Saturday, November 7, 2015

Open Letter: Post Keystone Win, Time to End Natural Forest Logging

More old-growth forests have been lost
than the climate and biosphere can bear
An open letter/essay addressed to climate change luminaries Bill McKibben of 350.org and Michael Brune of the Sierra Club: After yesterday’s significant yet symbolic Keystone pipeline victory, not only must the climate movement demand an end to old-growth forest logging; it is time to speak of ending all natural forest logging to limit climate change and sustain the biosphere. Together with leaving fossil fuels in the ground, working for an end to industrial logging of natural forests will protect vital old-growth and allow dwindling natural ecosystems to age, recover, spread, reconnect, and sequester carbon in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change while avoiding global ecosystem collapse.
Again, loss and diminishment of terrestrial ecosystems are a critical component of abrupt climate change and is collapsing the biosphere. You both are well placed like few others to do something about it. – Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders essays by Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet, Honolulu, Hawaii

Dear Bill and Michael,

Congratulations to the climate change movement, 350.org and the Sierra Club, and yourselves for stopping the Keystone tar sands pipeline for now. Our own tiny EcoInternet was pleased to play a bit part with affinity actions since the beginning. I am writing once again to raise the issue of old-growth forests – and natural forest ecosystems in general – with you in regard to climate change.

Post Keystone, as the movement gears up to make sufficient demands to limit abrupt climate change and avoid ecosystem collapse, now is the time to address large amounts of emissions from natural forest logging – particularly of old-growth. While producing tar sands results in more carbon than conventional fossil fuel extraction, tar sands still account for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, various estimates place loss and diminishment of terrestrial ecosystems at 20% of global emissions.

This does not mean that tar sands should get a pass, as their emissions may yet grow considerably. But it does mean that at some point the climate change movement – to be successful – will have to consistently and vocally address the loss and diminishment of terrestrial ecosystems. Given their rapid loss and diminishment, efforts to protect naturally evolved ecosystems must ramp up with all haste.

I am writing this letter to plead with you to get the Sierra Club and 350.org’s vast resources committed to working for an end globally to industrial scale old-growth forest logging while allowing managed natural forests to regenerate and age. There is no path to global ecological sustainability, which includes limiting climate change, that does not include such a course of action.

Read full essay at EcoInternet...

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.

Continue reading at EcoInternet

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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