Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grotesque Global Inequity Threatens Ecological Collapse and Horrific Death for All

Live more simply so others may simply live
Hundreds of millions of global elites feast upon the finest delicacies a diminished Earth has to offer, as billions struggle to meet basic needs, and oligarchs amass unheard of wealth and entire governments. Each in their own way destroys our one shared biosphere that makes Earth habitable.
“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.” – Immanuel Kant, the “Categorical Imperative” from Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)
“Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.” – Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

The disparity of wealth and well-being which currently exists globally is grotesque and threatens us all with a horrific death as demands upon nature for consumption overwhelm the biosphere.

The stupid among us will wrongly call such concerns communism, while the intent is simply to ask how much is enough? And how much can we each have if we value fairness, the well-being of all humans and species, and seek global ecological sustainability forever?

It is evil incarnate that some have so much as many have so little. Systematic racism and other injustices provide a gilded legacy of plenty to entire families over generations, as some human beings through no fault of their own have few if any opportunities for advancement. Basic human-needs of food, water, shelter, clothing – to say nothing of higher level needs for community, love, and security – are systematically unmet for billions. Some of the disparity is certainly due to intelligence and hard-work, yet the majority of inequity is due to the random location of your birth and the circumstances therein. And much inequity is due to the rich impeding advancement by the poor if it even minutely diminishes the growth of their own wealth.

It is not a coincidence that record global economic inequity comes as abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss threatens to end being. Inequitable over-population and disparities in consumption are the primary forces destroying our ecological heritage and ushering in an era of resource-scarcity.

Earth is dying
Natural ecosystems are collapsing as our very climate fails. Racism, chauvinism, and even slavery are resurgent. The human family is poised upon the precipice of biosphere collapse and the end of being. Solutions are impeded by the rise once again of authoritarian fascism based upon anti-science and anti-intellectualism.

Science informs all equipped to listen that soils, wetlands, oceans, forests, water, and the air– the foundations of biological life – are all being liquidated for human consumption and as a result nature, wildlife, and humans are dying. Our immediate future is one of ghastly extreme weather events, a state of escalating perma-war scrambling to access reduced natural resources, and large-scale famine as ecosystems collapse and water and food sources fail.

As I have earlier asked in How Much Is Enough, how have we allowed a band of a couple hundred selfish oligarchs to amass half of Earth’s wealth as over a billion human beings struggle to exist in abject poverty? How do we justify owners of capital making 600 times the wage of their average worker? Wouldn’t their job creation prowess and hard work be sufficiently, even opulently, rewarded with 25 times pay disparity, as was once the case?

It is difficult for the  bourgeoisie to imagine the horrors of abject poverty. Putting your children to bed hungry, in a cardboard box, as they cry out in pain before death. Selling your body and soul for your next meal, as your whole being aches with yearning for basic human comforts you see others possess and to which all aspire and deserve. The horrors include untreated disease, open defecation, human trafficking, continual violence, and a joyless miserable existence.

Dogs and cats for the well-off are treated much better than billions of poor people, many of whose labor supports the rich.

The Earth is a finite place (however much the siren call of techno-optimists wails). Humanity has gone from a population of one to over seven billion in only 135 years. Demands for consumption of all sorts of items including meat, iPhones, cars, air travel, large homes, and appliances have surged.
Quite simply not enough ecosystems remain to be liquidated for resources to provide all poverty stricken peoples the level of consumption enjoyed by a typical middle-class American. The nearly global embrace of democratic consumption as the meaning of life means that the rich scour the Earth for luxuries, as the poor do what is necessary to survive (including mass migration), each diminishing Earth’s natural capital and productive capacities.

It is not suggested here that everyone should live equally; just fairly, with all basic needs met, as the sum of global consumption remains within Earth’s limits for regeneration.

Kant’s categorical imperative emphasized that ethics are founded upon universality. Now more so than ever, the measure of a person’s character is whether they are living in a way that does not diminish the ability of others to achieve a similar standard of well-being.

The ecological and ethical conundrum is this: the comforts associated with consumption are being realized at a greater rate than nature can provide, even as many suffer from want. Either the rich will accept less in order that all can attain some basic measure of human well-being, even as sum consumption shrinks; or we face the final liquidation of nature and an appalling era of ecological collapse before the end of being.

We need to learn once again to share as we renounce usury, avarice, and greed. We must seek a higher degree of enlightenment that values equity, justice, and ecology more than gorging ourselves upon ill-gotten fruits. It is time to evolve together to a higher consciousness that values universal truths and well-being.

We Are One Human Family
We are one human family, and are all in this together. Believe that the world can be a better place and come together with others to make it so. Think big and out of the box for solutions. A basic human income for all, just by virtue of your birth and existence, could largely eliminate abject poverty while shrinking big government.

At one time humanity sought increased awareness of the nature of being, and to maximize our well-being through continual self-improvement. Thus liberal democracy, personal freedom, and greater political participation for non-white men became established.

Yet these advancements have been shown in recent years to be vacuous and weak as even a slight decline in household consumption leads many to embrace all sorts of charlatan demagoguery.

As Earth and her humanity fall into nothingness, I implore you to resist such a fate.
Consume only your fair share of nature or being ends.

The ethical measure of a person is the degree to which they are regenerating nature, and that their sum impact upon ecology is positive. Only widespread embrace of such an ecology ethic can now save Earth and humanity.

What does this mean in practice? Sell your car. Return to the land to produce food and restore ecosystems. Have 1 or if you must at most 2 children. Eat less or no meat, and local organic foods. Travel via air infrequently if at all. And reject over-consumption as the meaning of life, instead valuing fairness and truth.

Favor deep experience, community, nature, and learning over more stuff. Consume only as much as is available universally for all. Know how much is enough and how to share. Such an ecology ethic is the new categorical imperative if together we are to avoid abrupt climate change and global ecological collapse.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Abrupt Climate Change: In Hurricane Harvey, Texans Reap What They Sow


A century and a half of Texas oil
fueled Hurricane Harvey
Science informs us that Texas oil fueled Hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey is abrupt climate change. And it shows collapse of the atmosphere and ecosystems that threatens to destroy the biosphere and end being… Texas’ war against science and the natural world must draw to an end. Like waking up after a long drinking binge, it is time for Texans to sober up and accept their living large – as if the land, water, and air have no value – has brought them to the edge of utter ruin.” — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

After 25 years of writing regarding looming abrupt climate change and biosphere collapse, nonetheless I find no succor that my predictions have come true with Hurricane Harvey. Firstly, my heart-felt sympathy goes out to the hardy Texans who continue to weather nature’s wrath on the Gulf Coast. I have had the fortune to spend some time in Port Aransas and Rockport areas visiting family and it is a beautiful spot full of warm, generous people.

However, let there be no mistake (now comes the “tough love” part). Hurricane Harvey is a man-made disaster that has directly resulted from Texans’ oil addiction, anti-science denial, disdain for common sense regulations, and super-sized lifestyles.

So where did all that rain come from anyway? It’s global warming stupid.

The basics of climate science have been known for 100 years. Simply, what has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico with Hurricane Harvey is all about heat, which is growing because of fossil fuel emissions (the greenhouse gases that are released trap heat), including by Texans. Since 1970 the average temperature in the South has risen 3.3° F. Galveston Texas set a shocking 33 record temperatures since Nov. 1st of last year. Across Texas temperatures have been averaging 10° F warmer than usual.

At its most basic level, this warmed air holds more water, making possible Hurricane Harvey’s 52 inches of rain in areas around Houston. Warming oceans expand in volume and melting ice combine to raise sea levels. In just the past 50 years, Galveston Texas’ local sea level has risen by 12.5 inches, resulting in coastal erosion and more powerful storm surges. On average storm surges are 7 inches taller due to global warming.

It’s global warming stupid

Gulf of Mexico waters are much warmer than usual and rarely cool down, feeding hurricanes. The average sea surface temperature of the Texan Gulf Coast has risen from 86° F to 87° F over a few decades. As Harvey approached the Texas coast, Gulf ocean temperatures were between 2.7° F to 7.2° F above average. This past winter for the first time the Gulf of Mexico never fell below 73° F. Each degree of heat results in 3-5% more moisture in the air.

Add to this a diminished Jet Stream and other high level winds that are no longer blowing (likely due to Arctic melting), and you have storms that linger in one location like Harvey did.

The science is rock solid that we are transforming the Earth in ways that increase the likelihood of extreme storms and may even make the environment uninhabitable.  Climate change is but one (albeit deadly in its own right) of several human caused environmental crises that threaten to destroy our one shared biosphere. You can either believe in science or in ghosts in the sky. If you choose solely the latter you open yourselves up to avoidable cataclysmic devastation.

Any further climate change denial of the sort prevalent in Texas, and refusal to change behaviors to pollute far less, is a willful death wish. Not only for Texans, but also for South Asia and other areas being hammered by the same oil fueled forces of abrupt climate change.

Frankly, often Texans are egotistical to the point of being naively cocksure (i.e. what sort of motto is “Don’t Mess with Texas”). Many are uneducated and don’t understand the world around them, and are proudly boastful of the fact.

For generations Texans have over-built wherever their hearts desired. Floodplains, wetlands, riverbanks, coast lines, amidst chemical plants – there was no regulation to their sprawl – because they are god’s chosen people. And regulations are for commie pinkos.

Since 1866 Texans have pumped the remains of dead creatures to the surface to be burned for transport and heat. Nearly 3.5 million barrels of crude oil are produced a day in Texas. Further, Texas is a leader in industrial animal agriculture – particularly cattle –  which occupies much land and emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases. This polluting resource gluttony is the engine behind a warming world and makes Texans directly responsible for their own suffering from Hurricane Harvey.

Texans – in the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, have reaped what they have sown – disruption of the natural world. From oil to cattle, urban sprawl to anti-intellectualism, very few if any regions globally have as much historical responsibility for abrupt climate change as Texas. It is fitting that the Houston/Beaumont area, where oil was first produced commercially some 150 years ago, has been devastated by abrupt climate change.

Texas oil fueled Hurricane Harvey.

As SCIENCE (a method of logical examination that seeks truth) identified that burning fossil fuels was warming the atmosphere, Texans doubled down, not only denying but also willfully obstructing the truth. For decades Texas politicians and oil companies have lied and obfuscated the truth in order to eke out a few more years of profits from deadly fossil fuels.

Disregarding established science has consequences, as those along the Texas Gulf Coast have come to realize.

And as for that Texas economic miracle? It is not too hard to create an artificial boom economy based upon ecocidal destruction of nature and the atmosphere. But when the bubble bursts and the boom ends, and you are left in desolate flooded or parched ecosystems, death comes swiftly from the storm.

Hurricane Harvey is either the end or the beginning
Hurricane Harvey is abrupt climate change. And it shows collapse of the atmosphere and ecosystems that threatens to destroy the biosphere and end being.

It doesn’t have to end this way. Texans can strive for a dose of humility as they go cap in hand to ask the rest of the nation to bail them out (as they have refused so often to do for others). Texans are always for small government until they need help. Yet there should be no funds unless the Texas mess – lack of regulation, oil dependency, urban sprawl, and anti-science denial – is addressed.
This includes commitments to dramatically cut and soon end emissions from Texas oil.

Meaningful recovery in Texas will require pulling back from the coasts, restoring natural river ways, wetlands, and floodplains;  and otherwise REGULATING development. Once again ecosystems must surround human endeavors in order to provide services such as absorbing rainwater. In a world whose climate is abruptly changing, Texans are called upon to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and exclusively towards renewable energy – both wind and sun are plentiful.

We must come together and declare climate peace by ushering in an age of ecological restoration.
And let’s start teaching science again in Texas before their prevalent anti-science hate kills us all.
Texas’ war against science and the natural world must draw to an end. Like waking up after a long drinking binge, it is time for Texans to sober up and accept their living large – as if the land, water, and air have no value – has brought them to the edge of utter ruin.

Hurricane Harvey was fueled by Texas oil. Until this truth is acknowledged and responded to, there will be no recovery along the Texan Gulf Coast, and the situation there portends the fate of all of humanity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Resisting Nazi Fascism and KKK Racism Responsibility of All True Americans

Anti-fascist liberal arts college professor
brutalizes Nazi, who has a permit
The tragic events at Charlottesville and UnPresident Trump’s embrace of Nazis and KKK members provide for a teachable moment on fascism and race. The rise of the American fascist and racist far right-wing, of the sort that festered and spread from the state of Wisconsin, threatens national and global well-being and security. Historically lynching and gassing of individuals based upon their race or religion have been strongly resisted in America (albeit sometimes disturbingly late) at the cost of nearly a million U.S. anti-fascist lives. Yet GOP political figures such as Government Walker of Wisconsin refuse to repudiate the hate of his voters. Listen closely: under no circumstances will threats of murder and enslavement of non-whites and non-christians be tolerated. Nazis and KKK are UnAmerican, and will be resisted using all means necessary. Start by refusing to vote for candidates whose supporters include Nazi and KKK members. There is no backing down when faced with fascist hate; and we must seek love-based, yet forceful, unity in resisting such monstrous evil. There will be no further American genocide.
“Jewish Americans and immigrants should not have to worry about being incarcerated in concentration camps and whether their children will be gassed. Nor should black Americans fear lynching and enslavement. This is evil incarnate… It is duty of all true Americans to resist fascist, racist and anti-science hate as if our shared survival depends upon it, it does.” — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet

THERE IS NO GOING BACK

Centuries of human progress are at risk as fascism and racism are again resurgent in America. Enormous strides have been made in recent decades towards racial, sexual, and religious equality. The world is a more just and fair place as slavery has been largely eliminated, religious guarantees solidified (including the right to not believe), overt racism and sexism are in decline (though issues with systematic discrimination remain), and non-white ethnicities’ political rights established.

Sadly the societal diseases of state-based racism and fascism are flaring up again, and in the United States of America no less. Granted, America was conceived in genocide of Native Americans and slavery of Africans, yet the nation had until recently become a beacon of perpetual self-improvement. Appallingly fascism’s rise is occurring as humanity is faced with a plethora of social and ecology crises – such as climate change, ecosystem collapse, inequity, injustice, and perma-war – any one of which could kill us all. At this critical juncture, humanity cannot afford the distraction of again having to fight monstrous evils which it was thought had been long banished.

Right-wing terror is UnAmerican
Let’s be clear. Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in WWII and in total over 80 million deaths resulted from the rise and defeat of the fascist disease. In the American South over one-third of a million Africans were kidnapped, tortured, and brutally enslaved; as the lunatic, treasonous confederacy fought to continue this savagery. And over 4,000 black Americans have been lynched by the KKK in the past 150 years as the promise of racial equality went unmet.

We are one human family. And such filthy and vile ideologies have no place in civilized society.

The rise of the American fascist right is one of the gravest threats to global peace, stability, and well-being the world has ever known. Their grotesque ideology threatens the terror of mass murder and enslavement. In recent years in the United States there have been twice as many terrorist incidents by right-wing extremists as by Islamist extremists. In recent decades 74% of US domestic terror attacks are by far right wing violent extremists, who have murdered 106 people in 62 attacks.

Jewish Americans and immigrants should not have to worry about being incarcerated in concentration camps and whether their children will be gassed. Nor should black Americans fear lynching and enslavement. This is evil incarnate.

The lesson from German Nazism and America’s post-Civil War is that you speak out against, actively resist, and utterly destroy state-based fascism and racism immediately as it arises or face much worse problems later on. Such horrendous evil flies in the face of all that America stands for and aspires to be. Villainous Nazis and KKK have no place in American politics and efforts to again murder and enslave blacks and Jews will be met by The Resistance and vigorous Anti-fascist counter-measures.

America’s and the world’s hard fought gains in human rights will not be so easily erased. Under no circumstances will psychotic homicidal hate of the terrorist far-right be allowed to trump the peace and love found in vibrant and tolerant multi-cultural communities based upon universal principles of equality, racial harmony, social justice, and basic human decency. There is no going back to Nazism and the KKK, and there will be no further American genocide.

Long history of anti-fascist resistance
Long history of anti-fascist resistance
HOW DID WE GET HERE

Like many I have been appalled by the resurgence of Nazism and KKK white supremacy (collectively referred to accurately here as “the fascists”), and their recent murderous rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I have been shocked by the failure of the GOP – including such leaders as UnPresident Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and my own state’s second-tier Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – to condemn in uncertain terms rising right-wing hate.

While it is true that historically the Democratic Party was the home of Southern racism including tolerance of the KKK, there has been a political re-alignment. For decades now racists and fascists have become a vital GOP voting bloc in the rise of their extremist right-wing hate politics. There is a long established tradition in the GOP’s electoral strategy of a wink-and-nod promotion of racial intolerance for votes and funds. America’s current political malaise whereby we even have to consider the re-emergence of the KKK and Nazism is the logical consequence of decades of GOP bigotry for political advantage. What sort of people vote for candidates whose supporters include Nazis and the KKK?

The American government has been seized in a fascist coup by treasonous UnPresident Trump. America’s government is in the hands of the fascist wing of the GOP party. UnPresident Trump is emotionally unstable, politically inept, morally bankrupt, and these traits along with his fascist demeanor make him unfit for office. It is truly shocking that UnPresident Trump can’t bring himself to condemn Nazis and the KKK, for fear of alienating his political base. This and a whole slew of other actions have shown #CreepyDonald to be a filthy, vile, charlatan, authoritarian demagogue, madman bent upon waging war on non-christians and non-white men, American and international security, and even truth and science.

Again, all peace and truth loving Americans are called upon to find meaning in nature and #TheResistance to Trump Fascism.

I have been an anti-fascist campaigner since first witnessing fascism’s rise in my home state of Wisconsin nearly a decade ago. There Governor Walker – a former college classmate of mine for which I have only derision – has a long record of racist campaigning. I remember well when Scott Walker was in college running for office and compared himself to Martin Luther King, showing his total detachment from reality.
Governor Scott Walker is a balding fascist

For decades Walker has used suburban hate of Milwaukee blacks for political gain.

Authoritarian fascism began to re-emerge with Walker’s war on workers, the environment, and education. Under his reign it is not unusual to hear racial epitaphs in rural Wisconsin, something I never encountered as a child or young man.  Walker’s political rise in Wisconsin has been built upon consistent race-baiting and support from racists, and the Wisconsin GOP has created the current environment where Nazis and the KKK are ascendant.

Given Walker’s history of race-baiting, it is not surprising that he supports UnPresident Trump’s warm embrace of Nazi and KKK ideologies. Both Walker and Trump are fascists.  Governor Walker is complicit in UnPresident Trump’s treasonous, anti-science, racist, war-mongering hate. Walker’s electoral success shows that Trump’s political ascent is far from an aberration, and reflects the heart and soul of the Republican Party. As the Gubernatorial election nears in Wisconsin, we must never forget the current intensity of GOP hate started with Walker’s attacks upon workers.

It is hardly surprising Scott Walker refuses to condemn Trump’s white supremacist bigotry, as he is a racist too.

My warnings of fascist Wisconsin were widely ridiculed and ignored. It doesn’t seem that my decade long predictions of American fascism were so wrong after all. Nor should my avocations on what is required to address fascism be dismissed. There is no backing down when faced with fascism.

NEVER AGAIN

There is a lot of nonsense spouted by the right regarding political ideologies. Nazis were not socialist, they were right wing extremists. Fascism is a political ideology based upon nationalism, militarism, racism, corporatism, scapegoating and more. Similarly anti-fascism is a philosophy, not a physical group, that opposes fascism, with many divergent tactics to strategically destroy right-wing hate.
Anti-fascists are committed to disrupting the activities of those committed, by their own words, to carrying out mass genocide against entire races. History shows us that by the time the fascists have attained state power and genocide has commenced, it is too late to stop mass murder and large-scale wars of fascist resistance.

At all costs, the horrors of the Nazi
holocaust must never happen again
 Over one million Americans died defeating the twin monstrous evils of Nazism and the confederacy. And under no circumstances must such vicious and intolerable ideologies be allowed to resurface and spread. There will be no American concentration camps where fellow human being are imprisoned, overworked, gassed, and burned. Nor will any Americans of any ethnicity ever again fear being enslaved. The work to abolish systematic racism still inflicted upon non-white persons must continue apace.

As Nazi fascism and KKK racism again rise in GOP America, there is no neutrality. You are either anti-fascist, or a Nazi and KKK collaborator. At first it is up to all stable and confident Americans to ask nicely for rhetoric promoting the murderous hate based upon race to stop. But at some point, more direct actions to utterly destroy the metastasizing disease of racist fascism are entirely justified. It is up to each of us to decide to what extent and how we will resist fascism and take responsibility for doing so.

One thing I know for sure – fascists must be confronted and revealed as the monsters they are, or their political extremism becomes established and regularized. Under no circumstances must fascists be allowed to rule the streets unchallenged, or their hate-mongering will win, and we will all live in fear of arbitrary detention, work camps, and murder.

Grieving fascist resurgence and establishment within American government, I have been vacillating between which is the best response; ridiculing, counter-protesting, or punching Nazis and KKK members. For now it is best to show up in massive displays of pubic counter-protests, and ridicule such repugnant ignoramuses given any opportunity. But let’s not fool ourselves, these are violent terrible ideologies, whose adherents are indeed deplorable, evil filth. We must never surrender the streets to these foul fascists. And we may need to fight fascism again to remain free and just, and we must be ready.

Of course non-violent peaceful protests are always the best means to achieve lasting and just social change. There are numerous creative means to protest, that stand up to fascism with community displays of solidarity and love; including displays of righteous ridicule, such as recently Tubas playing cartoon themes to troll fascist protests. Yet sadly, realistically stopping the rise of fascism in America may once again require meeting force with force.  Anti-fascist punching of Nazis may be required. Anti-fascists must never stand down, particularly when Neo-Nazis hold the reins of governmental power. 

Nazis are not nice people, and generally
you cannot reason with jack booted thugs
THE ANTI-FASCIST WAY FORWARD

Being a Nazi or in the KKK is never OK. Hate towards non-whites and non-christians is never OK. Maybe if Hitler’s jack booted thugs had been asked nicely to stop hating, war and mass murder of innocents could have been avoided. Probably not though.

Standing up to medieval anti-Semitic, white-supremacy, fascist hate is the duty of all civilized people. All Nazi and KKK supporters should expect to be resisted, and if their hateful threatening of others does not stop, to be destroyed.

It is duty of all true Americans to resist fascist, racist and anti-science hate as if our shared survival depends upon it, it does. There are some simple steps that can be taken now to minimize the risk of fascism.

Join me in calling upon Twitter to shutdown UnPresident Trump’s account for his support of fascist and racist violence. Please take the time to report his tweets, which clearly violate the Twitter terms of service. Many other accounts including my own have been shut down for far lesser reasons.

We must ensure that Trump’s reign is short, and even as we work for impeachment, seek to minimize the damage. The fascist-in-chief must not be allowed to use nuclear terror to advance his far right-wing GOP fascist and racist agenda. To avoid global nuclear war at the hands of a madman, the US Military must under no circumstances obey emotionally unstable UnPresident Trump’s orders to launch nuclear weapons. There must be no nukes for Trump. The military is called upon to join the resistance.

Even as we confront fascism, and work to urgently address other global emergencies such as climate change, we must all lower the tone of our political rhetoric. It is time for a political force to arise in Wisconsin and the nation that shuns political extremes, and seeks to compromise and find truthful solutions from all sides. And we must vote out of office all fascist and racist sympathizers.

In highly polarized Wisconsin, both the Madison Congressional and Wisconsin Governor’s race would benefit from candidates from the political center. Imagine Wisconsin and American politics free of Republican fascism and Democratic self-entitled elitism; finding truth, justice and well-being in the political center. Let’s start by voting twin authoritarian fascists Scott Walker and Donald Trump out of office.

It is the SACRED DUTY of every true American to resist rising fascism and racism with every ounce of their being. Never forget what happens when Nazi fascists and Confederate racists seek to gain full state power. The result is inevitably reigns of terror, mass genocidal murder, and justified wars of resistance.

Let’s together end this Nazi and KKK bullshit and get back to saving the Planet.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Never Forget “Western Civilization” Based upon Murderous Ecocidal Evil

Native peoples are strong and their movements
are getting stronger. Picture from Hawai’i.

Journalist: What do you think of Western civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

“Take it from this old rich white man. Cross-cultural communication that seeks truthful expression of how to live within nature and with others who are different is vital. No one culture has all the answers, but together we almost certainly do, to such pressing matters that threaten our shared existence as perma-war, injustice, inequity, and ecological collapse. We need to listen to each other and seek a synthesis of the Western and non-Western, that reflects an ecology and humanity ethic truly worthy of the moniker “Universal Civilization”. — Dr. Glen Barry
By Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essays by Dr. Glen Barry

WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS A MYTH

If ever a society was conceived in original sin, it is the Western democracies, Europe and North America in particular. Dominance of Western Civilization is based upon centuries of murder and enslavement of indigenous peoples and nature that continue to this day.

Some 500 years ago European tribes spilled forth into the world in a wave of ecological colonialism. Thus began an onslaught of murderous genocide, enslavement, rape, and ecocide in the name of christianity, capitalism, and country. Characterized by a pernicious greed and certainty in their own superiority; European cultures built a mysterious worldview that justified their callous mistreatment of others and destruction of the natural world.

Key among the sinister Eurocentric worldview was the mistaken notion that natural ecosystems, non-European people, and other sentient life existed solely to be exploited for their profit. Millions of plant and animal species, thousands of ancient cultures and their knowledge, and innumerable other human beings with different appearances and worldviews existed solely to serve Europeans and their colonies, and if they refused, their massacre was justified. Indeed, given their less than fully human nature, eradication through murder of other cultures was the civilized thing to do.

Not unlike a cancerous mutation, at a global scale a deeply flawed ecocidal and genocidal worldview radiated forth that pursued material comfort at the expense of other people, life forms, and the environment.

And the invading murderers had the gall to call themselves Western Civilization.

European and American exceptionalist rhetoric does not align with the history of settlers’ colonialist expansion. Or the continued ramifications upon the Earth, indigenous peoples, and plants and animals arrayed into ecosystems; of this miserable worldview being nearly universally accepted. Such a brutal and evil worldview has metastasized into our current over-populated, inequitable, unjust, and war-torn world; and threatens, after having destroyed nature and other more biocentric cultures, to topple the biosphere and end being.

But not before much more dramatic suffering and pain, first inflicted upon native peoples by Western civilization.

KNOW YOUR HISTORY

In the Americas alone around 100 million people – about 90% of the original population of  indigenous peoples – died from Western disease – including smallpox, measles, and cholera; or were murdered and/or violently displaced including through rape, warfare, and genocide by settlers.
Firsthand accounts of the slaughter are replete with tales of entire tribes being massacred, as children were pulled from their parents and impaled, women were raped and enslaved, as men fighting to protect their families and land were wantonly murdered.

Why? Because they were savages and would not surrender their land. And Europeans were the chosen ones.

An estimated 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and shipped to the Americas with some 10.7 million surviving the journey, of which about 1/3 of a million were tortured and enslaved in North America. The brutal savagery of slavery is difficult to comprehend, yet was similarly justified by claims of superiority of white christian capitalist culture.

Granted, slavery, mass migration, and warfare existed for a long time and were practiced by many cultures. But none so ruthlessly and at such scale as the genocide wrought by Western civilization’s expansion. Such savagery has continued into world wars, carpet bombing of civilians, militarism in defense of resources such as oil, and the final clearance of natural ecosystems that make life possible.
Over 80% of Earth’s naturally evolved old-growth forests have been mowed, around half of the world’s land mass is under some form of cultivation, oceans are dying as they are scraped of life, water and fertile soil are increasingly scarce, and our very climate is spinning out of control. The biosphere is dying.

Such is the history of western civilization.

It is not my intention to downplay advances such as personal liberty, material comfort, and relative democracy associated with western civilization. But it has come at a heavy price, leaving traumatized societies and brutalized natural systems and animals, placing at risk the well-being of future generations and the very habitability of our Earthly habitat. And given the rise of fascism in Western democracies, such advances appear to be fragile and impermanent.

Western civilization has certainly not been civilized given any objective measure. The marvels found in entire cities such as Amsterdam and Venice have been built upon plunder and murder.

Western abuses of indigenous peoples continue unabated to this day. Out of such an abominable worldview has come an over-populated world that has liquidated its natural ecosystems, is in a state of perma-war, as the biosphere nears final collapse. And now in a last wave of outrage, indigenous and other non-Western peoples are the most impacted upon by abrupt climate change and other impacts of collapsing natural ecosystems.

The author has been blessed to play a small
supporting role in many successful indigenous
campaigns including We Are Mauna Kea
(pictured), Standing Rock, and many others
EMBRACING NATIVE KNOWLEDGE
There are innumerable worldviews regarding humanity’s place in the cosmos and understanding of right-living. Important knowledge exists such as the use of plant materials, how to sustain yourself from an ecosystem without degrading or destroying it, and how to minimize conflict. Native knowledge encapsulated in ritual has kept water, oceans, land, and fields largely intact for millennia. Along with natural ecosystems, this indigenous knowledge has been nearly wiped from the surface of the Earth by Western settlers.

It is not my intent to over-romanticize non-Western cultures. Many were warlike and locally over-exploited environments. But never has a culture matched Western imperialism’s grim need to proselytize, force their worldview upon others, and murder all those that resisted; including global claims of European sovereignty to non-Western land and resources. Much knowledge has been lost regarding how to live at peace with Earth and each other. Sadly, many indigenous peoples have embraced the expansionist ecocidal behaviors of their colonizers.

Much native knowledge regarding justice and truth as known by indigenous peoples continues to exist, and is present in contemporary movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock, and many millions of active and empowered local native communities. Globally indigenous, non-Western peoples are leading in demonstrating ways of being that do not kill others or destroy our shared natural ecosystems.

Daily the progeny of colonizing settlers are being being shown (if we care enough to notice), that there are other ways of being that do not depend upon systematic murder and ecocide to fuel economic growth for some (and misery and death for the rest). In Western democracies there is much discussion of rights. But rarely does this include the rights of the native people  whose lands were stolen, or of natural ecosystems and their wildlife to continue to exist.

Native cultures and their peoples are strong, and their movements getting stronger. With the humility of a reformed settler seek to understand and support social movements based upon indigenous sentiments. Join together to end fossil fuels, protect and restore old-growth forests, grant opportunity for self-reliance to all peoples, and resist continued human rights abuses upon those first peoples who have suffered enough.

THE WAY TO OUR SHARED HOME

Globally 370 million indigenous peoples from about 5,000 groups continue to live in their natural locales, yet have their rights continue to be suppressed due to the legacy of colonialism. It is estimated these cultures continue to control lands (however precariously in the face of industrial expansion) that hold 80% of Earth’s remaining biological heritage, and some of the last large functioning ecosystems that make Earth habitable.

Around the world indigenous based and other non-Western social movements are flourishing. Yet sadly, intersectionality shows us that numerous systems of oppression and domination continue to lead to discrimination against all who are not rich white males. Systematic racism continues to exist and pernicious attacks upon natural systems and their rightful occupants continue to be the rule.

Nonetheless, take it from this old rich white man. Cross-cultural communication that seeks truthful expression of how to live within nature and with others who are different is vital. No one culture has all the answers, but together we almost certainly do, to such pressing matters that threaten our shared existence as perma-war, injustice, inequity, and ecological collapse.

We need to listen to each other and seek a synthesis of the Western and non-Western, that reflects an ecology and humanity ethic truly worthy of the moniker “Universal Civilization”. Imagine and build a world that protects and renatures water and soil, forests and wetlands, oceans and cultures; based upon the combined knowledge and experience of the thousands of cosmological worldviews which have evolved as Homo sapiens peered from the forests to the stars.

Technology, commerce, and governance will all have a role in the coming Universal Civilization; as the rights of those that are smart and work hard to have more are protected. But the personal accumulation of wealth – the bedrock of western thought – will no longer come at the expense of unmet basic needs or a living Earth that can essentially last forever. Small government and business will serve bioregional communities, as all have the opportunity to live well ensconced within natural life-giving ecosystems.

Salvation for the human and all species requires atoning for the wrongs wrought by Western lack of civilization. Reparations must be made both to indigenous peoples and the natural world. There is much de-colonizing and ecosystem regeneration yet to occur. As all knowledge possessed by Western thought AND indigenous cultures regarding justice, equity, peace, and ecology is truly embraced.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The End of Being: Abrupt Climate Change One of Many Ecological Crises Threatening to Collapse the Biosphere

As industrial human growth continues its relentless assault upon nature, at least nine unfolding global ecological catastrophes in addition to deadly climate change have the potential to destroy the biosphere. Any number of other environmental planetary boundaries besides climate change such as biodiversity, water, soil, and ecosystem loss and diminishment has the potential to end being. The already substantial climate change movement must embrace a richer ecology ethic, morphing into a concerted effort to more broadly achieve global ecological sustainability.
“We could solve climate change tomorrow, and soil and water loss – or any number of combinations of surpassed planetary ecological boundaries – would still destroy civilization, potentially killing the living biosphere, and ending being.” – Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essays by Dr. Glen Barry

At least 10 planetary boundaries exist that
threaten to make the biosphere uninhabitable
Human industrial growth is systematically dismantling the natural ecosystems which constitute our life support system. Rightly so, there has been an enormous amount of attention given to climate change (though action to rapidly reduce emissions still lags far beyond what is required). Climate change  is becoming abrupt and runaway; and threatens just by itself to collapse societies, economies, and ultimately the biosphere.

Yet climate change is only one of at least ten global ecological catastrophes which threaten to destroy the global ecological system and portend an end to human beings, and perhaps all life. Ranging from nitrogen deposition to ocean acidification, and including such basics as soil, water, and air; virtually every ecological system upon which life depends is failing. Gaia is dying.

The threat to global ecological sustainability goes well beyond climate change, and represents a more systematic failing of current political and economic models. Namely, the commodification of natural ecosystems – that are our and all life’s habitat – and their unsustainable industrial clearance for short-term profit, is sheer ecocidal madness.

The author has hypothesized that more old-growth
forests have been lost than the biosphere can bear
A branch of ecological science known as Planetary Boundary science knows much regarding ecological thresholds whereby Earth and her life may collapse and die. Planetary boundaries have been identified for ten global-scale processes including climate change, rate of biodiversity loss (terrestrial and marine), nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, freshwater, land use change, chemical pollution, and atmospheric aerosol loading (and others clearly exist). For each scientists have set thresholds beyond which the global ecological system’s integrity as a whole is threatened. At least three thresholds – climate change, biodiversity loss, and nitrogen deposition in ecosystems – are generally considered to already have been surpassed, meaning the planet is already in a state of ecological overshoot.

Recently I proposed in a peer reviewed scientific paper a tenth Planetary Boundary, adding a threshold for terrestrial ecosystem loss: hypothesizing that 2/3 of Earth’s land base must remain ensconced within natural and semi-natural ecosystems to avoid biosphere collapse (see Terrestrial ecosystem loss and biosphere collapse at http://ecointernet.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MEQ-Terrestrial-Ecosystem-Loss-and-Biosphere-Collapse.pdf). Already some 50% of natural ecosystems have been cleared, meaning yet another planetary ecological limit has been exceeded. My identification of a terrestrial ecosystem boundary was the first published science proposing a planetary boundary based upon terrestrial ecosystem loss and connectivity, and has since been validated in other studies by scientific luminaries.

The point is that while abrupt climate change may well become runaway, collapsing society, the economy, and the biosphere; it is but one of nearly a dozen means whereby humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the Earth System. Consider this: nearly half of all topsoil has eroded, 90% of large fish are gone, 4,500 kids die from bad water a day, nearly a billion human-beings live in abject poverty, and daily an unknown numbers of species disappear forever.

Highly inequitable, unjust, and unsustainable industrial human growth is systematically dismantling the ecological systems that make Earth livable.

We could solve climate change tomorrow, and soil and water loss – or any number of combinations of surpassed planetary ecological boundaries – would still destroy civilization, potentially killing the living biosphere, and ending being.

Gaia is dying as planetary ecological boundaries are crossed
Achieving just and equitable global ecological sustainability depends upon the human family becoming more aware of the numerous ecological threats facing our shared survival and well-being. Together we must commit to the radical, science-based social change necessary to sustain Earth and all her life. This will certainly require a shared “ecology ethic” which universally values nature – the plants, wildlife, and  ecological processes that make life possible. Ecology is the meaning of life.

Clearly much more research remains to be done on Planetary Boundaries and threats to the biosphere in sum, as well as communication of dangerous thresholds, and policy development to pull back from the precipice. I hope to look further at lag times in regard to when exceeding planetary boundary’s thresholds become dangerous, and to use what is known regarding Pacific Islands’ sustainability as a test case for terrestrial ecosystem loss, and to publish further ecological science. Most importantly, much more effort must be made to act with urgency and resolve upon the science that indicates we face mortal danger.

The way forward on a potentially terminally-ill planet include 1) transitioning to a steady state economy, 2) slowing population growth and then justly reducing human numbers, 3) committing to equitably meeting all of humanity’s basic human needs, 4) ending all natural ecosystem destruction and assisting remnants to naturally regenerate and spread, 5) ending the use of fossil fuels, 6) embracing organic, non-industrial, perma-culture based agriculture less dependent upon animal husbandry, 7) ending industrial clearance of natural ecosystems such as old-growth forest logging and factory fishing, and 8) demobilizing standing armies and diverting these resources to meeting humanity’s and nature’s needs.

Only such comprehensive, ecological-science based policies can prove sufficient to end climate change and all threats to global ecological sustainability, averting mass human suffering and death as the Earth collapses and dies.

As long as seeds and organisms exist, the propagules to regenerate Earth remain. It is vital that the diminution of Earth’s biotic diversity across scales – from the gene, to plants and animals, through the communities and ecosystems they come together to form, right up to our one shared biosphere – be halted immediately. We must not further squander humanity’s biological inheritance upon the altar of frivolous over-consumption by some. And together we must usher in an era of natural ecosystem protection and restoration.

There are many righteous livelihoods – that go far beyond the benefits provided by a slave-like debt economy – to be found in rewilding and pulling humanity back from the ruin of usurping planetary boundaries. But profiteering upon the systematic ecocide of our one living Earth will have to be banished, and strictly enforced for the common good, by a much reduced government.

There is much joy to be found in nature. Rediscovering wild places and clear waters in communities embraced by nature provides for a far richer life than shopping malls and highways. As we rediscover a sense of place there are multitudes of pleasures to be found as well in human literature, music, drama, sexuality, and community. Urban centers can be reclaimed from automobiles and once again become re-natured centers of commerce, culture, and civilization.

It is time to come together and choose life over death, truth over ignorance, beauty over industry, flowers rather than electronics. It is time to return to the land and embrace nature and ecology as the meaning of life. And to address with sufficient policies climate change and all threats to global ecological sustainability at once. Or being ends.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Toughen Up: Freedom of Speech Is Absolute, There Are No Thought Crimes

Do The Right Thing and Protect Free Speech
WARNING: This essay contains materials that will offend just about anyone in one way or another. Yet free thought and speech – even when offensive or in bad-taste – is the underpinning of liberty. Only through the fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas can we usher in an era of peace, justice, equity and sustainability based upon the identification of truthful action. All political ideologies, democratic liberties, the human family’s well-being, and the ability to identify solutions to looming global catastrophes are ill-served by efforts to stifle freedom of thought and expression. I have written at length that there is no god. That both authoritarian fascism and progressive elitism threaten our liberties. That it is a self-evident fact that we are all one human family. And that in an era of environmental collapse and abrupt climate change, ecology is the meaning of life. How can I hope that my unorthodox (yet I believe truthful) ideas are given fair consideration, if I don’t insist upon the right of self-expression by others that may be equally challenging? Censorship is undemocratic and can only lead to tyranny.

Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essays by Dr. Glen Barry
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.” – The Christian Recorder, 1862
“Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.” – George Orwell, 1984
“Mookie: You garlic breath, pizza slinging, spaghetti bending, Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano Pavarotti, Sole Mio, non-singing motherfucker.
Pino: You gold teeth, gold chain wearing, fried chicken and biscuit eating, monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast running, high jumping, spear chucking, three-hundred-and-sixty-degree basketball dunking, titsun, spade, Moulan Yan. Take your fucking pizza-pizza and go the fuck back to Africa.
Stevie: You little slanty eyed, me-no-speaky-American, own-every-fruit-and-vegetable-stand-in-New-York, bullshit, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Summer Olympics ’88, Korean kickboxing son-of-a-bitch.
Officer Long: You Goya bean eating, fifteen-in-a-car, thirty-in-an-apartment, pointed shoes, red wearing, Menudo, meda-meda Puerto Rican cocksucker. Yeah, you!
Sonny: It’s cheap, I got a good price for you, Mayor Koch, how-I’m-doing, chocolate egg cream drinking, bagel and lox, B’nai B’rith Jew asshole.” – Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee, 1989
“In a democracy, the only correct response to impolite political speech and imagery is to grin and bear it, choosing either to ignore or respond, while fighting with your life for the right of the offender to think and speak. Otherwise your free speech may be shutdown next, and there can be no lasting liberty or revealed truth.” – Dr. Glen Barry

As one with both progressive and libertarian tendencies, I am terrified to see the efforts to stifle free speech from across the political spectrum. Freedom of thought and speech is the bedrock of human advancement and an absolute global human right; that once lost, threatens a return to medieval ignorance.

No one is ever justified in telling another person what they can think or say, period.

One must differentiate between words and actions. And be particularly careful to not abridge the right of political satire and comedy (even when ill-conceived and poorly done) as a particularly adept way to facilitate thoughtful insights.

Words Such as “House Nigger” Should Not Be Said Lightly, Nor Should History Be Denied (Image from movie Django Unchained)

It is unacceptable that one race can use the word Nigger and it is perfectly acceptable, yet others are pilloried for doing so. It is racist to say some races can utter these sounds and sentiments, while others cannot. If one believes in universal truths and a society free of bias, either uttering this offensive term is acceptable in limited instances by all including for shock value; or no one should ever speak the word, and we accept that we live in a totalitarian society. It is historical fact that under unimaginably onerous slavery that some were imprisoned to work in houses – disparagingly referred to by some as "House Niggers" – and others were enslaved in the fields. We must not turn away from historical truth that shows the magnitude of evil-incarnate, and de-legitimatize any reference, however in-artful.

As an early #BlackLivesMatter supporter married to a dark complexioned woman, I assure you I am keenly aware that black people have been persecuted terribly, and systematic oppression continues to this day. Yet so have other ethnicities and religions. Speaking freely about race including in a purposefully shocking satirical manner – such as in my favorite movie scene of racial tirades from Do the Right Thing that mocks bigotry (quoted above), or recently by serial-offensive comedian Bill Maher – helps to promote free thinking, and at the margin ensures that the most egregious forms of racial violence do not happen again. There has been no comparable censorship of terms regarding the Jewish holocaust and other historical travesties, nor should there be.

My point is simple: use of such a repugnant and emotionally charged word should be rare, only in limited appropriate situations and contexts (i.e. satire or discussing history), and the user be prepared for the consequences; but it should not be forbidden on the basis of race. Freedom of Speech means freedom to speak. And liberty's prohibition on thought crimes is absolute.

Frankly I like seeing fake images of Donald Trump being beheaded. I understand it as imagery meant to signify the horror of his immoral and narcissistic rule, which threatens human decency and our very survival. Such expression does not constitute a threat of actual beheading. If someone were to try to do that ACTION, an actual crime of volition would have been committed. Thought crimes harm no one and exist only as ideas which have the potential to enlighten.

UnPresident Trump's Actions Are Far Worse
Than Any Harm Caused by Democratic Political Satire
The picture of Kathy Griffin holding a fake human head pales in comparison to the fascist, charlatan, authoritarian, pussy-grabbing terror being unleashed by a narcissistic madman who couldn’t even win the popular vote; yet rules with imperial fervor. UnPresident Trump routinely attacks other in obscene manners outside of what has been contemporary political norms. Billions may suffer and die as this sociopath unleashes nuclear war and climate change ruin upon Earth. I think that is what Kathy was getting at in her satire, and it is protected political speech in any true democracy.

Even bigoted self-aggrandizers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Anne Coulter have the right to say whatever they wish, and to be ignored.

Many of my thoughts and words offend others. Frankly, I think Islam is a violent and vile medieval religion bereft of truth and with little to offer to post-modern humanity. Yet as an atheist, I think exactly the same of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and any other illogical faith that uses myth and violence to dominate our lives based upon self-serving lies regarding what non-existent ghosts in the sky want us to do. This is God Pollution.

I’ve taken some hard knocks speaking truth regarding the powerful in Wisconsin. Congressmn Mark Pocan should not get away with bragging of raping children. Nor should politicians like Governor Scott Walker be able to victimize others for a lifetime with impunity as a means to gain power.

If I don’t acknowledge the right of others to speak whatever they wish, how can I legitimately expect people to respond to my own challenging notions of truth? Censorship however carried out is for the weak and inarticulate, and can only lead to unchallenged falsehoods and tyranny.

There are no thought crimes. If you don’t like what someone says? Don’t listen. Or argue back persuasively your viewpoint. But don’t try to stifle free thought and expression. Otherwise suppression of your voice is equally justified. And what constitutes acceptable speech will be arbitrarily determined by transient social mores and whomever is in power at the time.
Both political correctness and rising authoritarianism are equally responsible for getting us to this current point of perpetually aggrieved sensibilities, an inability to address numerous looming catastrophes, and the very real potential for political violence.

The political middle where most truths are to be found has grown slender and disturbingly irrelevant.

Faced with abrupt climate change and biosphere collapse, in a world of grotesque injustice and perma-war, only the fearless sifting and winnowing of ideas can save the human family. We live in a world of tremendous diversity, and only by embracing our differences while learning from each other can we hope to survive as a species.

The right to speak your mind must be extended equally to anti-science climate deniers as to experts who have trained and acquired knowledge for a lifetime. To racists filled with hate, as well as to peaceful prophets of love. Free thinking and speech are granted as a human right equally to right-wing fascists as well as left-wing elitists. All have the right to think and say as they wish (while being held accountable for the veracity of their words, but not censored including self-censorship), including graphic art and satire meant to shock in a manner intended to bring about thoughtful reflection upon important matters.

We have a responsibility as a society to create an educated citizenry who can logically and rationally examine competing claims in order to arrive at judgments of fact and ultimately achieve knowledge. Individually it is up to all engaged citizenry to forcefully push back in the public arena against pseudo-science, fake news, and other nonsense. Yet while remaining open to new ideas.

In a democracy, the only correct response to impolite political speech and imagery is to grin and bear it, choosing either to ignore or respond, while fighting with your life for the right of the offender to think and speak. Otherwise your free speech may be shutdown next, and there can be no lasting liberty or revealed truth.

And through the discussions, often rabid and desultory, an educated citizenry can converge upon the truth. There may be missteps along the way, but only through fearless exchange of ideas do we have a chance at enlightenment and righteous action.

It is a well-recognized matter of law that speech which purposefully incites imminent violence is an exception to absolute free speech. This should not necessarily mean it is never justified, just that those espousing such thoughts have to be willing to accept legal responsibility for doing so.

So stop being such pansies. Toughen up. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t let political correctness or authoritarianism stifle your own self-awakening and free thought. Confront yourself with the speech and ideas to which you have not been exposed and thus go beyond the limited worldview into which you were born and have been indoctrinated.

If anything in this essay made you uncomfortable, good, that was the intent. Break out of rigid orthodoxy and join in the global discussion. Toughen up, stop being weak and whiny, as you hone your own message. Seek truth and purity of thought and expose ideas of others that are neither.

Monday, May 29, 2017

This US Memorial Day: One Human Family on the Precipice

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1755

“We may be different races and religions but we are all part of the same human family.” – Dalai Lama
“We are all one human family, tragically placed on a dying planet.” – Dr. Glen Barry

One Human Family Sharing a Borderless Planet That Is Dying
On a recent Memorial Day I called for an end to glorifying war, and rather than a day for celebrating war murders, suggested we take a “day to memorialize senseless acts of love, peace, sharing, and kindness.”

As America remains in a state of perma-war with a deranged narcissistic madman at the helm (continuing a long history of bi-partisan militarism), never has it been more important to remember that War Is Murder. And that modern warfare is waged on the basis of intolerable lies such as the sanctity of the nation state and conflicts over various unknowable god myths (which I have termed “God Pollution“).

The truth of the matter is that there are no countries, nor is their one iota of proof to favor one god story over another. This essay will focus upon the utter madness of nation-states seeking security, claiming to be ensuring liberty, through standing armies meant to murder others.

Nationalism is a particularly pernicious myth meant to divide humanity. People of all sorts are one species, with essentially identical needs and aspirations. We have far more in similar than differences; each of us put our pants on one leg at a time, seek love and affection, do not want to suffer, and desire the best for our children.

We are all one human family, tragically placed on a dying planet.

Having served my country in both the Army and Peace Corps, I have had the opportunity to ponder questions of war and peace, and my Political Science degree has helped as well. Out of a life-long quest for truth, I have emerged a militant pacifist, unwilling to condone violence other than in the most extreme instances of intolerable imminent harm (including perhaps the rise of global corporate fascism or collapse of the Earth’s biosphere). Yet I am fully aware that assertive people power expressed through non-violent direct action is the most just, lasting, and effective means of social change; and  must be exhaustively pursued in these times of global troubles.

While various forms of government exist, with liberal democracy being the worst and least effective, except for all the others; we are witnessing an era of creeping authoritarianism across the global political spectrum. This comes as the world is plagued by grotesque expenditures upon the military (over $1.6 trillion globally, around 37% by the US) at direct expense to global health, education, jobs, and the environment. And the world is awash in military equipment (including potentially stray nukes) sold to anyone with cold hard cash and the desire to murder.

There is not as much difference as one would suppose between autocratic Chinese market-based communism, an European Union of police-states, and American authoritarian democracy. In each governments and corporations have merged to ensure access to resources through the systematic killing of “others” that stand in their way.

This consolidation of power between commerce and state propels the ongoing ecocidal onslaught against nature that is collapsing the biosphere and threatens to end being, but not before a painful period of authoritarian suffering in a global wasteland.

Super-sized governments and corporations are rapaciously stripping Earth of natural ecosystems required for a habitable planet, largely to meet artificially created needs for non-essential goods and services for some elite over-consumers. This global oligarchy – dominated by the oil industry – exists to stymie people uniting globally for ecological sustainability, justice, equity, human rights, and community-based and autonomous livelihoods (jobs).

We are taught to respect imaginary lines on the ground more than the flesh and blood of our brethren.
Frankly I am appalled at the cost to societies of a permanent war-making economy to protect parochial self-interests of the war-mongering elite. Until just a century ago, militaries were largely demobilized between conflicts. The military-industrial-Congressional complex’s institutionalizing of war murders based upon artificial lines drawn on a map is grotesquely appalling, and threatens global ruin at any time.

To that end, it is absolutely essential that any order by UnPresident Trump to launch nuclear weapons be declared unlawful and not be implemented.

For such nationalistic corporate rule to work, we must hate others that are different than us. And to  have our less fortunate be willing to murder others who are less fortunate in the name of country and god.

It is vital that true personal liberty (to think, feel, express, and act as we wish as long as not harming others; not the sloganeering type of fascists equating liberty with obedience) not be traded for claims of security through militarism and a state of perma-war. Terrorism by both nation-state militaries and disaffected populations are bred in the back-and-forth of resource thievery, murder of innocents, criminal killing by small bands of madman, and resultant raining down of drone based missiles.

After 911 a gradual and effective shift towards global law was jettisoned. UnPresident Trump’s call to put America first returns us to a dangerous medieval tribalism unfit for an era of loose nukes and collapsing ecosystems.

The price of true liberty is the risk of criminal non-state murder, and resisting false nation-state claims that only militarism, nationalism, and war murders can keep us safe. Even with complete national corporate rule of every aspect of our lives, it will never be possible to murder our way to peace and security.

Survival and universal well-being of the human family and brethren species depend upon recommitting to creating international norms of behavior that ensure an end to war, injustice, inequity, and ecosystem loss.

True liberty and security can only be had through commitment to a universal non-sectarian rule of law, and global mechanisms to end war murders of all types. We can respect and celebrate our ethnic variety, coming together in bioregionally based federations, while eliminating the duplicity of arbitrarily delimited national boundaries. Policies such as a global and guaranteed basic income, ending fossil fuels, demobilizing standing armies, limiting income inequity, and protecting and restoring natural ecosystems can finally be given the attention they deserve by an empowered global government.

It is well past time for one human family, standing upon the precipice of global ecosystem collapse, to come together through a strengthened United Nations type organization. Together all global citizens must reject the utter madness of nation-state based perpetual war and conflict. Many details remain to be worked out, but building upon the International Court of Justice, the Paris Climate Change Treaty, and expanding highly decentralized, yet global, governance seems the only path to avoiding utter ruin.

The human family must come together now to find common cause in the protection of our habitat, dismantling the engines of state murder, and ensuring that the basic needs of all are met. The only path to liberty AND security lies in global institutions, international law, and an end to absolute national sovereignty. And a growing global citizenry committed to peace, justice, equity, and ecology.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Death of Gaia

Earth is alive like other organic life across scales
It is known scientifically that the Earth System, or Gaia if you will, is organized and functions similarly to other scales of biology, including organisms and old-growth forests. Gaia is a self-regulating, reproducing life-form, and as such is alive. As industrial human growth destroys Gaia’s naturally evolved ecosystem organs, the human family is failing to embrace a rich and truthful deep ecology understanding (long known by indigenous peoples) of a living Earth, risking biosphere collapse. Not enough progress is being made on sufficient ecological solutions to sustain Gaia such as protecting and restoring natural ecosytems (including a ban on old-growth forest logging), ending the use of fossil fuels, and ridding the world of war and inequity. Both powerful science deniers, as well as celebrity posers promoting shallow ecology, ensure Gaia's demise for their own selfish benefit. Thus while Earth is alive, sadly she is dying.
Larry: [to Jennings, while high] Okay. That means that our whole solar system could be, like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being. [Jennings nods] This is too much! That means one tiny atom in my fingernail could be–
Jennings: Could be one little tiny universe. – Animal House
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!
“Earth – like organic life across scales – is alive yet needlessly dying as human industrial growth overwhelms natural ecosystems.” – Dr. Glen Barry

Gaia
Earth is a living organism some call Gaia. This Earth System – all life’s one shared biosphere – is composed of coupled ecosystems that cycle energy and matter, self-regulating like all organic life.

Across scales of biological phenomena there exist discontinuities; boundaries which can be abstracted, that differentiate a life form. Throughout the continuum of cells, organisms, plant communities, and even natural ecosystems, many entities can be said to be alive. The Earth is the penultimate life-form.

Gaia is alive.

Think of land and natural vegetational communities as similar to tissue in an animal, blood and water are synonymous, the atmosphere like cellular fluid. Wildlife including humans is a special type of cell. All life across scale is coded in DNA, the original programming language.

Earth, like the human body, is intricately perfect; both engineered through epics of iterative evolution to be resilient and reproduce.

Earth’s reproductive cycle can best be thought of as the re-radiation of species diversity post mass extinction upon the same framework of inert non-organic Earth. By such a measure Earth is only a handful of generations old. Or perhaps Earth’s reproduction involves exo-biology seeding of planets through rare dispersion events. In either case the Earth system reproduces.

Old-growth forests are alive too
As originally devised in James Lovelock’s “Gaia Hypothesis”, the conception of a living Earth goes beyond metaphor; and is a self-evident, emergent property of natural ecosystems’ cycles. Cells, microbes, forests, soil, oceans, water, air, plants, and wildlife are all miraculously alive, even as they create the conditions for life at other levels of organization.

It is profoundly beautiful that life begets life. For far too long the concept of living natural ecosystems has been denied and denigrated. A naturally evolved old-growth forest ecosystem is no less an organism than you or me, or Gaia. Such complex, tightly-coupled super-organisms make life possible.

Let me be clear: cells are not organisms, nor are old-growth forests exactly like the biosphere, yet they are remarkably similar. Each are bounded, with sub-systems cycling energy and matter, to remain intact (alive) while reproducing.

Earth – like organic life across scales – is alive yet needlessly dying as industrial growth overwhelms natural ecosystems.

Natural ecosystems are being murdered in a plague of democratic resource gluttony. In a relatively short time geologically, industrialism radiated from Northern Europe in waves of ecological colonialism. The concept that nature exists only as resources to be consumed is now universally embraced.

Millions of year old natural ecosystems that constitute Gaia’s living flesh continue to be liquidated in an ecocidal death wish misconstrued as “development”.

Under such circumstances of runaway exponential growth – amidst resource scarcity driven perma-war and grotesque inequity – “certifying” natural ecosystem destruction, or waxing eloquently as one over-consumes, is even more dangerous than denying climate, ecology, and other scientific truths.

Leo’s over-consumption sets a bad example
Donald Trump’s fact free world of anti-science, authoritarian demagoguery, and Scott Walker’s evisceration of education while stifling climate and conservation science; are equally as dangerous as Rainforest Action Network benefactor Chris Noth’s (Mr. Big) old-growth mahogany laced bar (aptly named “The Cutting Room”), and Leonardo DiCaprio prattling on about the reality of climate change from the back of private jets and yachts. Each in their own way are colluding in Gaia’s murder for personal benefit.

Old-growth forest logging must end. Natural ecosystems be restored. Fossil fuels ended. A steady state economy achieved. And equity, peace, and justice embraced.

Or Gaia dies. And being ends.

Only profound, radical, science-based social change that embraces a deep ecology vision of a living Earth, by reversing natural ecosystem loss, will prove adequate to avoid biosphere collapse.