Monday, October 31, 2011

Peter Ward's Under a Green Sky Elegantly Traces the Real Cause of Dinosaur Extinction

....And the UW professor is hitting the headlines with some comments concerning this bizarre back-slapping self-congratulatory crap that the world is all rosy and sustainable now that "we hit only 7 billion humans" only Halloween, 2011, no less.

We seem to have one movement now that is relevant -- how the 1 percent of the globe is pushing its consumer cart and energy-sucking ways and capital-grubbing mentality over the cliff, with the 99 percenters attempting to wrest back community, democracy, control of the village that it is to raise a village. Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Towns/Occupy Colleges, et al, will persist unfortunately on one hand because more are joining the ranks of the 17 percent unemployed, and, fortunately, there is no other option than to camp out, dialogue and build the movement to tar and feather corporations and CEO devils.

National Geographic, in all its mainstream and sometimes reactionary glory, has a year-long series on the 7 billion person gambit -- check it out:

There's even an app at National Geographic for population countdown to load on those unnecessary "dumb-down" phones.

In the meantime, in the Evergreen State, the incompetent administrators and bureaucrats have gone forward with another 15 percent cut to the future of this generation and others: these overpaid bloated administrative class are finding more faculty to cut from colleges, finding more programs to diminish, finding more affective education to put on the chopping block and on the posts for the whipping boy mentality those who ascribe to the propaganda-laden Waiting for Superman (a pro-for-profit in PK-12 education movie made by the idiot who gave us Gore and Inconvenient Truth) to whip up fury from the one-percenters and their ignorant minions in the Republican, Democratic and Tea Bag cults to attack independent science and independent education.

Funny thing is that Peter Ward, at UW, now a 150-year old, a lumpy state land grant college looking to attract Asian students for the 3 times the tuition they garner while pushing out domestic students, would be on the chopping block if he was a young whipper snapper, barely starting his shaky tenure process (tenure is on the chopping block too).

So, Ward's green sky is all about the agnotology in paleontology whereby the meteor impact theory tied to extinction on earth of 90 percent of all species has been propped up by a gullible media, disarrayed academic collection of disciplines. Read the book and see how we now are pushing back that media hype of a giant ball of ice killing everything. Think climate change -- bubbling up basalt fields, oceans switching off and flushing into a current and deep water fury, and microorganisms hissing up methane and hydrogen sulfide from Davey Jones locker. It's a great piece of writing, the book. 

National Geographic preface:

Population is a complicated topic. With the worldwide population slated to top 7 billion in 2011, we decided it was one we needed to tackle. But we wanted to do it in a way that gives readers room to think. We spread out our coverage over a year, with articles that take deep dives into specific issues—demographics, food security, climate change, fertility trends, managing biodiversity—
that relate to global population. Our reporting is collected here

From Alternet, Scott Thill's piece TODAY --

10 billion or more expected to stress the planet's already overweight system by 2100.

"Let's assume the average weight, or mass, of a human is 50 kilograms, or 120 pounds," University of Washington paleontologist and The Flooded Earth author Peter Ward told AlterNet. "That takes into account all the fat men, and all the kids, so it's a ballpark figure. That means 350 billion kilograms, or 770 billion pounds, of humanity on the planet. I wonder if this is the highest mass of any chordate on Earth. Only rats might weigh more of all natural populations."

But even rats have the good sense to abandon a sinking ship. Not so for humanity, whose resource wars have created a hyperreal dragnet that has caught up everything from mass-media distractions like Herman Cain and Mommar Gaddafi to worthy insurgencies like Occupy Wall Street. As those stories, for better or worse, dominated the news cycle, British Petroleum was quietly freed to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after turning it into a marine nightmare since 2010. Exxon Mobil posted a $31 billion profit on the year thanks to billions in groundless government subsidies. American rivers and streams have become hypersaturated with carbon dioxide, and Arctic sea ice has become as thin as the United States is fat in the gut and head. Environmentalists and other concerned parties can be forgiven for not breaking out the bubbly because the planet has managed to spawn seven billion souls with increased life expectancy, thanks to miracles of science and industry. Because in the scariest scenario, that same science and industry could doom most, and perhaps even all, of us.

"Seven billion is not a time for unbridled celebration," cautioned Bill Ryerson, fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute and president of Population Media Center and The Population Institute. "It must be a catalyst for people, leaders and advocates regarding the steps we need to take to achieve sustainability."

NOTE -- Anything tied to discussing population planning -- think about maintaining birth control on the one-percenters

From Alternet --

"Slowing population growth would not only help to avert these challenges, but also aligns with women's own wishes," explained UC Berkeley School of Public Health lecturer Martha Campbell, "Globally, there are about 80 million unintended pregnancies each year, and 40 million induced abortions, most conducted in unsafe, painful and dangerous ways. Surveys have shown that over 200 million women do not want to become pregnant, but are not using modern contraception."

"Emission of carbon dioxide per year is equal to the product of four quantities: population, wealth per person, amount of energy required per year to generate this wealth and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of energy generated," Michael Schlesinger, atmospheric sciences professor and director of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Climate Research Group, told AlterNet. "Although the latter two quantities are projected to decrease during this century, the carbon dioxide emission per year is projected to increase. The cause of this increase is the projected increase in human population from seven billion now, to nine billion in 2050 and perhaps 12 billion in 2100. Reducing this carbon dioxide emission would be greatly enabled by reducing population growth, help safeguard Earth's climate and reduce the level of poverty in the world. A win-win solution."

Schlesinger and colleagues Michael Ring, Daniela Linder and Emily Cross have submitted a plan to the journal Climatic Change to mitigate, reduce and zero out greenhouse-gas emissions by 2065. They are hoping that COP 17, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban this November, takes notice. But their plan, and all of those from similarly concerned scientists around the world, simply cannot be efficiently executed if population growth continues to exponentially replicate. Solutions are everything this late in the game, and there are no solutions if increasing billions whittle the planet's natural bounty and biodiversity down to the bone.

"If we don't reduce our collective resource use, move concretely towards environmentally sustainable practices both in our households and countries, and pay serious attention to global population stabilization, we will have an imbalance," said Ryerson. "We've already crossed the threshold."

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Would Steve Jobs Say about OWS -- Occupy Wall Street?

Edison? Ford. The innovator of today's cool computerized world of music downlads, the iPod and iPad.

Dead at 56, Steve Jobs, and the witty obituaries -- Read Jobs backing of using LSD, and how Bill Gates should have dropped a few tabs!

One of the most meaningful to us at The Fix was what he said in a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, a year after his cancer diagnosis:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.…Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

But equally suggestive, at least to us, is a quote from Steve Jobs to New York Times reporter John Markoff, who interviewed him for his 2005 book What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer. Speaking about his youthful experiments with psychedelics, Jobs said, "Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He was hardly alone among computer scientists in his appreciation of hallucinogenics and their capacity to liberate human thought from the prison of the mind. Jobs even let drop that Microsoft's Bill Gates would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." Apple's mantra was"Think different." Jobs did. And he credited his use of LSD as a major reason for his success.

Read more:

What Do Steve Jobs' Obituaries Leave Out? His Appreciation for LSD

Apple's legendary co-founder Steve Jobs said acid was one of the most important things he did in his life.
October 7, 2011 |
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Occupy Wall Street Hitting Critical Mass on Columbus Day... And Can Only Get Bigger

It's Columbus Day, which means many Americans, including students, have the day off—which means Occupy Wall Street is expecting a swell of numbers today. And after Paul Krugman's awesome column in the Times yesterday, a must read,

Plutocrats React to OWS: Krugman Calls it Panic

The Pundit-Elite Class is besides themselves, trying to figure out how to put this Citizen's Action genie back in its bottle ... and so they just keep doing what they do best -- lie, censor, obscure, mis-construe. And above all, shift the debate ... redirect those Citizen advocate spotlights ... to anywhere, but on them.

Panic of the Plutocrats
by Paul Krugman, NYTimes -- October 9, 2011
Nonetheless, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, has denounced “mobs” and “the pitting of Americans against Americans.” The G.O.P. presidential candidates have weighed in, with Mitt Romney accusing the protesters of waging “class warfare,” while Herman Cain calls them “anti-American.” My favorite, however, is Senator Rand Paul, who for some reason worries that the protesters will start seizing iPads, because they believe rich people don’t deserve to have them.
The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favorreact with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.
They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whoseaftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees -- basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

And what they are Panicking about most of all -- is that bright light will finally uncover, the "rigged game" they've been scamming us with, all along ...
They're panicked that we may discover their hypocrisy for calling us "Mobs" while previously issuing Congressional "Resolutions of Thanks" for similar Tea Party demonstrations:

....[cont.]'s not inconceivable that the crowds will contain a reader or two who wasn't planning on heading to the protest before reading it.

Many noted over the weekend that the tide was turning for OWS, at least in the mainstream media... that publications which refused to acknowledge the movement at its start were now publishing several stories a day about it, and positive ones at that. Here's a good example: CBS, that bastion of middle-of-the-roadness, has published an article on its website entitled "Occupy Wall Street's Drumbeat Grows Louder":

On "The Early Show" Monday, Former Senator Russell Feingold, D-Wis., said of the protests spreading across the country, "I'm not just pleased about it, I'm excited about it."

He reflected on the pro-labor demonstrations in Wisconsin earlier this year that were sparked by the governor's fight to take away collective bargaining rights from public sector workers in his state. "We did it here, and I think this is going to happen all over the country," Feingold said, "because people have been kicked when they are down, over and over again. You can only kick people so long before they react.

"This is time now for accountability, and this is a good way to show people how strongly we feel. The working people of this country have been treated very brutally and it has to change."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Environmental News -- Tar, Seals, Arctic, More

So, 10 years of Aghan War -- $1.2 million per grunt on the ground for a year's worth of failure. Nobel Prize gives award to 4 great women. AOccupy Wall Street surges. Occupy Colleges comes on strong. Occupy Seattle, Spokane! Here is a quick update not on those great stories, news breaking stories like the Chilean students, in the tens of thousands, being fire hose sprayed by the flagging vanguard in Santiago. Fed up? You bet. Occupy Wall Street, here in Seattle, elsewhere, is a movement spurred by tech savvy folk. The powers that be are scared. But some environment news first, today.

Seal pups rely on their warm insulating fur to keep them warm in Arctic waters.

But when that fur is covered in oil, it loses its ability to insulate – and even seals can freeze to death.
Right now our government is opening up the Arctic to oil companies – even though there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in icy conditions. That’s why we have to stop this drilling before it starts, but we don’t have much time left.

We only have until midnight. Don’t let seals freeze to death – help keep oil off seals and out of Arctic waters.

Drilling in the Arctic Ocean is a huge gamble, with thousands of seals, other marine animals, and vibrant coastal communities on the line. Even in the best conditions, like those in the Gulf of Mexico – calm weather, warm water, and nearby response teams – cleaning up spilled oil is risky, dangerous, and imprecise. Only about 10% of the oil was recovered in the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, and Arctic conditions are, to put it mildly, less than ideal.

Oil booms don't work in ice. Once oil is spilled, it will spread and stay – in the middle of the homes of seals and other Arctic animals – for a very long time.

That’s why we are fighting to keep oil from being spilled in the first place. We have just until midnight to raise the money we need to keep up this critical fight and work to protect our oceans by:

Fighting the expansion of offshore drilling into the fragile Arctic Ocean in court.

Reaching thousands more activists to put pressure on government regulators to make the right decisions.

Demanding that our government require tested and proven oil spill response plans and not just take the word of oil companies that they can clean up an Arctic spill.

Working with local native communities to document traditional knowledge and combine it with scientific information to map special areas at risk.

Seal pups are relying on us to keep oil out of their homes. You could make a huge difference in the future of our oceans.

TAR SANDS XL Pipeline FEEDS Climate Change, Billionaire Koch-habit

Alberta’s Tar Sands: One of the Most Destructive Projects on Earth

One of the Most Destructive Projects on Earth

Located beneath 4.3 million hectares of boreal forest, an area the size of Florida, the tar sands are the dirtiest source of oil in the world. Few Canadians know what is happening in northern Alberta. While many may know about Alberta’s immense oil reserves in the tar sands (2nd only to Saudi Arabia) few know the environmental and social devastation that is taking place.The tar sands could destroy over 149,000 square kilometres or Boreal forest an area the size of Florida. By 2020 they are expected to emit more than 141 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – more than double that currently produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada and Alberta is now home to the world’s largest dam and it is built to hold the toxic waste from just one Tar Sands operation.The tar sands of Alberta are now the world’s largest industrial operation. Because of their sheer scale, all Canadians have become hostage to their development. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Canada is quickly increasing them and fully half of that emissions growth is projected to come from the Tar Sands.This is just beginning. The Alberta government has already given approvals that will double the size of existing operations, and has been talking with the US government to grow the Tar Sands five-fold in a “short time span” looking to move from 1 million barrels of oil per day to over 5 million The Tar Sands are now the biggest capital project anywhere on Earth and the biggest energy undertaking anywhere.With the Tar Sands, Canada has become the world’s dirty energy superpower.
A few quick facts:

• The Tar Sands can single handedly prevent Canada from meeting it’s international obligations under the Kyoto protocol. By 2020 the tar sands are expected to release over 141 megatonnes of GHG – twice that produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada.

• An area the size of the state of Florida (149,000 km2) can be leased to oil sands development in the future.

• It takes 3-5 barrels of fresh water to get a single barrel of oil from the tar sands. 350 million cubic metres is the volume of water currently allocated to the tar sands, the equivalent to the water required by a city of two million people.

• Cumulatively, the environmental impact of the tar sands has made Alberta the industrial air pollution capital of Canada, with one billion kilograms of emissions in 2003.

• 600 million cubic feet of Natural gas is used every day – that’s enough to heat more than three million Canadian homes.

• First Nation communities downstream of tar sands operation have been experiencing unprecedented rates of bile and colon cancer, lupus and other diseased that they believe are attributable to tar sands.

• 70% of the crude oil being extracted from the tar sands is exported directly to the United States mostly for use in transportation.

Across the country, individual Canadians are taking action to fight climate change. Most provincial governments – other than Alberta – have begun to meaningfully respond. But every step forward is undermined by ever larger greenhouse gas emissions from the Tar Sands. If we care about our planet or our future we need to STOP THE TARSANDS.

Arrests Made and Thousands More Expected in DC as Protests Grow to Block Tar Sands Pipeline

At stake is what has quickly become the largest environmental test for President Obama before the 2012 election.

Why the Tar Sands Pipeline Will Be Game Over for Our Planet

The country's leading climatologist talks about why he was arrested at the Tar Sands protests in DC and what the pipeline will mean for our future.

Tar Sands Action organized a civil disobedience sit–in at The White House to oppose construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that began on August 20 and will culminate in a big rally on September 3rd. On August 29 I joined 60 religious leaders and other fellow protestors. I was arrested that day. But before I was handcuffed, I addressed fellow activists who had gathered outside The White House with these words:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spokane Lost a River and Sustainability Advocate, Lawyer -- His Voice is in Us All

Mike Chappell, who worked at Gonzaga running the environmental law clinic, died recently. Here are some decent eulogies on him --

Published on September 14, 2011

Halfway through what has been an incredibly difficult week I reflect on one of my biggest inspirations and share stories, links and quotes from those he touched


Mike Chappell, the visionary lawyer and environmentalist who helped breathe life into the Spokane Riverkeeper program, dies suddenly.


Writer suggests environmental advocates ‘think like eco-systems’

By Paul K. Haeder

I had all sorts of thoughts swirling in my head while listening to Frances Moore Lappe, author of 1971’s book, “Diet for a Small Planet.”

Here, she discussed how she thinks people’s sense of powerlessness is the real dilemma facing us, not climate chaos, not six species going extinct daily, and not global hunger affecting billions.

Lappe’s backdrop at Seattle’s Town Hall lecture earlier this month was the quote, “Hope is not what we find in evidence. It is what we become in action.” I’ve been really pondering the question of life and death, after the recent passing of 44-year-old Mike Chappell, Gonzaga environmental lawyer.

I’d seen Frances’ daughter, Anna Lappe, at Spokane Community College in April 2010 as part of the Spokane Earth Day lead-up in conjunction with Get Lit! A day later I spoke with Mike about the pressing issues of the environmental movement under President Obama, a disarrayed Democratic party and recalcitrant Republican gang under the thumb of a tea party.

Mike’s message to me in 2010 was both pessimism and also confidence that solutions already figured out and yet to be uncovered would be the leading edge of change if only young people could get ahold of individual and collective power and will. Mike was blown away Spokane was so engaged, literary and environmentally speaking.

Mike represents the goodness of hard environmental work drenched in a healthy dose of hope and skepticism.

Lappe’s dominant message was positive, AFTER, citing how out of balance, or mal-aligned with nature, our world has become. She reiterated that for every one of our representatives, corporations and special interests own two dozen lobbyists.

Then there’s the 2005 Citi Bank memo to investors proclaiming America as a plutocracy, and that the top 1 percent of our population controlling the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90 percent is a thing of glory.

Lappe was in Bellingham and Seattle for the launch of her new book, “Eco Mind: The World We Want,” and her controlling theme is steeped in neuro-psychology, cultural framing and what she calls “thought traps.”

From Eric Fromm to Adam Smith to Wangari Mathai, Lappe is steeped in a globalist viewpoint, looking now — after 20 books — at how we need these “thought leaps,” that even the hard earnest work of environmentalists needs to be stripped of the “thought trap” of “we’ve hit our ecological limits.”

“This puts the blame on nature,” she says of environmentalists who drill the message of scarcity as a dominant theme. “This focus on quantities, on things humanity needs, puts the blame on nature.”

Her talk was splashed with studies and factoids she used to try to break apart that mind trap. How some studies say that up to 80 percent of all energy generated in this country is wasted, and that more than 50 percent of food grown here is thrown away. Adding to the food analogy, she pressed that 40 percent of calories consumed by youth are empty calories.

She pressed that we are at a moment when the eco-mind is aligning with nature’s collective and holistic cycles. While we have the backdrop of extreme concentration of power, lack of transparency and the blame game, Lappe continually imparted how “blown away” she has become over the past few years witnessing how powerlessness is being replaced with collective will and action.

Smallholder farmers worldwide still account for 70 percent of the food produced. Niger has re-greened 12.5 million acres with 200 million trees. The president of that country put it wisely: “We stopped the desert and everything changed.”

The United Nations Agro-forestry group has recently stated one-third of the world’s carbon pollution could be dealt with through reforesting programs.

Lappe’s message ended with a critique of the trap that says “it’s too late to avoid suffering … with climate change … and a billion people going hungry.”

“Solutions to global crises are within reach,” she said. “Our challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps so we can bring these solutions to life.”

This idea of fear causing us to fight or flee must be expunged, Lappe says, to be replaced with the idea that fear is a type of power to inspire.

“When I met Wangari Maathai on the first Earth Day in 1970, she was planting seven trees in Kenya as a tribute to seven environmentalists,” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, isn’t that nice.’ I gave her little chance of accomplishing much. Through her work, Wangari has planted 40 million trees in Kenya and won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004.”

It’s about imagining a world outside our frames and contexts. To learn how to walk with fear and use fear as a prod, a reminder that we are collectively in this struggle.

As Lappe reminded us that powerlessness and futility end up in depression and inaction, that there are 50 percent more suicides globally than homicides, she made it clear that there are more cooperatives in the world than corporate thugs.

Mike would have smiled at Frances Moore Lappe’s message that we have to think and act like an ecosystem:

“What is ecology but the science of relationships? If we look through an ecological lens we can see the core lessons that all organisms including human organisms are shaped by the relationships we have and the contexts in which we grow,” she said.

That’s how Mike Chappell lived his life – helping shape relationships in Spokane toward the shared values of healthy water, air, soil and communities.

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