Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bill McKibben’s Ecology-Free Declaration of War on Climate is Dangerous and Wrong

Old-growth forests must be protected and restored
to limit abrupt climate change

Why does Bill McKibben’s recent sensationalist appeal for a “War on Climate” make no mention, not even one, of ecology or ecosystems? While understanding Mr. McKibben is trying to call for a rapid societal response at a massive scale to an urgent existential threat, perhaps a better analogy would be demobilizing to make climate peace by cutting emissions and reforesting, as declarations of war often only make things worse.

It is irresponsible and contrary to established ecological science for Mr. McKibben to promote a war on climate focused solely upon techno-optimist industrial solutions. First and foremost, climate change is an ecological issue… I, for one, am much less perturbed that Bill occasionally uses plastic bags for his groceries, than that he apparently has little understanding of the ecological systems that maintain a livable Earth. — Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders, Deep ecology essays by Dr. Glen Barry
Climate policies matter. We have very few chances to get it right before abrupt climate change and related environmental and social issues collapse the biosphere. Yet the solutions being put forth by the leading climate activists—including Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Klein, and Michael Brune—are woefully inadequate. In fact, their lack of ecological focus is dangerous and wrong, and virtually ensures failure in limiting global warming to an acceptable level.

In a recent New Republic essay entitled “A World at War”, Mr. McKibben states “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.” The colorful essay correctly notes the urgency of a dramatic, urgent, and large-scale response to the threats posed by climate change. Yet we are led to falsely believe that a war-like industrial retooling to produce massively more solar panels and wind turbines more quickly will prove adequate to solve climate change. At best this is meaningless jingoism, at its worst it dangerously misdiagnoses climate change’s causes,  and does not propose ecologically sufficient climate change solutions.

NOT EVEN ONCE does Bill’s essay calling for a war on climate mention the biological and ecological aspects of our climate change conundrum. In fact, the words ecology, ecosystem, and even environment are not used. How is it that the climate movement’s perceived Martin Luther King type transformational figure has the science and policy behind climate change so dangerously wrong?
Natural ecosystem loss as a cause, and positive-feedback fed result, of abrupt climate change is once again given short thrift, and protecting and enhancing the natural environment is amazingly completely ignored once again by Mr. McKibben as an element of climate solutions. Instead we are left with war metaphors and further industrial development as a dangerously incomplete climate policy prescription.

What the hell Bill? Where is your understanding of ecology, and your embrace of widespread and connected natural ecosystems as a crucial element of any climate change solution?
Mr. McKibben, climate change is not Hitler, and waging war will not solve it. Climate change results not only from billions of pistons burning fossil fuels, it is also caused by billions of conscious decisions to destroy the naturally evolved world – one tree, or patch of ground, at a time – which through vegetation’s cycling of water, energy, and carbon have sustained a habitable Earth for eons. Of course at some level Bill you must realize this, but why not speak, write, and advocate for protecting and restoring natural ecosystems as a keystone climate change response?

Permaculture forest gardens intermixed with
regenerating old-growth key to stabilizing
carbon cycle
Maintaining natural stores of carbon and the natural carbon cycle between these repositories is of primary importance in limiting abrupt climate change and ensuring it doesn’t become run-away. Mr. McKibben’s vision of a war-like industrial mobilization is myopic and entirely ignores the re-greening of land and waters that must occur. We could end fossil fuel emissions rapidly, and still drown in historical emissions, if there are not ways to remove what has already been emitted from the atmosphere (we are at over 400 parts per million of carbon and Bill’s group’s name 350.org acknowledges we have surpassed the safe limit). How else but through natural processes associated with plant growth will global ecological balance be restored?

The simple ecological truth is that natural vegetation holds and cycles carbon in a manner that removes carbon from the atmosphere. We know much carbon is released when natural vegetation is cleared or reduced. And that there is tremendous potential to re-vegetate the vast areas of land that have been cleared of natural ecosystems, as nearly 90% of primary forests have been cleared or dramatically diminished through fragmentation. All remaining old-growth forests must be protected not only as carbon stores, but also for sources of seed and genetic variability for the coming era of ecosystem restoration and climate adaptation, and aided to expand and reconnect. Along with secondary forests undergoing succession into old-growth status, inter-mixed with organic permaculture and forest gardens, expanded natural forest ecosystems have dramatic potential to store carbon and perhaps more importantly keep it cycling.

Given how many natural terrestrial ecosystems have been lost, it is vital to avoiding willful ecocide that we stop logging ancient old-growth forests, allowing them to recover and expand.

[continue reading essay at EcoInternet]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Much Is Enough

Live more simply so that others may simply live
To sustain a livable environment, all basic human needs must be met as sufficient steady state stocks of natural capital are maintained. Guaranteeing a basic income as the greed of the billionaire class is tamed are keys to avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being.
Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance for throw-away consumer crap... This perilous state of global inequity begs the question how much is enough? - Dr. Glen Barry
Despite being more aware than many of the perilous ecological condition of the planet, like most I am drawn by the siren call of affluenza. The variety of consumer goods and their marketing are so pervasive that it is hard to not succumb to the illusion that material items equate with happiness and well-being.

And while I try hard to weigh the impacts of personal expenditures on the planet and its life, and whether the purchase of a particular item is necessary, it is just so damn difficult to resist the desire to meet everyday whims and consume more, and not feel somehow disadvantaged if more stuff cannot be had.

My unmet desires for electronics, a new wardrobe, and travel of course pale in importance to the billions who struggle to meet basic needs. The fact that one billion people live in abject poverty on less than $1.50 a day continues to stun me. Given the networked nature of the world it is very unlikely that a just, sustainable and livable Earth can long persist with such imbalances.

Being married to a Papua New Guinean, and having lived in this Pacific Island’s villages for many years, I understand that exclusion from the money economy does not mean that existence cannot be rich in community, experience, leisure and the wealth found in a well tilled garden. It is important to differentiate between self-sufficiency and dispossession in those that are materially poor.

But the truth remains that billions of people’s basic needs for medicine, food, comfort, and a few select luxuries continue to go unmet; as others slovenly conspicuously over-consume. Jet set celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio warn us climate is real as they gallivant around the world with pals in private yachts and jets spewing emissions for leisure, setting a bad example. Many of us in the developed world’s middle class live lives of consumption beyond the kings and queens of yesteryear, yet rarely is our desire for more satiated.

Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance  for throw-away consumer crap.

[Continue reading at EcoInternet]

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Environmental Collapse Fuels Resurgent Fascism of the #CreepyDonald Ilk


The biosphere is collapsing and dying as natural ecosystem loss, abrupt climate change, and grotesque inequity have so diminished natural capital that we find our well-being threatened by reduced material expectations, a state of perma-war, and escalating authoritarian fascism. Charlatan madman Donald Trump – aka #CreepyDonald – is a deranged, authoritarian wannabe-tyrant seeking to demagogue environmental collapse; and whose racist xenophobia, militant violence, and anti-science hate threaten America’s and the world’s final demise. It is the duty of every fair, decent, tolerant, freedom loving American to resist the rise of GOP authoritarian fascism and commit to peaceful, equitable, and ecologically sustainable advancement for all. 

It’s really quite simple: diminished economic prospects and social cohesion are the direct result of environmental decline. -- Dr. Glen Barry 

Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essay
By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecointernet
July 23, 2016

Donald Trump is creepy
Human industrial growth has dismantled the ecological systems upon which healthy economies and societies are based.  Planetary ecological boundaries required for a habitable Earth have been surpassed as the human family finds itself in a state of ecological overshoot. Loss of natural ecosystems and a stable climate are already causing much conflict, suffering, and reduced opportunity for material advancement. Worsening environmental conditions threaten our liberty too as demagoguery flourishes.

Over the past 130 years the human population has grown from one to seven billion people, many of whom are living highly consumptive lifestyles, as others are mired in numbing abject poverty. This growth has come at the expense of destroying natural ecosystems. Massive economic expansion was easy when based upon liquidating ancient old-growth forests, bottom trawling bountiful oceans, and intensively over-exploiting soil. Now many of these natural resources are nearly exhausted.

Natural capital has perilously declined to such an extent that further widespread growth in material consumption is no longer possible. At least 90% of old growth forests and stocks of large ocean fish have already been harvested, and 50% of topsoil has eroded; as natural ecosystems that sustain life are destroyed for short-term profit. Abrupt climate change already routinely causes severe deprivation and dislocation.

CONVERGING GLOBAL CRISES THREATEN BIOSPHERE COLLAPSE

A number of other threats are converging, greatly diminishing the global condition, and imperiling progress on environmental sustainability. Grotesque inequity – whereby one billion people live on under $1.50 a day as similar numbers live opulent lifestyles – is the norm and worsening. As is often the case during hard times, many are returning to millennia old religious myths that teach that those who believe differently are bad and should be killed. Remote-control christian militarism and radical islamic terrorism are rife, as murder in the name of god is again in vogue.

A state of perma-war has arisen. Eternal tribal conflicts have been exacerbated by a scramble to exploit the last bits of natural capital; which incidentally power the biosphere, providing the ecosystem habitats which make Earth livable. Rather than thinking freely and coming together for global ecological sustainability and lasting human advancement, we seek to murder each other in the name of god and country, as in reality we pursue natural resources at advantageous terms.

These converging global mega-crises are compounded by outright ignorance and anti-intellectualism by those that should know better, but rather seek to enrich themselves based upon the suffering of others.

It’s really quite simple: diminished economic prospects and social cohesion are the direct result of environmental decline. The expectation in much of the world that each generation will be materially better off can no longer be sustained by plundering remaining resource-rich ecosystems. Sadly, such simple and unquestionable truths are opaque to the many people who have lost their ecology ethic, and live vacuous lives in pursuit of more stuff, or scramble daily just to survive.

Our one shared biosphere is threatened with imminent collapse and death, as together we are all faced with nothing less than the end of being. 

THE RISE AND FALL OF #CREEPYDONALD

Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist
Against such a backdrop of ecological, social, and economic decline; innumerable charlatan demagogues are rising, as is often the case when times are hard. Selling various brands of snake oil, they promise to make us safe, rich, and great again; if only they are given absolute power. While tyrannical forms of government are nothing new, and despite immeasurable human suffering during previous bouts of authoritarianism, our present condition of environmental scarcity has created the conditions for fascism’s resurgence.

Madman Donald Trump is the most obvious example of a deranged authoritarian, demagoguing reduced expectations brought about by environmental decline. Trump's scapegoating of the less fortunate, overt nationalism, racism and misogyny, and continuous threats of violence are classic fascism. Trump’s denial of incontrovertible climate change is ignorant and simply unforgivable charlatanism. His entire demeanor and agenda for America will worsen environmental decline and social discord. Mocking the disabled, saying he would date his own daughter, demeaning women and minorities, and Trump's supporters' Nazi salutes are downright creepy. Given Trump’s affection for derisive monikers, I have taken to calling him #CreepyDonald.

#CreepyDonald’s complete cluelessness regarding the root causes of decline indicate that he is really interested in absolute power, which once given, may never be able to be revoked. While concerns over security, jobs, and the deleterious impacts of uncontrolled mass migration are not without merit, the solutions are highly suspect. Trump’s agenda wastes time and diverts resources necessary to protect and restore nature to avoid biosphere collapse. Further division, conflict, and over-development are not the answer.

Mocking those with disabilities is creepy
In the rise of #CreepyDonald we are witnessing the fall of America as a free and great nation (albeit imperfect and always striving for self-improvement). #CreepyDonald’s authoritarian tyranny is neo-fascism and if he seizes power will result in the fall of tolerant and decent liberal democracy in America. Nothing less than centuries of social progress – such as mostly ending slavery and achieving racial and sexual equality – are threatened by fascism’s return.

No matter the threat; dark, violent authoritarian fascism of the sort espoused by #CreepyDonald and the GOP in America, and countless other neo-fascists globally, is never the answer. #CreepyDonald is unfit, unstable, and unacceptable; and his anti-science, anti-intellectualism ensures global unsustainability.  At this critical juncture in history, Donald Trump must not be allowed to seize power.

GREEN LIBERTY IS THE ANSWER

Continuous expectations that each generation will be better off materially are no longer possible unless we replenish natural capital through a sustained program of ecological protection and restoration. Equitable economic advancement depends upon achieving a steady state economy, as we remain free by firmly rejecting authoritarian fascism.

Ecologically sustainable economic advancement requires skill and knowledge, and profound empathy and sharing with the less fortunate. Building a just, verdant, and equitable world depends upon returning to the land to grow products and services of lasting benefit that meet basic needs from creative self-expression with our minds and bodies.

Humanity finds itself hurtling through space on a 3.5 billion year old organism – called Earth by some, Gaia by others – which is collapsing and dying. We will only survive and thrive by coming together in common purpose to sustain natural ecosystems, remain free, and more equitably share nature’s bounty. To start we must #DumpTrump and firmly destroy all other threats to our liberty and ecology.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Twitter Is Dead

Twitter Abets Child Sex Tourism
In an era of right-wing authoritarian fascism and left-wing elitist corruption; and economic, social, and environmental decline, I have been stunned by having been repeatedly kicked off of Twitter as I addressed these matters, including occasionally tweeting regarding disclosures made to me and many others by a Congressman of having raped children. The social network has jumped the shark and is no longer a voice for social justice, political truth, or environmental sustainability, and has little relevance in keeping children safe or other efforts to confront abuses by the powerful.


We live in a perilous world. Donald Trump berates and terrorizes others at will with racist taunts and xenophobic rants wielding the power of his Twitter account. Yet my own Twitter account, long dedicated to the search for truth, justice, and ecology – used in work by EcoInternet hailed by Utne Reader as "visionary" – has been shutdown three times in the past couple months, most recently yesterday.

The infraction? Occasional tweets regarding keeping children safe from child sexual abuse. I had the misfortune of a Congressman disclosing in my presence of having traveled to Costa Rica to partake in the child sex trade, and every so often I tweet upon the journey of seeking justice for this gay Congressional pedophile. I have previously written on the matter as well, most recently here, and initially here.

Despite only ruminating infrequently on the fact that Madison, Wisconsin is represented in Congress by a child rapist – among much discussion of the need to #DumpTrump and cut emissions as protect old-growth forests – if I make any mention of Congressional pedophilia or the toll vicious false counter attacks have had upon me, my account is immediately closed. This comes as the Congressional child abuser has sought to intimidate me further with contacts by the Capital Police and sending an associate to threaten me outside of my home in New York City.

For years I was enthralled by Twitter. In a world of right-wing authoritarian fascism, and left-wing elitist corruption, it offered a platform for the dispossessed and armchair philosophers to share their thoughts and opinions. If one did so well, you were rewarded with likes and followers, and an unmatched platform for personal expression. Twitter offered in my opinion not only the potential for substantiated truths to remove corrupt and violent individuals and governments from power; it also was Earth's last best chance to build global movements sufficient to achieve social justice, economic equity, and environmental sustainability.

My how things have changed. Under unrelenting pressure to grow, and in an effort to stop some of the more vicious trolling occurring on Twitter, the social media company now routinely expels anyone whose content may have been found offensive by anyone for any reason. Even those aggrieved by the truthful outing of a gay Congressional pedophile can simply click on a button and have it shutdown.

What makes the death of Twitter all the more egregious is never has the world more desperately needed a neutral network for the flow of information and ideas to address the litany of global challenges with which we as a human family are confronted.

Fascism is indisputably on the rise. Yet those falling for the lure of authoritarianism have justifiable concerns about mass migration, the loss of decent livelihoods, and obscene levels of economic inequity. Those in power, while professing concern regarding these issues, have done as elites usually do, and corruptly used their power for self-enrichment and personal gain. Including diddling little boys in poor countries with impunity.

There is very little political space to discuss humanity's descent into a state of perma-war as the biosphere collapses from abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss.

This is what made Twitter such a disruptive force. Free thinkers with insight and desire could challenge the lies of fascists, and the deceit of the elite. Intractable issues that are rarely addressed – like drone warfare, government spying, widening inequity, and the oil industry corruptly funding climate change deniers – could relentlessly and courageously be confronted in a global twitter storm of controversy in the pursuit of truth.

Governments literally quaked and fell as the power of 140 character truths highlighted the lies and deceptions upon which the rich grow richer, as the poor grow poorer, and all of our shared ecosystems are lost threatening the end of being.

And yes, if you found yourself having drinks with friends, and a local politician who later ran for Congress happens to speak and vividly act out traveling to Costa Rica to pay kids for sex; and the Madison police, FBI, Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, and Madison District Attorney are notified – but ignore you suggesting  you are crazy and made it up, choosing to side with the powerful and not even investigate – you can tweet about that too.

Again, how is it that Trump can Tweet a constant barrage of racist hate, as a small time activist such as myself is not able to Tweet regarding my own experiences? It is not the role of social media to be the arbitrator of disputes. That is the role of courts. Social networks exist to give all a voice.

Despite demonstrating such initial promise, Twitter has shown it is not up to the task of providing a neutral platform upon which the fearless winnowing of facts and ideas to solve contemporary problems can occur. In an effort to cleanse itself of all that is confrontational except in service to the oligarchy, Twitter has become an irrelevant storehouse of inane selfies and celebrity ego.

Twitter enables child rapists by refusing to allow credible allegations against the powerful to be voiced. It's too bad. At one point Twitter had the potential to help usher in an era of justice, equity and ecological sustainability.

Despite Twitter being dead, my search for truth will not end or ever be silenced. Nor will my efforts to keep children safe from corrupt predators. Neither should yours.