Category Archives: Animal Rights

12 Years to Go….

Homo  sapiens are a strange species. They self-proclaim their superiority over other species  because of their  supposed ‘intelligence”, while they  are self-evidently systematically  destroying all aspects of life on  the planet  they rely on  for their survival. We are, branch  by branch,  cutting off all  the limbs of the tree of life that  enables our survival.

One might be forgiven   for thinking that  those actions of destroying life in  exchange for  the creation of inanimate objects might be considered the ultimate in  folly and stupidity;  but apparently this is not the case.

Academics, politicians and researchers continue to promote an undeniably ridiculous self-delusional  note that  more  human ‘progress’  can somehow,   in its ongoing destruction of the natural living world ,  create a new and better world  for humans-  ( a dead world)  Perhaps these Nobel  prize winners will  continue to get  their  university research stipends  from big business  until  their lives become unlive-able in  their hothouse  university offices; part of  that newly ‘progressive’ dead world…where slight-of-hand carbon  trading,  or the wonders of “renewable energy”,  allow us to pretend –  right up  to  the last  moment-  that we are creating a new reality..

A quote from The Guardian about these illustrious Nobel Prize winners…

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the two men had won the prize – which is not one of those originally instigated by Alfred Nobel – because they had “designed methods for addressing some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth”.

The two men, it continued, had “significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge”.

One of the most recent media  releases from  the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that  global  warming will  certainly   increase  to 1.5C  above previous ‘normal” global  temperature levels in  the next 12 years,  and that  that increase will  dramatically impact  on  human being’s survival  and many other species . Should global  temperature increases reach  2C;  as they  will  without dramatic  intervention,  then the impacts on  all  species will  be catastrophic..

A previous study  by  the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) noted that  species loss is as great  a threat to  humanity (and the rest of the living fabric of the Earth,  as climate change.   It does not appear to  occur to those scientists  that   climate change and species loss are part of the exact same issue:  the commodification of the living world.

I am always reminded when  I go  to  our local  supermarket of this bizarre absurdity- of man making living things into  commodities for human beings ,  when  I see the little plastic  labels on  the fruit and vegetables  being sold there. Human beings have somehow created a collective psychosis  over many millenia that  sees this world we live in as something for use- something outside of us –  rather than  the reality of being intimately and totally connected to  us and essential  for our mutual  survival.

Few,  except  some of the South American  indigenous communities have retained this essential understanding of how our world actually lives and breathes. Human  beings will  only survive on  this planet  if we recognise our intimate and sacred connection to  the rest of our living world.

Is it too  late to start  to  re-learn  this lesson   and begin the  re-greening  of  our world?


Links

http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/pr_181008_P48_spm.shtml

http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/world-leaders-have-moral-obligation-to-act-after-un-climate-report

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/08/two-us-economists-win-nobel-prize-for-work-on-climate-and-growth-william-nordhaus-paul-romer

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/09/shell-ben-van-beurden-mass-reforestation-un-climate-change-target

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/fate-of-human-race-depends-on-massive-greening-effort/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/going-full-circle-growth-planet/

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UN-Report-Confronts-Nations-with-Tough-Choices-on-Climate-20180930-0010.html

https://www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/pdf/tek-salmon-2000.pdf

A Fiery Dead-end?- or “Feel the Heat…”

Its as though  we are all  watching  in   slow-motion;  a dream  in  which we slide inexorably  towards that massive motorway  firey pileup  – helpless to  change anything and knowing the inevitability of our fate.

The latest July 2018 temperature records: 

UAE: 51.4°C, Africa + Algeria: 51.3°C, Tunisia: 49.2°C, LA: 48.9°C, Baku: 42.7°C, Yerevan : 42.4°C, Japan: 41.1°C, Kabul: 40.5°C, Tbilisi: 40.5°C, Montreal: 36.6°C, Lapland: 33.4°C, Swedish polar circle: 32.5°C, Baltic Sea: 25°C’

And yet, if it were not for almost every  government across the world being in bed with  international  and national  corporations who  drive “progress’  ( ie the destruction of the natural world to create the inanimate world humans enjoy)-   this whole firey end  might have been  (and maybe still  can be )  averted.

Global  warming  needs to be seen as simply one of the symptoms of the catastrophic global  non-human species loss caused by human beings’ insatiable lust  for ‘things” over the past 1000  years-  a tiny timeframe in  geological  terms.

However ,  as a recent study  by  the Stockholm Resilience Centre notes;

“Human emissions of greenhouse gas are not the sole determinant of temperature on Earth. Our study suggests that human-induced global warming of 2°C ( The Paris Accord limit), may trigger other Earth system processes, often called “feedbacks”, that can drive further warming – even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases,” says lead author Will Steffen from the Australian National University and Stockholm Resilience Centre.

According to  the Stockholm Resilience Centre, we have but 3 years to  attempt to  stabilise global  emissions and avert major devastating climate change. We know that renewable energy  has some capacity to  limit global  warming ;  but we also  now that production of renewabl energy  components come at  a massive cost  to  the environment.  We also  know that  man is  ‘requiring’  more and energy  to  fuel his ‘progress’  addiction. Humans have to  dramitacally reduce our energy  consumption if we are all  to  survive.

And how is it that,  in  the face of all  the evidence and the very  visible destruction of our planet’s living fabric, we continue to  press on  to  final  global  destruction?  Simply man’s greed  for transient baubles of ‘wealth’  and power. Humankind prides itself on being a  supremely intelligent  species.

The evidence is out-  to  the contrary- we are the most ignorant of all  species.

What  do  we need? We need a global  body  that  transcends artificial  national  state borders  and that   forces each  nation-state to  rebuild its natural living fabric: beginning with massive tree-planting of native local  species, a forced requirement that  no  non-essential  products  for humans  can be bought and sold ;  an end to  the  so-called global  ‘consumer society” and  a requirement that all  non human  species be prioritised  for their  survival  over any human  “progress”.

Is that  going to happen?……..

Do  we have an alternative?

___________________________________________________________________________

Links

http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/875-world-on-fire-climate-breakdown.html

Heatwave in northern Europe, summer 2018

https://www.thoughtco.com/global-warming-inevitable-this-century-3322005

http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2018-08-06-planet-at-risk-of-heading-towards-hothouse-earth-state.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement

https://www.nature.com/news/three-years-to-safeguard-our-climate-1.22201

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1810141115

How to Kill Off a Vibrant Green World in 6 Easy Lessons

From: THE MODERN WORLD BOOK OF WONDERS BY PAUL TOWNEND (1950)
  1. Allow One species to  completely dominate all  other species on  the planet in  numbers .
  2. Give that  species the capacity to  modify  the living  environment to  suit its own  purposes.
  3. Give that  species an understanding that it has a right to  eliminate all  species that  are not immediately useful  to  it.
  4. Give that species an  understanding that it is superior to  all  other species  using criteria based on  its own  species’  traits.
  5. Give that  species an understanding that  dead inanimate things that amuse it are more important than other living things.
  6. Give it limited powers of empathy and understanding towards other species that  are not its own.

A tragic and heart-bleeding video below  of a Borneo  orangutan  futilely trying to  fight off a mechanical digger which has destroyed its beautiful   home  and its  sustenance and countless more other living  things that will  be  forever no  more ( note the  condescending language used of “seemingly defending its home “. ) for a  few dollars in  pay  for the loggers and a few thousands of dollars to  the logging company.  This is why  we are destroying the only home we will  ever have –  our beautiful  earth.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/orangutan-defends-jungle-home-video-digger-ape-borneo-indonesia-deforestation-a8387836.html

Not just in Borneo,  but all  over the world for the last three  thousand years , we have destroyed the trees and living world that made this world our home – for no purpose whatsoever…..


Links

https://www.ipbes.net/news/media-release-updated-biodiversity-nature%E2%80%99s-contributions-continue-dangerous-decline-scientists

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study

http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/05/15/1711842115.full.pdf

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/12/exti-j12.html

https://phys.org/news/2018-02-biodiversity-loss-extinction-cascades.html

https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2018-03-26-animals-extinction-water-loss-climate-change-study

http://davidattenborough.wikia.com/wiki/The_First_Eden

 

The World as Samsara (Illusion)

Each human being creates from infancy, an internal mental world of what the world is – what is good and bad – safe and unsafe; what the names of  the ‘things’ are ‘out there”, and how the world works . And where do those judgements come from?- they come of course from our experiences after birth. Are they reality?-in one way they are- they are our reality. Some pieces of that reality will be shared- what we like to call ‘culture” or ‘norms’ or any other excuse to define the world other than by its real aspect- but they are simply the random experiences we have acquired since birth.

But in a more fundamental way they are of course, completely fictional. This construction of the world from our thought processes has almost nothing to do with reality, and all to do with our mind’s interpretation and synthesis  of the random events of childhood and later life we are exposed to. We are conditioned to believe we are no more than the patterns of thoughts we have acquired, (i.e. my thoughts are ‘me’) but we are in fact much more than that.

Zen Buddhism asks :” who was I before I was born?’

Or perhaps the master Osho described it with more clarity, by saying (paraphrased)  “our minds are a tool which you can use with care and attention to assist you; but they are not ‘you’ ”.

“Reality” the way our minds perceive it, can therefore be anything we choose it to be- but that choice is based on the narrow possibilities of our earlier experience till this moment.  Beyond (or under, or behind) our thoughts is pure being- our essence, or as Maori of New Zealand put it -‘Mauri’ –  which is inescapably interconnected with every other living ( and not so living) thing. That mauri is within us from the day we are born till the day we die- and long before and after that. It is always there, but shrouded by man’s constant thoughts.

How to experience that space of pure joy and oneness that is always with us? The techniques of the ages are there for us to use. -meditation is the primary and most direct path- but prayer, mindfulness, fasting and many other techniques also have that capacity to progressively strip away the mind chatter to expose the essence of ourselves and the universe within.

Our thought patterns -what many describe as our ‘ego’- are intensely malleable. We believe we are a constant person -’me’ -but in reality we shift from moment to moment in our thoughts. In addition, because we are individually defenceless primates who rely on our fellow community members for safety, we have an intense need to agree with the thoughts of other members of our primate community. ‘Group think’ is more pervasive in human society that most of us would like to think!

Individually and collectively, humans are also very good at providing self-justifications for their thoughts and actions. Our age-old justification for the use of violence  is just one proof to that!

The joy and peace is within us: we need merely to retrieve it .

As the Buddha said: We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Selling your Mother…

The title of this  post comes from  a quote in a mini-thesis by  Rafael M Santos (2011) “Ethical  Responsibilities and the Environment’  in  which he notes the Australian Aboriginal  response to  the commodification of land and animals as  “much like putting a price on  your own mother” .

In late February/March of 2017  the Vatican pulled together a Working Group  to  look  at  the current state of the world in  relation to  species extinction and global  warming.

As the Vatican notes; The subject of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (biodiversity especially its Chapter 2), climate change, is estimated in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be on a course to destroy 20-40% of all biodiversity on Earth by the end of this century regardless of any other factors, but of course interacting with them. The living fabric of the world, which we are enjoyed in Genesis, Chapter II to protect, is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring.

Predictably the Vatican discourse continues along a familiar theme ,  how man  should be the “protector’  of all living things  for the purpose of  their usage by  man. As always,  it is our ‘god given  right’  to  subjugate and destroy the other species on  this planet as we see fit. But even the working group  has to  admit;  such  a  philosophy is rapidly leading humans,  as well as the other species on  this planet,  to  extinction.

To  its credit however, the working group has however , finally made the connection between global  warming and  biodiversity and the horrendous impacts  both  outcomes will  have for both humanity and the planet.

Our desire for enhanced consumption grows more rapidly than our population, and Earth cannot sustain it. Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed in maintaining the world in such a way as to resemble the conditions we have enjoyed here.

Somehow we are supposed to believe that  we are  ‘superior  beings’  to all  other species on  this planet;  our ‘intelligence’  and  problem  solving skills are apparently gifts from one or other  god,  and thus proclaim  our right to  sovereignty over ‘nature”. The reality is that  as a species we have demonstrated, over and over,  that  we are extremely limited in  our  selective ‘intelligence’  and an understanding of what  matters, and our capacity to  behave ‘rationally’. Our capacity for self-delusion is enormous.

Our species’   intellectual reasoning is  a hardwired  self-fulfilling congratulatory process that  determines its successes  using its own definition of what  ‘success’ is.   Such  a process is clearly designed to  allow us to  continue to  pat  ourselves on  the back  with  our species’  ‘progress’ and continue to collectively do  what  we have been doing to  this planet  for the past few thousand years ,  while the planet heads ever closer to  massive extinction.

There is however a kind of blind logic to  why  we are progressively destroying the planet  on  which  we stand: an internal circuitous set of arguments that permit all of us to legitimise the insanity of our actions.

As Jackson (2017) notes ‘The tendency to economic growth according to Schnaiberg (1980) is due in part to the competitive character of capitalism, such that corporations and entrepreneurs must continually expand their operations and their profits lest they be swamped by other competitors. On the other hand there is also growth logic within the sphere of the state, as state agencies and officials prefer growth over stagnation in order to ensure tax revenues-the essential fiscal basis of the state  (Redclift and Woodgate 2010). Neither of these two  drivers (corporate competitiveness, and the state’s need for growth, are in  any way  related to  necessity or human  survivability;  they  are essentially “nice to haves’  from a human perspective. We are in  fact  driving the planet  rapidly to  extinction for shiny little baubles of no  value.

What is desperately and urgently needed then,  is the incorporation of what  Jackson  (2017) refers to  as the Biocentrism ethic into  everything we as humans do..
Biocentrism is a life centered attitude towards biological diversity of the environment. The life centered theory posits that all forms of life have an inherent right to exist. It considers nature and all forms of life special in itself. Nature has intrinsic value or inherent worth apart from human appropriation. Biocentrism hence advocates for the preservation of the environment and all life forms free from human intervention. 

Do  we have the collective wisdom as a  species to  stop  destroying this planet, to  understand how our commodification of the world we live in is destroying all  of us, to  begin  to  undo  the  incredible destruction we have wrought on  our fellow species in  such  a short space of time ,  and most fundamentally, to begin  to  respect  all  other creatures as our equals?


Links

What Is Animal Liberation? Philosopher Peter Singer’s Groundbreaking Work Turns 40

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/events/2017/extinction.html

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/publications/scriptavaria/extinction.html

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jackson_Jack2/publication/319422926_ENVIRONMENT_AND_SOCIETY/links/59a96843a6fdcc2398416572/ENVIRONMENT-AND-SOCIETY.pdf

https://archive.org/details/EthicalResponsibilitiesToAnimalsAndTheEnvironment

http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/biocentrism-wikipedia/

https://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/user_upload/online_library/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity_Sustainable_Food_Systems_WEB.pdf

Biocentrism / Robert Lanza’s Theory of Everything

Global Footprint Network

http://fewd.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/inst_ethik_wiss_dialog/Llorente__R._2009_P._Singers_AL_in_Ethical_Perspectives.pdf

 

The Last Stand for Our Survival

While multinational mining companies and other entities continue to  plunder   the remains of our natural  resources on  this planet,  we are rapidly heading towards environmental  disaster.

Recent heatwaves in southern Europe are just one of almost countless  signs that our inexorable path to  global heat (not warming) will lead to  much of the earth  being un-liveable-  not just  for humans but also  for the other species that  we rely on  for our survival  on  this planet.

Our blind stupidity as a species, our incapacity to  plan for anything more than the next year or two,  combined with our capacity to  inflict  horrendous damage to  the  eco-systems that give us all  life, are rapidly, and ever more speedily,  pushing us down the path to  oblivion.

Those remaining indigenous cultures that have not been sucked into  the collective  insanity of the human ‘progress’  meme,  are being actively imprisoned and murdered because they stand in  the way of more profits for multinational  companies. One wonders where exactly those muti-national  board members will  run  to  when  their gold is literally too  hot to handle?

In the United States there is even  debate as to  whether the U.S. Trump  administration will  ‘accept’  the recent Draft of the 2017 ‘Climate Change Report’, such is the insanity that prevails;  not just in  the United States but across the word where governments are locked into  close relationships with the business sector that is destroying the planet in  the name of progress.

There appears to  be  no  capacity to  change our direction of increasing species destruction and increasing production of carbon  dioxide and the  other climate  change accelerants,  despite the hype generated at  the voluntary  Paris Accords.

It is of course  not surprising that  the U.S.  president  has rescinded the United States willingness to  implement the Paris Accord. In a country  where all  government policy  is, and always has been , sold to  the highest bidder,  the coal  industry won out!

We know that  ‘global fossil fuel emissions grew by 0.7% in 2014, then held steady in 2015. Provisional data for 2016 predict a very small rise, of just 0.2%.’ This tiny decline, or possible small  increase, may be  more attributable to  the decline in  the global  ‘economy’ (reductions in  coal use and cement production)  rather than  any active intent to  reduce emissions;  although  changes in  electrical  production  using  so-called renewable energy have  also  have played a part. In reality, renewable energy  products place huge demands in  different ways on  the environment.

However it’s important to bear in  mind that  while we have not seen  a significant increase in  the amount of CO2 production globally,  we have not seen a  decrease-  the amount  of CO2  being pumped in to  the atmosphere is now about 9.9 billion tonnes  per year….More than  enough to continue ratcheting up global  temperatures at  an increasing rate for centuries to  come,  when  we take into  account   both  the immediate impacts of increased temperatures and the slower impacts of  the capacity for CO2 storage in  our oceans, soil   and plants ( which  are rapidly declining in  global  volume)  steadily decreasing..

We are quite simply ,  not a fit species to  be entrusted with  the  future of this planet.

When the supposed ‘greatest  nation on  earth’  behaves like a child bully in  the playground and threatens  nuclear war on  all  and sundry;  when  ecological  devastation is not even  taken into  consideration as we  plunder  the planet, and its once multitudinous living things   for our little shiny baubles, then  we know we have lost our way-  irremediably..


Links

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Women-Led-Environmental-Struggle-in-2016-20161226-0019.html?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Agreement

http://www.atree.org/earthday_2017_secre

The Great Acceleration….

Our current epoch has now come to be known as the ‘Anthropocene’  for the impacts man has had on our planetary environment. It is also called “The Great Acceleration..”;  being the sixth  event in the life of this  planet  where species loss has become so pervasive and devastating.

A May 2017 study for the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America was entitled “Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines”.  The paper notes in conclusion that: “The massive loss of populations is already damaging the services ecosystems provide to (human) civilization…Thus, we emphasize that the sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short, probably two or three decades at most.. All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life. .” In other words, without the survival of significant complex bio-systems of multiple species, each with sustainable population numbers, humans too are rapidly headed towards extinction.

While  we talk  (and talk) about global  warming, what we also ignore is the combined impacts of  man-made emissions into the atmosphere  with the steady  destruction of the biosphere  through human “progress’  –   the literal cancer of inert dead non-organic edifices being  built  over the top and at the expense  of  the natural  world that make up  humans’  cities and towns  and transportation systems,  agribusiness destroying countless wilderness  areas into  single species ‘dead’  environments, the ongoing deforestation of native habitats, increasing  wildfires, needless human consumption,  acidification and over-fishing of the oceans, human over-population,  meat-production, war,   pollution, global  warming, water-loss ..  the list goes on  and on…  Incrementally, humans are destroying the liveability for all species on the planet at an ever increasing rate, with carbon monoxide production being just one aspect of our ongoing destruction of this planet.

Wikileaks notesAt present, the rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the “base” or historically typical rate of extinction (in terms of the natural evolution of the planet)[14][15][16] and also the current rate of extinction is, therefore, 10 to 100 times higher than any of the previous mass extinctions in the history of Earth.

What is urgently needed is a recognition of this fact by humans, and an understanding that the model of human’ progress’ we have espoused for the past few thousand years is killing our planet. An understanding that all life- regardless of species, is inherently sacred and our  mutual survival is intertwined, and that  consequently  human ‘needs’  must be balanced against  the rights of other species. One small step to delay or even possibly reverse this destruction,  is the urgent massive scale planting of native vegetation in every possible locality and an end to our model of human  “progress”.


Links

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114.full

Supporting appendix to  Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

Scientists Say Sixth Mass Extinction Is Under Way

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction

Reclaiming the Earth- The Mapuche Dilemma

As the Earth  rapidly approaches the point where  the  trajectory  towards  intense global  warming and  near total species  loss becomes inevitable, we now, more than ever, need the wisdom  of the indigenous peoples’  connection with  nature and acknowledgement of the reality that  the earth is   a living entity;  to  save our planet. It may  already  be too  late- but we need to  try!

Nothing;  despite all  the research  and  incremental  indelible evidence  of  ever-increasing species extinction , has changed our current trajectory  of devastating the planet for a few cheap  baubles. We appear to be locked into  an  insane path of self-destruction which  takes the rest of the planet  with us. Have we reached the ‘tipping-point’? – we will  not know until it is too  late.

That is not to  say  the indigenous peoples like the Mapuche of southern  Chile or Maori  in New Zealand or the other still surviving remnants of indigenous cultures , have  all the answers, or are even  innocent of harming the planet themselves. But they  do have a philosophy  and  wisdom  from  the past which  acknowledges the reality that,  as just  one more species on this planet ,  humans are inextricably linked to  what  we   strangely call “nature’  -ie our fellow living things.  And  that we are also solidly linked to  all the non-sentient elements of this world.

 

Mapuche Shaman’s Drum; Courtesy of the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/patagonia/177322.html

If we are to  survive as a species;  if the planet  is to  survive,  we must  restore this fundamental  core understanding to all humans – without  which we will  most certainly perish- if not within  decades,  then  certainly within  this  new  two centuries.

Our first and immediate step  is to restore power and authority to those cultures who  do in  fact  respect  the earth  and all  its living inhabitants  above  “progress’  and the production of  commodities. The next is to  produce a world wide covenant that  values other species  as equal  to our own and our obligation as a species to  truly become protective guardians of this living planet, given our  unique capacity to  manipulate our environment.

We must let the voice of all  those cultures who  call  us back  to  our roots -to be heard,  respected and  urgently responded to.

The shaman’s drum calls  us back  to  our re-connection with our  world.

 

 

 

 


Links

https://www.rt.com/in-motion/374127-mapuche-demand-release-prisoners/

https://www.google.com/url?hl=en-GB&q=http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Groups-Demand-Freedom-of-Mapuche-Leader-in-Chile-20161212-0024.html&source=gmail&ust=1484889158716000&usg=AFQjCNFxrOXHP7sSOc1tFMtFjA-Ne4bFnQ

http://www.mapuche-nation.org/english/html/news/n-66.htm

Our People Are Unstoppable’: Chile’s Jailed Indigenous Mapuche

 

The Cumulative Footprints of Humans

I often hear people, who   appear to be  otherwise rational  human beings,  adamantly stating that anthropogenic global  warming doesn’t exist-if there is warming they  argue -it has to be some other source than man;  why?

Perhaps  partly because  they  cannot  comprehend that  their own small  actions in a big world could  have such  a huge  impact  on  the planet. Which   is in  fact   of course, correct.

It is our capacity  as a  social  species  to  collaborate and cooperate which  is destroying this planet. If James Watt  had invented the steam engine, but  no-one had helped him build the tracks, let alone design and build another-and then another  locomotive;  then  the planet  would  have much more of its natural   green cover on it and  far less carbon  dioxide in  the atmosphere!

It is our capacity to  firstly  manipulate our environment to  suit our immediate needs at  the expense of other species, which  has created what  is looking increasingly likely as  a dead-end street  for ourselves and  the multiple species that  live  with us on this little blue ball.

Secondly it is  our incapacity to  anticipate the cumulative impacts of our actions  on the planet ( one locomotive has no  impact;  100,000  locomotives do; tar-sealing one car-park has little impact on the planet, but 500, 000  mall  car-parks do.) .

Thirdly,  it  is the inherited  presumption that  homo sapiens have a God-given right to  hold domain over the world. A handy  but incredibly foolish assumption for any species to adhere to!- particularly when that  species doesn’t understand  what  it is doing as it manipulates its environment, other  than making  and distributing little shiny baubles  that its members  are attracted to.

And fourthly, it is our short-sightedness;  we do  not see how over time, humans have radically altered for the worse, the liveable bio-sphere on this planet. What  was once, for instance in New Zealand,  several islands almost entirely  covered with tall  trees  and dense vegetation, has been in less than  two hundred years, transformed into millions of acres of  grassland feeding  various animal species  imported from  Europe, for the purpose of slaughtering them and sending the dead bodies overseas or  to extract their milk.

Many many thousands of species have been  destroyed or pushed to  the brink  of extinction in this  process of ‘human progress’, and those ancient forest  trees  are forever gone, except in  a few national parks where humans can get  a small  glimpse of what  the world was like before humans devastated it. No  longer is the dawn chorus of birds deafening,  as it once was when Europeans first  arrived on  those New Zealand  shores 200  years ago: we may be  lucky in  our  urban environments to hear one European blackbird  or a sparrow call as the sun  rises.

Deforestation across the world has been pervasive- both for agricultural  farming and for industrial  exploitation.

In the image below you an see the inexorable deforestation (loss of green) of  Europe -only attenuated briefly by  the Black  Death. That  process of deforestation has been occurring all  over the word at various rates and stages, but is now nearing the point where only a few natural  national parks will  remain across the world. And while they  certainly act  as carbon  sinks, those forested areas were (once) far more than that; they  were areas of intense species  diversity that  vitally kept our planet  alive.

 

'The prehistoric and pre-industrial deforestation of Europe" -Jm Kaplan, KM Krumhardt, and N Zimmerman ( 2009)
‘The prehistoric and pre-industrial deforestation of Europe” -Jm Kaplan, KM Krumhardt, and N Zimmerman (2009)

We have as  a species, perhaps irremediably, lost our way- and sadly all  the other species on  this planet may be lost too as a result.


Postscript

And as Pete Dolack  writes at  Systemic Disorder, environmental  collapse is a major challenge to  the capitalistic system!  How dare our world disintegrate before our eyes when we have the greatest system of profiteering the world has ever seen!