Tag Archives: biodiversity

A submission to my local Council on bio-diversity & climate change

I note that the Mayor states in the forward to  the  Council’s proposed Annual  Plan that: ‘A strong area of focus for our Annual Plan 2019/20 is climate change. Council recognises that climate change mitigation and adaptation present key challenges for our region, country and the globe. We need to build our resilience and harness innovation to ensure we can plan and act in a responsive and responsible way”

It is rather difficult to reconcile this statement, which confirms the enormity of climate change as a fundamental threat to human sustainability, with the actions proposed in this Plan.

It is interesting to note that there is no mention in the Plan about species loss and ecosystem collapse- issues which have equal weight in terms of human capacity to survive on this planet in the medium to long term, and which are completely interrelated to climate change. Other than the Department of Conservation, which has a very limited range of actions permitted to it , there is no human agency out there looking out for nonhuman survivability either in this region or nationally. Councils must act!

Given the recent government report; ‘Environment Aotearoa 2019’, which as “Stuff” notes paint a grim picture in many respects, the report’s assessment of native ecosystems and the plants and animals they contain is particularly bleak. Almost two-thirds of rare ecosystems were threatened by collapse, the report said, and thousands of individual species were either threatened or at-risk of extinction. Those species include 90 per cent of all seabirds, 84 per cent of reptiles, 76 per cent of freshwater fish and 74 per cent of terrestrial birds.”

Actions which focus on th city’s  “development’ are fundamentally in opposition to working to reduce climate change and at the very least, slow down our catastrophic species loss. Whether we like it or not, humans are entirely dependent on the other species on this planet for our survival. We cannot live on shopping precincts and electronic baubles.

Human ‘progress’ equals the substitution for living and wild areas for dead spaces or toxic farming areas. Like it or not, your city planners will be forced sooner rather than later to plan for a zero growth economy – why not start now?

E.O Wilson’s book “Half Planet” and the Half-Earth Project https://www.half-earthproject.org/ make it very clear that humans will not survive on this planet without urgent and dramatic restoration of the eco-sphere that protects us all . The Extinction Rebellion movement of our youth also makes it very clear where our future does not lie and what our options are.  Act now with bravery! https://rebellion.earth/

Since coming to this city I have been amazed at the amount of concrete “easy-care’ properties; in a climate where plants grow well and where lawns could quickly become low maintenance shrub and vegetation areas that support a wide range of habitats and species.

Surely our recent wildfires are a lesson to be learnt? Re-plant hill areas with native shrubs and trees that provide shade and damp ground areas beneath them and provide moisture back into the air, increasing the likelihood of rain. Stop the planting of pines and eucalypts – plants which are adapted for drought conditions and which minimise moisture loss from their leaves and produce resins that encourage wild fires in dry times.

Some Proposed Actions:

  • Develop and environmental code for all city planning decisions , which place predominant weight in planning decisions that ensure minimal disruption to all wildlife, along with specific actions to increase wildlife . Equal species rights is the only survivable option https://www.humansandnature.org/humans-nature-the-right-relationship

  • Apply permaculture strategies for urban planning https://permaculturenews.org/2012/03/07/re-imagining-urban-design-and-city-life/ (and please note that quote there in terms of busineses co-opting open spaces: The enclosure of public spaces, by the same reasoning, is anti-democratic. When shopping malls and office towers eliminate our public squares, our parks and our promenades, we lose our capacity to see each other, to socialize and speak publicly, to identify and empathize with each other, to be commoners. Without these spaces, we are forced into playing roles dictated by the Market or the State.

  • Develop city planning processes that are aligned with human and other species centric behaviour https://centerforthelivingcity.org/janejacobs. Develop a city whose structures and systems fosters and celebrates other species in our presence, that encourages interactions between all members of its human society (the poor, the unemployed, the wealthy , the young and the old) , that promotes safety, connection and wellbeing for all.

  • Replant most large lawn areas owned by the council with native and edible plantings. And stop putting toxic acid bark as mulch. Pine bark kills most of the native insects and other organisms for some soil depth – mulch with living plants.

  • Completely eliminate immediately the spraying of weedicides to keep berns and other grassed areas “tidy”.

  • Develop a city by-law to limit the concreting over of properties – all new driveways remain gravelled and unsealed .This will allow the soil to breathe underneath and permit the multiple soil species in that area to survive. It will also allow rain water to soak into the ground and help create more life, rather than being siphoned off into concrete storm-water drains and into the sea.

  • Extensively replant all stream, river and estuarine boundaries to the water’s edge with plants natural to those habitat areas. This will reduce erosion, silting up and improve water quality, and greatly improve the diversity of all species surviving in the area and beyond the water.

  • Severely restrict fishing in all areas close to the shore. Such fishing is helping (along with the commercial companies) to destroy our oceans, by eliminating essential breeding grounds for fish and other marine animals.

  • Stop the development of more commercial areas unless they are densely planted with native and other species.

  • Provide extensive education training and practical opportunities for communities to ensure their neighbourhoods are safe places for all species. (learn how to provide natural habitats, how to plant your backyard, compost etc etc ) Develop a free city-wide ‘creative commons’ of internet shared space for creating community, connection and environmental sustainability.

  • Develop public transport systems that are innovative and flexible and light- eg shared transport options that are modelled on electric scooter technology, and also encourage community interaction.

  • Encourage local small scale human activities that work alongside nature. Develop community garden initiatives, seed sharing clubs, local community planting initiatives…

  • Significantly extend and improve the filtering and natural oxidation processes for sewer discharge. More swamp ponds and natural screening filters to ensure all sewage and other industrial water discharges are naturally filtered and no untreated discharges occur in extreme weather events (events which are becoming more and more frequent!)

  • RE-PLANT!

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

 

Faking News

As the great journalist John Pilger notes in  his 1st April  2018  article about the Ecuadorean  Government’s silencing of Julian Assange , we are being subjected to  a constant battering on  many fronts to  ensure we only listen to the ‘right’  information about the world around us.

The demonisation  of Russia can partly be explained by  Western Government’s concerns about the role of RT.com  providing an  alternative meme ( in most cases as legitimate -and often more so   than its Western news-agency  counterparts) to that  expressed through what is termed Mainstream media (MSM) . Mainstream Media is in  essence, western media which  toe the dominant  political party line –  whether it be anti-Russian,  anti-Trump,  pro-‘intervention’ ( read  ‘killing’)  in  other countries, or most importantly,  pro-consumerism.

But this attempted silencing of alternative media stories, no  matter how legitimate or truthful they  are, not only extends to  foreign  entities like Russia or China ,  it also  includes any  highly visible figures like Assange  who  do not espouse what is known to be ‘right’ by  our esteemed leaders, and the multitude of internet  bloggers who  research  and analyse the stories behind the stories.

The recent bizarre attempt by western governments and MSM,  to conflate alternative opinion as ‘fake news”,  borders on  the psychotic.  It  is a  witchhunt against  those who do  not respect  the  often  infantile repetitive lies told in  the MSM or by  apparently intellectually impaired politicians such  as U.K’s Foreign  Secretary  Boris Johnson, or for that  matter  Donald Trump. By  now the old lies about  the reasons we must fight  wars in  ‘foreign’ lands  for ‘freedom  and democracy”  or  to “save civilians”, are wearing remarkable thin.

Thus the  ‘establishment’ is now flailing around for a further reason why  we should just  accept that   the mass-killing  of ‘other’ people is good for them. In  John Pilger’s belief,  this media frenzy  against  those who detour from  the party line is  a  significant threat to  the establishment, with the intended  war against  Russia and China looming and the drums beating ever louder – they can  not afford a dissenting “fifth column” in  their midst who  can undermine the thirst  for war or the need for civilians to rally behind the flag.

As the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal  has made clear;  it is not just  Russia and the ‘enemy’  who  is manipulating public opinion through  ‘slanted stories’ and  twitter bots! SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s British parent company,  prides itself on  its capacity to manipulate public opinion in  both  foreign lands and internally in  the UK.  We can be sure that there are many other western  companies and intelligence services who, despite their actual  minimal real intelligence,  aim  to manipulate public opinion at  home and abroad. In the United States, this is an  easy  task. The vast majority of Americans have limited education,  no understanding of foreign countries and no memory  for history-  an ideal  subject for manipulation!

In the United States therefore we have something passed into  law by  Congress  in  2016  called

The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act would ensure America’s national security infrastructure helps counter the false narratives that harm our security — delivering truthful information and making the world a safer place for the United States and our allies.”

Note .. that as written into the NDAA, the legislation’s provisions establish an inter-agency body “to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies,” and to develop “procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.”

Where the ‘facts”  come that  the public needs re-education on,  and the ‘false facts’  that  the public needs protection from,  do  not of course need to  be stated. Our respective governments always know best! -don’t they??

As we have seen in  the ludicrous litany  of lies put out by  the British government  around the Salisbury  nerve gas poisoning affair, all  the key  mainstream  UK and other Western media have jumped in lock-step to  push the U.K government Russian-basking charges without once examining the implausibility of the  facts presented. Whether these media agencies and their journalists  are  paid,  bribed, coerced or blackmailed into  regurgitating this British  propaganda, is unknown  at  this point,

This is of course not something new.  State entities  have always attempted to manipulate their publics to ensure compliance to  the  official  line -whether it be going to  war, or maximising the potential threats of other states  to  maximise profits for the corporates who  fund the ruling “elite” . In  all  cases, the states’ manipulatory processes are for  short-term  gain and almost  inevitably have a long term negative impact  on  their public.

The most telling  and catastrophically fatal example of this flaw in  our ‘democracies”, is the media  and political drive for corporates to produce more ‘things’  and for their publics to consume more things.  All analysis shows that in  a closed system  like our little world, this drive inevitably leads to  planetary disaster – but it helps keep  political  parties in  power…for now….


Postscript

A  useful analysis of military  propaganda here from Adam  Ramsay here 

Note also  the “The Times” (U.K.) fascinating attempt to shut down academic dissent around the  U.K. government’s version of events in  Syria 

 


Links

http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-isolation-of-julian-assange-is-the-silencing-of-us-all

Roger Stone: Obama’s National Censorship Board is Very Real

https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/gec/  Global Engagement Center (U.S.)

The Poison in our Body Politic

Control 101: Creating Consensus Reality

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/philip-hammond/syria-stop-asking-questions

The Essential Alternative to Animal Slaughter

Freezing works” (ie slaughter house ) in New Zealand; from Teara.govt.nz

A recent front page article in  my local New Zealand newspaper disparaging   the future on  non meat based proteins, prompted  me to  respond.

In  2016 New Zealand mercilessly slaughtered 28,387,595 lambs,  adult sheep,  calves,  adult steers and cows,  pigs,  and goats; with young lambs totalling over  18 million of those deaths. Two of the major “meat companies’  in  New Zealand respectively  had an income from  those deaths of  just over $10 million  and $17 million. Animals  are indoctrinated to  become used to being shifted from  pasture to  pasture with  dogs and men on  farm  bikes;  and then , when  the  killing season  starts, are herded into  tightly packed   fenced areas and  forced onto   truck  and trailer units  for the long tortuous drive to  the ‘meatworks’.

Teara.govt.nz notes that  ‘in 2009 there were about 80 meat-processing plants in New Zealand, employing about 26,500 people and exporting to about 150 countries.’

A recent article in  the New York Times noted a research study  where sheep  were able to  distinguish  between the faces of different humans;-  hardly a surprise to most of us who  have emotional  connections to  our pets, but obviously so  to the scientists. (https://nypost.com/2017/11/08/sheep-learn-to-recognize-emma-watsons-face )
What it therefore correspondingly tells us  is that  those millions of  sheep   and other animals  we kill for fun  and profit every year  in New Zealand  who  are  transported to  the killing fields of the abattoirs around New Zealand and then  savagely killed and cut up; are very well  aware of the  pure terror they  and their  fellow beings  have to  endure before they die and are consumed for pleasure by  humans..

There is  undeniable scientific evidence that  humankind’s reliance on meat  production has  contributed significantly to the  vast loss of species habitat  across the world ( and particularly so in New Zealand ) ,which will  if not checked in  the near future, along with its impact  on  climate change,  lead to  the destruction of all  life on this planet.

The other ‘unfortunate truth’  is that  there is irrefutable evidence that  every  new element of human ‘progress’  results in  the destruction of more and more species on this planet-  species which  which  humans are in direct  connection for our mutual  survivability.

Look  around,  almost every  aspect of what  we call  ‘progress’  is  our relentless transfer of the living and vibrant to  the inanimate-  the concrete, the tar,   the electronics, the cut down  trees…….we are inexorably deadening the planet  with our ‘progress”.

In addition recent studies of insect  populations  in Europe reveal  rapid declines in  flying insects likely due to  monoculture, deforestation and  insecticides. Without insects,  we all  die ;  rapidly

Consequently we have no  choice as a species than  to give up  killing our fellow species for protein and profit   and begin  to  live a more sustainable and humane  life-  and we have to make that change very  soon!

Links

The Nonhuman Rights Project https://www.nonhumanrights.org/

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

Gaia and the Joys of Collective Psychosis

In Ukraine we see good Ukraine citizens believing that  ‘slant-eyed’  Russians ( perhaps Mongols from  the 12th century?)  have invaded their peaceful country, and along with a tiny number of Ukrainian traitors, have managed to  fend off the advances of the peace-loving Kiev government army  and  neo-nazi Right Sektor militias to return Eastern Ukraine to the fold. We need no  evidence-  we simply know that this is the case.

In Syria, every  good Sunni  knows that  it was Assad’s government that created ISIS;  where else could it have come from? -in order   that  evil  Shi-ite Persians and Lebanese  Hezbollah  could invade their country.  Clearly Sunni Saudi Arabia and their Wahabbist   crazies had nothing to do  with it!

In America every  good Democrat  knows that  it was only because of Russian intervention and ‘hacking’  that  Donald Trump  won  the election. How else could he have won?

And in the U.K. and in Poland the Russians are coming,  if they  are not already here! Russia’s aging  long range bombers and their sole smoking  aircraft  carrier are ready  at any moment to bring apocalyptic doom to  those good democratic shores..

I  am once again  reminded of my great great  grandfather’s time here in sleepy New Zealand, when  in  the 1890s, a  Russian Empire rust-bucket of a warship  managed to creep  this far south in  the Pacific to  to cause chaos and concern amongst us gentle white folks.  Vast  sums were raised to buy ( from British  armament factories) long range   guns to  install  on every  headland to  forestall  the imminent threat of a Russian  invasion. The Russo-Japanese brief  naval  and land army  altercation of 1904 was to  quickly prove how much  of a threat those Russian  warships  and armed forces actually were..

So-  those are  a few tangible examples of collective pyschosis –  how we as humans can so  easily be swayed into  believing an alternative reality-  because everyone else is believing it too.

However –  much much bigger than  those relatively small  events,  is humankind’s current conviction (since at  least the ‘industrial  revolution’) that  destroying all  of the  living things on this planet is ‘progress’ .  And, decade after decade, each  one of the remaining indigenous cultures have been sucked into  this ‘word-view’  that  we  humans must   produce things  to  make us humans happy and  ‘progress somewhere’ . Every one of the material things that  we produce  comes at  the expense of another living thing…

The evidence is very much out there-  and has been increasingly obvious over the past fifty years,  that  we as humans are  incrementally, and  at an ever faster pace ,  destroying the capacity of this planet to provide a sustainable habitat to not only ourselves, but  to  all of earth’s living things. But  we are still  ‘locked in’  to  ‘progress’  –  destroying  life for another bauble that will inevitably  self-destruct in  a few  months or years…

Perhaps, just perhaps, if we had had a slow motion time-lapse video which had showed   the world’s life steadily being steadily and rapidly drained away over the past 2000  years –  year upon year  –  then just maybe we might have done something about it.  Instead, we talk  about it;  we pretend that our machines of ‘progress’  can  redress the problems,  when the reality is that only other life, other species, can  reverse the  apocalypse-  if we have time.

And  that  – as we  all  know-  is not going to happen. Because human ‘progress’ its believed,   is going to  save us with more technology, more  ‘progress’  (and  more destruction of living things)…

A mammoth global  campaign to  plant and grow trees everywhere –  to revert  all  our feedstock lands to  forest, to plant trees on  every  available inch  of land  that is not absolutely necessary  to provide  humans with  a meagre  vegetable diet;  might permit this planet to  survive as a living entity….but the odds look  very very slim….Trees not only once almost  entirely covered the landmass of our little planet,  they provided a home for a huge biodiversity of other plants  insects and animals that  kept our planet viable  flexible  and   adaptable to  climactic and other  planetary  changes. That capacity to  adapt through  species diversification  is now being squeezed from  this planet.

Lovelock had it right the first time.  Our planet is  indeed a  single living entity –  Gaia -composed of  millions of different living  interlocking entities-  much  the same way as the human organism functions.

We are killing her…


Links

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Japanese_War

https://ourworldindata.org/forest-cover/#very-long-term-perspective-on-deforestation-in-specific-regions

The Genocide that is Yemen

Based on the latest United Nations estimates;   ‘as of 1 November 2016 , health facilities reported more than 7000 people killed and more than 43,000 injured since mid-March 2015, including more than 3,200 children killed or injured. (UNOCHA) (out of an estimated totally Yemeni population of 27,913,984).

Medical materials are in chronically short supply, and only 45 per cent of health facilities are functioning. As of October 2016, at least 274 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed in the conflict, 13 health workers had been killed and 31 injured. 

Saudi intervention in what was till 2015 a relatively low-level civil war between rival Yemen factions, began in March 2015, to support one of the pro-Saudi  factions, and it would appear, to successfully strengthen the hold of Al Qaeda in the south of Yemen.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) states that as of March 2017:

The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate almost one and a half years after the escalation of conflict in March 2015.The escalation amplified an already existing protracted crisis, which was characterised by widespread poverty, conflict, poor governance and weak rule of law, including widely reported human rights violations.

Yemen was already the poorest county in the Middle East when the crisis escalated.  Men, women, and children were already facing a humanitarian crisis, stemmed from years of poverty, poor governance, and instability, including widespread violations of human rights. The situation has only worsened in the past year and the speed and scale of the deterioration is alarming. The economy is near collapse, public and private services have all but disappeared, and Yemenis have lost most of their livelihoods and have depleted most of their saving.  Yemen has turned into a protection crisis where the average citizen is facing tremendous hardships and the most vulnerable populations are struggling simply to survive.

More than 19 months since conflict escalated have left an estimated 18.8 million people in need some kind of assistance or protection in order to meet their basic needs, including 10.3 million who are in acute need. This represents an increase of almost 20 per cent since late 2014 and is driven by increases across key sectors. The 18.8 million people in need estimation is lower than the 21.2 million cited for 2016. These changes do not reflect an improvement in the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen, but rather a further tightening around priorities based on a rigorous analysis of evidence. 

Even Human Rights Watch, a notoriously Western biased “human rights’ organization committed to western ‘human rights interventions’ (read ‘invasions of countries of people who are not white’), has stated that ‘With help from former President Saleh, Houthis, the Zaidi Shia group, took control of the capital and much of the north in late 2014. President Hadi and his cabinet fled to Saudi Arabia in early 2015 and in March, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched air strikes against the Houthis. Dozens of the airstrikes appeared to violate the laws of war. Houthi forces laid landmines and used other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks . The UN reported in January 2016 that the conflict had claimed 2,795 civilian lives in 2015.

Not only is Saudi Arabia deploying the largest arsenal in the Middle East  courtesy of the United States and the U.K.) against the impoverished country of Yemen, but it has financed armed and trained their Wahabbhi ‘rebels’ like Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria along with Qatar, to a massive degree over the past few years. The vicious sectarian ideologies of the Saudi ‘kingdom’s’ Wahabbists; long supported and bolstered by the U.K. , are the rationale for killing anyone who does not espouse those extremist Sunni views. The 40-45% of Yemenese who follow the  Zaidi order of Shia Islam- many of whom are supporters of the Houthis, are therefore regarded as apostates for extermination by the Wahabbists. Small wonder that Saudi pilots are clearly under order to attack Shi-ite civilian centres. It should however be noted   that  given  the U.K.’s longstanding  and extensive role in human rights abuses and war crimes in Yemen  (particularly in 1964 supporting the Saudis)  as detailed in  Christopher Davidson’s book “The Shadow Wars: the Secret  Struggle for the Middle East” , as well  as the huge investment by the UK war machine and the incompetence of the Saudi military, it is highly likely that, as in 1964, “retired’  RAF pilots are engaged in the aerial  bombardment of civilians in Yemen and other atrocities.

As supposedly democratic and humanitarian Western governments usually do in times like these, the U.K. government has contracted lawyers to concoct grotesque legal arguments that their massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their support of U.S. drone killings in Yemen, do not constitute an equally massive violation of the rule of international law. The U.K. Government, its foreign policy advisors and its hand-in-glove armaments manufacturers are once again undoubtedly guilty of horrifying war crimes.

Middle East Eye notes that The UK government licensed arms exports worth £3.3bn ($4.2bn) to Saudi Arabia during the first 12 months of the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen, a campaign group has revealed. The Campaign Against Arms Trade’s analysis of government figures, released this week, shows the total is at least £500m more than previously thought.

From April 2015, the UK approved exports including so-called smart bombs, components for combat aircraft, armoured vehicles and communications equipment.

The government in Riyadh is the UK arms industry’s biggest customer and the figures show that the Middle East is the UK’s largest overall export market for weapons, including Eurofighter Typhoon jets that have dropped devastating 2,000-lb bombs in urban areas in Yemen.

Note only has the UK been supplying the corrupt regime in Riyadh with massive amounts of military hardware over many many years , but it also has (as do the Americans) personnel on the ground assisting the Saudis in their genocide.

The U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia however, dwarfs the U.K.’s historical complicity with the brutal Saudi regime. Since 2009, the Obama administration’s has signed Saudi Arabia up to $57 billion worth of arms sales.

Manifestly internationally illegal U.S. drone murders in Yemen have been targeting Al Qaeda there for the past 15 years. Supposedly these drone strikes target Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen, yet mysteriously Al Qaeda has steadily grown in power and influence; particularly and predictably since the Saudis launched their war against the Houthis, supported by the U.S. and the U.K. Now the Trump administration is once again increasing the Yemen drone strikes.

In  addition, the Saudis,  despite their denials,  are enforcing a  naval  and air blockade of Houthi  held areas of Yemen,  further  exacerbating an already  dire humanitarian  situation on the ground. The Saudis  and United States and the mainstream media claim,  without any evidence,  that  the Iranians  are militarily supporting the Houthis.  Should this have been  the case,  we would have seen  satellite imagery  of Iranian  planes and  ships  trying to  break  the blockade, if not Iranian  seized vessels and arms.

The reality is that  the Houthis have more than enough  weaponry  through  the Yemen army that have  largely backed  the Houthis,  and through  seized armaments from the Saudis. While a different branch of Shi-ism,  the Iranian  government is clearly sympathetic to  the  Houthis and is likely to  have at  least supplied  the Houthis with the technical  now-how for their devastating missile attacks on  Saudi  troop deployments.

The sad reality is that Western democracies have cloaked their barbarities in pursuit of profit and power under labels of ‘ bringing the true religion’, ‘civilisation’, ‘democracy’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’, since long before the rise of capitalism. Western governments cannot kill their own populations in large numbers as they would no longer be in power at the next election!: instead they are licensed to kill the ‘other’, the ‘dark races’, the ‘uncivilized’, the ‘un-Christian’ in ‘foreign’ countries. Yemen is the epitome of ‘foreign’ to the West.   For not only are they of significant interest to the West’s pawns in Riyadh, the Saudis; they are also tribal, dark skinned, and at the bottom of the heap in terms of poverty and far away from the gaze of Western publics.  An ‘ideal’  testing ground for Western  weapons.

The Gulf potentates are therefore none better for the West to sell vast amounts of weapons to, and watch their incompetent new owners destroy them in vast numbers in the vicious war with the Houthis and their allies in Yemen. It makes little difference to their Western minders that the Saudis are committing genocide in Yemen; aided with targeting facilities and refueling of aircraft by the United States and U.K trainers..

The current application of the rule of law in international politics and conflict is a complete farce. It is grounded purely in ‘right is might’;  which for this current and previous century at least, has been the prerogative of Western powers against ‘The South’.  That dynamic is now of course changing rapidly with the rise of China and the resurgence of Russian military power.

Should we see the control of the International War Crimes Tribunal pass from Western judges who have been consistently ‘pressured’ by Western governments to take certain political stances, to Russian or even Chinese adjudicators; we may finally see some justice in bringing the long line of Western politicians and military leaders responsible for more than a century of horrendous war crimes around the world, to justice.

Finally, while the removal of suffering of Yemen’s humans should be the priority of our fellow humans; there is no-one and nothing that protects the devastation to the other species that were already struggling to survive before this brutal war erupted.

While we have likely already passed the point of no return in having a relatively liveable climate on this planet; we still, as the sole cause of this destruction in this world, have an obligation to try and save what remains of the other species on this precious Earth. Our constant futile human wars are doing a great deal to speed up that process of planetary destruction.


Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemeni_Civil_War_(2015%E2%80%93present)

http://www.unocha.org/yemen/crisis-overview

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/03/10/saudi-airstrike-kills-26-mostly-civilians-in-yemen-market/

https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/yemen

https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/saudi-arabia

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-03-03/66440

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372979-british-collusion-sectarian-violence/

http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/01/15/data-how-guns-and-oil-dominate-uk-saudi-arabia-relationship/

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-approves-33bn-arms-sales-yemen-126867279

http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/uk-bases-used-targeting-secret-us-drone-war-documents-indicate/

https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/reading-elisabeth-webers-kill-boxes/

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/march/09/bomb-the-shstart-out-of-them-trump-drones-yemen-more-in-one-week-than-obama-in-a-year/

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/blowback-americas-disastrous-policy-yemen-will-be-profound-18698

Christopher Davidson:  “The Shadow Wars: the Secret  Struggle for the Middle East” 

http://christopherdavidson.net/BaseHub/2017/01/22/shadow-wars-video-trailer/