Human population levels also plunged at the same time for the very same reason, the group says. As much as 60 percent of the world’s total population disappeared, and so did the cultures and civilizations that lived during that time.
It remains an undeniable fact that the world’s climate is constantly changing. And the Comet Research Group makes a case for the worst cataclysmic changes from the past having absolutely nothing to do with human activity.
The group put together a library of research about what its members called the Younger Dryas climate episode, which is said to have involved a comet that struck the earth 12,800 years ago. That impact resulted in widespread destruction and major changes to the climate, as well as the creation of diamonds, a mysterious “black mat,” and other interesting things that archaeologists and researchers have since uncovered and studied.
There were actually three major events that occurred around that time, according to the group, that resulted in a sudden return of Ice Age-like temperatures. And believe it or not, these events did not result from humans eating meat and driving gas-powered vehicles.
“Temperatures plunged 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) and stayed low for about 1,400 years,” the group explains. “That abrupt change is called the Younger Dryas (YD) climate episode. It is the most unusual cooling event in about two million years.”
That series of events resulted in widespread death and the extinction of many large animals, according to the group – this event has since been dubbed a “megafauna.”
“Tens of millions of large animals went extinct within a short time. Mammoths, mastodons, and sabre-toothed tigers disappeared.”
Human population levels also plunged at the same time for the very same reason, the group says. As much as 60 percent of the world’s total population disappeared, and so did the cultures and civilizations that lived during that time.
The climate has been changing forever, and mankind has no real control over it
The extinction events that encompass the Younger Dryas impact also generated and released tons and tons of melted spherules and glass while blasting the atmosphere with soot and dust. These particulates were far more damaging than exhaust releases from today’s industries, by the way – and humans had no control over any of it.
No amount of carbon taxes or “green” energy could have stopped what befell the world at that time, nor could the climate from prior have been saved into its aftermath. Everything that is said to have occurred was completely outside of human control, in other words.
Much of this is addressed in the highly controversial “Ancient Apocalypse” series on Netflix, which climate lunatics are fighting tooth and nail to stop from being streamed because it blasts away their narrative.
What the series suggests is that major climate events have occurred all throughout history that decimated even the most advanced civilizations. Even if there were no more pollution or emissions, to put it another way, those climate events still would have occurred regardless.
The Comet Research Group has put together a PDF collection containing nine works that tell the story of the Younger Dryas:
• Comet impact • Craters that were formed as a result of its impact and that of its debris field • Diamonds and even viruses that are said to have been created as a result • M rocks and glass that were formed • Impact-related wildfires that occurred • Black mat layer that formed • Mass extinction events that resulted • Climate change impacts of all this calamity
One of the major points of such information with regard to climate change is that human interventions that claim to want to stop it are pointless endeavors that will not work. Turning the world “green” and stealing everyone’s liberty and freedom will not stop a major climate-changing event from occurring, no matter how much “plant-based” food you consume and how many Teslas you buy.
More related news about the climate can be found at Climate.news.
A sweeping report published Thursday by one of the world’s largest conservation groups finds that Earth’s vertebrate animal populations experienced an average decline of nearly 70% between 1970 and 2018, a staggering drop that experts attribute to the worsening climate crisis, pollution, the large-scale destruction of forests, and continued human exploitation of wildlife.
The World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF)Living Planet Report 2022, which the group calls its most comprehensive study to date, estimates that tens of thousands of monitored mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, and fish populations have seen an average 69% decline in relative abundance over just a 50-year period, a blaring signal that the planet is in the midst of a devastating biodiversity crisis.
“When wildlife populations decline to this degree, it means dramatic changes are impacting their habitats and the food and water they rely on.”
“The message is clear and the lights are flashing red,” states the new report, which examines nearly 32,000 species populations across the planet—from the oceanic whitetip shark to the Amazon pink river dolphin to Darwin’s frog—to spotlight what it describes as the twin emergencies of climate change and species decline.
“Climate change is having a dramatic impact on our natural environment,” the report notes. “Some species are dying out while others are having to move where they live due to changes in air temperature, weather patterns, and sea levels. As well as being a direct driver of biodiversity loss, climate change also worsens the other drivers.”
WWF warns that animal populations in its freshwater Living Planet Index “have been hit the hardest, declining by an average of 83%” thanks to myriad factors, including pollution and massive species exploitation. Regionally, Latin America—home to the rapidly deteriorating Amazon rainforest—has seen the largest decline in average population abundance at 94%.
“These plunges in wildlife populations can have dire consequences for our health and economies,” said Rebecca Shaw, WWF’s global chief scientist. “When wildlife populations decline to this degree, it means dramatic changes are impacting their habitats and the food and water they rely on. We should care deeply about the unraveling of natural systems because these same resources sustain human life.”
As Vox‘s Benji Jones explains, WWF’s topline figure of 69% average animal population decline “does not mean there are two-thirds fewer animals today compared to 50 years ago.”
“It’s not counting all the animals lost in each group and adding that up; it’s measuring the relative size of the decline in each population and averaging it,” Jones notes.
Still, WWF’s findings paint a dire picture of the global wildlife emergency as scientists warn Earth may be in the midst of a “Sixth Mass Extinction,” this one caused by the degradation of the natural world by the fossil fuel industry and other human activity.
The New York Timesnotes that some experts believe WWF’s report “actually underestimates the global biodiversity crisis, in part because devastating declines in amphibians may be underrepresented in the data.”
WWF’s report comes as world leaders are set to gather for the second phase of COP15 talks in Montreal, Canada to negotiate a global framework to mitigate and reverse the accelerating biodiversity crisis. The first phase of the COP15 negotiations ended in disappointment, with climate campaigners decrying world leaders’ lack of urgency in the face of plummeting species populations.
In a statement, WWF said the upcoming Montreal talks represent “a once-in-a-decade opportunity to course-correct for the sake of people and the planet.”
“The U.S. government can help ensure that COP15 and the emerging 2030 Global Biodiversity Framework are successful through its diplomatic engagement and by bringing new resources to the table to help developing countries protect their biodiversity,” the group argued.
Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US, urged Congress to “finalize this year’s funding bills with significant increases for global conservation programs.”
“Doing so,” Roberts said, “would empower the federal government to drive greater progress in conserving and restoring nature, and send a signal to other countries that it expects other actors to do the same.”
In his speech to the UN General Assembly, the Colombian president highlighted the necessity of ending the war on drugs and saving the environment
“You are only interested in my country to spray poisons on our jungles, to take our men to jail and put our women in exclusion. You are not interested in the education of the child, but in killing the jungle and extracting coal and oil from its entrails. The sponge that absorbs the poison [the rainforest] is useless, they prefer to throw more poisons into the atmosphere.”
They invaded in the name of oil and gas. They discovered in the 21st century the worst of their addictions: addiction to money and oil. Wars have served as an excuse not to act against the climate crisis. Wars have shown them how dependent they are on what will kill the human species.
On the first day of the United Nations General Assembly, Colombian President Gustavo Petro made his first address to the body. The speech sharply deviated from those of his conservative predecessors. Petro did not shy away from calling out global North countries for their role in the destruction of the environment and in the perpetuation of the War on Drugs, as a symptom of their capitalist greed. He accused
“You are only interested in my country to spray poisons on our jungles, to take our men to jail and put our women in exclusion. You are not interested in the education of the child, but in killing the jungle and extracting coal and oil from its entrails. The sponge that absorbs the poison [the rainforest] is useless, they prefer to throw more poisons into the atmosphere.”
This is Petro’s first trip to the United States since he was inaugurated in August. He was received on Sunday night September 18 by hundreds of supporters in Queens, NY who manifested their support for his administration’s commitment to working for peace and ensuring the wellbeing of the Colombian people.
Below is a full transcription of his speech on September 20, 2022 to the United Nations General Assembly.
I come from one of the three most beautiful countries on Earth.
There is an explosion of life there. Thousands of multicolored species in the seas, in the skies, in the lands…I come from the land of yellow butterflies and magic. There in the mountains and valleys of all greens, not only do the abundant waters flow down but also the torrents of blood. I come from a land of bloody beauty.
My country is not only beautiful, but it is also violent.
How can beauty be conjugated with death, how can the biodiversity of life erupt with the dances of death and horror? Who is guilty of breaking the enchantment with terror? Who or what is responsible for drowning life in the routine decisions of wealth and interest? Who is leading us to destruction as a nation and as a people?
My country is beautiful because it has the Amazon jungle, the ChocóWar jungle, the waters, the Andes mountain ranges, and the oceans. There, in those forests, planetary oxygen is emanated and atmospheric CO2 is absorbed. One of these CO2 absorbing plants, among millions of species, is one of the most persecuted on earth. At any cost, its destruction is sought: it is an Amazonian plant, the coca plant, sacred plant of the Incas. [It is in] a paradoxical crossroads.
The jungle that tries to save us, is at the same time, destroyed. To destroy the coca plant, they spray poisons, glyphosate in mass that runs through the waters, they arrest its growers and imprison them. For destroying or possessing the coca leaf, one million Latin Americans are killed and two million Afro-Americans are imprisoned in North America. Destroy the plant that kills, they shout from the North, but the plant is but one more of the millions that perish when they unleash the fire on the jungle. Destroying the jungle, the Amazon, has become the slogan followed by States and businessmen. The cry of scientists baptizing the rainforest as one of the great climatic pillars is unimportant.
For the world’s power relations, the jungle and its inhabitants are to blame for the plague that plagues them. The power relations are plagued by the addiction to money, to perpetuate themselves, to oil, to cocaine and to the hardest drugs to be able to anesthetize themselves more. Nothing is more hypocritical than the discourse to save the rainforest. The jungle is burning, gentlemen, while you make war and play with it. The rainforest, the climatic pillar of the world, disappears with all its life.
The great sponge that absorbs planetary CO2 evaporates. The savior forest is seen in my country as the enemy to be defeated, as the weed to be extinguished.
Coca and the peasants who grow it, because they have nothing else to grow, are demonized. You are only interested in my country to spray poisons on our jungles, to take our men to jail and put our women in exclusion. You are not interested in the education of the child, but in killing its jungle and extracting coal and oil from its entrails. The sponge that absorbs the poison is useless, they prefer to throw more poisons into the atmosphere.
We serve them only to fill the emptiness and loneliness of their own society that leads them to live in the midst of drug bubbles. We hide from them the problems that they refuse to reform. It is better to declare war on the jungle, on its plants, on its people. While they let the forests burn, while hypocrites chase the plants with poisons to hide the disasters of their own society, they ask us for more and more coal, more and more oil, to calm the other addiction: that of consumption, of power, of money.
What is more poisonous for humanity, cocaine, coal, or oil? The dictates of power have ordered that cocaine is the poison and must be pursued, even if it only causes minimal deaths by overdose, and even more by the mixtures necessitated by clandestinity, but coal and oil must be protected, even if their use could extinguish all of humanity.
These are the things of world power, things of injustice, and things of irrationality, because world power has become irrational. They see in the exuberance of the jungle, in its vitality, the lustful, the sinful; the guilty origin of the sadness of their societies, imbued with the unlimited compulsion to have and to consume. How to hide the loneliness of the heart, its dryness in the midst of societies without affection, competitive to the point of imprisoning the soul in solitude, if not by blaming the plant, the man who cultivates it, the libertarian secrets of the jungle.
According to the irrational power of the world, it is not the fault of the market that cuts back on existence, it is the fault of the jungle and those who inhabit it. The bank accounts have become unlimited, the money saved by the most powerful on the earth will not even be able to be spent in the time of the centuries. The sadness of existence produced by this artificial call to competition is filled with noise and drugs. The addiction to money and to having has another face: the addiction to drugs in people who lose the competition, in the losers of the artificial race in which they have transformed humanity.
The disease of loneliness will not be cured with glyphosate [sprayed] on the forests. It is not the rainforest that is to blame.
The culprit is their society educated in endless consumption, in the stupid confusion between consumption and happiness that allows the pockets of power to fill with money. The culprit of drug addiction is not the jungle, it is the irrationality of your world power. Try to give some reason to your power. Turn on the lights of the century again. The war on drugs has lasted 40 years, if we do not correct the course and it continues for another 40 years, the United States will see 2,800,000 young people die of overdose from fentanyl, which is not produced in Latin America. It will see millions of Afro-Americans imprisoned in its private jails.
The Afro-prisoner will become a business of prison companies, a million more Latin Americans will die murdered, our waters and our green fields will be filled with blood, and the dream of democracy will die in my America as well as in Anglo-Saxon America. Democracy will die where it was born, in the great western European Athens. By hiding the truth, they will see the jungle and democracies die. The war on drugs has failed.
The fight against the climate crisis has failed. There has been an increase in deadly consumption, from soft drugs to harder ones, genocide has taken place in my continent, and in my country, millions of people have been condemned to prison, and to hide their own social guilt they have blamed the rainforest and its plants. They have filled speeches and policies with nonsense. I demand from here, from my wounded Latin America, to put an end to the irrational war on drugs. To reduce drug consumption we do not need wars, for this, we need all of us to build a better society: a more caring society, more affectionate, where the intensity of life saves us from addictions and new slavery. Do you want less drugs? Think of less profit and more love. Think about a rational exercise of power.
Do not touch with your poisons the beauty of my homeland, help us without hypocrisy to save the Amazon Rainforest to save the life of humanity on the planet. You gathered the scientists, and they spoke with reason. With mathematics and climatological models, they said that the end of the human species was near, that its time is no longer of millennia, not even of centuries. Science set the alarm bells ringing and we stopped listening to it.
The war served as an excuse for not taking the necessary measures. When action was most needed, when speeches were no longer useful, when it was indispensable to deposit money in funds to save humanity, when it was necessary to move away from coal and oil as soon as possible, they invented war after war after war. They invaded Ukraine, but also Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
They invaded in the name of oil and gas. They discovered in the 21st century the worst of their addictions: addiction to money and oil. Wars have served as an excuse not to act against the climate crisis. Wars have shown them how dependent they are on what will kill the human species.
If you observe that the peoples are filling up with hunger and thirst and migrating by the millions towards the north, towards where the water is; then you enclose them, build walls, deploy machine guns, shoot at them. You expel them as if they were not human beings, you reproduce five times the mentality of those who politically created the gas chambers and the concentration camps, you reproduce on a planetary scale 1933.
The great triumph of the attack on reason. Do you not see that the solution to the great exodus unleashed on your countries is to return to water filling the rivers and the fields full of nutrients? The climate disaster fills us with viruses that swarm over us, but you do business with medicines and turn vaccines into commodities. You propose that the market will save us from what the market itself has created. The Frankenstein of humanity lies in letting the market and greed act without planning, surrendering the brain and reason. Kneeling human rationality to greed.
What is the use of war if what we need is to save the human species? What is the use of NATO and empires, if what is coming is the end of intelligence? The climate disaster will kill hundreds of millions of people and listen well, it is not produced by the planet, it is produced by capital.
The cause of the climate disaster is capital. The logic of coming together only to consume more and more, produce more and more, and for some to earn more and more produces the climate disaster. They applied the logic of extended accumulation to the energy engines of coal and oil and unleashed the hurricane: the ever deeper and deadlier chemical change of the atmosphere. Now in a parallel world, the expanded accumulation of capital is an expanded accumulation of death.
From the lands of jungle and beauty. There where they decided to make an Amazon rainforest plant an enemy, extradite and imprison its growers, I invite you to stop the war and to stop the climate disaster. Here, in this Amazon Rainforest, there is a failure of humanity.
Behind the bonfires that burn it, behind its poisoning, there is an integral, civilizational failure of humanity. Behind the addiction to cocaine and drugs, behind the addiction to oil and coal, there is the real addiction of this phase of human history: the addiction to irrational power, profit, and money. This is the enormous deadly machinery that can extinguish humanity.
I propose to you as president of one of the most beautiful countries on earth, and one of the most bloodied and violated, to end the war on drugs and allow our people to live in peace. I call on all of Latin America for this purpose. I summon the voice of Latin America to unite to defeat the irrational that martyrs our bodies. I call upon you to save the Amazon Rainforest integrally with the resources that can be allocated worldwide to life.
If you do not have the capacity to finance the fund for the revitalization of the forests, if it weighs more to allocate money to weapons than to life, then reduce the foreign debt to free our own budgetary spaces and with them, carry out the task of saving humanity and life on the planet. We can do it if you don’t want to. Just exchange debt for life, for nature. I propose, and I call upon Latin America to do so, to dialogue in order to end the war. Do not pressure us to align ourselves in the fields of war.
It is time for PEACE.
Let the Slavic peoples talk to each other, let the peoples of the world talk to each other. War is only a trap that brings the end of time closer in the great orgy of irrationality.
From Latin America, we call on Ukraine and Russia to make peace. Only in peace can we save life in this land of ours. There is no total peace without social, economic, and environmental justice. We are also at war with the planet. Without peace with the planet, there will be no peace among nations. Without social justice, there is no social peace.
Featured image: Gustavo Petro addressed the UN General Assembly on September 20, 2022. Photo: UN
In 1961, I left Greece for the United States. The reason for that life-changing decision was education. The University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin welcomed me and gave me a free education. I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Illinois and my doctorate from Wisconsin.
My education was a mixture of science and humanities. I combined zoology with Greek (ancient, medieval and modern) history, as well as Roman history and modern European (Russian, Soviet Union, Southeastern European and British) history. To this multidisciplinary bowl I added the history of science from my postdoctoral studies at Harvard.
I did all this book reading, test taking, and writing a dissertation in ten years. The next step was finding work. By the time I graduated from Wisconsin, in 1972, I was married with my first child. This made earning a living imperative.
I worked on Capitol Hill and the US Environmental Protection Agency for twenty-seven years.
Sporadically, I taught at several universities about things I learned at work: how the federal government regulates or fails to regulate pesticides and agriculture.
The hidden truth
If this sounds obscure, technical, and of little value, it is not. There’s complexity in these things, but within this complexity there are gems of truth on how this country works.
Imagine a group of bureaucrats led by a political representative of the president deciding how much pesticide poison goes into each fruit, vegetable, grain, bread, cheese and meat Americans eat. That’s what the Office of Pesticide Programs does. The responsibility is awesome. The science is dubious; the ethics abhorrent. I did not want to do anything with it, save for criticizing the very idea of poisoning our food under the guise of environmental protection, which translated into protecting the farmer and poison maker from legal suits. The moment I came across evidence of massive and chronic malpractice and fraud in the testing of pesticides, I knew my early suspicions were legitimate; I knew how agribusiness rules America.
This experience helped me understand the meaning and practice of “environmental protection” in an industrialized America. In other words, I brought to the classroom information not in environmental policy textbooks
History, and especially the history of science, hovered around me, always tempting my thought to precedents: how did people of earlier times and other societies face the natural world or raise food?
The message to my students
I probably overwhelmed my students with data, facts and explanations about the environment and how America works. But the take-home message to my students was a warning:
”Your elders have abandoned your protection to the unkind and often corrupt industry and politicians. Study the natural world, study the science of the environment and, once out of school, reform or change the politics of this country for your protection and the protection and health of the natural world. A polluted natural world is your enemy. It will make you sick or kill you.
“Do away with pesticides, industrial agriculture, nuclear bombs, nuclear power plants, plastics, and toxic chemicals. They were the products of war, ignorance and hubris.
“Build a society with different values, one based on carbon-free and toxic pollution-free technologies, including respect for nature. Don’t approve any industry disrupting ecosystems, poisoning the natural world, and causing the extinction of species. Learn from science and older traditions and wisdom how the world works. Learn from the natural world.”
I don’t know if my students understood me. I treated them like graduate students. I opened their eyes to the beauties of science and truth as well as the secret and corrupt ways of the chemical industry. I let them see and examine original documents showing industry-government corruption. Some of them might have passed my ideas to their parents and, possibly, administrators.
I knew college and universities were rarely on the forefront of justice or truth, much less political change. In many instances, like the land grant universities, they become the inventors of hazardous chemicals and technologies that enable agribusiness to control rural America. At other instances, universities legitimize pollution.
With some exceptions, my college colleagues were indifferent to me and my teaching.
At Humboldt State University in northern California, I taught about society and the environment in a sociology department. There was a possibility for a permanent position for me but the chairman of the department said not to bother to apply because my doctorate was in history, not sociology. I asked him to come to my class, so he could form his own opinion about my teaching. “I care less about your teaching or the admiration students have for you,” he said.
Twice at two different schools (the University of Maryland and Pitzer College) I spoke to the Dean about expanding teaching and research on the fate of black farmers in America who declined by 98 percent in the twentieth century. The Deans were black. They listened to me politely but did nothing.
These anecdotes may be a fly in the ointment, but they suggest a deeper malady.
America after WWII
Since World War II, the culture of America is becoming inimical to democracy and civilization. By civilization I mean justice, the rule of law, the employment of science for making decisions, equal opportunity for humans to make a living, relative equality among citizens and ethical and science-based government rules regulating corporate and business behavior. Moreover, protecting human and environmental health should be at the core of this civilization.
Civilization is in trouble in America. Perpetual wars, the nuclear bomb, and the supremacy of money have made this country an empire. This political transformation is dismantling democracy at home and threatens the planet.
An oligarchy of billionaires are behind this aggression. They have captured the government, milking its fat Pentagon budget while using other government departments like the Environmental Protection Agency to buy legal protection for their chemicals polluting our food, drinking water, air, rivers, lakes and the seas.
The spectacle of Trump
The spectacle of Trump being president says it all. This is a very bad man. Some people, including senior government officials, and especially ambassador Gordon Sondland, are saying Trump urged the government of Ukraine to dig dirt about his political opponent Joe Biden. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accused Trump of being “a criminal in the White House.” Others charge him with betrayal and infamy for allowing the Turks to slaughter the Kurds who have been faithful American allies.
Trump is threatening democracy. He displays and employs government power for his personal benefit. He does not have a clue about international relations. He is an enemy of public and environmental health.
In desperation, the Democrats in the House are collecting evidence of wrongdoing for “impeaching” him. They know, however, that the Republicans in the Senate will declare Trump innocent of all charges.
This effort of finding Trump guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors is the ethical thing to do. But for me, Trump’s persistent undermining of this country’s environmental laws, including his willful ignorance of climate change, constitute high crimes and misdemeanors. They are translated into policies hurting and killing people all over the country. And pretending there’s no climate change, as the Trump EPA does, exacerbates the onslaught from climate change.
This official apathy and blindness is affecting the country, even the Democratic politicians running for president. The warming of the Earth and the fossil fuels causing it have all but disappeared from public discourse.
With the possible exception of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), I just don’t think these candidates are passionate enough to embrace the climate threat and opportunity for shaping American politics and assuring the survival of civilization and the natural world. Yet they say climate change is the gravest danger America and the world face.
The hegemony of commercial television
Another way of explaining this pathology is the overwhelming power and influence of commercial television. It has remade Americans into obedient corporate subjects. Just like cigarette companies during most of the twentieth century brained-washed Americans to do nothing without a cigarette hanging from their mouth, advertisements and news reporting mix with each other so thoroughly the viewer, in most case, does not understand the difference between the two. The result of this willful malpractice and propaganda is the dumbing down of Americans.
Second, commercial television networks treat the natural world like a zoo: a place for expensive cruises, hunting, industrialized farming, logging, mining and forest fires. Even the PBS and BBC nature documentaries keep corporate crimes against nature strictly separate from the lives of the threatened species they document.
This television onslaught has been taking place for decades while most Americans live increasingly in cities, which separate them further from the natural world.
Despite this undemocratic and plutocratic record, commercial television is in charge of the Democratic presidential debates. They ask the questions and restrict answers to seconds and minutes.
Undoing this industrial-cultural-academic-television-propaganda complex requires a “political revolution” even greater than the revolution Senator Bernie Sanders has in mind.
The Sanders agenda
Sanders is an angry American prophet who insists in bringing justice back to America. He wants an economy for all. He is lashing at bankers, drug and insurance companies, billionaires, Trump and the Republicans. He is accusing them of theft: sucking trillions to an oligarchy and impoverishing the rest.
Should Sanders be elected, this country may be spared some of the calamity of climate change. He has promised repeatedly to put fossil fuel companies out of business – replacing them with carbon-free alternatives and creating 20,000,000 well-paying jobs.
In addition, Sanders is likely to save America from tyranny. This will demand a Herculean labor: channeling the Potomac River through the Washington stables of billionaires and industry lobbyists.
This would demand the end of exporting American jobs; taxing the billionaires enough to narrow the gigantic gap between them and the rest of Americans: use that money to fund climate change and cleaning up and eliminating pollution; outlawing the fossil fuels industry and funding alternative carbon-free energy technologies; revive the New Deal government programs of President Roosevelt for healthy farming, environment, and rebuilding of rural America; upgrade America’s medical mess to European health standards; make state universities free; give EPA the freedom and independence it needs to embrace its real mission; regulate commercial television: it should not be able to interrupt news with advertisements, nor charge money to politicians running for office; regulate and tax Wall Street; regulate and tax agribusiness: ban pesticides, break up large plantations, and bring back family farms.
Finally, take money out of politics.
Only this broad agenda of economic, social and ecological renewal can put the breaks to a Hothouse Earth and violent political revolution.
Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of 6 books, including Poison Spring with Mckay Jenkings.
In a little less than a year and a half, Ms. Thunberg has garnered a great deal of media attention for her passionate pleas that the world finally take heed to the very real crisis of climate change affirming that if we fail to meet the requirements laid out for us by the IPCC we will most assuredly have no planet to live on 11 years from now. Ms. Thunberg has confidently and frequently stated this in almost every interview or speech she has made since her media blitz began.
This is of course very disturbing news indeed.
What is just as disturbing is that it is seemingly all up to the children around the world to take matters into their own hands, since all adults have apparently become the equivalent to the walking dead, with children being the supposed organisers behind these immense marches across Europe, Canada and the US, to save the planet from total annihilation. This regard for the adults in the west and their seeming encouragement of this regard of themselves is very disappointing, but hardly surprising when you realise that many of them are from the ‘Make Love Not War’ live in the moment movements from the 60s that used as one of their main slogans “Never trust anybody over 30”. Interestingly, these are the parents of the dejected youth of today, who seem to have all taught their children the same lesson: don’t trust adults. Apparently something really terrible happens to you once you turn 31 and either you have to accept the fact that you are now analogous to a sack of potatoes or maintain a 20 something year old mental state for your entire life in order to stay “relevant”.
‘Forever young’ justice warriors such as Jane Fonda are a model for us all on how to never mentally develop past the age of 30. At the age of 81, Jane has made the vow to get arrested once a week for 14 weeks until she has to film her tv show ‘Grace and Frankie’, where at that point she will have fulfilled her part in making the world a better and safer place and will have earned her entrance into sainthood. As Jane stated in an interview with Washington Post, “Greta said we have to behave like it’s a crisis…We have to behave like our houses are on fire”. Jane apparently has a strange understanding of what she would do if her house was on fire since she continues to fly frequently and supports the eating of meat, the two top “no-no’s” from Greta. Regardless, Jane is on a mission to send a message to everybody else that even though she does not follow what Greta asks, if others also do not, we will all die horrible deaths in 11 years. After all, Jane will be 92 at that point…but with the mind of a forever young 20 year old.
As Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, put it, “If we don’t work together, we are going to die together”. Bone-chilling words to be sure. The way things are going we might end up seeing baby boomer NATO Defense Ministers holding hands singing “We Are the World”, wait…that already happened in 2015.
However, it is no longer good enough to distrust anybody over 30, and those now leading the charge are just entering their teens since people in their 20s are becoming part of ‘the problem’ and are just not willing to do enough to save the planet. In a world that up until recently was obsessed with whether someone had a PhD title before they could make any public statement on the climate change subject, now could care less about academic titles and don’t even require a high school diploma to dictate world policy. Why? Well, because “all the science is already in” on climate change and now it is just about getting action done and since adults have been the problem that has got us to where we are today, it is only fitting that the children take matters into their own hands…right?
Before we dare to answer that question I thought I would share some interesting periods in history that may help provide a new perspective about the current situation we find ourselves in. Bare with me, I am past 30 years in age.
The Art of Prophesising
On January 23, 2019 Greta made the prediction: “The date is January 23, 2031. The world has just ended. No humans are left on the planet once known as ‘Earth’ ”.
Have we really come to a point where we are at the brink of the end times? I have spoken with a great many people who believe this to be the case. Whether they believe it will be in 11 years or 50 years, the consensus among the many is that we are certainly approaching the end of the world, something that used to be associated to the crazy guy who pulled out all his teeth so they could no longer hear his thoughts, holding up the sign “The End is Nigh” and babbling apocalyptic lines from the Book of Revelations…now the majority of us would look at that guy and say “You know, I think he has a point.”
But in all seriousness, are we truly living in the darkest period of humanity’s existence?
I will come back to that question because I truly do not take it lightly, but it should be known that there is not only a long list of false prophecies for the end of the world that had massive followings throughout history, but there are a lot of parallels to those periods and to that of our present day.
In 1345 the biggest financial collapse of history hit Europe. Food became increasingly hard to come by and water sanitation could not be maintained. It was not long after that the plague, carried by ships travelling from Asia, consumed a vulnerable Europe. During this time, many cities suffered up to a 50-70% mortality rate, killing much of the very young and old.
Many thought this to be the end of the world. There was no seeming solution to the problem and many believed that they were either being punished or had been abandoned by God, and since their condemnation seemed certain, took the path of living in the most hedonistic lifestyles imaginable as death and despair surrounded them. Others tried to buy their entrance into Purgatory with “indulgences” issued by the Church (somewhat reminiscent of today’s purchasers of carbon offsets). The basic idea was that one could reduce the amount of punishment one would undergo for committing a sin in exchange for money. This gave individuals, who could afford it, a way to partake in this end of world orgy-fest while avoiding their soul’s eternal damnation, or at least so they were told.
Others took matters a little more into their own hands to make it right with God. They set out onto the streets whipping themselves profusely. It was thought that if they punished themselves God would spare them from the plague, while others who had already contracted it thought it would move God to take the sickness back. These were known as the Flagellants, and they had a very large following. Later on they would blame the Jewish people for God’s wrath and resorted to the slaughter and burning alive of these groups of people in the hope that God would finally relent.
Another interesting period to take note of was during the Roman Republic. One of the most illustrious positions that one could hope for, outside of being Consul, was to be an Augur. This was an incredibly prestigious position within the Roman government that was usually assigned for life. An Augur was basically the interpreter of ominous and fortuitous signs, which included interpreting animal entrails (considered an exact science at the time), behaviour of birds and so forth to dictate future policy of the Republic.
There was also the period between the 4th and 5th Crusade known for its ‘Child Crusaders’. According to George Zabriskie Gray’s research on this subject, in 1212 a twelve year old boy named Stephen, from the village Cloyes in France claimed he had been selected by God to lead a Crusade of Children to rescue the Holy Land. He would recruit 30, 000 children to join him. Around the same time, a 10 year old boy named Nicholas, from Cologne, would also begin to preach and recruit children for the same mission. He too claimed that he had been selected by God and recruited a following of at least 20, 000 children. What little is known of the fate of these children is that the majority of them died of either starvation, were murdered or sold into slavery. Of the few thousand that actually set sail for Palestine, it is not known what happened to them, but only that they never arrived to the Holy Land.
And the list of examples goes on…
In Praise of Folly
So what is the point of all this? I think it is useful for us to have a memory of our past folly. And I think we are in the greatest danger of committing folly when we forget the foolish whims and beliefs of the past that were not just based on religious misconceptions but also on misconceptions of what passed for ‘science’. I think it is very dangerous when a population cannot even remember its recent ecstasies in folly in end of world prophecies such as the Y2K scare only 20 years ago, with a massive following of believers who were prepared for end times. This was a subject that was constantly being talked about on mainstream media and even by the governments of countries, President Clinton being no exception.
I think it is also very dangerous when there are absolute statements made such as “all the science is in” on a subject. Climate science is a relatively new science, and an extremely complicated one with many unknown variables. It is interesting that a group of scientists in this field have claimed that they know everything there needs to be known on this subject, when I don’t think we can say that for any other subject in the sciences to this date. Either climate science is far more simple than we thought or we are skipping steps.
What is also concerning is that although this grouping of climate scientists speak with such certainty about what the climate will be 10 years from now and what is influencing it, they are still unable to accurately predict the weather 2 weeks from now (let alone when a cold or hot front will be entering a region months or years from now). Meteorologists admit that their forecasts are at best an “educated guess” from measurements they take in change of atmospheric pressures. This does not even take into account the role of the Sun, which is an obvious contributor to global climate cycles, nor other factors within our galaxy such as supernova emissions of radiation and cosmic rays. Yet despite this lack of understanding we can be certain that climate scientists can with confidence predict the climate trend of the WORLD 10 or even 50 years from now!
We are told that the climate is completely chaotic now and unpredictable but moving towards a measurable point in the future. This confident prediction is being calculated by super computers. Computers that are ultimately limited to their programs’ parameters and variables. It is claimed that these computers can ‘learn’, can ‘problem solve’, but it still is operating within a human-made program and is thus limited to the assumptions of that program. A computer cannot decide to start taking into account the Sun’s role in climate change for instance. It does not even have a concept of what the Sun is. There seems to be an almost mystical faith being put into these super computers, likened to a shaman who shakes a bag of bones and dumps its contents out to form some random pattern that somehow will reveal our fate.
How can a computer have all the answers when we don’t even know all the variables let alone how they interact in order for it to calculate the outcome years from now? Well the answer is we obviously can’t. It is not an accurate prediction. Just like the Y2K scare.
I would further add that when a movement forms vehemently asserting that the end of the world is nigh, that is a reflection of the breakdown of that society. It is a reflection that the people of such a society no longer have faith in that society’s fitness for survival. I think it is no coincidence that the leading nations supporting the prophecy of Greta are largely first world western countries, countries that at one time enjoyed the highest standards of living but now are experiencing decay and economic collapse.
There are already answers to the clean energy crisis. Namely nuclear power, with fission power (and soon fusion) not only being the cleanest forms of energy but by far the most efficient and most powerful source of energy human civilization has ever had access to, making actions once impossible turn into the possible, such as long-distance space travel. The technology of the plasma torch has the capability to break down matter into its ionic components, this means that landfills could be cost-effectively broken down into their elemental forms which would thus turn them into resource mines. It is a wonder that those who seem to care so much about solving these problems never seem to bring up these very evident solutions.
So how did European civilization ultimately survive the mayhem of the Black Death? Fortunately there were those who did not believe that this was the end of the world and sought to not only rebuild but improve upon the conditions of the past. They did not believe that people needed to resort to some form of supplication to avoid the end of the world (somewhat reminiscent of today’s concept of all humans being innately polluters who must repent and minimise the negative effects of their mere existence). Rather those that brought Europe out of the Dark Ages believed that the avoidance of the end of the world could only come about through human intervention, which had the highest capacity for the good and depended on scientific discoveries that could only be brought about through the creative imaginings of an optimistic human mind.
Puerto Rico. Hong Kong. Ecuador. Haiti. Lebanon. Iraq. And now, Chile. People are rising up around the world against austerity and corruption, defying police forces unleashed to suppress them. Many of these mass movements share a fierce critique of capitalism. In Santiago, Chile, more than 1 million people flooded the streets last weekend, and mass protests continue. There, the brutal Pinochet dictatorship from 1973-1990, during which thousands of progressive activists and leaders were tortured, disappeared and murdered, was followed by decades of neoliberal policies, with rampant privatization, union-busting, stagnant wages and increased costs for education, health care, transportation and other services. Chile, among the richest countries in South America, is also one of the most unequal. At least 20 people have been killed during recent protests there, further angering and emboldening the crowds.
These global protests also occur at a critical inflection point in history, with as few as 10 years remaining for humanity to transition from a fossil fuel economy to one powered by renewable energy. On Wednesday, Chile’s embattled, billionaire president, Sebastian Pinera, abruptly announced that his country was canceling plans to host two major international summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in mid-November, and the United Nations climate summit, the 25th “Conference of the Parties,” or COP25, in the first two weeks of December.
Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s COP25 president-designate, said, “The citizens have expressed in a strong way their legitimate social demands that require the full attention and all efforts from the government.”
Chile’s cancellation of the COP could be a setback for global action on climate. But climate activists should take heart: This renewed spirit of rebellion around the world signifies a rejection of the status quo, and could portend accelerated, grassroots mobilization to avert irreversible, catastrophic climate change.
“Social injustice and the climate crisis have a common root cause,” the Climate Action Network said in a release not long after Chile’s COP cancellation. “Climate justice and solidarity is fundamentally about the protection of human rights and a better quality of life for all.”
The climate crisis touches everyone, first and most forcefully the world’s poor. The mass uprising in Puerto Rico that forced the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello was the culmination of decades of frustration with Puerto Rico’s colonial status and the more current exploitation by Wall Street vulture funds. But the discontent was fueled by the utter devastation of the back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria two years ago. “The austerity policies that have been implemented have put the people of Puerto Rico in a position of vulnerability. Social inequality has increased to levels that we have never seen here,” Manuel Natal, a member of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour days before Rossello’s resignation. “We need more democracy, not less democracy. We are on the brink of a political revolution here.” Rossello’s ouster was the first time in U.S. history that a governor was forced from office by popular protest.
Indigenous people are also leading the way, often at the front lines, confronting resource extraction with disciplined, nonviolent resistance. Hundreds of indigenous and campesino social leaders in Colombia have been murdered in recent years, simply for standing up for justice and environmental protections.
The Paris climate agreement specifically notes the importance of climate justice, and pledges to work “in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.” One of the enduring conflicts that has hampered international climate negotiations has been the refusal by wealthy nations, principally the United States, to accept the simple premise that “polluters pay.” The United States is the wealthiest nation in human history because, in part, it has polluted its way to the top, using cheap, dirty power: coal-fired power plants, diesel locomotives and now, so-called clean-burning fracked gas.
The Green Climate Fund was supposed to raise billions of dollars to finance renewable projects in poorer countries. The fund’s pledging conference last week fell short of its goal, primarily because the Trump administration reneged on the U.S.’s $2 billion commitment. Australia and Russia followed suit, refusing to make contributions.
A new study by Climate Central, a news and science organization, shows that climate-induced coastal flooding will likely be far worse than previously predicted, forcing between 200-600 million people, rich and poor, to flee their homes later in the century. Climate change-fueled wildfires are now raging across California, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from their homes and at least 1 million people without power.
Popular uprisings are also spreading like wildfire, though, against corrupt autocratic leaders, austerity and inequality. People are also flooding the streets, globally, linking the movements against inequality with the fight for a just, sustainable world powered by renewable energy.
The world’s rich and famous have flocked to a posh Italian resort to talk about saving Mother Earth — but they sure are punishing her in the process.
The billionaire creators of Google have invited a who’s who of A-list names — including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — to the Sicilian seaside for a mega-party they’ve dubbed Google Camp.
The three-day event will focus on fighting climate change — though it’s unknown how much time the attendees will spend discussing their own effect on the environment, such as the scores of private jets they arrived in and the mega yachts many have been staying on.
“Everything is about global warming, that is the major topic this year,” a source told The Post.
Their three-day summer camp will cost the tech giant some $20 million, sources said.
Many of the guests, including Obama and DiCaprio — who has his own climate change foundation — have described global warming as the biggest threat to future generations.
The Post crunched the numbers and found that 114 flights from Los Angeles to Palermo, Italy, where Camp guests landed, would spew an estimated 100,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air.
“Google Camp is meant to be a place where influential people get together to discuss how to make the world better,” one regular attendee told The Post.
“There will likely be discussions about online privacy, politics, human rights, and of course, the environment, which makes it highly ironic that this event requires 114 private jets to happen,” they said.
Attendees pay for their own travel to Sicily, but then Google foots the bill for everything at the opulent Verdura Resort, which reportedly features two golf courses and where rooms start at $903 a night.
Sources tell The Post that guests were personally invited by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Stars there also include Harry Styles, Orlando Bloom, Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, who arrived on their enormous $200 million yacht Eos, which has both sails and two 2,300-horsepower diesel engines.
Billionaire Dreamworks founder David Geffen, meanwhile, gave Perry and Bloom a ride on his $400 million yacht, Rising Sun.
Also on hand for the environmental gabfest was the megayacht Andromeda, a 351-foot behemoth owned by a New Zealand billionaire and which features its own helipad.
Many of the attendees were seen in photos tooling around the island in high-speed sports vehicles, including Perry, who has made videos for UNICEF about climate change and was seen in a Maserati SUV that gets about 15 mpg city.
Stella McCartney, Bradley Cooper, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra plus Gayle King will also be on hand. Even Mark Zuckerberg of Google’s rival, Facebook, was invited, according to local reports.
Guests dine among ancient temples and are treated to performances by the likes of Sting, Elton John and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, before retiring to their suites at the Verdura Resort.
The tech company goes to extreme measures to keep its camp a secret — all hotel staff and security have to sign non-disclosure agreements, a source told the Daily Mail in 2018.
With 16-year old Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg set to address the French parliament, a group of MPs have vowed to boycott the doomsday speech by the person they called an “apocalyptic guru” and “prophetess in shorts.”
Invited to the session by an environmental caucus called Accellerons – formed to fight what its members call “the climate emergency” – Thunberg will speak before French lawmakers on Tuesday.
However, some MPs from the conservative Republicans and National Rally parties are unimpressed.
“We don’t need apocalyptic gurus to fight climate change intelligently, we need scientific progress and political courage,” Republican Guillaume Larrivé tweeted, calling on his colleagues to give the session a miss.
Thunberg has been referred to in similar terms before. Rising to fame for organizing school strikes against climate change last year, Thunberg has since switched her rhetoric from demanding action to welcoming the apocalypse with religious fervor.
“We probably don’t even have a future anymore,” she told British lawmakers in April, in a likely preview of her upcoming address in France.
“I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day,” she told the power-brokers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, several months earlier.
Against the dying of the earth, Thunberg offers only one solution: the immediate lowering of carbon emissions to net zero, a move that would see modern civilization – including car and plane travel, electricity, and affordable food for the masses – essentially wiped out.
While European politicians have yet to put any of her radical proposals into policy, they have still applauded her speeches and lined up for photo opportunities with her.
“If I say that I do not want to prostrate myself before Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old child invited to the Assembly in front of the national representation, am I (still?) Politically correct?” asked National Rally MP Sébastien Chenu.
Criticism came from the political center too. Echoing criticism of Thunberg’s messianic worldview, Lawmaker Benedicte Peyrol of President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! Party asked why France couldn’t “honor its own scientists who’ve been active for years in trying to save the planet,” albeit with less theatrical flair.
A supermarket in Canada has gone to hilarious and innovative lengths to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags to its store.
(TMU) — In many grocery stores, customers who forget to bring reusable bags have to pay between .5 and .25 cents per single-use bag. This doesn’t really deter the average customer from relying on plastic, however, which is why a supermarket in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, has gone to hilarious and innovative lengths to encourage shoppers to care more about the environment.
If customers forget to bring reusable bags to East West Market, their only option will be to carry their goods out in single-use plastic bags with embarrassing slogans printed on the sides. The designs vary but include “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” and “The Colon Care Co-op.”
As Unilad reports, the tactic is simply meant to “nudge” shoppers in a more sustainable direction.
East West Market’s goal is simple: encourage more customers to care more about plastic dependance and reduce their carbon footprint. David Lee Kwen, the owner of the independent grocery store, explained the reasoning behind the blush-worthy bags:
“The message is, we should make a conscious effort to save our planet one step at a time. [Plastic bags] are a big problem, and every step helps.”
East West Market doesn’t just embarrass shoppers with silly slogans, it also charges 5 cents per bag. This means customers have to pay for the privilege of walking around with a bag which reads, ‘Wart Ointment Wholesale’.
But in some ways, the plan has worked too well. Some shoppers have purchased the bags as a fun novelty item to share with friends. At least it’s getting the word out!
Though Vancouver has not yet passed a ban on single-use plastic like Canadian city Victoria, it is making sustainable strides. The city’s Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, for instance, requires business to invent ways to clamp down on plastic use.
The most important political project of the modern era is an appropriately conceived and implemented eco-socialist Green New Deal. If done right, such a program would facilitate a transition away from the environmental and social pathologies of industrial capitalism to a world where people exist in symbiosis with the bounty of nature. If done wrong, it would be the last gasp of a relationship with the world that has brought a collective ‘us’ to environmental ruin.
The social problem is one of transformation, of taking apart the ways of doing things that aren’t working— and they are myriad, to create new relationships that work in concert with ‘the world,’ most particularly for its inhabitants. Given the trajectory of environmental decline, Western political economy will either be used to ring-fence rich from poor to leave the poor to their own devices, problems will be deemed unsolvable and decline will take its course, or capitalism will be overthrown and replaced with something workable.
The logical and humane path forward is to undertake a profound transformation of global political economy beginning with reconsidering the human condition— what meaningful existence entails, with a grounding in social justice. Given that background political and economic relations aren’t conducive to collective action, the path forward— should such be possible, will come through creating the conditions in both spheres for democratic participation.
Graph: The sources of environmental decline are easy to identify through CO2 concentrations. First came industrialization. Then following WWII came the distribution of the American capitalist model around the world. Competition to control industrial inputs, e.g. oil and gas, led to most of the military conflicts of the modern era. The solution to current environmental woes is to stop creating them. Doing so would mean the end of capitalism. Source: ourworldindata.org.
Urgency comes through the relationship of existing ways of doing things to the rising costs of correcting environmental imbalances. The greater these become, the more cumbersome, and therefore the less politically likely, solutions will be. It is long-term environmental relationships that have been altered, meaning there are no quick fixes. The only guarantee is that whatever the costs in the present, they will be exponentially greater in the future.
Analysis and arithmetic argue against capitalist solutions to capitalist problems. Green production is neither green, nor can it replace existing dirty technologies fast enough to sufficiently reduce environmental harms. The issue gets to the heart of the capitalist conundrum. In a narrow sense, making products that are more environmentally efficient will lower their carbon footprint. In a broader sense, making clean products is intrinsically dirty.
The popular imagining of ‘the problem’ emerges from the logic of capitalism where intended outcomes are considered unrelated to unintended outcomes even though they 1) both emerge from the same production process and 2) are indissociable in the sense that one can’t be produced without the other. In like fashion, green technologies solve specific problems while creating others. When the total costs of green technologies are considered, what becomes apparent is that the broader logic is flawed.
The arithmetic problem is laid out by the IPCC, sort of. The realm of the IPCC report is climate change, meaning that species loss (mass extinction) is considered in a separate silo. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade requires radically reducing carbon emissions as well as actively de-carbonizing the atmosphere. The popular conception of a Green New Deal is to 1) increase carbon emissions to build low emission technologies while 2) gradually phasing out existing technologies.
A typical way of calculating the impact of green production is to reduce estimated emissions from existing technologies as more efficient green technologies replace them. But the old and new technologies both exist in broadly integrated webs of economic production. By analogy, an electric car may (or may not) produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline powered car, but this tells us little about the environmental impact of manufacturing cars more generally.
What of the infrastructure— factories, roads, transmission lines, industrial inputs, etc. that must be built and maintained to produce them? And what of the inputs that must be mined, transported, processed, transported (again), processed (again) and transported (again) to production facilities? This research paper by economist Jan Kregel provides a description of the distribution of capitalist production. The environmental impact of ‘green’ products is the totality of what went into their production, not end-use calculations.
Regarding the manufacture of solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles, not only should the environmental costs be calculated as carbon emissions, but also in terms of the arable land, breathable air and drinkable water consumed. And what of the natural systems destroyed? These have bearing when habitat loss is considered. Habitat loss is also both a product of industrial agriculture and it impacts the future viability of all agriculture. These in turn are aspects of natural systems, interrelated webs of life that people disrupt at our own peril. This is a central finding of research into mass extinction.
A Green New Deal conceived as tampering around the edges of industrial capitalism— employing the un- and under-employed to manufacture solar panels and batteries for electric vehicles, would add to carbon emissions and other environmental harms at a point in history when the collective ‘we’ can’t afford it. However, when considered more broadly as a social and environmental program operating under a strict carbon budget, it is the best chance for making the transition to a sustainable and just future.
The carbon budget should both be taken to heart and broadened to include a concept of sustainability beyond just the climate. Within the carbon budget laid out by the IPCC, there is no way to implement the conception of a GND (Green New Deal) as existing political economy with green manufacturing added to it. In fact, there is no conception of a GND other than as funding a radical transition away from almost everything that defines current economic production. And the alternative isn’t business as usual— environmental decline will force the issues.
Given the central role of agriculture in both climate change and species loss, land reform is needed to decentralize, rescale and localize agricultural production. This has historically been among the most contentious issues between capitalist and socialist visions of political economy. Powerful corporations currently own or control vast swaths of agricultural land. A GND could compensate large tract owners for their land and the proceeds be taxed to assure that democratic political control is maintained.
Second, agribusiness should be removed from anything related to agriculture in favor of regenerative farming methods. Animal agriculture should be nationalized, with humane conditions mandated and the price of animal products made to reflect their true production costs, including environmental costs. Local and regional agricultural cooperatives should be created as autonomous and democratic collectives, with legal mandates to grow and distribute nutritious food to everyone in the region while minimizing the environmental footprint.
Local and regional agricultural collectives could serve as models for green production of non-agricultural goods. Using comprehensive environmental accounting methods that have been around since the 1970s, all environmental costs related to producing and distributing goods should be mandated to 1) minimize environmental production costs while 2) prioritizing the production of necessities (housing, clothing). Inclusive employment would be used to produce and distribute necessities according to need.
Prototypes for this system already exist across the U.S. Amish communities use organic and regenerative farming methods, minimally participate in consumer culture, avoid energy intensive technologies, support specialized production within their communities and grow what makes sense for their respective regions and growing seasons. They also partake of modern medicine and dentistry, participate in the cash economy and trade goods and services locally and regionally.
There is no agrarian romance at work here. In the poor rural areas where I meet the Amish, they are conspicuously healthier than the non-Amish, have established community support systems and seemingly functioning lives, relationships and economies. This, despite having little to none of the consumer accoutrement considered essential in the wider culture. Life is hard everywhere, but the essential nature claimed for capitalist culture— of consumption, acquisition and individual self-realization, seems improbable given this focus on community. Left largely unconsidered regarding ending capitalism is that there really might be better ways of doing things.
Despite the deep instantiation of agrarianism in the American imagination, most Americans don’t / won’t see reversion to primitive agrarian collectives as viable. And such a vision is utopian without taking apart the large, complex and deeply integrated relations of Western political economy. And even if these were addressed, the rest of the world shows little indication of abandoning capitalism.
If the world could be sectioned off and environmental decline with it, these would be good counter arguments. However, that China has been reinvented with a heaping helping of green technology has done little to slow global environmental decline. Russia is a petrostate with a long history of human-inflicted agricultural calamities. Like the rest of us, the Russians will need a functioning climate and the species-abundance that makes agriculture possible.
The proposals deemed realistic— green tinkering around the edges, won’t solve the environmental problems the world faces. And the reason that potential solutions are so complicated is that social complexity has been built into modern political economy. Addressing the parts means addressing the whole— witness the systemic carbon footprint that green production is indissociable from. The problem isn’t aspects of capitalist modernity, it is the whole of it.
The attractiveness of pre-modern political economy is that there is several thousand years of accumulated knowledge to support it. Homes built before the existence of mechanical systems were situated to capture sun and shade and could be opened to allow air flow in summer and closed to restrict it in winter. They were built using materials and methods that allowed single rooms or areas of houses to be heated with degrading the broader integrity of the buildings.
Traditional agricultural methods likewise descended as accumulated knowledge to ‘passively’ control insect damage, use the entire growing season to maximize fresh food production and produce crops that last through the winter. Monoculture production is an industrial package that includes genetically modified seeds and chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Agribusiness and regenerative agriculture are fundamentally incompatible.
Industrial agriculture has historically replaced traditional farming methods by externalizing costs. In economic terms, industrial food costs less to grow than through traditional farming. However, regenerative agriculture has low environmental costs while industrial agriculture has high environmental costs. Through this mismatch between economic and environmental costs, what is efficient by capitalist logic is suicidal by environmental logic. The environmental reckoning that is upon us tells the true story.
The idea of commensurability is crucial here. A forest felled to build a shopping center represents the loss of a functioning ecosystem. A price or tax charged for doing so, e.g. a carbon tax, doesn’t replace the forest in environmental terms. Money is to a forest as a horse is to a rocking chair. Outside of capitalist theology, the concept is nonsensical. And neither God nor the forest set the price or received the payment. Even in capitalist terms the market price is contextual— it depends on factors like scarcity to which the forest bears no relation.
As it regards land redistribution, the Amish way of spreading their communities isn’t scalable because of land costs. They go where arable land is cheap. Any large-scale redistribution of land as part of a Green New Deal could only work if land costs are near zero. Borrowing money to buy agricultural land immediately imparts the logic and relations of capitalism. The lender would own the land until the debt is repaid, giving it say over how the land is used. The same would be true for agrarian collectives globally.
In the most basic sense, capitalism must be gotten out of the way for a GND to produce environmentally sustainable political economy. Gresham’s Law implies that solar panel producers can undercut their competition by externalizing their costs (polluting). This leaves the firms that can most effectively pollute as the survivors of market competition. Regenerative agriculture can’t compete with industrial agriculture because the competition is rigged.
The proposition laid out here isn’t that the whole of Western political economy be shifted to primitive agrarian production. It is to suggest that there exists accumulated knowledge about how to get by in the world that preceded capitalist modernity. The ‘end of history,’ the broad and deep replacement of the knowledge, methods, relationships and logic that preceded modern capitalism, leaves few places to turn as it is proved unworkable.
The first battle to be fought toward environmental and social justice is political. The politicians who used a Green New Deal as a talking point, as well as the few who actually thought about it, can’t win the political battle without a broad political movement backing them. However, such a movement would be foolish to muster the political strength and then hand it over to stewards of the existing order.
The 2020 presidential election seems the time and place to raise the political stakes. Given the improbability of resolving environmental problems within capitalism, and that Bernie Sanders is the only national political figure to take a stand, however qualified, against capitalism, his candidacy can serve as a rallying point. Unless radical action is taken quickly, events will unfold that pose a risk to large numbers of people. Once Mr. Sanders has been pushed out of the way by establishment Democrats, and he will be, events can take on a life of their own. Crisis by default or with a purpose, the choice is yours.
In spite of the “writ” not having been “dropped” Canada is already in full election mode. Of course, politicians are always electioneering as their main purpose once in power is to stay in power in order to reap its rewards and benefits. Otherwise, instead of politicians running the country we could simply let the bureaucrats do their uncelebrated mundane work of the daily running of the country. Unfortunately, it is not that simple as the rules and policies the bureaucracy follows are put out by various political parties – massaged and manipulated over time – and not put out on the basis of “universal values” or “constitutional values” whatever they may be. In the meantime, electioneering has started with the many policies, plans, promises, platitudes, and homilies being announced for consumption by the incumbents and wannabes.
Within domestic affairs and identity politics are many topics used to shape and steer discussions in attempts to sway the popular will. What is seldom discussed – and very little understood, are the actions and belief systems that really underlie our society. In a broad perspective Canada’s position as a neoliberal, austerity imposing, capitalist member of the western elite, the western U.S. sponsored empire, is seldom if ever questioned.
It is seldom discussed because the true powers that be – the elite powers of those within the Washington consensus group of institutions – the bankers, financial officers, and corporate managers of the large private and public businesses and institutions – do not want it discussed. They do not want ‘democracy’ to be more than a superficial status. Their control of monetary policy, their centralized control of the media steers the world the way they want it to operate and be perceived, making our democratic institutions essentially a rubber stamp for their economic dominance.
Our institutions operate within the parameters acceptable to the corporate greed towards ever-increasing profits at the expense of the global environment, and at the expense of the global citizenry. While science has long warned about climate change and environmental pollution of all kinds – a very real occurrence – even those who pay attention to it are so entwined within societies’ structures that very little is done about these scientific concerns. Along with that, part of the same underlying paradigm are increasingly vast disparities in income and wealth levels both domestically and in other countries. A small group of super elites control vast amounts of wealth and thus power, generally working together to secure their realm.
If this broad if somewhat short generalized view is used as the lens through which to view Canada’s political parties, there are rather few underlying differences between the parties as seldom if ever are the underlying factors questioned..
Essentially it all comes down to maintaining the status quo of western financial dominance of the world, its resources, and people. The Liberals and Conservatives both actively support the military industrial complex that is the not so hidden fist keeping – or trying to – control of the world’s governments. Perhaps they present it differently, the Conservatives wanting to put the military out to “punch above its weight” while the Liberals soften the blow with “rule of law” and “peacekeeping forces,” both serving the empire well. Few question it – from Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria to Ukraine, Canada willingly supports the empire. Venezuela reveals the ultimate ugliness of it all as Canada has for decades – with notables such as Ben Rowswell and Allan Culham (former ambassadors), and Chrystia Freeland (current Foreign Minister) – openly advocating the overthrow of a duly elected government. How democratic!
Israel serves as another example of an empire under non-democratic control. A government that denies twenty percent of its population the same civic status as the ethnic religious majority, that guards 1.8 million people in an open air prison on survival rations only, and that has created a series of militarily ruled or controlled bantustans is not democratic. Yet there is no Canadian political party that decries this situation, all fearful of the domestic religious vote (Christian and Jewish) and the repercussions of not supporting the empire’s outpost in the Middle East. For the latter, it is truly not so much fear of what might happen but an overwhelming blind willingness to support the dominant power of the west.
All major parties – Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, and Greens – support the fully outdated position of wanting a two-state position, while Israel continues to ignore all those dead positions and continues building illegal settlements on occupied territory while the rest of the world turns away. Israel is not the only place where Canadians uphold the status of the West’s military control of wealth and resources.
Throughout Africa, through much of the Middle East, Canada’s military-business connections help maintain the extraction of wealth through current supra-national corporate models of governance. So-called “free trade” agreements, onerous World Bank predatory lending, and IMF “structural adjustment programs” (debt and more debt) maintains control of many governments and many supposedly sovereign economies. In essence, globalization is about controlling the world’s wealth while guarding the people – the workers, labourers – behind sovereign borders. Canada is in full partnership with all this.
Obviously, all is not well with globalization as millions of people attempt to escape the worst of its violent dangers and impositions. The large displacement of people in the Middle East and Africa is placing pressure on Europe as refugees continue to arrive en masse when escaping domestic mayhem. The same holds true in the Americas as thousands of Hispanic/indigenous people attempt to travel to the U.S. in order to escape the violence and corruption and despotism at home. Most of that violence is caused by the economic impositions of globalization combined with the history of U.S. interventions to control governments that objected to U.S.corporate dominance.
Blowback from globalization also has an impact on the Canadian domestic scene. Hyped up fears of terrorism have increased the powers of the security state (with much learned from Israel’s control of its Palestinian population) and increased the unjustified glorification of the Canadian military both through the media and with a larger budget. Canada is a member of the “five eyes”, the family members inheriting the British empire and who now share information and security methodologies. Another form of blowback are the heightened fear of terrorism ad “other” – mainly focussed on refugees with a Muslim background but extending out to the created fears generated by identity politics. These fears and prejudices are used in different ways to control the domestic electorate, a diversion from the reality of the overall non-democratic governance of the military-financial- corporate powers.
Two other perspectives can view this same phenomenon – income disparity/poverty and global environmental change.
Most everyone pays lip service to poverty. Many offer solutions on a small scale through NGOs acting on small targeted goals in specific areas – actions that certainly aid a small number of people but in no way address the source of poverty. Musicians sing about it, politicians talk about it, the media keeps us focused on these feel-good/do-good attempts without addressing the underlying causes (and note, poverty does not equate to terrorism). Until the base structures of western globalization are deconstructed or contained (or collapse) poverty will continue its destructive pathways – malnutrition, starvation, poor health, serfdom, wage slave labour, exploitation et al. Poverty, other than small domestic pockets, many of indigenous people, does not register on Canada’s domestic political scene. However, climate change and global warming do have an impact.
At this point, it is mainly different parties and different jurisdictions arguing about how to control carbon output using some form of establishment acceptable monetary initiatives (cap and trade, carbon tax). Extrapolating from current trends all that money manoeuvering will have little impact due to the nature of our profit-oriented consumer culture. As one small but important factor consider Canada’s export of garbage, plastic waste, and e-waste to poorer less developed countries in Southeast Asia. Those outlets now are closed and very little of our waste/garbage is actually recycled or reused. Most is incinerated at 1400 degrees Celsius with the subsequent volatile gases dispersing through the atmosphere.
Canadian consumer culture continues its money habits of purchasing stuff, and “planned obsolescence stuff” continuing the degradation of the environment both from chemical pollution and carbon-induced warming. Global warming, while obviously important and becoming more and more a political and media talking point hides the dangers of thousands of chemical products behind a smokescreen (quite literally).
Canadians who think they are “green” and want to eliminate poverty, need to consider the following. Are you really willing to accept the huge changes necessary in order to achieve a clean sustainable world – i.e., far less consumption, less travel, less stuff, no more debt purchases? The latter is very difficult because while the wealth of the top elites has risen dramatically, wages have stagnated over the past several decades. Simply using the “3 Rs” will not do it unless the reduce aspect is taken to its necessary full extension.
Consider also Canada’s military. Can you recognize our actions in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and maybe soon Venezuela and Iran as being part of U.S. corporate elites striving for full control? Do you support Canada’s role within the globalization paradigm of controlling other countries economies through predatory financial practices, up to and including the use of mercenaries to protect corporations against indigenous protests?
Do you support the U.S. military actions – overt and covert – used to maintain the economic dominance of the super elites and their global corporations? Do you support the many western interventions in the Middle East considering the terrorists we are supposedly fighting have been used, supplied, and trained in part by the western military and political establishments? More broadly, ask what role the 800+ military bases, the dozen or so carrier groups, play in attempting to subordinate the rest of the world to our non-sustainable demands. The U.S. military is the largest institutional user of oil in the world. In 2007 it ranked as the 35th largest sovereign user, and ranks 3rd globally on a per capita basis. Canada is a large part of the U.S. empire and plays a large role in creating poverty, terror, and environmental disasters around the world through our support of their military adventurism.
In other words, if you support the military as it is currently used, you achieve nothing against poverty and your green colour is a veneer over the actual economic lifestyle choices you make.
The veneer is readily maintained by mainstream media, the vast majority of which is owned and financially controlled by the military-financial-corporate elites. It combines a willful ignorance of our predations with massive amounts of diversions. One of the main diversions includes all the propaganda associated with the various wars of control and the manipulation of the terrorist “threat”. The diversions extend well beyond through all aspects of consumerism – the entertainment of movies, film, television, the internet in all its aspects through to major sports activities, and on to leisure and holiday consumption. As corporate profits rise and wages stagnate, consumers rely heavily on debt to achieve the advertised/propagandized ideals of the good life. All the debt, trillions of dollars, simply feeds more money and power to the controllers of a corporate financialized economy.
Back to Canadian political parties
In Canada, these issues present a serious problem as to which party or candidate to support. The Liberals and Conservatives are essentially opposite sides of the same coin, both supporters of the global status quo as envisioned by the corporate powers. The supposedly “left” New Democrats similarly follow this status quo, are not very green, and tend to move to the right once the political dollars become a more central interest. That leaves the actual Greens, although they are not as green as they would like to be perceived – support for U.S. actions, support for Israeli actions, with no real action plan regarding environmental changes addressing our military supported consumer society lowers their credentials as a truly ‘green‘ party.
The Liberals quashed their election reform agenda after realizing it could negatively affect their majority control in parliament. In opposing moves they announce a climate “emergency” then a day later approve a 12-14 billion dollar pipeline project to move tar sands – diluted bitumen or dilbit, but not oil – to an ecologically sensitive coastline. Given Canada’s current economic-political fight with China, it is a bit ridiculous to think China will buy more of our dirty oil. Economic health as determined by a high energy consumer economy does not go together with a good environment.
The Conservatives acquiesced on the lack of electoral reform for the same reason. They are pro big oil, frequent climate change deniers although a recent policy statement recognized that, yes, after all these years of working against the idea, global warming is happening. They offer no real solutions other than a variant on the inefficient cap and trade idea, but with no stated costs or implementation factors.
The two smaller parties offer little. The NDP has failed to truly distinguish themselves from the two larger parties, creating policy positions frequently accepted and adopted (if not implemented) by the Liberals and for which the Conservatives cry “socialism” over. The Greens have some initiatives in the right direction but with their support of the military and of government attempts to change foreign governments, they have yet to create a policy that will change the momentum/inertia of a debt-ridden, consumer-based, media biased, military/corporate society.
Other than perhaps voting for the lesser evil of the group, a spoiled ballot or no vote at all are the better options.
Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
The original source of this article is Global Research
In this Feb. 15, 2018 file photo, Judith Enck, centre, former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency addresses those gathered at a protest against President Trump’s plan to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas. A U.S. judge in Alaska says Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed a ban on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean. (David Klepper/The Associated Press)
President Donald Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, a U.S. judge said in a ruling that restored the Obama-era restrictions.
Judge Sharon Gleason in a decision late Friday threw out Trump’s executive order that overturned the bans that comprised a key part of Obama’s environmental legacy.
Presidents have the power under a federal law to remove certain lands from development but cannot revoke those removals, Gleason said.
“The wording of President Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawals indicates that he intended them to extend indefinitely, and therefore be revocable only by an act of Congress,” said Gleason, who was nominated to the bench by Obama.
A message left Saturday for the Department of Justice was not immediately returned.
The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disagreed with the ruling.
We are witnessing a worldwide environmental collapse, and nobody seems to know how to stop it. As you will see below, a study that was just released that looked at more than 5,000 species of birds, mammals and amphibians discovered that nearly a quarter of them “will almost certainly face extinction”. Never before has our society faced such a massive collapse of life on a planetary scale, and yet the vast majority of the population doesn’t seem concerned about what is happening. Species after species is being permanently wiped out, and most of us couldn’t care less.
The time for action is now. According to this new study, over 1,200 species will soon be extinct unless dramatic action is taken. The following comes from the Guardian…
More than 1,200 species globally face threats to their survival in more than 90% of their habitat and “will almost certainly face extinction” without conservation intervention, according to new research.
Scientists working with Australia’s University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society have mapped threats faced by 5,457 species of birds, mammals and amphibians to determine which parts of a species’ habitat range are most affected by known drivers of biodiversity loss.
Once these species are gone, they will be gone forever.
Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet. A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year. If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119. And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.
In case you are wondering, humanity would not survive very long without insects.
In fact, it has been estimated that if all bees go extinct that most of humanity will be wiped out within ten years.
The global food chain is literally dying right in front of our eyes, and I cannot understand why more people are not deeply alarmed by this.
We are facing an unprecedented crisis in our oceans as well. Researchers in Canada have discovered that levels of phytoplankton have dropped by about 40 percent since 1950…
The tiny organisms, known as phytoplankton, also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world’s oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land.
But their numbers have dwindled since the dawn of the 20th century, with unknown consequences for ocean ecosystems and the planet’s carbon cycle.
Researchers at Canada’s Dalhousie University say the global population of phytoplankton has fallen about 40 percent since 1950.
Without phytoplankton, our oceans would quickly become giant “dead zones”, and at the pace we are going we don’t have too long before that will happen.
And the truth is that the frightening drop in phytoplankton levels is already having a dramatic impact on the food chain. I have shared the following quote from Chris Martenson before, but it is worth sharing again…
Fewer phytoplankton means less thiamine being produced. That means less thiamine is available to pass up the food chain. Next thing you know, there’s a 70% decline in seabird populations.
This is something I’ve noticed directly and commented on during my annual pilgrimages to the northern Maine coast over the past 30 years, where seagulls used to be extremely common and are now practically gone. Seagulls!
Next thing you know, some other major food chain will be wiped out and we’ll get oceans full of jellyfish instead of actual fish.
Are you starting to understand where I am coming from?
Our planet is literally dying, and there is only a very, very limited amount of time to do anything about it.
Meanwhile, western civilization is dying as well. Paul Joseph Watson has just produced a video entitled “The Collapse Of Western Civilization”, and it is perhaps the finest video that he has created to date. If you have not seen it yet, I would encourage you to check it out.
In an accompanying article, Watson listed some of the evidence that our society is in the process of collapsing…
From spiritual bankruptcy, to mass chemical dependence, to rampant addiction to sensual stimulation.
Almost every factor that precedes the collapse of great civilizations has been met by the west.
Our destruction is long overdue.
Depression is at its highest level ever. Drug addiction is at its highest level ever.
People identifying as Christians is at its lowest level ever.
As usual, Watson is right on the money. We have lost our values, we have no clear direction as a society, and we are deeply, deeply miserable. Just consider the following numbers from the CDC…
The number of deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by two public health nonprofits.
The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase, the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust reported Tuesday.
Most people do not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Without meaning and purpose, most people drift aimlessly through life, and that must change.
Time is running out for our exceedingly vacuous society. We are literally destroying ourselves and everything around us, and here in the western world we have completely lost our values. We are on a road to nowhere, and we will soon be overtaken by the consequences of our very foolish actions.
“In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left, and in 100 years you will have none,” Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, a coauthor of the study, told The Guardian.
That’s a major problem, because insects like bees, butterflies, and other pollinators perform a crucial role in fruit, vegetable, and nut production.
Plus, bugs are food sources for many bird, fish, and mammal species – some of which humans rely on for food.
2. Earth appears to be undergoing a process of “biological annihilation.” As much as half of the total number of animal individuals that once shared the Earth with humans are already gone.
A 2017 study looked at all animal populations across the planet (not just insects) by examining 27,600 vertebrate species – about half of the overall total that we know exist. They found that more than 30 percent of them are in decline.
Some species are facing total collapse, while certain local populations of others are going extinct in specific areas. That’s still cause for alarm, since the study authors said these localised population extinctions are a “prelude to species extinctions”.
So even declines in animal populations that aren’t yet categorized as endangered is a worrisome sign.
3. More than 26,500 of the world’s species are threatened with extinction, and that number is expected to keep going up.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, more than 27 percent of all assessed species on the planet are threatened with extinction.
Currently, 40 percent of the planet’s amphibians, 25 percent of its mammals, and 33 percent of its coral reefs are threatened.
The IUCN predicts that 99.9 percent of critically endangered species and 67 percent of endangered species will be lost within the next 100 years.
4. A 2015 study that examined bird, reptile, amphibian, and mammal species concluded that the average rate of extinction over the last century is up to 100 times as high as normal.
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the book The Sixth Extinction, told National Geographic that the outlook from that study is dire; it means 75 percent of animal species could be extinct within a few human lifetimes.
5. In roughly 50 years, 1,700 species of amphibians, birds, and mammals will face a higher risk of extinction because their natural habitats are shrinking.
By 2070, 1,700 species will lose 30 percent to 50 percent of their present habitat ranges thanks to human land use, a 2019 study found.
Specifically, 886 species of amphibians, 436 species of birds, and 376 species of mammals will be affected and consequently will be at more risk of extinction.
6. Logging and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is of particular concern.
Roughly 17 percent of the Amazon has been destroyed in the past five decades, mostly because humans have cut down vegetation to open land for cattle ranching, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Even deforestation in a small area can cause an animal to go extinct, since some species live only in small, isolated areas.
Every year, more than 18 million acres of forest disappear worldwide. That’s about 27 soccer fields’ worth every minute.
In addition to putting animals at risk, deforestation eliminates tree cover that helps absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. Trees trap that gas, which contributes to global warming, so fewer trees means more CO2 in the atmosphere, which leads the planet to heat up.
7. In the next 50 years, humans will drive so many mammal species to extinction that Earth’s evolutionary diversity won’t recover for some 3 million years, one study said.
While millions of people across the World will be protesting on March 15 under the banner of “Global Warming”, today’s wars including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela are not mentioned. Nor are the dangers of a Third World War which threatens the future of humanity.
While Jobs and Justice are part of the campaign alongside climate, the issue of poverty and Worldwide unemployment resulting from the imposition of neoliberal reforms is sidetracked.
Mid-March 2019: There are ongoing military threats against Venezuela and Iran.
Is a US sponsored war contemplated for March 2019?
Is this a matter of concern which should be the object of a Worldwide protest movement?
The cyber-attack on Venezuela’s Electric grid affecting up to 80% of the country constitutes a de facto act of war.
On March 10, Washington confirmed its intent to carry out regime change in Venezuela. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked the US Congress to appropriate half a billion dollars “to restore the economy of the Venezuelan nation (sic) (and) help Juan Guaido.” This statement should be interpreted as a de facto “declaration of war”.
National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously confirmed their intent to wage war on Iran.
Unfortunately, these war plans seem to have been overshadowed by a highly publicized campaign against global warming.
While Climate, Jobs and Justice are mentioned, the Word “Peace” is casually omitted.
It is not too late to rectify: SAY NO TO WAR on March 15
Our proposal is that on March 15, this Worldwide environmental campaign embody alongside the issues of climate, a firm commitment against US-led wars and neoliberal policies which contribute to impoverishing people Worldwide.
Also, the People’s Climate Movement should take a stance against the deployment of the police apparatus against those who demand jobs and justice including the Yellow Vest movement.
Needless to say, the environmental impacts of US-NATO led wars should also be addressed.
While Climate Change is a legitimate concern, why are these protest movements limited to global warming? The answer is that many of the key organizations involved are generously funded by Wall Street foundations and corporate charities, including the Rockefellers, Tides, Soros., et al.
The original source of this article is Global Research
The young people taking to the streets for the climate strike are right: their future is being stolen. The economy is an environmental pyramid scheme, dumping its liabilities on the young and the unborn. Its current growth depends on intergenerational theft.
At the heart of capitalism is a vast and scarcely examined assumption: you are entitled to as great a share of the world’s resources as your money can buy. You can purchase as much land, as much atmospheric space, as many minerals, as much meat and fish as you can afford, regardless of who might be deprived. If you can pay for them, you can own entire mountain ranges and fertile plains. You can burn as much fuel as you like. Every pound or dollar secures a certain right over the world’s natural wealth.
But why? What just principle equates the numbers in your bank account with a right to own the fabric of the Earth? Most people I ask are completely stumped by this question. The standard justification goes back to John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, published in 1689. He claimed that you acquire a right to own natural wealth by mixing your labour with it: the fruit you pick, the minerals you dig and the land you till become your exclusive property, because you put the work in.
This argument was developed by the jurist William Blackstone in the 18th century, whose books were immensely influential in England, America and elsewhere. He contended that a man’s right to “sole and despotic dominion” over land was established by the person who first occupied it, to produce food. This right could then be exchanged for money. This is the underlying rationale for the great pyramid scheme. And it makes no sense.
For a start, it assumes a Year Zero. At this arbitrary point, a person could step on to a piece of land, mix their labour with it, and claim it as theirs. Locke used America as an example of the blank slate on which people could establish their rights. But the land (as Blackstone admitted) became a blank slate only through the extermination of those who lived there.
Not only could the colonist erase all prior rights, he could also erase all future rights. By mixing your labour with the land once, you and your descendants acquire the right to it in perpetuity, until you decide to sell it. You thereby prevent all future claimants from gaining natural wealth by the same means.
The long-awaited Green New Deal was unveiled in Washington on Thursday, laying down a marker for 2020 and beyond.
If you haven’t heard of the Green New Deal, you probably live under a rock. The highly-anticipated policy proposal, spearheaded by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Senator Ed Markey (MA), calls for a World War II-style or Apollo program (pick your historical analogy) mobilization to transition the US economy off of fossil fuels.
The Green New Deal has floated around in the past, particularly during the financial crisis over a decade ago, but was really revived as a major concept by environmental groups and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in recent months. While any legislation cannot pass the current Congress, given Republican control over the Senate and Donald Trump in the White House, it is now very much a litmus test for aspiring Democratic candidates for president in the 2020 election.
As such, its contents are important, given that one of these candidates could occupy the White House in two years.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey finally unveiled a resolution on February 7, sketching out the framework of future legislation. The bill was necessarily done in broad strokes for several reasons. The Democrats have to wait until 2021 at the earliest before trying to pass something. Keeping everyone on board, at this stage, requires some finessing, leaving some difficult decisions for later. And, of course, detailing the nitty gritty of a complete transformation of America’s energy system will take time.
So, what’s in it? The Green New Deal legislation lays out several key principles, calling for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, the creation of millions of jobs through public investment, an overhaul of US infrastructure, clean air and water, and justice for frontline communities during this transition.
More specifically, it calls for a 10-year program of “national mobilization,” which will achieve 100 percent of US power demand from clean, renewable and zero-emissions energy sources. It calls for building energy efficient, distributed, and “smart” power grids. Existing buildings will see an overhaul while new buildings are intended to achieve “maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability,” and the like. The GND also calls for “massive growth in clean manufacturing.”
“Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us, our country, our world,” Ocasio-Cortez said on NPR’s Morning Edition.
For now, the GND did not specifically call for a carbon tax, and perhaps more notably, it avoided explicitly calling for the end of fossil fuel development. Still, the goal is to dramatically slash, if not end, the consumption of oil, gas and coal for US energy use.
So far, the concept is popular. A December poll asked people if they supported a proposal to generate 100 percent of US electricity from clean sources within ten years. About 92 percent of Democrats supported the idea, but surprisingly, a very large 64 percent of Republicans also supported it.
Of course, it’s easy to support a vague aspiration and the devil will be in the details. The legislation will surely lose support, particularly from Republicans, when push comes to shove in the months and years ahead.
But for now, all of the major Democratic candidates for President have endorsed the concept. The point of laying out the framework right now in a congressional resolution, even if it goes nowhere, is to put some more meat on the bones and, crucially, to put the Democratic candidates on record.
It’s easy for the candidates to nod their heads in agreement to an abstract Green New Deal, but with strong ideas now down on paper, they have to decide whether or not to maintain their support with a clearer vision. As the candidates try to distinguish themselves in the Democratic primary, the pressure will be on them to continue to endorse the GND.
So, what does all of that mean? The upshot is that with President Trump’s poll numbers in negative territory, whichever candidate emerges from the Democratic primary will have a decent shot at winning the presidency. If that occurs, they will be on record having supported the GND, and will most likely push for some version of it in 2021.
That means that oil and gas companies, having enjoyed a deregulatory bonanza under Trump, could see rougher waters ahead. But with the climate debate getting momentum, that pressure is not going away, no matter what happens with the Green New Deal.
Hitchhiking through Venezuela some years ago, a friend and I availed ourselves of the novel opportunity to receive free medical care at health clinics established by late President Hugo Chavez, a much-vilified enemy of the international capitalist order.
I had never experienced the danger of free healthcare in my own homeland – that glorious vanguard of capitalism known as the United States – which was too busy waging wars and otherwise facilitating obscene corporate profit accumulation to be bothered with basic human rights. At one Venezuelan clinic, a female doctor from Cuba appropriately remarked that, like the US military, Cuban medics also operated in global conflict zones – but to save lives.
A December 2017 statement from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights notes that, while the US manages to spend “more [money] on national defence than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined”, US infant mortality rates were, as of 2013, “the highest in the developed world”.
The Special Rapporteur provides a barrage of other details from his own visit to the US, during which he was able to observe the country’s “bid to become the most unequal society in the world” – with some 40 million people living in poverty – as well as assess “soaring death rates and family and community destruction wrought by prescription and other drug addiction”.
Capitalism, it seems, is a deadly business indeed.
Society on drugs
To be sure, rampant drug use and abuse is hardly surprising in a society in which money and profit have so superseded human life in importance that people often literally cannot afford to live.
Some, however, choose alternate methods of escape from the brutality of reality – as is hinted at by a 2018 study from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicates skyrocketing suicide levels across the country.
Recent reports that loneliness is in fact life-threateningmeanwhile suggest that the neoliberal dismantling of interpersonal bonds and increasing isolation of the individual may also be inconducive to survival.
Alienation is compounded by the commodification of every aspect of existence and the enshrinement of consumerist materialism as a way of life, not to mention ubiquitous technological distraction and the conversion of human populations into cell phone-glued automatons.
Add to the toxic mix an all-powerful pharmaceutical industry – for which a nation of depressed and otherwise afflicted individuals is an obvious financial boon – and the future appears bleaker than ever.
‘Point of no return’
Of course, it’s not just bodies and communities that the US brand of capitalism is destroying at home and abroad; it’s also the planet itself. Overconsumption, unbridled contamination, and resource exploitation have put us on a fast track to a “point of no return“, as climate scientists have warned.
Back in 1989, US economist Paul Sweezy described capitalism’s view of the natural environment “not as something to be cherished and enjoyed but as a means to the paramount ends of profit-making and still more capital accumulation”.
His summary of the major elements of the environmental crisis already under way three decades ago – from the greenhouse effect brought on by massive fossil-fuel combustion to the pernicious fallout of “predatory agricultural methods” to the “mounting pollution of the oceans once thought to be an infinite repository of all kinds of wastes” – raises the question of whether the point of no return may be already long gone.
After all, now that the oceans and other essential earthly accessories have effectively become plastic, it will be rather difficult to convert them back into non-plastic form – particularly when the global capitalist elite have wholeheartedly embraced the system’s self-destructive logic and apparently don’t mind leaving their progeny to deal with the impending apocalypse.
Kill or be killed
This is even truer since the current leader of the so-called “free world” is the man who previously denounced climate change as a Chinese hoax.
In a December post on the Verso Books website, Ashley Dawson – author of Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change – reviews some of Donald Trump’s contributions to the Earth’s devastation by “hyper-capitalism”, such as “efforts to criminalise environmental protest”.
Though Trump’s 2017 withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement may have caused the most ruckus, Dawson notes, “extractivist policies adopted during the second year of his reign of environmental terror included rolling back vehicle fuel economy standards, dismantling rules limiting methane pollution, and jettisoning safety rules governing offshore drilling operations”, among other feats.
And while Trump’s assault on the environment is mirrored by ultra-right counterparts across the globe – like Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro, who has pledged to put an end to the Amazon rainforest as we know it – Dawson stresses that the “ideological opening” for such leaders was facilitated internationally by “centrist and even leftist governments… that remained wedded to fossil capitalism over the last couple of decades”.
It bears emphasising, too, that, in the US, enthusiastic bipartisan support for war – a pillar of the imperialist enterprise – translates into not only mass death for people on the receiving end of bombs and drone attacks, but also large-scale environmental poisoning. As Newsweek observed in 2014, the US Defence Department is one of the top polluters on the planet.
Now, as capitalism continues to kill us, the only real solution – however improbable – is to kill capitalism.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
On January 7th the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) swept into a non-violent checkpoint set up by the Unist’ot’en and Gidimt’en clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Fourteen people were violently arrested in the ambush by the militarized colonial forces. The camp was set up by hereditary leaders to defend the ancestral lands of the Unist’ot’en and other clans from the unwanted incursions of TransCanada and its Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Following the incident Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had the temerity to extol the neoliberal scheme behind the incident as something that is good for the earth. In a speech to supporters he said: “We moved forward on the LNG Canada project, which is the largest private sector investment in Canada’s history, $40-billion, which is going to produce Canadian LNG that will supplant coal in Asia as a power source and do much for the environment.” After being pressed in a radio interview about the brutal raid Trudeau said of the arrests that it is “not an ideal situation, but at the same time, we’re also a country of the rule of law.” Apparently he does not consider Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be law. It states: “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories.” It may be difficult for ordinary people to choke out hypocritical, ahistorical fallacies without missing a beat, but the Prime Minister has a gift for spouting empty platitudes that fly in the face of reality and he isn’t alone.
There is something familiar about Trudeau’s lamentation on this situation as well as his appeal for the rule of law. This is because neoliberal leaders around the world have used similar justifications for the violence of the corporate state. And while Trudeau has attempted to brand himself a leader on reconciliation with First Nations and for addressing climate change he has demonstrated time after time his true allegiance is to the corporate state. Last year he pledged 4.5 billion dollars of tax payer money to purchase the controversial, badly aging and perpetually leaking Kinder Morgan pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to BC. Protests and a court decision have stymied this for the moment, but in taking this action he has joined a cadre of world leaders who only pay lip service to indigenous concerns, ecological impacts and the science of climate change while steamrolling ahead toward a dystopic future. Of course like any neoliberal politician Trudeau ultimately does the bidding of the fossil fuel industry which works tirelessly behind the scenes writing and directing policy, like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) who has an army of lobbyists that outnumber any other group in Ottawa.
Like the US, Canada is a settler colonial state founded upon the expulsion, ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide of its indigenous population. Its history is drenched in the blood of broken treaties with First Nations and tainted by the cruelties meted out over decades to the present day against indigenous children. And while Canada may now possess more progressive domestic policies than its ruthless neighbor to the south, it is a fallacy that it is a leader when it comes to indigenous rights, protection of the environment and climate change. One look at the Tar Sands is a testament to this. Bigger in area than England, it is the third largest reserve of oil on the planet. So it is of little surprise that those who profit from them the most have enormous sway in the Canadian political process. In addition to their tremendous greenhouse gas emissions the Tar Sands also use gargantuan amounts of fresh water creating massive lakes of poisonous effluent while belching out tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Great swaths of forest and wetlands have been decimated creating a new cancer alley mainly afflicting First Nations in the region. In short, it is a lethal, festering and human inflicted wound on the skin of the earth, so big that it can be seen from space. And Trudeau has fashioned himself to be the charming, boyish face that hides all its hideousness.
Trudeau, like Macron or Merkel, possesses an enormous capacity for doublespeak. He is well known for shedding tears for Canada’s crimes of the past on more than one occasion. Sometimes he genuinely appears to care for people and the environment. Barrack Obama had this gift too. And when comparing actions and policies to words it is easily demonstrated as a trick of optics and branding. Interestingly enough Obama has given several speeches since his presidency for his admirers on Wall Street, imploring them to thank him for making them so much money and turning the US into the world’s biggest oil producer while admitting those policies gave aid to the rise of the far right. It is a kinder face for plutocratic corporatism that may make it seem more palatable to some than the ugly face of fascism espoused by Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro. But we have seen how neoliberal policies are opening the way for these fascist populists so there is no innocent game being played here.
Neoliberal politicians ultimately strip people of their agency by supporting or enacting policies that break down the commons and privatize everything, all while drowning them in sugary bromides and platitudes of meaninglessness. They pay lip service to the plight of the poor, the oppressed, indigenous communities, people of colour, and the living earth itself while they laugh it up at galas done in their honour by the 1%. And in doing so they have paved the way for the rising global fascism we see today. The incident at the Unist’ot’en camp last week may not become Trudeau’s Standing Rock, but it certainly echoes it. The image of tanks, attack dogs and heavily armed police raining tear gas down and firing water cannons at unarmed Native Americans must certainly be in the back of his mind. But no matter what he is thinking, no tears he sheds now will obscure his role in defending an economic and political order that has maintained merciless colonialism, is ravaging the very foundations of democracy and may very well drive the biosphere toward its full scale collapse.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone