Edge of Extinction: 1, 2, 3, Unicorns!

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This week Pauline Schneider takes the helm microphone again. She’ll will be interview Jen Lahey, a mother, environmental activist, CSA director, and more. They will discuss hydrofracking, music, and Pokemon.

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McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.

Tech note, courtesy of mo flow: Random issues have been appearing with posting comments. Sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, or another error, for no apparent reason. To ensure you don’t lose a longer comment, you can right-click select all, and right-click copy, in the comment box before clicking “Submit.” If that hasn’t been done, the comment text will likely still be in the comment box when clicking the back button, or the forward button — depending on the error — on your browser.

Comments 48

  • We know that unicorns can’t save us, but spirituality can.

    Doan fall for that unicorn techno-fix crapola.

    Come out as a spiritual now.

    NOT saccharine spirituality, but real spirituality.

    People need to get spiritual – AND MENTAL.

    Mind makes the universe.

    We MUST transcend the petty material world, breakfast, & our planetary prison by using the power of our minds.

    MINDFULNESS, MAN.

    We must use the unlimited power of our minds to free ourselves from ugly pestilence, ecological sinfulness, & planet destroying filthy thoughts.

    “As a man thinketh so is he,” as in new thought today & Earnest Holmes.

    REALLY new thinking & consciousness change.

    Change your consciousness & change the whole freakin world & maybe the whole universe too IN ONE FELL SWOOP.

    And shining new paradigms replacing stupid old fugged-up paradigms.

    Cast out the old wrong paradigms – Shazam.

    Shrug off the fuggin evil devils & preverts causing all the pestilence.

    Cast off the bad/stupid utterly wrong filthy thoughts.

    Get new ethics for a finite world – SHAZAM!

    Cast off the Chicago School of unethical continual growth & its clearly stupid ethics.

    Develop mindfulness & thereby find the true essences hiding behind the false essences.

    Work on yourself, & live free w/o want, petty desire, water, food, & shelter.

    VOLARE.

  • We pass and dream. Earth smiles. Virtue is rare.
    Age, duty, gods weigh on our conscious bliss.
    Hope for the best and for the worst prepare.
    The sum of purposed wisdom speaks in this.

    Fernando Pessoa

  • Mary Christina Wood is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the U. of Oregon School of Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program.

    She pulls down about 150 thou per year in salary.

    Mary is considered a brilliant innovative legal scholar.

    Mary says that the sacred law, & stern black robed lawyer/judges armed with a “new mindset” can save the planet & its people.

    MARY IS COMPLETELY SERIOUS.

    The following is an an excerpt from Mary Christina Wood’s legal blockbuster 2013 book, Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law For a New Ecological Age.

    “Today’s judges retain all of the tools necessary to enforce public trust obligations. But enforcement requires courage and a change of judicial mindset, an awakening by judges to the ecological urgencies of today’s world, and an appreciation of their branch’s crucial role in government’s balance of power.”

    “The world needs extraordinary jurists across the globe who, in solidarity with great legal minds that came before them, will rise to their constitutional duties and enforce the rights of the people as beneficiaries of Nature’s Trust.”

    Mary is completely serious, & legal scholars are praising her book.

  • A new May 10th article on the increasing probability of abrupt methane release in the Arctic – emphasizing abrupt.

    Unfortunately, there is a serious error under the second photo stating that (only) 50 billion tonnes of methane gas is stored in the Arctic Sea bed.

    A conservative figure of stored Arctic methane is at least 40 times 50, or 2000 billion tonnes.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/04/worlds-deadly-gas-problem-150408100404610.html

  • Unicorns definitely exist. And flying horses.

    I ain’t made up my mind yet about Toledo (Stan Freberg).

  • Scribbler doesn’t seam to like people asking NTE type questions ?

    Robert Atack / May 9, 2015
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Is there any CH4 found in ice cores ? I’m guessing any CH4 that got ‘trapped’ like CO2 in the ice would convert to C02 anyway? Soooo we wouldn’t know if the previous extinction events were caused by CO2 or CH4 ?

  • @Diarmuid – I thought I had run into your ideas before – Nisargadatta Maharaj. His stuff is word for word what you are sharing. That he said this stuff does not give it one whit more authenticity in my estimation. What some folks miss is that what these “gurus” put out is simply well known teachings in the Hindu tradition. For some, all they say is Thou art that – bingo! I am enlightened, you are enlightened, there is nothing more to do or know. Under the right conditions they will attract a gaggle of followers who are seeking a great sage who can give them this boiled down perscription, then they too can go off, proud of now knowing everything there is to know about spirituality, and feeling contemptuous of anyone who just doesn’t “get it.”

    Like all snake oil salesmen they assure you that the whole long difficult path of real spiritual practice is only for those unfortunate enough not to have met them, or too dense to follow their simple instruction. They do not have the self honesty to blush for implying the great mystics and knowers as just too uninformed to know their simple easy to use magic cure-all…..

  • Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that not less than 1,400 Gt of Carbon is presently locked up as methane and methane hydrates under the Arctic submarine permafrost, and 5-10% of that area is subject to puncturing by open taliks. They conclude that “release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time”. That would increase the methane content of the planet’s atmosphere by a factor of twelve.

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

  • http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2015/05/no-more-fish-in-sea.html

    (No) more fish in the sea

    Last week, a 20-million-dollar industry hit the brakes when the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to close the West Coast sardine fishery, effective immediately.

    It’s unusual for a fishery to be shuttered so abruptly (the current season would normally have run another two months until the end of June), but certainly not unwarranted. In the last eight years, the sardine population has plunged by 91%. With the population on the verge of (or perhaps already past the point of) collapse, the industry’s only hope for recovery is to pull their nets and hope the sardines bounce back.

    The fate of the marine ecosystem – not just an industrial fleet of fishing vessels – hangs in the balance. Dwindling sardine numbers have been blamed for pelican nesting failures and a surge in sea lion pup strandings (both species rely on sardines as a food source). They’re not alone: sardines are a popular menu item for many coastal species. By choosing to seat ourselves at this dining table, we humans are now in competition with the rest of the oceanic food web.

    Whether or not the sardines will recover remains to be seen. Collapsed fisheries – fish stocks whose numbers have fallen so low that they’re now economically unviable – can be found all over the world, particularly in places where humans have been using industrialized fishing techniques (big, motorized boats trailing miles of nets or towing seafloor-scouring trawls) the longest.

    Some, like the once-famed cod fishery of Georges Bank off the coast of New England, have failed to recover despite decades of fishing closures and restrictions. This collapse could be permanent: the ecosystem may have shifted into a new regime, one that no longer has a place for a thriving cod population.

    Other fisheries – sturgeon and eel on the Hudson River; the blue walleye of the Great Lakes –have been gone so long that today they’re all but forgotten.

    Given how damaging these collapses are, why are they still happening?

    Fisheries crash because we’re bad at predicting their population dynamics — and even worse at regulating our fishing fleet to compensate. In part, our predictions are limited by uncertainty: not only is it tricky to count a mobile fish population that’s hidden below the waves, but it’s also incredibly hard to predict what next year’s oceanic conditions will be, much less how the fish will respond to them. But even when science does make good predictions (biologists have been warning us about an upcoming sardine collapse for years), management often fails to respond. Even oversight agencies can drop the ball: Seafood Watch, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s widely adopted consumer sustainable fish guide, labels the Pacific coast sardine fishery as a “best choice,” though they do note the fishery’s potential volatility. [more]

  • Tom,

    There is one comment so far and it is, at the same time, the most beautiful and yet terrible poem I have read.

    Robinson Jeffers wrote a prophetic poem about the California sardine fishery, appropriate here, and a warning to heed….

    The Purse Seine

    Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark of the moon;
    daylight or moonlight
    They could not tell where to spread the net, unable to see the
    phosphorescence of the shoals of fish.
    They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off
    New Year’s Point or off Pigeon Point
    The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color light on the
    sea’s night-purple; he points and the helmsman
    Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal
    and drifts out her seine-net. They close the circle
    And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.

    I cannot tell you
    How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, then, when the
    crowded fish
    Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall to the
    other of their closing destiny the phosphorescent
    Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body sheeted
    with flame, like a live rocket
    A comet’s tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside the
    narrowing
    Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up to watch,
    sighing in the dark; the vast walls of night
    Stand erect to the stars.

    Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
    On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: how could
    I help but recall the seine-net
    Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how beautiful
    the city appeared, and a little terrible.
    I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
    into interdependence; we have built the great cities; now
    There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
    of free survival, insulated

    From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
    dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
    Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet they
    shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
    Will not come in our time nor in our children’s, but we and our
    children
    Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all powers
    -or revolution, and the new government
    Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls- or anarchy,
    the mass-disasters.

    These things are Progress;
    Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
    its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
    In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, splin-
    tered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are quite wrong.
    There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that
    cultures decay, and life’s end is death.

  • MMM, your direction to wiki about methane hydrates & sainted empirical scientist Natalia Shakhov contains a big ugly distorting worm.

    Although I claim to know Shakhova’s work thoroughly having followed her like a bird dog for the last 8 years, I had never been to the basic wiki site you recommended.

    The wiki piece was scientifically sound – until the final sentence.

    “The climatic effects of a potential release of methane from global ocean clathrates may be significant on timescales of 1–100 thousand years, depending on the water temperature.[29]”

    Footnote 29 is Archer’s 2005 (2005!) paper;

    Archer, David; Buffett, Bruce (2005). “Time-dependent response of the global ocean clathrate reservoir to climatic and anthropogenic forcing” (PDF). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems – G3 6 (3): 1–13. Bibcode:2005GGG…..603002A. doi:10.1029/2004GC000854. Retrieved 2009-05-15.

    The last statement is glaringly misleading; both on its 2005 face & because subsequent data strongly indicates the high probability of abrupt & soon-to-be realized methane release from Arctic stores, especially from the shallow Laptev Sea.

    Archer’s long term methane release claims are being soundly dis-confirmed every day now by hard nosed observational empirical facts.

    Again, may I direct all to Shakhova’s succinct & increasingly PREDICTIVE 8 minute synopsis at Youtube; Methane Hydrates – Extended Interview Extracts With Natalia Shakhova

  • Where did “at least 13 islands” recently go the way of Atlantis? …

    (Will This Float Your Boat – 10).

  • shep, Tom, & fellow pilgrims; here is another of Jeffers tight; & as always, powerful poems with similar deep predictive power as “The Purse Seine.”

    I go to “The Answer” regularly for fortitude.

    It is pure wisdom.

    As our future gets increasingly grim, I need it more than ever as we all approach black timeless night.

    Albert Camus concluded that the life of the intellect ends in failure, & the tough task is learning to live without appeal.

    Every word & every line.

    “The Answer,” by Robinson Jeffers

    Then what is the answer? — Not to be deluded by dreams.

    To know the great civilizations have broken down into violence, and their tyrants come, many times before.

    When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.

    To keep one’s own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted and not wish for evil; and not be duped

    By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will not be fulfilled.

    To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand

    Is an ugly thing, and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history…for contemplation or in fact…
    Often appears atrociously ugly.

    Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is
    Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe.

    Love that, not man Apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken.

  • Thanks for “The Answer” Gerald. I needed that.

  • Tom,
    According to some, it seems that there exist a threshold in the reproductive capacity of a species for which it cannot cross. Even though there may be a few million individuals left, if that threshold has been breached, the species will become extinct. Was it not the passenger pigeon a well-known species which suffered that fate in the earlier part of the 20th century? The French in Quebec for instance used to fire buckshot at the clouds of ‘tourterelles’ . There were so many of them that all they had to do was fire into the air as they passed over and they fell by the bucket-loads. They made meat pies called ‘tourtiere’. Even though they were eventually ‘protected’, anmd even though there still millions, there was a critical number at which they could not reproduce and they are now extinct.

    The same thing could have happened to the cod fisheries on the Grand Banks… To be determined… The buffalo herds that now exist collectively number in the millions but were saved from extinction when fewer than one hundred remained. We have played with too many components of nature and we always seem to get burned. I remember my religious indoctrination in which it was preached that we humans needed to go out and populate the world, and make it our dominion. We should also have been instructed on just how to do that… Looks like the dominion may yet conquer us.

    When the fishing fleet owners can’t pay their rent and face foreclosures, conservation of the family is a lot more important than the conservation of a species. And so it goes with every species which are endangered because of our artificial needs. If you don’t need to pay the pipers, you don’t need to catch as many fish… We know what to do, but don’t know how to do it.

  • mike k:
    You are very correct to point out that there are no short cuts to realisation. There are a number of preparatory steps and/or stages; the fact that some individuals seem able to skip many or most or even all of them is the exception that proves the rule that different induviduals need different degrees of preparation.

    This is in contrast to the “one teaching fits all” approach of many theistic traditions and the hopping directly onto a meditation cushion as the first thing in some non-theistic traditions. Techniques such as focusirg on one’s awareness or asserting “Thou art That” may seem ridiculously simple, but the very rare individual for whom they are TRULY effective will also have the deep understanding that will keep them from the fallacy of presuming such methods to be effective for all. And at the same time keep them from the idea that anything is “attained”, “achieved”, or “gained”.

    The Vedic tradition describes many stages or levels of preparedness (adhikaritva), and only the very rare ones with ultimate preparedness (uttama adhikaritva) can complete that final step at the outset.

  • I know, I know, three strikes & you is out; but I plead intellectual necessity, mo flow.

    Monsieur Turcot, mais oui.

    “When the fishing fleet owners can’t pay their rent and face foreclosures, conservation of the family is a lot more important than the conservation of a species.”

    What conditions our behavior?

    Our basic material & physical (absolutely NOT artificial) needs for food, clothing, & shelter.

    Fredrick Engels speech at Marx’s graveside in 1883;

    “Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.”

    Although it is a long winded single sentence, Engels basic & simple words are a scientific materialist’s basic axiomatic principle.

    Scientific materialism is the diametrical opposite of philosophical idealism or ideation.

    It is one of the greatest lessons that I ever learned.

    As an undergrad, I was taught ideation by sincere conscientious & credentialed academics who didn’t even know that they were doing it.

  • Robinson Jeffers: “I rather kill a human than a hawk.”

  • my dog has the same legal opinion as Spezio’s judge. she just looks at me using nothing but her mind, no words cross between us, she just focuses her attention until I relent and finally do her bidding, as i think, Get outta my head!

    Spirituality is only as hard as
    the Submit Comment Math Quiz Wiz.
    Life is magic, death isn’t,
    it can’t be easier if you tried.

  • shep, I did not know that Jeffers wrote;

    “I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;”

    In order to be disillusioned, you must first be illusioned.

    It surely conflicts with his advice in “The Answer.”

  • Gerald,

    “What conditions our behavior?” In two words… SURVIVAL.., and SURVIVAL. The more we make survival difficult, the more we will destroy whatever is in our way, including ourselves. The more we make survival easy, the easier we will be on the old Mother. Now if I can only convince bank managers and owners of the planet of that fact……

  • James Kunstler has had many bad posts, but today’s is spot on.

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/muskular-magic/
    Muskular Magic, 5/11/15.

    Elon Musk, Silicon Valley’s poster-boy genius replacement for the late Steve Jobs, rolled out his PowerWall battery last week with Star Wars style fanfare, doing his bit to promote and support the delusional thinking that grips a nation unable to escape the toils of techno-grandiosity. The main delusion: that we can “solve” the problems of techno-industrial society with more and better technology.
    The South African born-and-raised Musk is surely better known for founding Tesla Motors, maker of the snazzy all-electric car. The denizens of Silicon Valley are crazy about the Tesla. There is no greater status trinket in Northern California, where the fog of delusion cloaks the road to the future. They believe, as Musk himself often avers, that Tesla cars “don’t burn hydrocarbons.” That statement is absurd, of course, and Musk, who holds a degree in physics from Penn, must blush when he says that. After all, you have to plug it in and charge somewhere from the US electric grid.
    Only 6 percent of US electric power comes from “clean” hydro generation. Another 20 percent is nuclear. The rest is coal (48 percent) and natural gas (21 percent) with the remaining sliver coming from “renewables” and oil. (The quote marks on “renewables” are there to remind you that they probably can’t be manufactured without the support of a fossil fuel economy). Anyway, my point is that the bulk of US electricity comes from burning hydrocarbons, and then there is the nuclear part which is glossed over because the techno-geniuses and politicians of America have no idea how they are going to de-commission our aging plants, and no idea how to safely dispose of the spent fuel rod inventory simply lying around in collection pools. This stuff is capable of poisoning the entire planet and we know it.
    The PowerWall roll out highlighted the “affordability” of the sleek lithium battery at $3,500 per unit. The average cluck watching Musk’s TED-like performance on the web was supposed to think he could power his home with it. Musk left out a few things. Such as: you need the rooftop solar array to feed the battery. Figure another $25,000 to $40,000 for that, depending on whether they are made in China (poor quality) or Germany, or in the USA (and installation is both laborious and expensive). Also consider that you need a charge controller and inverter to manage the electric flow and convert direct current (DC) from the sun into usable alternating current (AC) for your house — another $3,500. So, the cost of hanging a solar electric system on your house with all its parts is more like fifty grand.
    What happens when the solar panels, battery, etc., reach the end of their useful lives, say 25 years or so, when there is no more fossil fuel (or an industry capable of providing it economically). How will you fabricate the replacement parts? By then the techno-wizards will have supposedly “come up with” a magic energy rescue remedy. Stand by on that, and consider the possibility that you will be disappointed with how it works out.
    What gets me about Tesla’s various products and activities is that, when all is said and done, they are meant to extend the fatal rackets of contemporary life, especially car dependency and the suburban development pattern. Car dependency can and probably will fail on the financial basis, not on the question of how you run the car. The main economic problem we face is the end of growth of the kind we’re used to, the kind that generates real capital and enables bank lending. It is already happening and has led to fewer loans for fewer qualified borrowers. It will also lead to the end of government’s ability to pay for fixing the elaborate hierarchy of paved highways, roads, and streets that the cars have to run on. Imagine the psychic pain of the Silicon Valley billionaire driving his $87,000 Tesla P85D down a freeway that the State of California hasn’t been able to repair in five years.

  • Jeff S

    Yes, Kunstler has got it wrong a lot of the time but his latest isn’t too far off the mark. The aspects not considered are whether there will be any water available from taps and whether there will still be an economy -in the modern sense of the word- operating in California 5 years from now.

    Unrelated but of interest: the mere mention of a possible rate cut sent the NZ dollar into a moderate trail spin, down 0.5% overnight. Coupled with somewhat higher international oil prices, the falling Kiwi has resulted in petrol moving from around $1.93 to $2.08 over recent weeks…….just another turn of the screw for a failing economy hard-hit by falling dairy prices, a languishing oil & gas sector, and partial collapse of engineering…..government boondoggles being one of the last dominoes still standing, along with house construction to meet the demand of the stampede to perceived safety.

    Still watching that Arctic Sea ice graph: chugging along at below 2012 and 2007 levels.

  • How ’bout some unicorns?

    Even with NTE for us, there are far-fetched ideas about alternate outcomes elsewhere. Among other things, even with ion engines, such ventures would require the maintenance of biospheres and human, animal and plant generations for at least tens of thousands of years, without repair materials from elsewhere and no inputs besides starlight and cosmic rays. Dilithium crystals and replicators/food synthesisers and suspended animation excepted.

    Note particularly the interesting links to Distant Ruins and Toward an Interstellar Archaeology. …

  • Unicorn Paradox: If a real unicorn appeared would you kill it because it altered your extinction? Ego demands extinction of all possibilities. No Heisenberg uncertainty principal. The laws of physics now only apply to a single reality. One projection. One prediction. Kill all unicorns…no love for the unicorn remains???

  • “Myth 6: There is Nothing I Can Do.

    The problem is daunting; making changes can be difficult.[vii] But not only can you do something, you can’t not do anything. Either you will continue to buy, use, and consume as if there is no tomorrow; or you will make substantial changes to the way you live. Both choices are “doing something.” Either you will emit far more CO2 than people in most parts of the globe; or you will bring your carbon footprint to an equitable level. Either you will turn away, ignore the warnings, bury your head in the sand; or you will begin to take a strong stance on perhaps the most significant moral challenge in the history of humanity. Either you will be a willing party to the most destructive thing humans have ever done; or you will resist the wants, the beliefs, and the expectations that are as important to a consumption-based global economy as the fossil fuels that power it. As Americans we have already done just about everything possible to bring the planet to the brink of what scientists are now calling “the sixth great extinction.” We can either keep on doing more of the same; or we can work to undo the damage we have done and from which we have most benefited.”

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-11-26/six-myths-about-climate-change-that-liberals-rarely-question

  • Gerald Spezio what a great first comment. Also Robin Datta & Wester! What in D.C. http://www.energy.gov with the Nuke plant fire in N.J. to contend with along with my father pushing me to register to run in 2016 for his former seat in Congress. $150 million approval in progress to ENERGY SOLUTIONS by my team today for nuclear waste storage site development in Cedar Mt. Utah. Right now our million year problem is a sitting duck in guarded railroad cars.

    How about this UNICORN for McPherson —- Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen (advanced chemistry) has been awarded major Stratospheric “control parameter” contract. Sulphate aerosols will do the least harm since we are required to approve a Anthropogenic research / test cooling project. Buying time or adding unknown additives to the hurricanes of the near future???

    my relatively special M-Theory: The paradox of Infinity has to include being non-infinite. Otherwise if there is anything infinity can not include…then it paradoxically can not be truly infinite.

  • Fukushima is an ELE
    (ELE = Extinction Level Event)

    FUKUSHIMA WILL KILL THE ENTIRE PACIFIC OCEAN

    Arnie Gundersen presents Fukushima workshop at the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City – https://vimeo.com/127077218

  • Hey kevin: just in time to save the world of your dire predictions!

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/in-september-the-un-launches-a-major-sustainable-development-agenda-for-the-entire-planet

    In September, The UN Launches A Major Sustainable Development Agenda For The Entire Planet

    [ends with]

    Under this Pope, the Vatican has become much more political than it was before, and sustainable development has become the Vatican’s number one political issue.

    And did you notice the language about “the world’s religions acting in unison”? Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet and have them work together to achieve the “UN’s sustainable development goals”.

    I can never remember a time when the United Nations and the largest religious institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, have worked together so closely.

    So what will the end result of all this be?

    Should we be concerned about this new sustainable development agenda?

    Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

  • Okay, i’ll go first. To borrow a phrase from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show:

    “That trick never works!”

    These esteemed religious leaders simply skip over the science that says we’re in for climate change for thousands of years to come, with all the knock-on effects like drought, flooding, SLR, super storms, food shortages ADDED TO the depletion of fossil fuels, rise in diseases of all kinds, collapsing infrastructure (including the electrical grid) and so on – not to mention the two big elephants in the room: continuing methane release and Fukushima radiation that M3 just posted about above. i guess they believe in miracles. This one would have to be a doozy to undo all the damage that’s been done to the Earth for the last few millenia (especially the few centuries since the Industrial Revolution).

    Laudable, but as usual, TOO LATE!

    Thanks also for your replies above shep, Gerald and Jean.

  • Last one for today (sorry about the over posting):

    A few items from the Mothers’ Day report @ JJFH
    [http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/]

    2015-05-10 – Man, 39, killed when car explodes and burns at 3:45 AM at home in Iva (South Carolina)

    Quote: “The coroner in Anderson County says a man is dead after an explosion and fire involving a car he was sitting in. Multiple media outlets report emergency crews were called just south of Iva early Sunday morning. According to investigators, a woman said she was awakened by an explosion, but didn’t immediately get up. When she heard a second blast, she went outside and heard a car horn blowing. Coroner Greg Shore said the woman walked toward the noise and found her son’s car on fire with him inside. The woman said she heard the man screaming but couldn’t save him. Shore identified the man as 39-year-old Scottie K. Smith.”

    Quote: “The mother told Shore she heard Smith screaming inside the burning vehicle, but the doors were locked and she was unable to break a window on the car.”

    Note: Hydrogen sulfide is reactive with copper, especially electrified copper. So some of these fires disable the electrical system of vehicles. That means power locks and power windows may stop working, leaving you trapped inside, screaming as you burn to death, which sounds like what happened here. He couldn’t open the door and escape, and his mother couldn’t break the windows fast enough. That’s why I’ve mentioned that it’s probably wise now to keep something handy with which to break windows and cut seatbelts, in case this same thing happens to you. You may have only seconds to act…

    2015-05-10 – Landfill hit by fire, huge pile of appliances burns, near Kalispell (Montana)

    2015-05-10 – Underground fire breaks out in storm drain beneath bridge, firefighters baffled, in coastal San Diego (California)

    Quote: “By 5:00pm, the smoke had dissipated. Officials said the inside of the drainage system was concrete so there was nothing to burn. Additional CHP officers was called in to check on any persons inside the drain. Then an hour later, the smoke returned and firefighers were back out at the scene.”

    2015-05-10 – In separate incidents, college student, 18, and guest found dead in separate dorm rooms at college in coastal Sarasota (Florida)

    Quote: “Officials pronounced the person dead at the scene. He’s identified at 18-year-old Julian Toomsen-Hall of Georgia. In a separate incident, police responded to another emergency call early Friday morning. This time a registered guest was found unresponsive in a dormitory room.”

    2015-05-10 – Woman found dead in submerged SUV in the Jordan River in Salt Lake City (Utah)

    2015-05-10 – Man, 33, found dead in the James River in Richmond (Virginia)

    2015-05-10 – Boy, 17, disappears while swimming, next seen dead in pond in Geismar (Louisiana)

    2015-05-10 – College student, man, 23, found dead in the Erie Canal in Brockport (New York)

    2015-05-10 – Teen boy found dead in the Shetucket River near Norwich (Connecticut)

    2015-05-10 – Man, 20, jumps in quarry pond, never resurfaces, next seen dead in quarry, in Knoxville (Tennessee)

    2015-05-10 – Man, 22, found wandering around in Orchard Park in State College (Pennsylvania)

    2015-05-10 – Naked man, 19, steals car, says he has Paul Walker in the trunk, spouts gibberish, in Towamencin (Pennsylvania)

    Quote: “The officer repeatedly ordered Dunham to put his hands on the steering wheel and turn off the car, but Dunham, who was incoherent and replying ‘with completely unrelated gibberish,’ refused to comply, so the officer drew his gun…”

    2015-05-10 – Bird flu killing the crap out of poultry, may mean no turkey for Thanksgiving

    2015-05-10 – Antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ strain of typhoid fever spreading globally

    2015-05-10 – Wild boar wanders into shopping mall, climbs ladder, in Hong Kong (China)

    There’s lots more and these type of incidents are reported every day.

  • Tom,
    Always believed the answer lies in the hands of the U.N. The proposals are nothing short of outstanding. I can think of little else to add to that magnificent list of initiatives. The opposition of course will be fierce and unrelenting, but if the U.N. has any clout whatsoever, the initiatives could bring a new beginning to civilization, a word which never really described the state of the human condition. We are basically uncivilized, but this would change that perspective for all. The trick is to present it so that those who would stand to financially lose the most can also see its benefits…. as in a livable planet.

  • Tom, yes,

    we should be concerned about this “sustainable development agenda” because there’s no such thing as “sustainable development”. You know this too. It’s green wash, and it’ll be marketed as saving the “planet” and immediately subverted by the leaders of industrial civilisation. That’s the way it works.

    Again, thanks for all your posts. Don’t stop.

    Jean,

    it would be nice of course, but don’t get your hopes up. Sorry to be the spoil sport and advise you to be more cynical.

    I agree with Guy: the only way to save the Earth for some life, in whatever form, I don’t care, is to dismantle our industrial civilisation. Nothing can be done from inside the system and its institutions build on the usual hierarchies etc. I think you’ve lived long enough to know this (deep down) as well as I do. If you feel you need to do something, get going with your monkey wrench.

    Of course, dismantling the system means that most people alive today will die (me and everyone I love included of course). Yet it’s the only way. Everything else is just spending time talking, talking….which I’m guilty of too, and that’s precisely what the UN and the Catholic Church are doing. We’re way to far down the line.
    It’s hopium.

  • The latest essay in this space was penned by J. Z. Colby. Catch it, and more, here.

  • Sabine,

    Have you read the proposed U.N initiatives? It is an agenda which, if implemented, and if of course the dire predictions which are suggested don’t come about, would change the course of the human condition in ways which should have been done a few hundred years ago. Of course, to accomplish what is proposed is quite another matter, but if the proposed changes are good for the species, and if enough people choose to believe in those perspectives, then such changes could be unstoppable.

    I agree that we may indeed have reached points of no return. But nothing is cast in stone. We don’t know the future with 100% accuracy any more than we know how this universe came to be. The final chapter of humanity, as predicted by hundreds of people before Guy, did not materialize as predicted. If Guy is right, then the few of us who concur with that possibility will have lived our lives as best we could in the event that our extinction occurs. The choice we all make as to when and how we choose to believe how our existence may end largely depends on the faith we have in those who have made predictions in the past. While Guy definitely goes to the top of my list in terms of providing multiple examples regarding feedback loops which don’t auger well for our future, my ability to accept the inevitable without question just isn’t there, and it has served me well during my relatively brief encounter with life, 74 years and counting.

    “Nothing can be done’ is not usually the way baseball is played. While the fact that Nature Bats last is incontestable, there is also the remote possibility, if you have ever played little league, that Nature may never need to come to bat for the last inning. As the Fat Lady has proven many times in her refrain, ” It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”. And so preempting the final inning can never be completely discounted.

    It’s ‘hopium’ indeed, but despair isn’t all that great either. If Guy is right, and the human species makes an exit from life in the next 20 years or so, then you will have been wiser than most. Until then, the game is on….

  • Jean,

    Yes, I have read a summary of the UN initiatives, and, as you say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. However, I have no hope in our species or, indeed, that most of life as we know will survive on our Earth in the near future. I don’t speculate on dates. I leave that to the people who can’t help that sort of thing. Near future is enough for me.
    And yes, we have no real way of knowing, and I agree that we know nothing about the reality of our universe or indeed any universe (to put it simply for my own benefit). But everything points towards a future, here in our material reality on this Earth, of more and more of the same. This machine cannot be stopped, it’s totally unrealistic unless we dismantle it which cannot be done peacefully. Remember, your lot could not dismantle the fascism of my lot peacefully. That was also a machine which needed to be stopped, and it was done with horrific violence on all sides. The machine of industrial civilisation is just as determined as the Nazis were who thought they were absolutely right and leading the way to the future. Progress…All their songs were about a very bright future (for the right people). Now the “right” people are the international elite irrespective of colour, religion or gender.
    Maybe my history has made me more cynical and therefore less trusting.

    I know I sound totally negative but I never despair. For me hopelessness and despair are not the same thing. But that’s another story, to long to go into here.

    Unfortunately, we have to use this communication medium which traps us on a verbal level. Considering that so much communication is non-verbal, that’s a real shame. If you could see me, you would know immediately that I’m not desperate in any way. I truly try to live in the here and now, communicating with all living beings I come across, not only humans but also plants and animals. This is my greatest pleasure.
    Most people who meet me for the first time would think of me as having a positive nature. Here, on this blog, we all voice things that we might not talk about in our “real” lives where people’s feelings are easily bruised. And I would not want to do that. There’s enough hurt in the world without me consciously contributing to it.

    But faith in our species having a “road to Damascus moment” is not something I have. Even though I’d like nothing better but to be wrong.

  • Jean Turcot Says:
    May 12th, 2015 at 5:34 am
    “Tom,
    Always believed the answer lies in the hands of the U.N. The proposals are nothing short of outstanding. I can think of little else to add to that magnificent list of initiatives. The opposition of course will be fierce and unrelenting, but if the U.N. has any clout whatsoever, the initiatives could bring a new beginning to civilization, a word which never really described the state of the human condition. We are basically uncivilized, but this would change that perspective for all. The trick is to present it so that those who would stand to financially lose the most can also see its benefits…. as in a livable planet.”

    We are “uncivilized? No, we are OVER-civilized. Civilization, so-called, is the problem. And who is the UN? It’s just a front for the multinational corporate complex, designed in fact by the Council on Foreign Relations back in the 1940s to act as a front for US foreign policy. The US controls the pursestrings.

  • Looked briefly at the proposed UN initiatives. Have more confidence in the Pope, however. If any noticeable change occurs it will likely come from religions getting together. That alone would be mind boggling.

    Totally crazy the talk about “sustainable development.” The best option I see is the graceful (and joyful) winding down of BAU so that nature can “recover” significantly and significant numbers of beings enabled to live in balance with her.

    The following is far more crucial than the rest, and should not be thrown in among a hodge-podge list of (relatively meaningless) doodle. Like ending poverty. What poverty? Industrial civilization needs to stop grabbing people’s land and their means of independent subsistence.

    “15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.”

  • @Robin & Diarmuid – I want to apologize for the negative and foolish way that I have responded to both of you. I have approached your sharing of spiritual truths in a negative, critical, and even antagonistic attitude and tone. This is far from the open and unbiased person that I want to be. You have responded to me in an entirely different way that has been even, calm, and devoid of egoistic or argumentative intention. Thank you so much for that – it provided me the space and time to wake up to my own erroneous way of writing to you. I now realize that I was projecting onto you attitudes that were actually my own defects – which you thankfully were free of. I thought you were talking down to me, when in actuality it was me trying to do that towards you. Again your even and unemotional manner of responding finally enabled me to see that.

    Aaaaarrrrgh! I hate it when some unregenerate part of my ego takes over and does crazy stuff like this. I feel so embarrassed and ashamed to have behaved in the way I have. Spiritual sharing is not supposed to be like that at all, and the better parts of myself know it. I have learned an important lesson from our encounters, and I thank you again for the part you played by unwittingly being my teachers who helped me realize this by your patience and forbearance. I actually deeply respect your spiritual understandings, which are in all important respects identical to my own. Forgive me for trying to tell you things which you already understood better than I.

  • Click, schmick, can I hand you cash in Eugene?

  • Jeff: yeah man – these corrupted institutions are all going to be left with regret and pain as the world careens into war all over the place (including in the U.S. probably too), famine, plagues, social collapse, and all the rest. Guns and bombs don’t grow food or supply water. Thanks for your response.