patients found my remarks offensive. This woman actually said in class that she never takes a vacation because he patients needed her all the time. And she was supposed to be helping them become fully functioning adults.

    For the most part I don’t think people get it. They’d rather hear Andrew Harvey (I’ve attended one of his workshops. He knows whats going on only he’s a desperate as Ehrlich and Beckworth to keep things going. Only in a more “loving” world. In the end I rejected him as well as Mass Eisenstein).

    About Beckworth

    Since the interview with Guy I’ve begun to wonder about this guy. His recent videos have me moving him more to the wacky side of the line. His recent inability to understand why massive number of people will die (let’s put NTE aside for the moment) would result from a temperature rise of 4C and a decrease in the food supply stuns me. This guy needs to have it diagrammed on a blueprint, like a Rube Goldberg invention, to see how it all connects up.

    What should be expected from an engineer-physicist who had children and a plan to use gasoline and milk trucks filled with particulates to spray the sky 24/7 until we come up with more sustainable types of energy.

    It’s like Robert Scribbler who gets it and then shifts into building more toys to keep the game going.

    Went to Guy’s presentation in NYC this week so I got to see both sides of the isle. Speak about being nicer to each and as soon as the talk is over people are all rushing to mother’s teats like piglets to get their feed with little concern for the runt next to them. Will share my thoughts on this experience later.

    @Grant

    Neither a liberal nor a conservative will I be.

    Gail had a link to an interview with Noam Chomsky on another site. It led me to a book called “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.” Written by a writer from the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank. Yet the liberals are always throwing stones at the conservatives so why shouldn’t the conservatives have the same right.

    Where does Chomsky, Amy Goodman, Glen Greenwald, and Michael Moore and others invest all the money they make (tons and tons) and why are they even making so much money? Why not make less and hire a person. Chomsky invests in the beasts he’s always railing against. When questioned he got snarky and said, “Should I live in a cabin?”

    It would appear that B9K9 is right even the left knows it.

  • @ Paul Chefurka

    Have you never read MARX ?

    Have you never read how guys sat down in coffee shops and consciously designed the LIMITED COMPANY ?

    Share the profits, avoid all the risks ? People thought all this stuff through two hundred years ago and deliberately MADE it this way, nothing to do with weird laws or evolutionary psychology, everything to do with some people being very cunning and greedy and CAPITALISM.

    All bureaucracies are about avoiding responsibility. Every large organisation shuffles the blame onto someone else in some other department. Nothing to do with them being ‘organisms’, everything to do with human nature.

    You’re always trying to uncover some ever so clever underlying principles that will let you off the hook for being responsible and having free will.

  • Yes, I’ve read Marx. I believe Marx was just as acculturated as everyone else, and simply saw what he expected to see. That we continue to share that same acculturation today, in the face of so much new scientific evidence accumulated since Marx wrote, speaks directly to the intransigence of human nature.

  • “that our situation is largely the product of forces beyond our conscious control”
    a type of Fatalism?
    Never worked for me.

  • “That we continue to share that same acculturation today, in the face of so much new scientific evidence accumulated since Marx wrote, speaks directly to the intransigence of human nature.”

    That this is so hadn’t occurred to me. The intransigence of the system of thought (and how it takes advantage of human nature, perhaps) is what I would have ascribed intransigence to. Little did I know.

    PMB

    “Third World” covers a lot of territory. I see no reason to disagree with Guy’s statement here, something to the effect that around two billion people on Earth are relatively self sufficient and IC independent. That large number fits into the category of third world, and doesn’t deserve to be disparaged as desperately “digging for turnips.” That way of thinking is part of the propaganda war that is indeed eviscerating third world independence.

    Also, I’m open to learning more about Amy Goodman, Chomsky and the others. Something about Chomsky seems “untrue,” and I can see reason to wonder about Greenwald, but I still don’t quite get how Amy deserves approbation. I’m often very slow to catch on to these things. But basically, I’m glad they’re there, and think they’re a plus to resistance.

    TIAA

    Glad to hear from you!

  • Oh, great. Now Guy is flying (presumably) off to Ecuador after his recent trip to Northern Ontario. It’s a good thing that it’s already too late to do anything about all of this fossil fuel consumption, eh?

    Hey Guy, do the world a favor and stay home. Your carbon footprint is embarrassing.

  • Hey Guy.

    I Double Dare you to publicly invite Dr. James Hansen to a debate on your ridiculous NTE hypothesis, in which you predict human extinction within a couple or three decades.

    Go on, convince an actual climate scientist that your seriously heavy carbon footprint is okay because we’re all DOOMED.

  • He DOUBLE DARED you, Guy. Now you HAVE to do it.
    (what, are you 12 Jimmy)

  • @James R. Martin,

    Careful son, you are swimming in deep water. It can not be “already too late” and “embarrassing” you will have to pick one.

    Trying to make the subject about Guy when every reader knows is about climate data that is changing at an exponential rate shows that you are a troll, probably part of the $billion FUD industry. Discuss the data or STFU.

  • PMB, the conservatives do have the same right, and have been exercising it since before there WAS a philosophy called “liberalism.”

    And ever SINCE that philosophy developed, conservatives have been screaming that their opponents are Satanists, that their opponents are “faggots”, or “cultural Marxists”, or “Communists”, or “socialists”, etc.

    Every single conservative talk radio show, or television show, or blog, cannot even mention the word “liberal” without bringing up the “nanny state” or “the coming global One World Government.”

    Your presentation of the situation is inaccurate. Conservatives have always had the right to throw stones, which they have enthusiastically exercised. The problem is they don’t perceive themselves as stone-throwing because they think it’s the truth, that they know their opponents better than their opponents do. So when liberals attack conservatives in response to what conservatives have been doing for hundreds of years, suddenly guys like you complain.

    You, and conservatives in general, sound like me as a kid: I used to hit my brother too hard as a kid, and I thought my parents were dominating me for no reason when they made me cut it out.

    This wasn’t because I actively wanted to hurt my brother, but because I had somehow gotten it into my head that he didn’t actually have feelings I could hurt or was obligated to respect.

  • @Modern Money Mechanics

    “It can not be “already too late” and “embarrassing” you will have to pick one.”

    I was rather obviously being sarcastic when I said “It’s a good thing that it’s already too late”.

    You say “shows that you are a troll, probably part of the $billion FUD industry.”

    Actually, I know that the situation is very dire. And I know everything is at serious risk — which is why I want to discourage giving up on efforts at addressing the problem. When McPherson and his ilk (a tiny minority to say the least!) encourage us to buy into his NTE hypothesis, he’s throwing a wet blanket on all efforts for positive transformation (if we are to define that as attempting to actually address the crisis through emissions reductions and the sorts of efforts Albert Bates recommends).

    http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2014/03/climate-activists-nuclear-deniers.html#gpluscomments

  • Sorry, the info I intended to provide with that link was in the Comments section following Bates’ blog post. It is in Bates’ comments there that an approach beyond mere emissions reduction is addressed. And it isn’t exactly “geoengineering” in the typical sense.

    And yes, I realize that there would have to be a massive social and cultural transformation in a short time if we were to move off the course we’re on, which does lead toward more and more extinction. Such a change may be unlikely, even very unlikely. But it is not impossible, and so it is worth a try.

  • The last thing South America needs is a bunch of White entitled Americans showing up and wanting to consume the few remaining resources American corporations have not yet extracted.

  • PMB,

    We did not get off on the right foot, did we? And I don’t expect fences will be mended. The internet is too hazardous, and I am not good at “only connect.” So you are a scapegoat? I’m no Azazel, that’s for sure. You’ll remember I was made the object of abuse recently, deservedly, but rather extreme, I thought. What did you do? Said you were also offended at what I’d said. But I’m misunderstanding you, right? And making you a scapegoat.

    But you’re not a liberal, you say. I took you for a progressive, and a clanking stereotypical one, too. Don’t get offended. Please. This is just a conversation that we might have after a couple of beers. You misrepresent yourself. I misrepresent myself. Assumptions are made … But what I’m having a hard time understanding is, why do you think you’re a good listener?

    I let you down over those questions I declined to answer. I did. I went back and looked at your comment. I found it too hostile and abandoned the idea of taking it further. More misunderstanding. This might help: all that I said about Guy and Scott and Michael was all meta-communication. I’m forced to spell it out for you. I’m not Guy’s acolyte. I’m not his puppy dog. That was the message.

    You remind me a lot of Arthur Silber.

  • Ahhhhh! The sweet slap of REALITY! Thanks, ulvfugl. There’s not much I can count on any more, but you seem to always come through. 🙂

    I only made it through half the ‘Conversation’ video before going into hyperglycemic shock! Carolyn and Andrew reminded me of how therapists readjust people’s minds to fit a sick society, leaving them as sick as ever. Or worse!

    Personally, I think it would be nice to see mass conversion and the sudden onset of ‘Universal Love Fest Syndrome’. But I don’t see people that way. To me there are basically two kinds of people, those that live consciously and those who don’t. Those who live consciously are a tiny minority. The rest, though they had potential, even probability, allowed themselves to be manipulated onto a lower plane of existence from which there could well be no redemption. No sudden embracing of warm and fuzzy feelings will counteract their karma that allowed the slaughter and starvation of millions upon millions of their fellow humans not to mention the destruction of the planet.

    REPENT AND BE SAVED, ASSHOLES!

  • Pettifogging, equivocation and tergiversation to justify control and dominance through force, now that resources depletion increasingly erodes the basis of former dominance through profligacy in the time of (unrecognised finite) abundance:

    Radiolab:

    “This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.”

    60 Words

  • You know, what the heck. Since we’re toast, it can’t hurt to come up with a few crazy ideas and ridiculous thoughts. No one’s gonna listen to them anyway, and they’re probably more impractical than even I give them credit for being.

    And besides, this (and most) threads around here need a little levity.

    So, in the spirit of a hearty what the hell, here we go. Feel free to blow past and read the next response, of course. This one is about some screwball geoengineering ideas, so if such isn’t your cup of tea, at least ya been warned.

    Okay. So. It seems to me there are two basic things that would have to happen to give the living systems on this planet a chance. And I’m talking the living systems. As George Carlin pointed out, the planet will be fine. The question is whether there will be anything living on it!

    First, the Arctic has to be cooled down. Won’t do much good if we solve everything else if the methane just keeps on bubbling up, now will it?

    Suggested, potential, screwball, pie-in-the-sky idea. We’ve got all these nuclear powered submarines roaming about. They don’t do a whole lot except try to be really quiet. And, we certainly hope the hell we never have to use them for what they were designed for, now do we?

    So, why not take one of em, remove about half the missles, and build a periscope device hooked up to a compressor inside the empty tubes. Send it up to the Arctic, raise one of the periscopes, turn on the compressor, and have the contraption blast atomized sea water into the air.

    In theory you’d create low level, artificial clouds. Yes, yes, clouds can both retain heat and reflect sunlight. If you get the droplet size, and elevation, just right, ya might be able to get the albedo to be greater than the retention. And if ya screw up and it makes things worse, ya can just pull down the periscope and go on hunting enemy subs. But if it actually helps, well, ya can raise a few more periscopes, and if it really helps, you can outfit more subs. And the taxpayer gets a bonus – a deterrent AND a climate assist.

    Second, ya got to pull green house gases down out of the atmosphere, and stick em back down in the ground.

    Tall order, that. Won’t do much good to run machines that emit carbon dioxide if the whole point is to remove carbon dioxide, now will it? Ya might hook some solar panels or windmills up to a contraption that pulls down the stuff, but we’re talking a LOT of carbon dioxide (and other nasties too). A whole lot.

    Well, then, all those nuclear power plants out there you don’t like much? I imagine you probably like them about as much as you like those nuclear submarines, right? It’s just like the subs – get your money’s worth.

    Hook one of em up to a contraption that vacuums the air and separates out the nasties. Then hook that contraption up to a processing plant that converts the nasties into carbonate bricks. Stick the bricks on a train (powered by that nuke plant you still don’t like) and send the bricks off to one of the gazillion open pit mines we’ve dug over the decades. We dug it up. Now fill it back up.

    And if all that don’t work? Just hook the nuke plant back up to the grid like it was before, then go back to your cabana and mix another one of those silly umbrella drinks. And if it does work, then hook another nuke plant up to that silly contraption.

    And, at this point, I think you get the basic idea. Crazy ideas, and worth a laugh, but I ain’t so sure the thermodynamics wouldn’t, uh, actually work. 🙂

  • Hello, folks. Checking in, briefly.

    To Modern Money Mechanics in the last thread, thanks for posting those Michael Rupert videos. Nice sendoff for a good man.

    The damned seismic survey people have quit flying helicopters 20 feet over the treetops at all hours, running stomper trucks and setting off explosions. The wells are being drilled and the CO2 is flowing. This is known as progress.

    I spent yesterday chasing off tree poachers.

    I got to spend a peaceful day today without land molesters swarming on all sides.

    It’s been the mildest winter here at 6600 feet since I’ve lived here, the mildest I’ve experienced since I lived in Portland. The reservoirs are fairly full, we had little snow (it was too warm), but a reasonable amount of rain. The mountains got some snow, so it looks like we will have enough water for this year at least.

    That is where I am at, now. One day at a time, one year at a time.

    Be gentle with one another.

  • @ P Chefurka

    Yes, I’ve read Marx. I believe Marx was just as acculturated as everyone else, and simply saw what he expected to see. That we continue to share that same acculturation today, in the face of so much new scientific evidence accumulated since Marx wrote, speaks directly to the intransigence of human nature.

    And you also believe

    The upshot of all this investigation is that I have dropped any notion of human agency being the root cause of the mess we’re in. That led me to discard the idea that morality and blame have any bearing on what’s happening. It has been a humbling experience, and the transitions have been wrenching to say the least. My current view is that our situation is largely the product of forces beyond our conscious control. For me this explanation has more internal consistency and explains what I see happening in the world around me better than any others.

    As this is all demonstrably completely false, wrong, and nonsense, there’s no reason to take anything that you believe seriously, is there, Paul.

    You’re just another crank with another crackpot theory. You’ve got a nice cosy job with the Canadian Gvt and you need some way to justify and rationalise your position.

    There’s absolutely no need to invoke thermodynamics or organisations as organisms or lack of free will or anything else.

    The Australian corporate plan to gut the heart of Borneo for its coal resources, along with their plan to dump millions of tonnes of dredging waste onto the Great Barrier Reef is CAPITALISM, a product of human agency, working exactly the way it was intended to work.

    This has nothing to do with ‘unconscious forces’. Individuals decided to make those investments, as calculated gambles, which will bring them a profit.

    That’s human free will operating. If they decide not to go ahead, again, that will be human agency and human free will operating.

    All of this will be taking place within legal and political structures which humans have consciously created and developed over the last couple of centuries or so, all the result of human agency and free will.

    Capitalism deliberately designs its structures to absolve individuals of responsibility. The people with the cash to invest don’t want to lose it and they don’t want to get covered in crap from whatever gets done making it grow, and they don’t want the blood splashing on their boots. So they design the machinery and pay people to make certain that all the risky stuff and the messy stuff stays well clear and when things go wrong other people take the rap.

    Why do you think CEOs get paid such outrageous amounts ? It’s because, legally, they are supposed to be the guys where the buck stops, they are supposed to carry the final responsibility when stuff goes wrong.

    So, in return, they can demand a big cut of the loot to compensate for the risks they take. That’s why the pay has to be high because not many people want to take those risks. Like the chief exec of BP re the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, or Jamie Dimon.

    Insurance companies cover the costs, lawyers fight the cases, everybody passes the parcel to someone else. It’s all been consciously thought through and designed to be that way by human free will and human agency.

    This has nothing to do with your loonie theories, or with science, for that matter. It was well understood by Marx and Engels, and all that has happened since is that corporations have got much better at their tricks, and laws have been fixed so that it’s easier for corporations to operate and get away with anything they want to do. Grab the profits, dump the pollution and any other downside, the externalities, onto everybody else. If necessary, go bankrupt and start up under a different name.

    All of this is human agency at work, making fat greedy bankers richer, turning nature into money. Easy to understand, doesn’t need any strange new theories from Chefurka or to abandon a basic common sense understanding of free will.

    Of course, the workers at the bottom of the heap don’t like it much, because they get brutally exploited, but the Chefurkas and the rest of the bourgeoisie are easily bought off because they get a secure comfortable life, and everyone shares in the distributed wealth, just as everyone shares in the crime, just as everyone refuses to acknowledge any responsibility and pretends it has nothing to do with them…

    After all, all money is blood money… if you want to follow the trail… but then, we’re all such nice civilised people aren’t we, we don’t want to see the dead babies or the weeping mothers, or the bloody vicious crimes committed in our name so we can have crap in the shops and planes in the sky.

    All a bit too uncomfortable and troubling. So Chefurka comes up with a cute little bullshit pseudo-intellectual story that makes it all go away so he can have his peace of mind.

    @ James R. Martin

    Still doing the same infantile trolling you were doing more than a year ago having learned nothing at all. Some smart fellow you are.

    What’s Hansen got to offer ? Nuclear power stations and a carbon tax and walking about with a placard on the weekend outside the Whitehouse.
    Are we supposed to find that inspiring ?

  • Templar,

    You lost me at periscope. Submarines already have periscopes. They are not tubes through which air can be blown. Otherwise they would be snorkels.

    But I agree about the levity. This word never fails to arouse in me a smile. A smile with eyes downcast, but still a smile. In a highly critical letter that I wrote to a manager of mine, just before I leapt lest I was pushed, I used the word thinking it meant “gravitas.”

    It’s a long way down.

  • Hallo Martin,

    Yes, a bit of levity just can’t hurt, I figure. And yeah, it’s a long way down. I prefer to envision myself as Wile E. Coyote, hurtling towards the canyon floor, flashing a “This is Really Gonna Hurt” sign at the audience 😀

    Anywho, mebbe didn’t get the periscope idea out right. Not talking about the one on the sub already. Talking about building a new device that fits in the old missile tube. It has to behave “like” a periscope, in that it can be raised and lowered. At it’s bottom it’d have a compressor, in the middle holes that would pull in sea water, and at it’s top a nozzle to blast the sea water into fine mist – aka, clouds.

    🙂

  • PMB writes “Neither a liberal nor a conservative will I be.” And then proceeds to reproduce some trite conservative talking points in a slow circling yawn of nonsense.

    James R. Martin’s laughable posts only show how little understanding is going on from his narrow windowless cell. There’s no time left to waste holding the hands of the deniers, no time to concern ourselves with assuaging your ego. I double dare you to spend the rest of your days over at 350.org where climate change is a ‘winnable fight” if only everyone pulls together and gives it their hardest American try. Wheee!!

  • It’s the 19th here, so I can comment again.

    Yes, the periscope thing was a gag so I could get the snorkel bit in. I realise you would retrofit something.

    How do clouds form? Not from mist close to the ground that travels holus bolus upwards to the empyrean. And no fine mist from nozzles, either. Consider: a really fine mist is made these days, admittedly in small quantities, everywhere from Dubai hotel lobbies to Thai massage parlours, if they aren’t the same thing. I mean with a piezo-electric crystal that vibrates at the surface of a reservoir of water. The force impinges all at once on the surface, and thus the resultant microscopic beads of water are uniform. There is no realistic prospect of persuading the fog to rise upwards. But, perhaps clouds are unnecessary for our purposes: generating a dense freezing fog clear across the Arctic should be enough to restore albedo. Arrays of piezo-electric crystals, powered by the submarines. I can almost see it now. 🙂

  • @Grant Schreiber in Chicagoland… couldn’t have said it better myself! No matter what we do at this point (350.org, recycling, etc)… we’ve cooked our goose. With that said, I’ll continue cycling my ten miles to work each day instead of driving my Honda. But still, I fear we’ve long ago crossed the point of no return. 🙁

  • Notice how it’s always people from the “Five Eyes” countries (Rich, White, English speaking, Most guilty) who are pushing intentional Geo-engineering to fix our unintentional Geo-engineering?

  • And…it just rolled over to the 19th here now too.

    Martin, I like the way you’re thinkin. And does it matter whether we call em low level clouds or fog? And can you imagine what sort of spray would come out of a nozzle backed up by a nuke? A fine mist, well, er, ah, yes. Mebbe a bit more than just fine and mist, eh?

    And yes, the whole thing is crazy, but it just might work. John Latham and Stephen Salter have done a bit with marine cloud brightening. But those autonomous catamarans they suggest?? They’d last about 2.67 microseconds in the Arctic. No, gonna need the big guns for that.

    Anywho, the fun part would be you could test it without having to commit too much. Just see if the idea is viable. Might even be kinda fun for some of our submariners 😉

  • Apneaman,

    Yeah, all you say is true, and honestly more than a bit poignant. I didn’t realize my own role in this until around 2008 or so, far too late to do anything other than come up with crazy schemes to try to undo the sins of my father and grandfather 🙁

  • When the grocery stores fail to function, we will remember what all life on this planet is doing; trying to get enough energy to continue on without spending too much to get it. We will remember that all that energy comes from the sun and sunshine is diffuse and every other living thing wants some too. We will remember that most of those organisms will fail to get enough energy and will cease to live on as has been the case for 4,500 million years. The losers didn’t reproduce. We will remember that since we can’t make use of direct sunshine, we must eat something that can. What makes a winner?

    We will have quite a lot to think about. Should we hunt and gather it, grow it, steal it, or control someone else to get it for us? Stealing it and getting someone else to get it for us gives the best EROEI. The story of history; scarce energy. Industrial civilization was just a flash in the pan. We will remember all this. We will remember our personal EROEI…for a while, like it or not.

    I’m trying to tell it like it is. I grow stuff for those who don’t. It isn’t easy and is getting more difficult. I use lots of fuel, electricity, plastic, chemicals, fertilizer, rubber, metals, wood and water. I use the whole system. Should I stop?

  • Latest Rant! Financial WWIII

    Over 160 Listens already!

    Also, the Extinction Rant is over 600 Listens. If you missed it, listen here

    RE

  • ulvfugl

    “Why do you think the white people have got Australia and the Aborigines lost it, Ozman? Because the white people were better at killing.

    If the people who loved the Earth and their own future had been willing to fight and kill and give their lives, then….”

    Not sure if this is the same ulvfugl, or a stand in, but anyway….

    If you are asking the question, you miss the facts…Indigenous Australians, in some remoter locations still ‘have’ their land. My view is, short of NTHE, they will in time get it all back, but no question have been changed in the intervening ‘loss’ period.

    Also it is incorrect to posit no resistance on their part. Many clans fought for their children, culture and land very courageously, and lost their lives, were enslaved, or scattered to other ‘country’. Superior weaponry, and numbers, plus diseases did the trick…..for now. Your framing of no resistance is troubling as it speaks of not knowing some of the simple basic history-available on the internet as is pretty easy to find.

    ‘Pemulwuy’

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

    “Pemulwuy (aka Pimbloy, Pemulvoy, Pemulwoy, Pemulwye,) (c1750 – 1802) was an Aboriginal Australian man born around 1750 in the area of Botany Bay in New South Wales. He is noted for his resistance to the European settlement of Australia which began with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.[1] He is believed to have been a member of the Bidjigal (Bediagal) clan of the Eora people…..

    Resistance
    Pemulwuy persuaded the Eora, Dharug and Tharawal people to join his campaign against the newcomers. From 1792 Pemulwuy led raids on settlers from Parramatta, Georges River, Prospect, Toongabbie, Brickfield and Hawkesbury River.[citation needed] His most common tactic was to burn crops and kill livestock.

    Captain Paterson sent a search party to find him but was unsuccessful.

    In May 1795, Pemulwuy or one of his followers speared a convict near present-day Chippendale.
    Encounter with Black Caesar

    In December 1795, Pemulwuy and his warriors attacked a work party at Botany Bay which included Black Caesar. Caesar managed to crack Pemulwuy’s skull and many thought he had killed him, but the warrior survived and escaped.

    Battle of Parramatta Date: March 1797
    Location: Parramatta, New South Wales
    Result European victory, capture of Pemulwuy
    Belligerents
    British soldiers
    European settlers Aboriginal Australians
    Commanders and leaders
    Pemulwuy
    Strength
    100 (est.)[9]
    Casualties and losses
    50 killed (est.)

    In March 1797, Pemulwuy led a group of aboriginal warriors, estimated to be at least 100, in an attack on a government farm at Toongabbie.”

    So much for not resisting, as you presume.

    Why characterise stuff I write as Hippy guff ?

    Your attack seems motivated by emotion rather than anything very honourable. Most here can probably see that too. How did I hurt your feelings? If I did so, please accept my apology.

    Best leave it there, you are moody at present – try some mint tea. Cleanses the Liver.

    Carolyn

    This is a well deserved topic, what can be done?
    My old high-school football coach had a saying, fix up your own backyard before pointing at others, and he said ‘keep trying’.
    Yes, homilies for sure, but looking at the immediate environment and the life around one is a good focus. So some energy towards being where we are is correct if we want to ‘help’ the dire situation.

    For me I prefer the, ‘Never give up, Never surrender’ route:

    Only problem is 13 seconds is not much time!

    ‘The Science of Overpopulation’

    How many will the Earth take?

  • We are all acculturated to believe strongly in human agency.

    It is not culture, it is the delusion of an individual, separate, independent “I”, which is associated with the concept of “”I” am the “doer””. Yet from millennia ago (as in Bhagavad Gita, 5:8-9) to recent times (as by Meister Eckhart and Brother Lawrence) Reality has been pointed out to exclude human agency.

  • We are all acculturated to believe strongly in human agency.

    It is not culture, it is the delusion of an individual, separate, independent “I”, which is associated with the concept of “”I” am the “doer””. Yet from millennia ago (as in Bhagavad Gita, 5:8-9) to recent times (as by Meister Eckhart and Brother Lawrence) Reality has been pointed out to exclude human agency.

  • https://robertscribbler.com/2014/04/18/heavy-early-season-blow-to-arctic-ice-cap-powerful-warm-storm-disintegrates-barents-sea-ice/

    Heavy, Early-Season Blow to Arctic Ice Cap: Powerful, Warm Storm Disintegrates Barents Sea Ice

    A vast swath of sea ice that painstakingly formed as somewhat cooler conditions had finally settled in near Svalbard and Frans Joseph Land in the Barents Sea was shattered yesterday as a powerful, heat-laden Arctic cyclone screamed up out of a rapidly warming extreme North Atlantic.

    The storm originated west of the Norway coastline where, in recent years, a repository of exceptionally warm water has collected. This near-Arctic and Barents Sea warm pool has resulted in numerous effects including a forced recession of sea ice by hundreds of miles during winter time as well as providing impetus for various anomalous heat waves in Scandinavia in recent years.

    This time, the heat pool was the genesis for a powerful storm that delivered an intense package of early season warmth to a section of sea ice drifting in the North Barents Sea region.

    Now, today, on April 18, we can see that in the aftermath of this powerful Arctic Cyclone there is very little contiguous sea ice left. What remains is what in sea ice parlance can be termed nilas — very thin and diffuse ice of 0-10 centimeters in thickness. Note that the entire 250 mile zone is completely involved in this very visible ice loss and that such losses continue on past Frans Joseph Land and into the Kara Sea. [read the rest, see the pics from NASA, check out the graph of Arctic ice extent compared to previous years]

    TemplarMyst: thanks for the laugh (as if everything else, like the jet stream, will remain stationary so your manufactured clouds will have some effect . . .)

  • I don’t do Facebook or Twitter; I avoid SoundCloud as much as possible. A link to an mp3 is much less proprietary.

  • @ Ozman

    Your framing of no resistance is troubling…

    Your inability to read what I said is troubling.

    When did I ‘posit no resistance’ ? I wrote that the white people were better at killing.

    @ Robin Datta

    Yet from millennia ago (as in Bhagavad Gita, 5:8-9) to recent times (as by Meister Eckhart and Brother Lawrence) Reality has been pointed out to exclude human agency.

    So who wrote that stuff and had those ideas ? Non humans ?

  • Rippers

    The bulldozer and chainsaw
    Give humans a really awesome paw.
    But if our hearts can’t get a grip,
    we’ll continue to rip
    ’till there’s nothing around left to gnaw!

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/16/killing_natures_defenders_study_finds_global

  • CAPITALISM

    Capitalism is an invincible giant that shows up everywhere with a huge hard on dripping puss, forcing everyone to kneel and kiss it.

    Most people push forward, they don’t want to miss it!

    But what’s producing the puss
    isn’t causing a fuss.

    So I say with glee: capitalists are all pre…gold plated piles of shit!

  • @Tom

    Well, it was worth a giggle anyway. Still though, it might be fun to give it a try. Would keep some folks who might otherwise cause more mischief occupied…

    And also, yeah, there are all sorts of things that argue we ought to just sip on those umbrella drinks (or alternatively try to behave in a more moral fashion, though it seems agreed that won’t make any real difference either).

    I’m just daydreaming on the deck of the Titanic…

  • ulvfugl,

    Paul’s comment is terrific — until he mentions thermodynamics. I was stoned once at a house party, getting carried away, until my friend Benno said to me, “If you mention Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle one more time …”

    The intriguing part of Paul’s get-out clause is that it provides an escape hatch from hatin’ on your fellow man. Now, I’m always happy, when confronted with a fresh idea like this, to see if I can wear it, and walking away one midsummer morning from one more thing — misanthropy — in a well-tailored Paul Chefurka suit and tie does sound enticing.

    It’s just, what would it look like, in any life other than one of privileged seclusion, in a monastery or in your estate in Warwickshire? Here where I live, it’s dogshit, dog ends, dogs, shitty shops and cars, cars, cars.

    John Fowles’s The Aristos, written when he was quite young, and so, presumably, either incredibly right or incredibly wrong, but I don’t know which yet, contains a passage that bears on this, I think. I’ll have to paraphrase.

    “We humans exist at the intersection of many opposite tensions. But instead of making an accommodation with this, we are instead like a man in prison filing through massive iron bars to get to a blue sky in which he cannot possibly live, while all the while behind him, his cell awaits to be properly lived in.”

    I can’t live in Paul’s blue sky yet.

  • Martin, I’m finding out that it’s entirely possible to describe my entire hypothesis without mentioning 2LoT once. I’m heading in that direction, as a matter of fact. You’re right, it has nothing to say about day-to-day life. Kind of how understanding the theory of gravity doesn’t reduce the dangers of a hard fall.

    The only difference this hypothesis has made in my daily life is the one you describe – the loss of misanthropy and blame. That’s quite enough as far as I’m concerned.

  • “Loss of Misanthropy and Blame”-PC

    I never had misanthropy issues to lose, and there is plenty of Blame to sprinkle around here.

    RE

  • @ PMB: That was an epic rant! Took me three days to come up with a response! (Hmm. Wonder if having been a scapegoat might be a doomer characteristic, making us more sensitive to threats.)

    @ Kirk Hamilton: So. The infection spreads haha!
    ==

    On Determinism and Blame

    Molecules bounce without aim,
    Or socialized human head game;
    Always some prior cause
    Within nature’s laws
    Means no one has ultimate blame.

  • “No one has Ultimate Blame”-BTD

    I’m not concerned with Ultimate blame, that is up to God. I’m just concerned with temporal blame, like who is running the HFT programs front-running the market and who is fracking the living shit out of your water supply.

    SOMEBODY is to blame for this, SOMEBODY says “Yes, lets go Frack that neighborhood”. Ultimate Blame is a ridiculous concept, its the temporal Blame we have to deal with here.

    RE

  • I’m about halfway through John Gray’s book, “The Silence of Animals”. If it were practical I would quote half the book. In a fascinating section called “Ichthyophils and Liberals” , a “skeptic” [Alexander Herzel] writes, “Why does everything else exist as it ought to exist, whereas with man, it is the opposite?” Citing Rousseaus’ “Man is born to be free—and is everywhere in chains!”, Grey asks, “what would you say to a man who, nodding his head sadly, remarked that “Fish are born to fly—but everywhere they swim?”

    “Ichthyophils are devoted to their species as they believe it ought to be, not as it actually is…” Ichthyophils are everwhere: Maoists and Jacobins, neo-con Tea Partiers and liberal Romantics. I would add to that wolfbirds and believers in Eastern forms of redemption, those who would find escape in quantum mechanics or Singularities.

    ——————
    Me: It’s obvious that we cannot confront ourselves As We Really Are, and so we use ulvfugl’s Mythos and Logos both to convince ourselves out of looking at reality. The reality is that concentrated human populations despoil their environment (there’s a reason the Middle East is a desert—nothing to do with modern capitalism, although capitalism is indeed a technology for accelerating consumption, as is industrial communist totalitarianism). Populations grow exponentially with access to enough energy sources and in the absence of predators. I’m not sure what the purpose is in gainsaying this. Concentrated populations of anything destroy their environment, and not just in petri jars in laboratories: it can be seen in algae or jellyfish or any number of tragic overshoots and corrections. We’re just lucky enough to find ourselves up against the asymptote. I encourage Paul’s efforts to explain to his audience what underlies this process.

    Although.. [Herzen asks of John Stuart Mill:] “Why does he try to wake the sleepers… what path, what way out, has he devised for them?…”

    For Martin (also cited in Grey’s book):
    “‘I have often said’, writes Pascal, ‘that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room'”

  • RE says: “its the temporal Blame we have to deal with here.”

    What you mean “we,” Kemo Sabe? Looking at doom from an objective viewpoint, I see no point in blaming anymore. In fact, it’s even a distraction from dealing with doom. MHO
    ==

    Basics

    How can we simply explain
    All that a life may contain?
    Though some say we should
    Carry water, chop wood,
    We seek pleasure and avoid pain.

  • Lidia-

    Thought provoking commentary. Well done.

  • Re Chefurka theory.

    I can’t be bothered to spend time on this, it’s just silly.

    Organisations do bad things because some corrupt psychopathic humans who have positions of power see some advantage to be gained. They are fully conscious of what they do, and they exercise free will and human agency.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_(philosophy)#In_philosophy

    If Chefurka was correct then there would have been no point in having any laws to constrain wrong doing, because nobody could help themselves. But all civilisations for ancient Greece to China, have found that people have free will and that laws and the threat of punishment tells people what they can and cannot do.

    The problem is when crimes are done by powers where there is no greater power to enforce the laws or to exact punishment.

    The Duplessis Orphans (French: les Orphelins de Duplessis) were the victims of a scheme in which approximately 20,000 orphaned children[1] were falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of the province of Quebec, Canada, and confined to psychiatric institutions

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

    http://www.whale.to/b/mass_graves.html

    To concoct some outlandish theory to explain why capitalists are destroying the biosphere -e.g. mining coal in Borneo- and cannot be stopped suggesting they are unconscious organisms, whatever, is just another variation on denial.

    It’s perfectly clear and well understood what is going on. This is weaponised corporations doing what they were designed to do.

    When 600 or so of the most powerful organisations on the planet get together and meet regularly over two years to plot and scheme to design the Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific Trade deals, they are not ‘unconscious’, they have the best advice that money can buy, in every area of human knowledge, and they know all about climate change and peak oil and every other damn thing.

    Those people are human beings exercising human agency. If not, then the term does not MEAN anything. They consciously and deliberately work out a strategy which will circumvent all environmental and labour laws, so that they can get at whatever resources they want regardless of what national governments do try try to protect national assets.

    In MY terms this is absolutely unacceptable and immoral, but in THEIR terms it’s the only option that they have, because they want to stay in business and make money.

    You don’t need any OTHER explanation. Capitalism provides a complete explanation ALREADY. Everybody agrees on this, both capitalists and anti-capitalists.

    All the disagreement comes over what can or might be done to change things. Well, that mostly depends on how much you have invested in the capitalist machine, doesn’t it ?

    Gina Reinhart, the richest woman in Australia, one of the richest people on the planet, wants to be even richer. Most people are like that, they hope the capitalist machine will benefit them in some way and they’ll get a share of the loot.

    There’s not much left to plunder, so the machine gets increasingly more vicious and brutal. Fascism is capitalism with the gloves off. That’s what we see happening.

    Trying to pretend this is not human agency, free will, not consciously thought out, seems ludicrous to me. If it’s not, then nothing is, and the concepts become meaningless.

    @ Lidia

    Seems that you still do not understand.

  • @u, it seems it is you who do not understand: “human agency” is exactly as you describe, indeed. In the same comment you acknowledge humans’ ever-present universal capacity for greed and destruction and yet act as though this is, at the same time, somehow anomalous.

    Re. laws. That’s just the point, isn’t it? Laws are not written to constrain wrongdoing; they are written to justify or rationalize what an elite of lawmakers/lawgivers want. Plus, they are purely contextual, and the truly powerful always flout their own laws… the main power they exercise, really.

    Do you think people don’t kill each other just because.. oooooh “the law says I shouldn’t”? IIRC, you actually pointed out something along these lines, of how with 5000 years of “God’s law” stuff it hasn’t exactly stuck, despite all the nominal adherents.)

    There are huge profits to be made in energy extraction because there are 7+billion people all tediously wanting to be fed. But this is not a modern phenomenon: there were huge profits to be made by the Spaniards in looting South America. There were huge profits to be made by the Mongol hordes, who enjoyed making towers out of the skulls of their conquests. We just have lived in a few rare decades of relative calm, stealing from the earth rather than more directly from our neighbors, but we’ll get back into the latter practice soon enough. That’s where Gray is interesting as he brings up all kinds of stuff from the period around the two World Wars, eg., how USSR residents readily admitted to cannibalism during periods of famine that we can hardly imagine now (but should exercise our minds upon). Do you think they consulted whether cannibalism was legal or not before engaging in it? He interestingly describes Naples as a pagan city, where rules and civilization were always provisory, and I have to agree there. We gloss over uncomfortable episodes because we don’t like to consider them the rule and not the exception. So what makes them the rule? Why do we need elaborate feel-good psychic stratagems to veil our own nature from ourselves?

    I don’t know what QM stuff has to do with human behavior on a macro level, or why you keep proposing it in this context. It seems like you want to make that your own sort of escape hatch.

  • @ Lidia

    I was arguing against Chefurka’s point, not against whatever it is that you or John Gray are saying.

    I consider this to be patently and obviously absurd

    It’s time we recognized that the organizations that are wrecking the planet are fundamentally different from human beings. If we want to have any success at asserting humane values in this situation we must begin by recognizing this reality: our organizations are not us.

    It’s rubbish. Who are ‘us’ ? Who is he talking about ? Humans alive now have inherited all these various structures and organisations. States, nations, tribes, corporations, NGOs, the UN, NATO, armies, navies, religions, cities, industries, etc, etc, etc, all the paraphernalia of civilisation.

    None of it is ‘us’ and all of it is ‘us’.

    All Chefurka wants to do is escape from any moral or practical responsibility so he can be guilt free and be peacefully resigned to the fact that nothing can be done.

    I agree nothing can be done. But not for those reasons. It’s such a stupid thesis it’s not worthy of discussion.

    I don’t know what QM stuff has to do with human behavior on a macro level, or why you keep proposing it in this context. It seems like you want to make that your own sort of escape hatch.

    I keep hoping that one day you’ll get it.

  • BTD

    “Looking at doom from an objective viewpoint, I see no point in blaming anymore. In fact, it’s even a distraction from dealing with doom. MHO”

    And I don’t see how blame helps with resistance either. MHO

    Lidia

    The more I think about it, the less enchanted I am with people. Absurdity and meaninglessness is a big part of what I perceive. But as with a brushstroke in a Cezanne watercolor (IMO), the aim is to disappear. I see disappearing as serving something bigger, doing no harm (especially to nature), not obstructing the innocent, etc.. And that is actually a full time job. As you have implied elsewhere, trying to understand the why and wherefore of everything else gets so complicated that you can’t even plant your onions. 🙂

    Yes, there is SO much misery in the world. Yet, most of us on NBL are absurdly rich, safe and well favored by global standards. At this particular time. As someone’s video above explained, if we can simply turn on a tap and out flows hot water, we are rich. And we’re probably still in the minority in the world. Somehow, we have the goods while so many others do not. What is the appropriate response of those who, by fair or foul means, were given so much?

  • Just to try and clarify: I see human behavior as being absurd and pointless. But that is not the whole story. Civilization has (it appears) overemphasized the importance of people and what we think about any and everything, even whether we are absurd and pointless. I don’t believe the rest of nature gives a damn about that. So here we are at a dead end. We might well be happier, more fulfilled, less harmful if we chill. Now how to do that? Symbolic (rather than physical) human extinction? At least as a first step?

  • @u, yes, that paragraph you quoted from Chefurka is absurd, and really not consonant with his other assertions. Our organizations are not alien to us—as you say, it is “all us”. They are a reflection of us that we would prefer not to acknowledge, and we cover that mirror with all kinds of drapery.

    I don’t know what he means by “asserting humane values”. Last year I was reading a book called “Nisa” about a !Kung lady (bush people in Africa) and I quit about halfway through because it got a bit boring. There were no deep philosophical insights about living in tune with nature, rather it was about how frequently she would sneak into the family’s stash of whateverbulbs and whatchamatubers and eat them, with a diversion into casual exposure of infants as birth control. Imagine leaving your own squalling child to die of starvation on a rock (or worse, more likely, being eaten alive by animals or birds), and that being perfectly normal. That’s the “moral responsibility” of that context, isn’t it? I wouldn’t go so far as to classify it a “humane value”, unless you are looking (like Kathy C) at the sum total of potential human suffering, but I don’t think the bush people’s philosophy reckoned in that fashion but used more prosaic and expedient yardsticks.

  • “I see no point in blaming anymore.”-BTD

    Clearly we have different POVs on this.

    Regardless of whether the whole Biz ends in Extinction or Not, SOMEBODY is to blame for it.

    Blaming the whole species is ridiculous, HTF are Kalahari Bushmen responsible for Industrial Sewage? They never even took part in any of it!

    You can place some blame on everyone who ever drove a car or flew in an airplane of course for PARTICIPATING, but 99.9% of those people never had any control over any of this.

    A remarkably FEW people had control over the credit creation apparatus and how it was used to extact resources and build a war machine to gain hegemony over the earth. THERE is where the BLAME lies.

    The Blame will exist into Eternity, regardless of how it all turns out. A very few people took control of the world, and they are RESPONSIBLE, just as you are responsible when your children fuck up. If you have control, you are responsible, simple as that.

    On other topics, latest Daily Rant on Deflation Doom now UP on the Diner Blog. This is how it plays out in the world of the Responsible.

    RE

  • @RE, why are you planning on building concrete domes rather than thatch huts, then, or igloos, if you are so worried about industrial sewage?

    All I am doing is pointing out the human capacity for greed and cruelty even in societies we consider relatively benign.

    The fact that technologies were discovered which allowed us to leverage the same base instincts and increase their power and toxicity has made life both more, and now less, tenable, to be sure, to the point of future impossibility.

    What is your project if not trying to capture the most resources possible for yourself and your tribe in a resource-constrained future? (Correct me if this is not your intent.) The salient aspect only differs in scale, really. If everyone were to build a concrete dome tomorrow, we’d be way worse off than we already are, don’t you think?

  • The continuum from the Big Bang through the Boardroom to the heat death of the Universe evinces many realms of emergent phenomena. In certain realms consciousness seems manifest, just as the sun’s reflection may be manifest in appropriate conditions, as in a bucket of water placed in sunlight. Those trying to categorise the conditions needed for consciousness are themselves such reflections, and without recognising this fail to reach their source

    Reality is described in the Vedic tradition as “trikala abaditam”: not negated in the three periods of time – past, present and future:
    without beginning, middle or end. This aspect of Reality is referred to as the Supreme Reality. The existence of all else is dependent on external supports, including time & space – and is referred to as conditional reality: they constitute the First Feature/Characteristic of Existence in Buddhism: “All composite things are transient”. There is no persisting entity after the dissolution of any composite structure, including all individuality of every human being, as in The Parable of the Chariot. This conditional reality includes both the dream world and the waking world. (And the world of dreamless sleep).

  • Life has been happening for 4,500 million years. For 99.99999% of that time, energy was scarce. Making a profit, a positive EROEI, was critical for survival. Every tree, blade of grass, bacteria and bug had to accomplish that almost daily. I’m amazed that seeds can stay alive for 30 years with a negative EROEI and many plants and animals hibernate through the winter going negative, but we can’t do either. Having more free energy than we need has just ruined everything because making a profit is what living things always had to do and it’s what we still are programed to do. Kind of like playing football with 10 balls at once. I think all of us really like this situation of excess energy and wouldn’t want to lose it.

    And it happened so fast; over a period of 0.00001% of life on earth. Most people think oil is a “gift from God”.

  • u points out,

    ‘All Chefurka wants to do is escape from any moral or practical responsibility so he can be guilt free and be peacefully resigned to the fact that nothing can be done.

    I agree nothing can be done. But not for those reasons. It’s such a stupid thesis it’s not worthy of discussion.’

    The illusion of being ‘guilt free’ is hard wired into almost all of us. Has to be! How else could we continue to participate, actively and passively, in crimes against our neighbors and ourselves? Whether you’re an institution or an individual, feeling good about yourself is what life’s all about!

    We’ve been duped by the same tactics used by advertisers to sell crap, into blindly participating in IC because it feels good!

    GUILT FEELS BAD! We reject those feelings unconsciously but vigorously throughout our lifetimes because the shadow of guilt threatens the integrity of our sense of self and our status in society.

    ulvfugl, I’ve seen this coming for a long time and nothing can be done about it. Even after the masses accept climate disaster and NTE, the vast majority of people will be highly focused on rationalizing their responsibility. To fight it will be a waste of time. Except here, of course. I would hate to see this forum degenerate into a platform for assuaging guilt!

    I see guilt as a great motivator and tool for personal and spiritual growth. I see an inability to face guilt head on as the most common human failing. But, the PTB don’t want you to succeed personally or spiritually. You wouldn’t such fine sheeple! And to me that’s the crux, cowardice!

  • The latest contribution in this space comes from RE. It’s here.

  • the horror…the horror…

    At least watch the first segment of the video. It’s an example of man’s attitude toward nature.

    To me, the entire video reinforces Robin’s statement, at least partially, “There is no persisting entity after the dissolution of any composite structure, including all individuality of every human being.” I mean, if there’s NOTHING THERE, how can there be anything lasting? Right? If nothing is written, how will it be read. But, if by living a good and balanced life something is written where it can be written, might that not endure?

  • Concrete bunkers and what they mean for the environment? Gee, I don’t know what any of it means anymore. I’ve seen beautiful mountains–just in one place–ground down to make cement. Everything around covered with dust. Think of all the quarries in the world. But the concrete is going to build all those exploding cities I saw in a video recently. Mindboggling urban growth. I don’t know how that phenomenon would intersect with people dropping out and using concrete for domes. I doubt that that’s really the issue.

    Hunter gatherers? I know there’s a whole industry out there to prove that they led vicious cruel lives. I am sure that their societies weren’t all the same. For all kinds of complex reasons that anthropologists study, some were “nicer” than others.

    “There were no deep philosophical insights about living in tune with nature, rather it was about how frequently she would sneak into the family’s stash of whateverbulbs and whatchamatubers and eat them, with a diversion into casual exposure of infants as birth control. Imagine leaving your own squalling child to die of starvation on a rock (or worse, more likely, being eaten alive by animals or birds), and that being perfectly normal.”

    Isn’t this a mouthful! Yes, I believe H/G were all about prosaic matters like survival (like all other living things). We here have had IC take care of that for us, and no longer know how to do it for ourselves. That’s the problem that I see.

  • I find the idea of northerners moving to the southern hemisphere disturbing. We ruin what we have and then we go create more weight on the carrying capacity of other people’s land? We will bring our unaware thinking to those areas and do damage. We can’t escape what we have created. The people with financial resources will be the ones to do this, and naturally they are the ones who statistically have contributed more to the situation. So people who least contributed to creating the situation will be left in the north to suffer. Let me guess, all you people doing exodus are … white? I am just noting the trend. I actually have no complaint about any individual who chooses to do this. I am sure my unhappiness about your ability to go on your exodus is my inability to do so, too. If I had the financial resources to “go back to the land, I would have done it long ago, but “living the simple life” is not so simple and pretty much seems like a privileged dream.

  • Dahr Jamail who has reported extensively on the Gulf Oil Spill and what we are going through had done the most wonderful expose:
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175785/tomgram%3A_dahr_jamail,_the_climate_change_scorecard/

    Thanks to all of the scientists including Dr Leifer of UCSB who I have the honor of knowing.
    May we simply love and love Mother Nature. We have to go back in time and stop using plastics, stop the Oil Companies and make an stop killing Mother Nature.

  • @KittyLyst, I have the means, and I feel the same way as you do. Read Ms. Campion’s blog about her getaway pad, and her US friends who are going to come down for visits (spoiler: I don’t think they’re walking to get there).

    I am a fan of Guy, and I know this event is piggy-backed onto other gigs he’s doing in Central America, but the headline “Responding to abrupt climate change: Please join me in Ecuador” is preposterous and offensive on its face.

    I’m also just not getting the grief+tourism thing, and this also goes for the Auschwitz-visiting. To me, this is all just one more data point to bolster Paul C’s thermodynamic arguments: we’ll use all the energy we possibly can for whatever reason that will seem to enhance our lives. There’s just too much energy out there for us to grieve or pray in our backyards, apparently.


    In an idle moment, I looked into some of the Central American ‘eco-villages’ listed at Intentional Communities (ic.org), many are conventional developer schemes thinly-disguised with some solar panels, or improbable ad hoc affairs which seem to invite a “Mosquito Coast”-type ending. One couple seemed well-meaning but told visitors to bring kitchen appliances like CrockPots and Kitchen-Aid mixers because you can’t get those things in Costa Rica. Unclear on the concept is the kindest thing I can say. Another touted the “three kinds of monkeys” that could be seen on the property, and I’m thinking “not by the time all 120 families move in according to your plot plan.”

    I don’t mean to single out those bound for the tropics. I came to a rural part of the Northeast all fired up to build a straw-bale house. Now I’m not so sure. Last year, a local doctor did pretty much what I was considering, and got a write-up in a local newsrag called “Green Living”. Emphasizing their use of natural local materials, the doctor kvelled, “we took the forest and turned it into a home!” I got a little nauseated to see it stated in such a clear yet unwitting fashion, because I recognized the same jockeying for resources and search for security that bedevils any other shmoe, just in a camouflaging key of green, and I saw it in myself, too.

    I was thinking of attending a local permaculture/ecovillage workshop thingy. Sent the owner/teacher an email to inquire about openings, and she wrote me from the god-damn airport in fucking Seattle. Ya can’t win for losin’.