“What’s the good news?” You say.
“We got rid of the HIV virus in your system that was going to kill you in 20 years.”
“Well that’s wonderful news!” you reply, “But what’s the bad news?”
“We did it by inserting a radioactive poison in your blood stream that will kill you in one year.”
This is my reaction to hearing the much lauded news about the recent slow down in carbon dioxide growth that happened in 2012 (New Scientist, 11-6-13). The story reveals that for the first time in a long time, the emissions of CO2 in major states has slowed. Global carbon emissions rose by 1.4 % in 2012. This is compared to the yearly rise of carbon emissions by 2.9 % that we’ve seen since 2000.
The world powers that emit the most carbon dioxide are the United States, China and the European Union. The United States cut their emissions of CO2 by 4%, the European Union continues its decade long decline in emissions and China probably represents the most drastic decline; After their CO2 emissions have been growing by 10 % a year for a decade, their CO2 emissions only grew by 3% in 2012.
So this all seems like great news right? Guess again. Part of the reason why CO2 fell in the United States last year is because of our switch from using coal to obtaining natural gas via fracking. Now there is nothing “natural” about natural gas, and inserting “natural” into the name doesn’t change anything either. There is a tendency to spin ugly truths by inserting prettied up words. Politicians like to talk about “natural gas” and “clean coal.” I can go around talking about “clean cancer” and “sanitary garbage” all I like, but my terms don’t change the reality of my words.
The process of fracking releases Methane into the atmosphere, which is 20 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide. But don’t take my word for it, consult the EPA’s page on Methane Gas. While methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long as Carbon Dioxide, its effect on climate change are 20 times greater than Carbon Dioxide over a 100 year period. Also, according to this website, a majority of methane emissions in the United States come from Natural Gas and Petroleum Systems.
So if we really want to measure climate progress. We should be measuring the drop in green house gasses such as Carbon Dioxide AND Methane. However, I won’t be a complete wet blanket in this article. There is some good news. Solar and wind energy have doubled their contribution to the global economy between 2006 and 2012 (New Scientist). We should applaud nations that have taken major steps in becoming more fuel efficient and fighting climate change. Germany in particular has put forward some pretty impressive reforms. (Lessons From Germany, Time)
Two thirds of the world’s nations have also agreed to some kind of treaty to limit emissions. However, the United States is not one of these countries. If the United States insists on being an example for the rest of the globe, we need to start making a serious commitment to funding and researching renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. When measuring electricity generated by different sources in the United States, Solar and Wind still only generate 4% of the energy we use. I made some charts so you could visualize this yourself.
This is the measure of net electricity produced by source in 2012. (By Thousand Megawatthours)
This is a measure of electricity generated by Solar and Wind, compared to other sources, just by themselves:
Did you know that Agriculture is a much bigger cause of Green House Gas emissions than transportation or waste? According to a new report from the UN, modern Agriculture accounts for 28% of all Green House Gas emissions (See Figure 3)! This seems like quite a feat for flatulent cows, but it makes sense when you think about it. Agriculture is a system that requires mass deforestation and crowds millions of animals together in cramped quarters who are busy emitting their own gaseous poisons into the atmosphere – if you know what I mean.
In addition to farting cows, there are many more serious dangers to our modern agricultural machine: it poisons the soil, it is feeding us hormones and pesticides, and it has been shown that there is a strong connection between the use of neonicotinoids (a pesticide) and the death of the bees. The European Union has already made a decision to ban this particular pesticide (EPA).
Some people believe that the current, modern agricultural system is necessary for feeding a majority of the people on the planet. Soon we will have 8 billion people. However, a new report was released from the UN that discusses how Organic Agriculture could solve world hunger and climate change at the same time.
Read the UN Report Here (PDF)
The Forest is Everything. Without it, we will have nothing.
For more information, see Living Farms.
In the past there were 5 major extinctions that destroyed most life on the planet. Today, Humans are bringing the 6th major extinction.
I always thought it would be cool to be sent off on a burning boat when I die.
But here’s another creative way to handle your remains. Get turned into a tree!
Cemeteries are just one example of humanity’s proficiency for wasting space.
Entire landscapes are ruined so people can preserve their dead corpses in metal boxes.
Imagine if you replaced cemeteries with forests and how much better that would be for the planet.
Also imagine all the new horror movies that could be made: “Night of the Living Trees.”
Check Out Woodland Burials – the place that turns people into trees.
What the frack is this shit? For those of you still in the dark, “fracking” is an unconventional method of releasing “natural” gas from the ground. However, there is nothing natural about it. It is a procedure by which rock is fractured by pressurized liquid to release hard to reach oil and gas. Many of the politicians in both Britain and U.S. have been telling us that fracking will be good for us. It will stimulate the economy for 100 years! It’s natural and safe! And they’ll give you a pony if you accept it…okay, maybe they didn’t say that part, but the other promises are so dubious anyways they may as well have.
PROMISES OF SHINY NEW JOBS ARE A BUNCH OF HOT AIR:
Much of the promises about new jobs are highly over exaggerated. Most realistic estimates show that fracking will add very little jobs to the market.
Let’s take the state of Ohio for example. Ohio has become a Petri-dish for the Fracking Industry. The governor embraced the industry wholeheartedly, hoping it would bring more jobs to natives of Ohio. What he found instead, is that the industry brought many workers from out of state and few of the locals in the fracked territories actually acquired jobs themselves. Fracking is more of a “boom and bust” industry where outsiders increase a town’s tourism industry for a few years before moving on somewhere else when the job is done.
STATEMENTS FROM THE GOVERNOR OF OHIO:
“You could have a situation where we are not getting the jobs, they’re taking the resources, and all their profits and they’re heading home,” Kasich said. “That is not acceptable to me. Now, we don’t have the conclusive evidence that this is happening yet, but I want you all to know, and I want the companies to know that this is an extremely serious matter, and we expect them to be responsive to the people of this state (Midwestern Energy News).”
PIPE DREAMS ABOUT THE TAR-SANDS:
A report from Cornell University bringing the over-hyped estimates of job gains to reality:
The fact that many politicians see fracking as the “natural” alternative to common place oil production makes me realize that I don’t have enough barf bags laying around when I read the news. Fracking is a process that releases Methane Gas, a Green House Gas 20 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide (EPA). Yeah about that Global Warming thing that’s currently happening…releasing methane all over the place might not be a good idea.
Not only is Fracking bad for the atmosphere, but it is highly destructive to local communities in terms of contaminating nearby well water, causing earthquakes, and is a ridiculous waste of water. It apparently takes 2-4 million gallons of water per well, according to the following EPA REPORT (PDF). (I recently corrected this figure, because a reader stated their concern over the accuracy of the source).
Read more facts on this creatively done website: The Dangers of Fracking
Apparently the Pagan Community in Britain has been a buzz with organized activity against Fracking. Some of the most prominent voices are Phillip Carr-Gomm, a leader in the Druid Community, and Starhawk a prolific author on books about Goddess and Earth Based spirituality. You can see Phillip speak out in the video below.
PAGAN VOICES SPEAK OUT
OUR MEN AGAINST FRACKING
WOMEN SPEAK FOR THE EARTH
RITUAL AGAINST FRACKING
On September 28th there will be a large anti-fracking ritual called “The Warrior’s Call” to protect a location called Albion from fracking. Apparently 1300 people will be attending! People around the world who can’t show up will also host their own rituals to give support.
MORE LINKS ON PAGANS AGAINST FRACKING BELOW
PAGAN LEADERS AGAINST FRACKING
RITUAL AGAINST FRACKING SEPT 28:
“NBC News’ Ann Curry journeyed deep into the Amazon Rainforest to a village called Bomeno in Ecuador. Bomeno is home to the rarely seen people of the Waorani Tribe. The tribe and the rainforest they call home is increasingly being threatened by environmental damage caused by oil drilling. Ann Curry’s full report Friday, May 3 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams. (NBC Synopsis)”
Workplace rights mean being able to practice your religion at work.
Examples: A christian wearing a cross and taking off for religious holidays.
A Sikh being allowed to wear a turban, grow a beard and have long hair.
A Muslim having time to pray 5 times a day.
Pagans should also be allowed to wear religious insignia and take off for holy days.
Such rights are starting to take off in the U.K.
Need a New Years Resolution? Wanna do something simple that can help the environment and reduce general suffering in the world?
Eat less meat.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 18% of Green House Gases are attributed to raising animals as food (New York Times). When you think about it, this makes sense. Vast amounts of land are cleared of trees for animal containment. These animals in turn will eat much of the food on the land and fart it out in the form of Carbon Dioxide (it’s crude but true!).
You don’t have to go 100% cold turkey into the Vegetarian Lifestyle to make a difference (or I guess I should say no turkey).
Even committing to eating less meat in your day to day life can help.
One simple thing you can do is to start having a Meatless Monday (or a Tofu Tuesday if you prefer).
Or you can commit to buying your meat from more local based, small farms at the Farmer’s Market.
Most Americans eat too much meat anyways – consuming an average of 200 pounds a year. That’s about 67 Telephone books!
Most sources say that you only need to eat 5-6 ounces of protein a day (that’s about the size of a deck of cards). Yet the average American eats twice that amount (Huffington Post). The ideal diet is composed of high amounts of fruits, veggies, whole grains and a small amount of lean meats (with a focus more on poultry and eggs than red meat). Reducing your consumption of meat (red meat in particular) can increase your lifespan, reduce your weight and improve your overall health.
You are what you eat. Would you rather be a pig or a lean bean?
Are you a vegetarian?
Or do you try to buy local because you don’t like subsidizing the torture of animals?
Do people tell you your choices are useless, because you’re only one person?
And one person can’t make a difference?
Well, guess what?
Two major grocery stores in Australia now refuse to sell factory farmed meat.
Consumer choices are beginning to effect industry.
The battle isn’t won.
But this is a step in the right direction.
Many of man’s greatest inventions are mere mimicry of nature. Have you ever noticed that the flight of a helicopter resembles that of a dragonfly or hummingbird? Hovering birds such as eagles, vultures and pelicans inspired the designs of a plane. Reptiles basking in the sunlight inspired solar panels (Human Inventions Inspired By Nature).
Now we are at a critical moment in history where once again, we need to learn from nature. As climate change accelerates and the modern world becomes more polluted – we need to learn once again how to coexist with the Earth. Total destruction of the environment is not a necessity for progress unlike what we have been lead to believe. So how can we live on the planet without jeopardizing our own future?
Here Are Some Lessons From Nature
Recycle: Nothing is wasted in the natural world. All excrement and decay is brought back into the Earth and reused as a fertilizer for plant growth or food for insects and worms. Nature’s “trash” becomes a treasure when it adds new life and richness to the soil. We need to find ways to recycle our own trash back into the economy. We can do this via donating old goods rather than throwing them away, having a compost pile, recycling on a regular basis and reusing many of our goods.
The Perfect Balance of Order and Chaos: Whatever type of government or system we choose for ourselves. It must be one that benefits the planet as well as the people. It must benefit the ecosystem through which we live and lead to the creation of new life, even if this means the destruction of old ideas. Right now most people live under destructive governments with destructive world systems. These systems are powered by war, terror and the destruction of the planet. If these governments cannot reform themselves, they will self destruct and something else will take their place.
The principles of Humanism and Christianity are not sacrosanct. They are not the ideals for the whole planet and everyone on it. We must switch to a system that follows nature’s law, for nature is a complex of chaos and order that protects the whole of life.
Nature Creates Its Own Energy: We must find sources of energy that are renewable and replenishing. We must invest more in solar and wind power, because these are sources that do not damage the surrounding landscape. There is no such thing as “clean coal,” “clean nuclear” or “natural gas.” All of these sources are dirty and toxic to human health. We must phase out coal, nuclear, fracking and oil like we would wean a drug addict off their addiction. Solar and wind will be the vegetables and fruits to a system pigging out on alcohol and potato chips.
Changing Public Policy Through Spiritual Perception
The land is endowed with many spirits. It is sacred. Paganism and Earth based Spirituality is keenly aware of this fact.
Unfortunately, not all religions are.
The data shows that religious ideals can effect public policy and even how people vote.
(Data From Enviroknow)
Popular political issues in terms of religion are reducing poverty and preventing abortion.
Yet the desire to reduce pollution and climate change are at the bottom of the list.
Imagine how society would change, if more people connected with the Earth at a spiritual level, rather than just looking at it as a data point or as a resource for consumption.
And for the Judeo Christians out there, even the bible states that lessons can be learned from the Earth.
Job 12:7-10. But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air
and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish
of the sea inform you.
And that we are responsible for the land’s care:
Lev. 25:23-24. The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.
Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the
redemption of the land.
Why are there so many hungry people in the world? Especially in farming communities (in the developing world)? Can’t these people grow their own food, you may ask?
3rd world farmers must sell everything they grow in order to pay for the expensive farming methods that have been forced upon them by American companies like Monsanto. This is part of a deliberate strategy to supplant local agricultural with an unsustainable system, a system controlled by one company. Take over the food supply and you control the people.
Farming communities (specifically in the Punjab in India) have been devastated by the so called “Green Revolution.” Indian farmers are enticed to buy “miracle crops” that require an insane amount of maintenance to grow: pesticides, herbicides and many other atrocities that will destroy the soil. Once the soil is destroyed, these farmers must pay even more money in order to deal with this – or starve to death.
This is all part of a deliberate system to keep people poor, in debt, and dependent upon a single monocultural system of food. Local crop diversity is replaced with one or two genetically modified crops.
Yet this tactic didn’t work so well for Ireland – when the British forced Irish peasants to grow potatoes as their one and only crop. When a disease started killing the potatoes, millions of Irish people lost their only source of food and 1 million Irish people ended up dying.
This new food revolution we see today has even worse implications, because it requires all sorts of pesticides and herbicides in order to work. Many of the side effects of these chemicals have not even been tested and are completely unknown.
Coincidentally – or not so coincidentally – as the use of these chemicals exploded after world war II, large populations of bats, bees and frogs began dying. Rates of Autism, deadly allergies, and retardation in children are going up and it’s a medical mystery! Sperm counts in males are declining and nobody knows why. Apparently the male chromosome is getting smaller and nobody knows why. Hrmmm…I wonder if putting all sorts of mystery chemicals all over our food and water supply would have some kind of horrific reaction? Something to ponder.
(Devastation of Hurricane Sandy in Battery Park, NYC)
In 2012 Climate Change wasn’t even mentioned in the presidential debates for the first time in 2 decades.
The world conference on climate change in Rio was a joke with no real solutions.
This week Hurricane Sandy made herself heard by slamming into the financial heart of America (New York).
As humans we think that our little, consumption based system has triumphed over nature.
But we are only a grain of sand among trillions.
Nature is 5 billion years old.
Humans as a species are 30,000 years young.
The Modern Capitalist World order is an infant at 200 years young.
Can we really triumph over the forces of nature?
7.5 million in the East Coast lose power.
That’s 2% of the United State’s total population!
When will we wake up?
Let us wake up and start living on this planet with a manner of dignity and respect.
Or else we can look forward to the following future below for Consumption Based America:
(This photo is not from Sandy. It is a fake. But it is still a good image of where we’re headed. )
Imagine if you could live without a mortgage.
No utility bill. No electric bill.
Your own house will produce everything you need: food, heat, cooling, insulation.
A house built out of tires and beer cans. Cooled by plants.
The Garbage Warrior takes a generation’s trash and builds it into a new hope for the future.
Get aboard the Earth Ship and venture to a new frontier.
“We’re prepared to use our arrows to defend what belongs to us,” says Jairo Fuentes, a young Wayúu man who is leading the fight to protect Tamaquito.
The natives of Tamaquito are so attached to the land that mothers even bury the umbilical cords of their children in the ground to represent their connection to the land.
Yet now a Multinational Mining company is trying to force the people to relocate.
The explosions of the mine have scared away many of the forest animals.
The pollution has destroyed local water and air quality.
Even the goats are too scared to reproduce.
Read More HERE
Ever hear of Bhutan? Little Buddhist nation between China and India?
Well if you haven’t, they are about to make World History.
In the 1950’s the average family contained 3.5 people with 983 square feet of living space.
Now the family average has shrunk to 2.5, but we require an average of 2,349 square feet of living space.
Yet there is a growing sustainability movement that focuses on building smaller and smarter houses.
Sarah, an Environmental Policy and Management major, has decided to take matters into her own hands – literally. She has built a mobile, sustainable house by the sweat of her own labor as the final project in pursuit of her Master’s.
All of the electricity is solar powered and much of it is made out of recycled materials.
She is selling her house for less than the price of a car.
Is there a place in the world where you can own your own land?
No Government interference?
And is actually encouraged to support the independence and growth of local communities?
Is it America? Hell no. We’re talking about Russia comrade!
The 2003 The Bovine, Russia’s Private Garden Plot Act entitles every Russian to have their own land to farm.
Anywhere from 2.2 to 6.8 acres. Most of Russia’s food is organically grown in local backyards.
“One: We are fighting for man and his culture.
Two: We are fighting for the environment.
Three: We are fighting for independence.”
~ Francis Ona (Former President of Bougainville)
This is the amazing story of an island people who stood up to a major western super power and won.
Through the 1970’s and 80’s, the giant mining corporation Rio Tinto Zinc set up one of the world’s biggest copper mines in Bougainville (an island in Papua New Guinea).
This company shuffled the native people off into make shift settlements on desolate ground and paid them only 1,000th of the total earnings accumulated in the mine. It didn’t take long for the local environment to be destroyed by run off minerals. Pollution flooded into nearby rivers and rendered the water undrinkable for the next 200 years.
When the local people of Bougainville tried to sue the mining company for damages, they were laughed at. From there, the native people fought a revolution first against the Papua New Guinea government, then against Australia and won through the power of their own innovation, spiritual strength and commitment to the land.
At first they only had sticks and stones. Yet over time they learned how to make their own guns, booby traps and created home-made coconut fuel for their boats and jeeps.
They learned many lessons from the land – including one that we in the West need to learn: Energy Independence. Their coconut fuel is cleaner than Diesel and provides twice the mileage.
This is truly an inspiring documentary. I believe many more Eco-Revolutions will unfold around the world as the corrupt forces of greed in the Modern World fall apart on themselves.
Nature has many lessons to teach us if we are willing to listen. The industrialized world has existed for around 300 years and modern humans for 40,000 years. Yet nature is a truth with 5 billion years of experience in the making. It is a system with the perfect balance of order and chaos. The fight for man’s culture, environment and independence is not just the fight of Bougainville – this is the fundamental war of our time.