Saturday, April 20, 2013

What Would John Muir Say... About the Sierra Club?

What would Muir say about the Sierra Club being led by Michael Brune, Accountant-in-Chief and old-growth forest logging apologist? On the occasion of Muir's 175th birthday, we are certain he would not be pleased and would say so strongly. As we celebrate Earth Day, will Madison Progressives see through Brune's greenwash of logging ancient, sacred wildlands for toilet paper and books?

"The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

"Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed -- chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got..." - John Muir

"The battle we have fought, and are still fighting for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it." - John Muir

“By choosing to sell FSC-certified wood, The Home Depot is walking its talk.” - Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club


By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk


Old-growth forests make Earth habitable for lifeJohn Muir was one of the greatest protectors of forests and nature who ever lived. He was connected to my hometown Madison, Wisconsin, where he attended college. He later went on to drive the creation of the National Park system and to found the Sierra Club.

Most important, Muir took an uncompromising position that old-growth forest wildernesses must be protected for their intrinsic values. He was bold and brash, and he waged verbal and written warfare with the likes of Gifford Pinchot, the founder of the U.S. Forest Service, over the fate of old-growth forest wildernesses. Their battle over the relative merits of preservation versus conservation of natural wildlands continues to rage today as Earth's last remaining naturally evolved primary forests are industrially cleared and diminished.

Given Muir's absolute commitment to not logging primary forests, I am certain he would be deeply troubled over the ascendency of old-growth logging greenwasher extraordinaire Michael Brune as the head of the Sierra Club. Mr. Brune spoke Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin, and was not expected to mention his years promoting old-growth forest logging.

Continue reading "ESSAY: What Would John Muir Say... About the Sierra Club?" »

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Green Liberty Party

New Earth RisingThe political philosophy: “Earth is dying if we let it. Stop burning and cutting, or die. Without ecology there can be no economy. We must work less and live more. Live free and green.



Human growth in population and industry, at the expense of ecosystems is destroying the natural world, causing mass extinction, abrupt climate change, and economic as well as biosphere collapse. The challenge facing humanity, the greatest challenge of all time, is to foster a political, social, and economic transformation that realigns the human project with its ecosystem habitat.

The corporate-owned American two-party duopoly has proven to be corrupt, unethical, and profoundly ecologically unsustainable. It is time for a political agenda that values all species and ecosystems and plans for the long-term well-being of humanity and all life. It is time for global political Earth revolution to sustain land, water, and air and to achieve universal human rights and economic fairness.


By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk


ECOLOGY CENTRAL

Earth is collapsing and dying. Humanity is systematically destroying the biodiversity, ecosystems, climate, and biosphere upon which all life depends. Earth's ecosystems continue to be plundered for profit as if air, land, water and oceans have no intrinsic value. Climate change is an important yet singular part of a more widespread collapse of the global biosphere – the thin mantle of life arrayed in ecosystems surrounding the planet – as industrial growth destroys nature for stuff.

There remains only a short time to stop the industrial growth machine from irreparably destroying the biosphere. There is NO replacement, no backup biosphere. Either the human family comes together now to cut emissions and protect ecosystems, or being may well end – certainly well-being.

The central tenets of a Green Liberty political philosophy affirm that abrupt climate change, global ecosystem loss, and biosphere collapse threaten the well-being of the entire human family and of all life. This crisis is only survivable if we drastically cut emissions and move at once to protect natural ecosystems. Continued exponential human and industrial growth at the expense of life-giving ecosystems can only end in ecological and social collapse. We have met ecocide, and it is us. Yet not even this ecocidal state of affairs excuses loss of humanity's inherent rights, freedom, and duties.

Earth's people want and deserve universal democracy, political liberty, economic justice, and sustained ecology for everyone, for the whole world, and they want it now. It is time for a monumental global political realignment as lovers of ecology and liberty unite to topple the ecocidal nanny state and corporate oligarchy, at the ballot box and marketplace when possible, otherwise in the streets.

The human industrial growth machine is systematically liquidating the ecosystems upon which all life depends. At its root, abrupt climate change is one of many crises, others including overpopulation, ecocidal industrial growth, ecosystem loss and diminishment (especially the oceans and old-growth forests), inequity amidst plenty, and failed human development that equates advancement with ecocide.

Without ecology there can be no economy. Either the human family together invests in ecosystems and renewable energy, or else abrupt climate change and ecological collapse kill us. Industrial economic growth as it has widely been practiced by large corporations and individuals alike destroys ecosystems, collapses climate and biosphere, and destroys habitat, murdering all life.

Continue reading "ESSAY: The Green Liberty Party" »

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Earth Is Dying, Yet Climate and Forest Movements Lack Urgency and Substance

Human industrial growth is systematically liquidating the natural ecosystems that are the habitat for humans and for all life. Earth is dying, one logged old-growth tree and tank of gasoline at a time, yet most environmental groups are shilling solutions that are inadequate and ill-conceived – such as logging old-growth forests to protect them. Nothing shows this better than Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network – in an age of mass extinction, abrupt climate change, and ecosystem collapse – wanting us to wipe our asses with toilet paper from "certified" old-growth forest pulp.

By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk

A profound lack of understanding exists, even amid the supposedly radical environmental movement, of the seriousness of merging ecological crises. If Gaia – the Earth System or biosphere – is alive, as science has come to understand, then clearly she can die as key ecosystems are destroyed and biogeochemical processes fail. To survive, much less thrive, humanity must stop scraping Earth's land of life, spewing waste into our air and water, and claiming it can all be certified as sustainably done, while calling it "development."

Industrial growth's destruction of ecosystems is undermining the habitability of the planet, threatening the maintenance of conditions necessary for life, by destroying the ecosystems required for a living planet. As key ecosystems are lost, indications are humanity will soon be going extinct, quite possibly taking the biosphere and all life with us.

Continue reading "EARTH MEANDERS: Earth Is Dying, Yet Climate and Forest Movements Lack Urgency and Substance" »

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Old Forests, Kerala's Elephants, and the Biosphere

asian_elephant_sm.jpgProposing a planetary boundary for terrestrial ecosystem loss


By Dr. Glen Barry
, December 16, 2012


Theme - The Legal Regime and Measures for Conservation of Bio Diversity and Protection of Ecological Balance of Western Ghats

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." – Anne Frank

*Version 1.0, not yet peer reviewed, or final edits for publication in conference proceedings

Review Paper Abstract

Planetary boundary science continues the study of requirements to avoid ecosystem collapse and to achieve global ecological sustainability, by defining key thresholds in the Earth System's ecological conditions that threaten human well-being. Terrestrial ecosystems do not enter into the nine originally defined boundaries ranging from climate change to water availability, except peripherally through other boundaries such as land use and biodiversity. A rigorous research agenda is necessary to determine what quantity and quality of terrestrial ecosystems are required across landscapes so as to sustain the biosphere. This includes a spatially explicit way of indicating what extent of a landscape, bioregion, continent and global Earth System must remain in the form of connected and intact core ecological areas and semi-natural agroecological buffers, in order to sustain local ecosystem services as well as the biosphere commons. Connectivity of large ecosystem patches which remain the matrix for the landscape is a preeminent consideration. When ~60% of a natural ecosystem habitat remains, after just under 40% of the ecosystem has been destroyed, the landscape is said to percolate, and we see critical collapse of the "percolating cluster" – the dominant large habitat patch constituting the matrix of the landscape – into smaller, more distant habitat, in a sea of human development. This critical deterioration of habitat connectivity continues so that at or near 50% loss of a landscape or bioregon's natural vegetation, the natural habitat percolates from people within ecosystems, to natural islands surrounded by human works. This transition is likely to be similar at a continental and global scale.

A new planetary boundary threshold is proposed: that 60% of terrestrial ecosystems must be maintained across scales – with the boundary set at 66% as a precaution – as a safe space not only for humanity but for all life and to maintain the long-term viability of the biosphere. It is thought that loss and diminishment of terrestrial ecosystems aggregates from the local and regional scale, yet disrupts planetary process with this global scale threshold. It is hypothesized that ensuring natural ecosystems and their biogeochemical flows remain the context for human endeavors is a requirement to sustain the biosphere for the long term, and that fundamentally this requires large core ecological areas, and the critical connectivity of ecosystem processes and patterns, as the global and fractal landscape matrix. It is further proposed on the basis of ecology's percolation theory that two-thirds of the 66% of terrestrial ecosystems must be protected as ecological core areas (in total 44% of the global land mass as intact ecological cores, 22% as agroecological, agroforestry and managed forest buffers, and transition zones), to ensure the ecological integrity of the semi-natural agroecological landscapes, to maintain critical ecosystem connectivity across scales, and encompass semi-natural landscapes and bioregions within a matrix of intact nature to ensure that their own ecological patterns and processes are sustainable. Up to 50% of Earth's land surface has already been transformed from mostly wild to mostly anthropocentric, so the biosphere is likely to have already lost its global percolating cluster. If indeed bioregional and global scaled landscapes are similar to landscape and bioregional pattern, terrestrial ecosystem connectivity is already critically lacking, and the global ecosystem now exists as patches of nature within a sea of humanity. It is urgent to protect most of what remains and to begin reconstructing connected ecological landscape matrixes of intact ecosystems across scales, so that globally the biosphere can percolate back to connected nature as the provider of top-down context to human and all life.

To have meaning in guiding global ecological sustainability policy, these continental and global observations – and proposed 66% presence / 44% protected – planetary boundary for terrestrial ecosystem loss must be grounded in real-life landscape and bioregional conservation considerations. An example are efforts to achieve ecological sustainability, including maintaining continued viable populations of Asian elephants in the Western Ghats bioregion of India, particularly within Kerala state, as an umbrella species. The Asian elephant requires extensive and adequate natural habitat for its survival, and the Western monsoon depends upon forest-dependent pressure gradients – and thus the provision of both provides for water, clean air, soil, pollinators, and other ecosystem services for the region, nation, and biosphere. An initial expansive regional ecosystem mapping exercise that seeks to identify natural gradients in ecological importance has taken place in Kerala, but its largely top-down processes have faced organized socio-political resistance, it is not clear the scientifically valid mapping processes have enough understanding and support, and the legal structure is not in place to tie its requirements for local and regional sustainability to laws. As a real-world example, elephants moving across landscapes are emblematic and widely visible examples of the myriad types of flows that continue on a connected landscape, making life possible. It is suggested that as go the Western Ghats' and Kerala's Asian elephants and their habitat, so shall go the biosphere, and that it is crucial to build awareness that healthy ecosystems are essential to both local advancement and global sustainability. On the basis of taking such an ecosystem and landscape approach to the needs of Earth System sustainability, and given pernicious trends of ecosystem loss and decline, it is concluded that more attention is needed to prevent worst-case outcomes including biosphere collapse and a lifeless Earth, particularly because of abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss. A massive and global program to protect and restore natural ecosystems – funded by a carbon tax on fossil fuels – is presented as the sort of policy approach necessary at this time to avoid biosphere collapse. Humanity is now the major force shaping the biosphere, which, if current trends in ecological loss and diminishment continue, may collapse or die as a result.