Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ecology Is the Meaning of Life


Naturally evolved ecosystems are marvels that make Earth habitable, yet sadly they and all life are threatened

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet, http://EcoInternet.org/

Miraculous Nature

Ultimately, all humanity and all life have is the biosphere, the thin layer of life just above and below Earth’s surface, composed of ancient, miraculously evolved natural ecosystems. The natural Earth is a marvel – a complex coupling of species within ecosystems, whereby life begets life.

Ecology is far more than the study of life and its environment. The word is used here as a synonym for ecosystems – the vibrant connections that emerge between species across scales, which cumulatively make life on Earth possible.

Nature is far, far more than pretty plants and animals. Ecosystems make Earth habitable, providing water, food, air, shelter, and more – everything that we need and desire to live well. In naturally evolved ecosystems, from genes to individual organisms and species, to ecosystems and everything else in between, each living being present fulfills a niche which sustains itself, its neighbors, and the whole.

All species uniquely express evolutionary brilliance and have a purpose, a reason for being, a right to exist, and are necessary to maintain life’s full potential. From the lowly worm to soaring eagles, to the human race – all naturally evolved life has value and relies upon all the rest. Even seemingly noxious disease organisms and man-eating predators have a role to play in maintaining ecological balance.

The Earth as a whole is a living organism, similar biologically to a cell, plant, animal, or ecosystem. Yet sadly, she is being murdered by industrial human growth at the expense of ecosystems. Past certain planetary boundary conditions, like any life, Earth can die.

Without large intact ecosystems, Earth becomes uninhabitable. The vibrant mélange of life found in natural ecosystems is godlike in its all-embracing nurturing. Ecology is the meaning of life.

Ecosystem Collapse

Humankind’s demand for resources and growth overwhelms nature, our steady diminishment of ecosystems abruptly changes climate, and this is collapsing the biosphere. Global ecosystems – water, air, food, forests, oceans, wetlands, and more – are collapsing and dying under the burden of human industrial and population growth.

Human destruction of natural ecosystems and disintegrating climatic integrity are already past critical thresholds. Humanity (meaning each of us) can’t dump filth into air, defecate into water, kill and diminish natural vegetation, plunder oceans, and expect a habitable Earth and decent lives. Abrupt climate change is indicative of much broader decline, both ecological and social – habitat loss, water shortages, inequitable overconsumption, dead oceans, nationalistic injustice, and industrial agriculture – that threatens life itself.

Comforts of modern life for some come at the expense of utterly decimating natural ecosystems required to sustain life; such comforts cannot last. Mass chaos and death are sure to ensue. No one will survive abrupt climate change, ecosystem loss, and biosphere collapse.

Ecosystems are being wantonly liquidated based upon the myth that we can grow forever. Yet we know perpetual exponential economic growth is impossible on a finite planet. Humanity is systematically dismantling Earth’s environmental life support systems, and at most a few more decades of industrial growth will be inevitably followed by ecosystem and biosphere collapse.

The human family is epically failing to protect and restore ecosystems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to avert global ecosystem collapse, achieve ecological sustainability, and enjoy universal well-being forever. The brutal manner in which humankind treats Earth, other species, and each other makes a mockery of claims of being civilized. At our worst, we have become out-of-control vermin destroying our own habitat for momentary pleasure.

The human family is in ecological overshoot, having exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity, and is pulling down all species and the biosphere with us, as Earth’s life collapses into nothingness. There is no easy way out, as together we face an end to ecology, and thus life itself.

Sustainability Solutions Exist

Workable solutions to climate change and broad-based environmental decline exist; they include ending fossil fuels, protecting and restoring ecosystems, agro-ecological food production, reducing population and inequity, and establishing a steady state economy. Plainly, however, such a transition is not going to be easy. Solutions to avert global ecosystem collapse will be disruptive. Yet there is no alternative if together humanity is to survive and enjoy well-being within Earth’s ecological boundaries.

Industrial growth at the expense of ecosystems and climate must end as soon as possible. For human and all life’s survival and well-being, intact ecosystems must remain the context for human endeavors. Huge potential exists to further develop organic, permaculture based agro-ecological systems for growing our food. Ultimately, we are all challenged to create something of worth from our hands and minds working on the land, based upon regenerating and nurturing ecosystems, for our daily sustenance.

We each must nurture a sense of enoughness, realizing more isn’t always better, particularly if it undermines our natural habitat, and thus our ability to persist.

It is not too late to embrace an ecology ethic. But the longer we wait, the more limited our options. Despite pernicious trends in ecological decline – and allowing for the possibility of a deep resiliency to the Earth System of which we are unaware – out of love of life, we owe it to Earth, kindred species, and kids everywhere to try everything possible to save being.

Growth in industry, population, consumption, and inequity cannot be maintained. Together we must reach a steady state economy whereby natural capital is replenished, not diminished. Through measures like educating all girls and providing birth control to all, we must urgently pursue reductions in human population, the most basic human impact upon the climate and ecosystems, or the biosphere collapses.

Ignorance and superstition must be banished through education and promoting a love of truth, justice, knowledge, wisdom, and fairness.

For capitalism to have any future and avoid social, ecological, and economic collapse on a dead planet, it must learn to price external costs and environmental risk now, while rejecting its obsession with growth as the ultimate measure of well-being. Otherwise industrial capitalism will have to be replaced soon just so most may survive, let alone thrive.

Alternatives exist that are fair and reward hard work, but sadly we find it easier to consider the end of life on Earth, rather than embrace essential social change.

For human survival and well-being, committing acts of ecocide that destroy ecosystems must somehow be made unacceptable, and this must be enforced. The environment movement must make more of an effort to communicate the complexity of ecological crises, their profound risk, and these and other sufficient solutions – while resolutely rejecting and outing greenwash that legitimates ecocidal activities.

The green movement must also move beyond awareness-raising stunts and build a broad-based movement to seize power and to implement the ecological policies necessary to sustain being.
Only total societal reorganization away from destroying ecosystems and burning fossil fuels can save Earth and humanity. Either humanity finds a way together to implement difficult ecological policies to end fossil fuels, protect ecosystems, and achieve a steady-state economy – or it is the end. No measures except indiscriminate terrorism targeting innocents can be off the table in efforts to together protect ecology.

Hope in Ecosystems

Today free your mind and senses to see ecology everywhere, in everything you do, and the myriad ways it suffers from human hubris, indifference, ignorance, and overuse.

As long as together we still breathe, there is hope we can sustain Earth, but realistically the state of ecosystems and the biosphere is grim and worsening. We must start in haste, today, to build the world that is possible and needed.

Love of other peoples and species, nature, truth, justice, and equity are the only lasting basis of global ecological sustainability and show the only effective way forward to avoid final ecosystem collapse.
For a sustainable, decent future we must go back to the land, stop burning fossil fuels, and nurture ecosystems and one another.

We are one human family with inalienable rights and duties to freedom, work, equity, peace, justice, and sustained ecology. Profound inequity, ecological collapse, persistent injustice, nationalistic perma-war, superstition, and ignorance when faced with truth – all are sicknesses that mar human potential and will prove fatal.

Together the human family either learns to live well together within intact ecosystems and without fossil fuels or faces a period of profound suffering, followed by biosphere collapse and the end of being. Together we could end the current system’s elite rule, inequity, injustice, and gross ecological negligence at any time. Either we act together soon, courageously, on the basis of truthful ecological knowledge, or else each of us alone faces misery and a final apocalyptic global ecological collapse.

Ecology is the meaning of life. Truth, justice, equity, and sustainability are the ideals whereby ecology can be maintained. Let’s make it so.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who Invented Blogging? Dr. Glen Barry First Blogger Since 1993

The homepage of Forests.org's Forest Protection Blog as it appeared in 1996 courtesy of the Wayback Machine

Who Invented Blogging

The Forest Protection Blog at http://forests.org/ had until recently been continuously on the web since January 1995, and was the first blog ever. It is now being updated and transferred to http://EcoInternet.org/ to use the latest blogging tools. Dr. Glen Barry developed the tool to protect old-growth forests, and his ongoing efforts since 1989 to harness the Internet for environmental conservation have been described as visionary, resulting in massive old-growth forest protection victories and other ecological sustainability outcomes. A blog is defined as commentary upon other linked Internet sources, with entries listed reverse chronologically.

Dr. Glen Barry, the inventor of blogging, explains "the real innovation in blogging is citizen commentary upon other web content as a recognized form of self-expression. The blog format of expressing yourself, as you link to other expression, exponentially enables free speech and thought. A free Internet is central to a just, equitable, and sustainable human future." While many others began to harness the Internet similarly in the late 1990s, often as personal diaries, the Forest Conservation Blog predates them by a few years, and was thus also the first political blog.

-->> Continue Reading

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hyperparathyroidism



How I survived (and at times thrived) during a decade of suffering from PMS

By Dr. Glen Barry

It has been just over a year since I was successfully treated for a parathyroid condition called hyperparathyroidism. The malfunctioning parathyroid resulted in a condition similar (yet even more intense) to the hormonal changes in women as they have their periods – making me irritable, argumentative, unable to concentrate, highly emotional, and suffering a host of aches and pains. I had a severe case of the disease – off the charts in terms of hormone levels – which results in dangerous calcium deposits which wreak havoc upon your body and mind. This is not to suggest this is the experience of every woman, but I do have a new found appreciation for their special challenges.

Some family and friends had been communicating to me for several years that they thought my behavior to be more than a bit off. But I was too proud to listen. Though I have long suffered relatively minor depression, and have been egotistical and full of hubris at times (largely because of lack of self-confidence), generally I have been stable, goal orientated, and lived a life committed to truth, community service, ideas bigger than myself, and global ecology.

The dreadful disease doesn’t so much change your cognition, attitudes or beliefs – rather it amplifies your emotions and changes your affective behavior. Thus my long-term distress over environmental destruction – which in my academic opinion portends ecosystem and social collapse – became even more intensified as I viscerally felt and obsessed upon human and ecology’s demise. I at times became too extreme – however well intentioned - in my prescriptions for how to avoid global ecological collapse. My efforts to recover from pervasive childhood sexual abuse suffered by myself and others in my family were dealt a blow, as I compulsively sought out answers to what had happened, when perhaps it was time to let things go.

What was perhaps the saddest element of the disease to me was that many of my family and personal relationships proved facile and shallow, as few took the time to patiently and lovingly discuss my changed behavior. Instead many of my loved ones and long-time support network ostracized me and called me crazy, not deeming me worthy of taking the time to avoid estrangement. That hurt when I was sick, and still does now.

Ultimately, however, it is my fault, as I resisted seeing a doctor as my emotional health continued to deteriorate. In the last couple years of the untreated disease in particular, I sought to hide the pain through self-medication, leading to a drunk driving ticket which is the best thing that ever happened to me, and may have saved my life. Entering the resulting prescribed counseling a couple years back, I was finally able to get help for the sexual abuse I suffered as a child, and my hyperparathyroidism was diagnosed. 

Last July I had the malfunctioning parathyroid removed with surgery by the expert in the field at the Mayo clinic, and within hours a whole range of maladies began to subside. The drop in calcium immediately made my joint pains ease, I could concentrate better, the constant obsessing upon what others thought of me subsided, a sense of calm and well-being returned, and simply I was back to being myself. And however imperfect I may remain, I have been able to work on personal growth and trying to heal the harm my denial and hubris of failing to get medical treatment caused.

Immediately I sought to right two wrongs for which my conscience would never forgive myself if I didn’t try. Firstly, I went public letting others know of my childhood sexual abuse. Speaking freely of my personal story – and refusing to protect with silence family secrets of sexual misconduct - had been identified in counseling as key to getting my life back. I reported repeated threats against me by my brother-in-law Michael Chamberlain to the police, that I not speak of my family history or else, and revealed his sexual misconduct that broke up the family to his adult children.

Without any expectation of a positive outcome, and at risk to my reputation, I came forward to reveal my Congressman Mark Pocan's disclosure of raping children to others and myself. Given my childhood friend Andy Janssen's boasting of taking sex tourism trips with the to-be-Congressman for anonymous sex, I felt I had no choice but to do the right thing, and reported the matter to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, Madison DA and police, and FBI. Now healed, the fact that the Madison police and community wrote it off is beyond the point, I did what was right. And when he is caught abusing again – as he will be as sexual predators rarely stop – or anyone of the dozens of others that know come forth, Madison will no longer be represented in Congress by a pedophile.

To be fair, during this time there were many accomplishments based upon a life of education, deep thought, and hard work. I raised a talented and beautiful daughter through teenage angst to successful launch into college independence. We went on an around the world trip together, and spent time living in her Papua New Guinean culture. My work as a political ecologist was independently hailed as visionary by others and resulted in massive rainforest and other ecological victories. I bravely confronted those greenwashing old-growth forest logging, and continue to do so, despite again being called unstable for doing so. At some personal expense, I recounted the authoritarian, self-aggrandizing political behavior since youth of Wisconsin’s governor, which I witnessed and know first-hand. I remarried the love of my life, completed a PhD, and successfully started a new career in finance IT.

I concur with the observation that an unexamined life is not worth living. Key to turning around any malignancy – be it personal disease of our societal headlong rush into global ecocide – is acknowledging you have a problem, and getting the help you need. Brutal personal and societal honesty is the only path to long-term sustainability. As is weathering the hyperbole filled and nonsensical character assassination attempts that result when speaking truthfully on matters of importance.

I have come to realize it is not necessary to be perfect to contribute to my community, to love and be loved, and to live a good life. It’s OK to be vulnerable at times, if one is being honest, and trying every day to be strong. For a lifetime of personal growth it is just required that you commit to the truth, learn from your mistakes and make amends, and constantly strive for self-improvement. And when you are feeling a bit off, see the doctor.

I apologize to those I hurt during this sickness, forgive those who abandoned rather than supported me (though I would appreciate apologies and you reaching out), and rejoice at the miracle of healing. I hope that after a year of being healthy people will see the real me – a committed family man, ecologist, community servant, and free-thinking and thought filled human being. I’m back and looking forward to the next chapter of my life after having successfully weathered this tragic illness.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ecocide Is Not Development; Love and Ecology Are the Answer

Earth's ecosystems are collapsing, human and all species' habitats are being lost, and our one shared biosphere is failing and dying. Love of other peoples and species and of nature, truth, justice, and equity are the only lasting basis for global ecological sustainability.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti

“Truth matters. Freedom matters. Justice matters. Ecology matters. Peace matters. Compassion matters. Knowledge matters. Love matters. We should all try to matter by serving such ideals.” – Dr. Glen Barry

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

Ecology is the meaning of lifeEarth is alive – just like the biological patterns found in cells, species, individual organisms, and ecosystems; only at a different scale – and thus can die if boundary conditions for health are exceeded. The biosphere [search] – Earth's thin mantle of life – is collapsing and dying, as ecosystems and climate are being murdered by human industrial growth. Such ecocidal madness, called "development," is hailed as the goal for society when in fact it is ecocide, and can only end in utter social, economic, and ecological collapse. Industrial human development destroys natural ecosystems necessary to maintain a habitable Earth.

Burning fossil fuels and clearing natural ecosystems are industrial ecocide, the furthest thing possible from "development" or any meaningful and lasting human advancement. The global ecological system is being overrun by human industrial growth, which is ravaging ecosystems upon which all life depends. Runaway human exponential growth systematically strips our habitat of life-giving species and ecosystems, and then it fouls and poisons whatever remains.

The problem with climate change and ecosystem loss is that we think we have time, when in fact the biosphere is already well into collapse. The evidence is pouring in that climate change, biodiversity extinction, and terrestrial ecosystem loss already exceed thresholds whereby the biosphere is collapsing. Humanity is already in mid-death swoon, pulling down the biosphere as it annihilates itself, kindred species, and shared habitat. Humanity is like a disease on the planet, consuming life-giving habitats and treating nature as resources to liquidate and consume, after which there can only be collapse and mass death.

Humanity’s wild careening towards apocalyptic global ecosystem collapse is caused by, and is causing, the rise of new fascist and violent governments. The global environment and freedom are collapsing and dying in tandem as the industrial growth machine liquidates ecosystems in the doomed attempt to keep up with the material demands of burgeoning population and the ruling elites’ overconsumption. To maintain the mirage of advancement from ecosystem liquidation, governments strip away liberties and impose fascism, obstructing the necessary social change to sustain ecology.

True peace is not the absence of conflict as enslaved and needlessly dying at your own hand. Peace is rights, equity, justice, jobs, ecological sustainability for which people sometimes must fight. Only a prudent, well-considered revolutionary change of governance that is minimally violent or nonviolent can stop the cycle of big nanny, corporatist government razing the Earth for a few decades of further irrational ecocide.

Continue reading "EARTH MEANDERS: Ecocide Is Not Development; Love and Ecology Are the Answer" »