Saturday, October 24, 2015

California Wildfires Are Abrupt Climate Change, Ecological Collapse

California is collapsing ecologically
It’s OK America, pop pills and watch TV. Don’t worry about abrupt climate change, environmental collapse, or perma-war blowback from your oil addiction.
“California is a nice place to visit, but soon no one may be able to live there.” – Dr. Glen Barry

Only a couple centuries ago California was mostly covered in lush naturally evolving ecosystems that surrounded and provided ecological habitat for relatively small settlements of Native Americans. Grizzly bears roamed and redwood forests towered. Now the heavily industrialized state is an over-populated ecologically collapsing mess. Remaining tawdry natural ecosystems are surrounded by an endless sprawl of human filth, and the very climate is abruptly changing.

California’s recent drought and wildfire outbreak is an exemplar of what surpassing a bioregion’s carrying capacity and resultant ecological collapse looks like. For decades naturally evolved ecosystems which make California habitable have been treated as resources to be devoured for industrial development. California’s fragmented and no longer connected natural ecosystems have been further destabilized by abrupt climate change and are no longer able to stably provide human habitat.

Everywhere one looks in California one sees over-populated over-consumption, over-development’s destruction of natural ecosystems, and resultant ecological collapse further worsened by industrial emissions. For four years California has been ravaged by a climate change intensified epic drought. In the worst impacted communities, hundreds of households have no access to running water.
California’s drought, a state of emergency since January 2014, has reached unprecedented levels, the worst in recorded history. The state’s mountain snowpack – which provides 30% of California’s water – is at the lowest level in at least 500 years, 5% of its usual water content. Parts of the state have a four-year precipitation deficit of more than 70 inches. 2015 is expected to be the warmest ever recorded.

Ecologists strongly agree that climate change is linked to California’s wildfires. Human-caused warming is clearly contributing to drier conditions, which make forests more susceptible to burning. One estimate is that 20% of the California’s forest trees are sick or have died from the drought. Record heat has increased evaporation and dried out the soil and tinder dry vegetation has become literally explosive. This has caused harsh wildfires as fragmented and sick forest ecosystems are ablaze.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Europe’s Refugee Crisis: Mass Migration is Biosphere Collapse

Mass migration is biosphere collapse
Refugees flowing into Europe and elsewhere globally are the direct result of over-population, ecosystem collapse, climate change, militarism and inequity. Mass migration has the potential to overrun entire societies and human civilization, and even threatens to collapse the biosphere. Migration must be controlled; and refugees and economic migrants assisted to return to productive, sustainable uses of land as close as possible to their place of origin.


First and foremost the mass exodus of refugees and migrants from Africa and the Middle East into Europe is an ecological disaster. Entire regions have overshot the carrying capacity of their land and water; which has been exacerbated by abrupt climate change, and rising human populations with unlimited aspirations for consumption.

An estimated 60 million refugees were forced from their homes by conflict last year. Nearly one billion people live on less than $1.50 a day, and many if not most would migrate in search of economic opportunity if given the chance. Today alone 12,000 migrants arrived in Munich, Germany.
It is a physical impossibility for Europe and America to house all of Africa, Middle East, and South America’s true refugees as well as hundreds of millions of poor people that want to migrate to a better life. Trying will lead to global ecological, social, and economic collapse.

For all intents and purposes Earth is fully occupied. Thus the nature of mass migration has changed since Europeans colonized the world. There no longer exist large intact ecosystems for refugees to flee to, murder the locals, and cut down natural ecosystems to produce illusory economic progress for a while before moving on repeatedly. We live in a different world that is threatened with global biosphere collapse and we need to adjust our expectations on migration accordingly.

Ecological science knows we have already exceeded numerous planetary boundaries in regard to sustaining a habitable Earth, one of which – as identified by myself in recently published peer reviewed science – is the need to maintain natural and agro-ecological ecosystems across 2/3 of the land, though 1/2 has already been lost. Natural and semi-natural ecosystems that remain are crucial to sustaining local and regional environmental sustainability, as well as the overall well-being of our one living biosphere that makes all life possible.

Earth’s remaining natural capital and thus a livable Earth are profoundly threatened by mass flows of migrants in so many ways. Newly arrived migrants quickly embrace Western style over-consumption (which dramatically reduces remaining natural ecosystems), refugee pathways are strewn with rubbish and nature trampled, and protected ecosystems are routinely violated. Ecosystem loss is thus both cause and effect of ecocidal mass migration.

In the flows of refugees to Europe we are witnessing the bioregional scale ecosystem collapse occurring in Africa and the Middle East as it expands its scope to become a global level ecological disturbance. There is no way the biosphere will be sustained with such large, poverty stricken populations on the move.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Biosphere Collapse: The Biggest Economic Bubble Ever

The global environment collapses as in the pursuit of short-term growth, humanity overruns natural ecosystems including the atmosphere that make Earth habitable. Together we urgently address inequity, climate change, overpopulation and natural ecosystem loss or alone we each face the horrors of economic, social, and ecological collapse.
“Horrendous inequity whereby a few hundred people possess half of Earth’s wealth as more than one billion live on less than $1.50/day is evil incarnate and will kill us all… The human family will only avert biosphere collapse if we choose to live more simply, share more with others, go back to the land, have fewer kids, protect and restore ecosystems, grow more of our own food, end fossil fuels, and embrace social justice and love.” – Dr. Glen Barry

Newspapers are full of disastrous warnings if economic growth does not return to Greece, or if it drops a couple points in China. Rarely in human history have so many been so fundamentally wrong about a matter of such importance as the desirability, and even the possibility, of perpetual economic growth.

The real threat to human well-being is not that there is too little economic growth. Rather, it is that there is too much, and that we have overshot how much growth can occur without collapsing our shared environment.

The industrial growth economy is ravaging natural ecosystems. Stocks of natural capital – including water, soil, old-growth forests, wild fish, etc. – are being pillaged to artificially inflate short-term economic growth numbers.

Modern industrial capitalism’s narrow focus upon GDP growth as a measure of a society’s well-being utterly fails to account for the very real and detrimental costs of liquidating Earth’s natural life-support systems.

Infinite growth on a finite planet is a recipe for disaster. Nothing grows forever and trying inevitably rips apart any system seeking to do so.

Continued ravaging of Earth’s natural ecosystems for short-term growth is the biggest economic bubble ever. Such a short-term, myopic focus upon economic growth can only end in social and ecological collapse.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We Are ALL Mauna Kea: A Sustainable Earth Depends Upon an Indigenist Future

10295789_10206053344285171_3698987057451460139_nHow would you feel if foreigners planned to steal your land to build an eighteen story, eight acre telescope on top your place of worship, burial sites, and water source?! The native re-awakening occurring now on Hawaii may be the single greatest hope for Earth, all her life and peoples. The #WeAreMaunaKea protectors teach us that genocide and ecocide to look at the stars, or carry out any industrial activity, is no longer culturally acceptable. We must all join native peoples out of love standing up for the land, and good-willed people of all races should be welcomed by native defenders. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction is Earth's last best chance for sustainability and avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being. We all depend upon sacred lands such as Mauna Kea for the environment within which we live.

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet, Honolulu, Hawaii

Long prophesied by native thinkers, Earth is dying. The global ecological system is collapsing under the weight of industrial development. More ecosystems including the atmosphere have been lost and degraded than the biosphere can bear. Concurrently perma-war, injustice, and inequity have hit epidemic proportions and are worsening ecocide and obstructing solutions.
While social movements of many types work on these issues, the forces of ecocide are pernicious, resolute, and massive. To date adoption of solutions including smaller families, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, and transitioning our communities to bioregional sustainability have proven orders of magnitudes inadequate to stop or even impede the surging industrial growth machine's gorging upon native ecosystems and peoples.

11378244_1465638397080213_1324334207_nWe got into this predicament as centuries ago ecological colonialism swept from Northern Europe to wage ecocide on ecosystems and genocide upon other non-European peoples. A deadly blend of capitalism, christianity, and militarism sought to liquidate natural ecosystems for perfunctory consumption by some; defended by rigid institutionalized racial, class, and inequity divides.
Against such a desperate backdrop about the only real hope for Earth and all her life that can found is the resurgence of indigenous thought and action such as that playing out in Hawaii. There on the Big Island brave native defenders have taken a dramatic stand against some of the most privileged seeking to steal their sacred Mauna Kea mountain. In an unjust, inequitable, ecologically collapsing world #WeAreMaunaKea (one of the hashtags on Twitter used by the movement) offers a vision of ecological sustainability and social harmony based upon Aloha 'Aina – love of the land.

#WeAreMaunaKea calls on the Moore Foundation and TMT Hawaii to voluntarily withdraw plans to steal and desecrate native Hawaiian sacred land with an industrial scale telescope. And they do so based upon love of the land and community mobilization in a manner that is applicable to virtually every environmental and social justice struggle. Following in the Gandhian and Martin Luther King tradition of non-violence, their own blend of Kapua Aloha (kindness, love, empathy) stresses bearing witness to ecocide with their bodies, minds, souls, and voices; albeit with a specific Hawaiian flare.
The Aloha 'Aina protectors demonstrate the ecological Earth ethic needed for the human family and our one shared biosphere to survive. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction of the landbase is Earth's last best chance to avoid global ecosystem collapse and achieve global ecological sustainability.

MaunaKeaSnowMAUNA KEA

Mauna Kea is a sacred mountain to native Hawaiians and is vital for pure water on the Big Island. Measured from its base in the ocean, Mauna Kea rises over 10,000 m (33,000 ft), significantly higher than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea dramatically affects wind and weather patterns, and its often snow-capped peaks collect water that feeds the aquifer for Hawaii Island.

There Poli'ahu the Snow Goddess gathers, stores and shares life giving wai (water). So sacred is Mauna Kea that access was limited to only the most reverent of spiritual purposes. Land is sacred to native Hawaiians, and their ancestors believed numerous gods and goddesses inhabit Mauna Kea, and it continues to be revered as a temple. This may appear to be superstitious to some, but it is the basis of a worldview that protected vital ecosystems.

For Hawaiians Mauna Kea is where the sky and earth separated to form the heavens and where the mother and father of the Hawaiian race first met. Mauna Kea holds more than 250 shrines and burial sites and in centuries past its summit was so revered that only high chiefs and priests were allowed to ascend it. The mountain inspires many traditional chants and songs.

11142951_1427795734188857_810880267_nThere are already 12 telescopes scarring the mountain; and the newest, called the Thirty-Meter Telescope, would be 18-stories tall and destroy an additional eight acres of land, and intensify human waste and toxics entering the sensitive ecosystem. Mauna Kea Conservation District Lands are watershed, historic, environmentally and culturally sensitive lands and therefore have special protected status under Hawai'i law. The mountain is home to endangered Hawaiian flora and fauna including the Hawaiian silversword plant, the mamane tree, and the endangered finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper that lives only on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea.

Sacred lands such as Mauna Kea offer some of Earth's last intact ecosystems and biodiversity required to sustain humanity and the biosphere. While indigenous peoples account for 4% of global population, occupying 22% of land, their ancestral lands hold 80% of remaining biodiversity. The TMT telescope being built against the wishes of native Hawaiians is neo-colonialism, water and land ecocide, and continues the process of turning sacred Mauna Kea into a poorly managed industrial park. Such is the history of the end of the world.

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