I am a New Zealander- a ‘kiwi’ , a pakeha, a white male.
In 1200 AD these island lands had never seen a human, the land was almost completely covered in dense forest (what we call ‘the bush”) . Only one mammal lived here- the bat- perhaps blown by storms from Australia over 4000 kilometres away: – a few lizards, the seas teemed with fish and the remainder teeming wildlife were birds. When the white man (pakeha) came in the 1800s they reported that the sound of those birds’ dawn chorus was deafening- but no more.
We now live in a land where we have a few refuges of remainder bush where tourists can walk and believe they are once more in a primeval forest, but where the sounds of the dawn chorus is no longer deafening; where the pigs, possums and rats we introduced have played their part in the destruction of the bush , but where man has been the ultimate destroyer. Where the living world is silent, but the sound of man and his inanimate machines is everywhere.
We live in a land where introduced grassland ( where once was dense bush) feeds countless sheep and cows whose effluent pollutes our streams and rivers and the farmers’ fertilizers and pesticides destroy the living soil. We live in a land where humans do not care to notice the ongoing destruction of our natural world in the name of ‘progress’ or even more benightedly, “growth”. It is a tragedy that we use the word ‘growth” which talks to the living world , to greenery, and to life, to describe the destruction of our living world into a world of concrete and tar , electronics, steel and dead trees.
NZ Labour’s “Lets Get Moving” slogan for our upcoming general election, and the National Party’s slogans that everything depends on the economy, all represent a foolish, immoral and an intellectually bankrupt view that we can continue to destroy our natural world with human ‘progress’ and ‘growth’ without any repercussions.
However it is the New Zealand Green Party’s openly stated policy that more jobs and ‘growth’ are compatible with a sustainable future for the planet and New Zealand that really takes the cake. Those are more jobs that result in more of our once-living land sealed over, more trees and other vegetation destroyed, more insect species gone forever , more birds and other species irretrievably lost to the planet . Those more jobs and infrastructure are many more nails in the coffin of a world that sustains us humans and the rest of our precariously living world.
We have to change; right now, to a policy of no-growth; of a steady state economy which values and reveres all the life in our world. We desperately need political and economic polices which understand that the human ‘growth’ we have experienced over the past 100 years has been on the back of environmental destruction. We can no longer afford that trade-off; we have already traded away too much of our living world for cheap baubles.
We need to understand that all life is sacred. Not simply because it is a morally and humanly good thing to do- but because our future lives depend on it.
Over the last few months (May, June, July 2020) we have seen increasing numbers of media articles lambasting the Chinese and Russian governments for various supposed or presumed crimes. In almost every case of these articles – little or nothing has been presented to argue an alternative view of this anti-Sino-Russian agenda ( which one would suppose to be one of the virtues of a ‘free” press).
We are told that the Chinese or Russians are ‘highly likely’ to have done this or that, often purely based on ‘opensource’ material- i.e. online authors with a variety of axes to grind about Russia or China, and who invariably use speculation , innuendo or simply falsehoods, to explain their prejudices and their sponsors.
Along with other U.K. media, The Guardian, once a British left-wing newspaper, now continually trots out anti-Russian propaganda, with the latest most absurd article being its allegation that Russian hackers had stolen information about a COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University. The newspaper reports failed to mention however that the Russian government had in fact previously purchased the vaccine information, so was somewhat unlikely to have also stolen it.
The fictions about Russian involvement in the tawdry Skripal affair and the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess have been meticulously pulled apart by Craig Murray and others and shown to not only be implausible, but impossible. However as Craig Murray reminds us, simply to argue that the Russian’s were highly unlikely to have been responsible for what happened to Sturgess or the Skripals, does not mean that the Russian government, like most large state agencies around the world- does not engage in illegal international activities.
It should be clear however that the ongoing farcical campaign against President Putin by the Western press, relates less to any real international Russian activities that breach “international norms”-and rather more to do with the annoying habit of the Putin administration of blocking ongoing foreign access to Russia’s state assets, which under President Yeltsin were appropriated by so-called Russian oligarchs and siphoned off through bank accounts managed via the City of London. Now in dire economic circumstances because of Brexit and COVID-9 lockdown, the British government is desperate to regain access to that little gold-mine.
Similarly with the U.S. economy in free-fall, the Americans are desperate to halt the rise of China. China is fast becoming a world leader on the economic and technological innovation front, and with largely comprehensive and safe response to COVID19, appears to have weathered much of the resultant economic storm from lockdown. In contrast, both the U.S. and the U.K. have demonstrated staggering levels of stupidity and incompetence in their response to the virus, which will mean ongoing risks to their economies for years to come.
Along with attacks on Russian and Chinese economic initiatives, we see ongoing American and U.K. attacks on Chinese and Russian vulnerabilities. In China those attacks focus on the Uighur separatist and jihadist concerns ( funded and trained in Syria by the Turks, the Saudis and Western intelligence ‘interests”) and the subsequent Chinese government crackdown on the Uighur population, and also on the Chinese response to sometimes violent demonstrations by young Chinese people in Hong Kong – which again have been supported in their battle for a fictitious Free Hong Kong (something that their former British colonial overseers only appeared to promote in the last few years of the colony once it become clear that HK was going to be returned to Chinese government rule) The waving of American and British flags, singing the Star Spangled Banner and the calls for the “Han Chinese’ to stay out of HK by Chinese Han HK protesters, only highlighted the absurdity of the issues they were demanding. Hong Kong could not survive a year without their economic lifeline to the mainland.
There is no doubt that the Chinese government will be ruthless in its crackdown on dissent, but we should not forget how ruthless both the Americans and the British have been in their exploitation of “the coloured races’ over the last 100 years; From the use of Hong Kong to funnel opium to addicts on the mainland right up to the Japanese invasion of HK in 1941 ( which was only stopped because the Japanese did not have access to the British controlled opium producers ), the atom bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Korean genocide where millions of North Korean civilians were exterminated as American and British ( and other ‘allies’ ) bombed every town and city in North Korea, to the millions dead in Vietnam Cambodia and Laos: Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen … the list of barbarity is endless.
But, through all of this, we should note that these competing nations appear oblivious to the rapidly developing climate catastrophe, now aligned with catastrophic species loss. War and human deprivation are key drivers of the degradation of our environment; alongside the insane drive for our global populations to ‘consume’ more inanimate things whilst destroying our living world.
Sadly , real human statemanship, intelligence and vision simply does not exist in our time of greatest need.
COVID-19 has demonstrated the remarkable limitations of rational decision-making in a number of Western countries; particularly in Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S; as well as the unlimited capacity for crazed behaviours of some leaders like President Bolsinaro in Brazil.
It would appear that western countries are not generally particularly good at keeping their populations safe.
We see countries desperately trying to ‘re-start’ their economies with subsidies and other mechanisms – attempting to create a return to the old world of constant growth.
We see the United States now calling in its allies and mainstream media across the world; ramping up the anti-Chinese hysteria to try and ensure China does not come out of this pandemic as a stronger super-power and world leader.
And here in New Zealand we see a government which has very capably managed the pandemic with evidence based practice, now pretending that we can return to old ‘normal” . A world of constant growth in a finite world: returning to the constant destruction of our ever more precarious living world for more human ‘progress’. –more tourism, more roads, more building construction more air-flights. …
No government money towards a few ‘greening’ projects can alter the fact that our ‘progress’ is rapidly destroying the living branch we humans are clinging to.
We need ano growth economy now! An economy which understands that if we continue to expand our human boot-print year upon year- we hasten not only all other species’ destruction , but also our own.
That point of no return may have already passed, but we need to act urgently to restore the natural world we are rely upon for our existence- more trees, more sustainable agriculture, and above all, total respect for all living things.
If we thought COVID-19 was big; the environmental crisis the world faces right now will eclipse everything we have ever faced. It’s time to try and reduce the risks to us all-now!
No wonder then, that there is a desperate need for the United States to try and re-assert itself as ‘world leader’ and master of the universe in the face of governments who share proved demonstrably more agile, smarter and more compassionate to the needs of their populations. The bully-boy of the globe is under threat: from within and without. Secretary of State Pompeo therefore exemplifies perfectly what America stands for- and what it has always stood for: greed, violence and lies. The new trade alliance with the U.K. one of the desperate last gasp attempts to maintain some hegemony in the world .
In places like New Zealand and other countries high on the ‘bucket list’ for wealthy people to visit , overseas tourism has slumped dramatically since the pandemic. Tourism operators and regulators are now calling for big media campaigns to artificially promote local tourism. It does beg the question as to why our society has to rely on manipulated media -driven purposeless consumption to survive.
Tourism is one of the primary human activities which are rapidly degrading our planet till it is no longer live-able for us or any other known species. Its reliance on massive air traffic flows and consequent very high CO2 production through long-haul jet plane engines, its reliance on building non-organic infrastructure like roads, hotels, tracks through nature and many other acts of ‘progress’, in natural environments and consequent human traffic, which rapidly degrade the lives of other species we are so desperate to see, are just two of the massively environmentally destructive activities of tourism that global human populations has been sold as a ‘must-have’ over the past 30 years.
It has to stop. It will stop, but surely better it is that we plan now for job transfers to essential and non-environmentally destructive activities, before we face a new inevitable likely larger shock to our crazy economic system, and consequently even more massive human dislocation, trauma and death . Unemployment deals a savage blow to people’s sense of hope and a bright future; let alone the impact it can have on access to food and health services . We know that global environmental collapse, and consequent complete economic collapse, is going to happen unless we shift our focus to providing just the essentials for human beings and stop destroying our world for nothing.
Our bizarre and psychotic magical belief in the ‘invisible hand ‘ of capitalism over the past 100 years to create wealth and happiness for all humans ( but not other species we rely on in this world for our survival)has created this appallingly stupid and callous human centric world system we live in; where other species become ‘products’ for our consumption; where the living and beautiful natural environment that surrounds us is simply there for us to make ‘productive’ by poisoning it with pesticides and fertilizers, or sealing it over with concrete and tar; where we do not think for a moment about the massive destruction of the lives of other species we destroy every day in our quest for ‘progress’- all those animals who we now know for certain have fears and thoughts and emotions and who we so callously and cruelly inflict pain and loss on every day.
We do not need this ‘progress’ that the media and business have propagandized into our hearts and minds for so long : we can in fact live more productive and contented lives being more attuned to the living world of which we are inextricably part of- but we have to change now!
Can the COVID-19 pandemic create a change of heart in humanity, and create a more just and sustainable world?
As we have seen in the past few weeks of the Coronavirus (or COVID19) outbreak, mankind continues to seek to eliminate all risk to itself.
Craig Murray elicits a lucid outline of the contradictions in such an approach. All living things are mortal. If we were immortal, the consequences for the planet would be even more horrendous than they are now.
Man’s current predilection for moving him or herself rapidly around the globe has allowed what would have been a very localised outbreak in Wuhan city, Yunan province, China, to become a global epidemic in a few short weeks. The response therefore in most countries in the world has been to eliminate movement to reduce transmission . Airline passenger numbers globally have dropped precipitously and factory production has stalled, resulting in a remarkably fast transition to an (at least temporarily) cleaner world and where other animals and vegetation retake their rightful place on the planet .
Other strategies however like those used to contain tourists in their cruise ships when a COVID19 infection occurs on-board by circulating air in the closed-system air conditioning units of the ships to every passenger, or the U.K.s initial strategy of ‘herd immunity’, or simply blind ignorance as in Sweden or the United States, where lockdowns have largely failed to occur because of economic slowdown fears, and have instead vastly increased the risk of contagion and thus increased long-term economic risks considerably.
However we also know that that the more transmission human to human that occurs, the more likely humans will adapt to the new virus, as will the virus itself adapt to humans and thereby reduce its impact on the body once infected. An acknowledgement that all humans (as do most other species) have large amounts of “foreign” living entities in their bodies which are constantly adapting to the changing human bioome, permits us to be more cognizant (even welcoming) of new bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies.
But we also need to acknowledge that those humans whose bodies are already compromised by other health issues are much more at risk from this new virus in our bodies. To save as many lives as possible, we need to slow the onslaught on our medical systems to a manageable level and thus help reduce the death rates..
The response to COVID19 has exemplified the frailties of humans. Our insistence that economic activity and ‘taming’ (destroying) our living world take precedence over all other matters, has been shattered by our new global understanding that the interconnected world we have created in the past few decades puts us all at immediate risk when new biological threats occur.
COVID19 has also presented in stark terms the childishness and stupidity of many of our leaders: from the U.K prime minister Boris Johnson happily shaking hands with COVID19 victims on a hospital visit and now recovering himself after being in Intensive Care, to the pathetic tantrums of Donald Trump petulantly threatening to de-fund the vital role of the World Health Organisation because they clearly demonstrate the bizarre inadequacies of the for-profit U.S. ‘public’ health system.
Perhaps though it is the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro who epitomises all that is wrong with such politicised state leadership; where decisions are made not in the interest of the country and its human population (let along other living entities there) but in the interests and petty ignorance of the leader alone- so he can cling to power regardless of the devastation and death mounting around him, But we also see some other bizarre enactments of the frailties of the democratic process; in Belarus, or in Nicaragua where the Sandinista government appears to basically deny they have a problem, or Sweden, relying on a rogue epidemiologist to undertake an experiment in ‘herd immunity’ on its older people and other vulnerable populations. Sadly Hercule Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ are not in evidence in any of these so-called ‘leaders’.
Politicians and mainstream media have continued their ongoing scaremongering about Russian threats to “our way of life”; and/or the Chinese apparently ( according to many Western politicians and MSM) for some obscure reason choosing to hide the fact that they had a pandemic for more than two weeks from their local population and the world, and have been covering up the data ever since . Why?- well because they are ‘evil people’ basically and not like us!- and because ultimately, if the United States is to retain its rapidly diminishing status as the ‘exceptional nation’, it is going to have to bomb the hell out of any up-and-coming nation that threatens its imperial hegemony in the world..
As had been noted by the World Health Organisation and many other epidemiologists, the Chinese government response to the Wuhan pandemic has been rapid and responsive and effective. More effective than other country’s response to date. However the mainstream media and other Western commentators like to spin it, the reality is that the amazing reduction in deaths and infections in Wuhan and across China has not been because “China is an authoritarian state’, but because it has mobilized all aspects of society; businesses, state organisations and community organisations in a very systematic way, and not because, as one U.S. epidemiologist has said: ‘ the most important( reason) is that the impact of physical distancing achieved in China has been hard to accomplish elsewhere, mostly because of the freedoms we correctly value in liberal democracies’.That commentary is simply a sad reflection of many Western countries’ lack of will, leadership and a cultural awareness of community and society rather than pure individuality and how the short term imperatives of the business economy ‘trumps’ everything else, including people’s well-being in our individualist neo-liberal world.
Knowing when a series of similar cases is in fact an epidemic is extremely difficult for any health agency; and given that COVID-19 is a totally new virus, the response to the epidemic in Wuhan was surprisingly fast. The work done in Wuhan is described in detail here. Western media continue to belittle that response and cast doubt on the accuracy of the data while all the time providing misleading death figures by often excluding non hospital deaths, and particularly people in aged care facilities, or people with other morbidities like cardiovascular disease who would not have died at that time without COVID-19 complications .
In a few years once the politics of all this faded on to something else, we will find that the death rate in Europe and the U.S. was substantially higher than has been reported to date. The equation is simple- what is a ‘normal’ death rate for a particular time period and location , and what was the rate under COVID-19?
Some writers have subsequently that the world must and will change because of COVID19: that we will become more caring and connected communities, that neo-liberalism has demonstrated its complete indifference, callousness and incapacity to respond to such global crises and the human suffering it causes, and will go down the plug-hole of history, or even that greed and selfishness will be inexorably replaced by caring and just communities. Sadly , it is very unlikely that any of those hoped for responses will occur in the sort to medium term.
For as long as this economic system can continue to exploit our living world and our less fortunate human populations, and a few people can make a huge amount of money; then the depredation of this planet will continue and the planet will continue its path to destruction.
It is not by the goodness in people’s hearts, or lecturing by this or that environmental group or the Extinction Rebellion, that much of the world’s populations will begin to interact in sustainable ways with our living world; it will be because they are forced to make pragmatic changes that allow they and their families and communities to survive in a rapidly changing climate and green world.
However there is hope. As we plunge headlong ever faster to environmental global disaster, global shocks to our fragile and senseless economic system will begin to multiply. Insurance companies will go bankrupt, debt-ridden incompetent governments will increasingly become unable to prop up existing exploitative companies, world tourism and air-traffic will decline precipitously, and people’s livelihoods will steadily become re-oriented towards sustainable activities and “essential’ service.
Then, and only then, will we begin the journey back to a sustainable world where we can live in harmony with our fellow living beings.
As the tongue in cheek image from Facebook demonstrates, we are indeed seeing animals and birds and presumably other more invisible species, reclaiming their birthright in our human oriented environments as human busi-ness recedes. So many humans are now rejoicing in being able to once again interact with our fellow species …
15 ways to stop destroying our world won’t be easy changes to make – but they have to be made.
We need to immediately stop the race to the edge of ecological abyss. There are indeed practical and viable alternatives to the way we live our lives as humans. The transition wont be easy, and most of the rich bastards are going to go to the wall- c’est la vie!
But we need to start now before large scale catastrophe forces us to stop this crazy way of interacting with the world we live in.
In order to reach the Paris Accord goals according to the Intergovernmental Panel, the world would need to see:
rapid and far-reaching” changes in energy systems (immediate end of fossil fuels),
land use (agricultural land replanted with trees),
city layouts and transportation (to reduce car use),
buildings (all retrofitted to renewable energy),
vast reduction or elimination of road and air travel, and
However much more is needed to save our world; including….
Education of the young (and older humans) about the vital importance of respecting and protecting all living things-an understanding that other species are not commodities for human use and are essential for our mutual survivability.
An understanding and agreement that technology will not save the world from the climate emergency or catastrophic species loss- natural living solutions are the only solution
The planting of indigenous trees and shrubs in every available green space
The banning of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
The planting of billions of indigenous trees -replacing areas used for monoculture farming; particularly meat and dairy production
The pulling up of vast areas of concrete and tar and replacing it with perennial vegetation trees and shrubs
The end of all ‘growth’ economies- a return to no-growth- (an end to consumption for its own sake)
The encouragement of wildlife into urban areas
The banning of killing of all wildlife
The re-enlivening of buried urban rivers and streams
The end of non repairable goods
The compulsory education of all children in permaculture gardening
The banning of all non essential air traffic
The construction of efficient light-rail rail networks
The building of food and energy self-sufficiency in all communities
Even then, the cumulative impacts of 2000 years of global species loss, and 200 years of CO2 and other gas emissions into our atmosphere will not be ‘put right’ in a few hundred years…
We have often heard that it is in America’s “interests” to start this or that war, to “defend democracy and human rights” or some other envisioning of the United States as that Shining City on the Hill of freedom and light. However when we come to examine what particular Interests are at stake for the United States in these aggressions, we somehow fail to note that those interest are solely business interests- – and not just any businesses- but big business- large powerful corporations with tentacles in many countries whose financial interests may either be jeopardized or opportunities lost if this or that country is not subjugated once again by the U.S. military for the profit margins of United States’ businesses.
Pity the poor country that dares to not bend its knee to U.S. corporate interest…it will be sanctioned, ridiculed, its minority groups funded and trained to create instability, (or worse), and if that doesn’t succeed in bringing that recalcitrant country to the ‘negotiating’ table- then a little genocidal war might help.
As U.S Major-General Smedley Butler has often been quoted:
Supporting big business in any way the U.S. military can ( regardless of international conventions, human rights, human lives, human decency or any other ‘soft’ issue) is and always has been, therefore the complete and total sum of United States international relations- it has no other purpose.
“Foolish” and soft issues like the global emergency ( maybe more like global ‘catastrophe’?) are therefore a complete irrelevance. American exceptionalism is seen in its true form- red in tooth and claw as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote about nature. No morality, no ethics, pure barbarism and pure profit.
It is small wonder that those poor American soldiers coming back from America’s pointless and endless wars of total barbarism, struggle to come to terms with their “moral injury” to the propaganda they have been force-fed from an early age, of the United States being a civilizing and enlightened country in a world of barbarism.
Peculiar to those pink-skinned Americans who front for big business in the military and in Washington, is a deeply entrenched racism of those who are “other” and darker skinned:- whether they be Plains Indians, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqi’s, Libyans, Syrians- even the Slavic Russian and Serbian nations .. the list goes on and on and on….
It is time for the world to recognise the savagery and brutality of United States’ international relations. It is time to press for reparations for the environmental destruction, the war destruction, war crimes, loss of life, the torture and the murders that the United States has inflicted on the world in the fictitious name of “democracy and freedom” in the past 100 years. It is time to end this barbarism and stupidity.
The United States is indeed ‘exceptional’, but not quite in the way that their propagandists planned it. The American state is exceptional in it being a war machine; the government’s role is largely to fund and plan wars which will assist the American armament industry to sell more weapons at home abroad.
For most people who live in big cities ( an ever increasing proportion of the world’s population) the issue of species loss seems an irrelevance.
What does it matter if one more species is irretrievably lost for ever, when I have my house and car and my job in the city? Their lack of connection with the living world -other than other humans in their urbanised world, does not mean that they are not inextricably linked to the other species who live on this planet- they just cant see it. Their food is bought at the supermarket in vinyl halls – plastic packaged and often pre-prepared. They do not see, nor do they care , about where those former living things came from: -what lives they had, how they interconnected, how they communicated, their thoughts and feelings… The food they gather at the supermarket is simply a dead product- sublimely and most ridiculously illustrated by the little plastic stickers on the fruit we buy there.-the ultimate commodification of nature.
But the reality is that all that food- animal and vegetable arriving at the supermarket storehouse, was once living, was in fact directly connected to the rest of the living world in subtle
and often invisible ways to humans. That interconnection between species is the net that keeps us all alive-a net that is steadily being undone by humans through ignorance and greed.
As recent research over the past decade has noted, all species on the planet not only posses their own unique DNA, but also multiple strands (often in much larger volume) of DNA and micro
biomes from multiple other species, mainly microbes. Anything and everything, from the bacteria that inhabit our guts and allow us to digest food that would be otherwise indigestible to us, to the bacteria and microbes that come into contact with our skin and that we inhale. As Bordenstein noted in 2015- Animals and plants are no longer heralded as autonomous entities but rather as biomolecular networks composed of the host plus its associated microbes, i.e., “holobionts.”- from ‘Host Biology in Light of the Microbiome: Ten Principles of Holobionts and Hologenomes’
The microbiome concept, that is, the collective communities of microorganisms, their genomes and interactions, was first used in the context of microorganisms that inhabit the human body. Since then, numerous studies have adopted this term to describe microbial communities associated with other mammals, insects, fish or plants. For humans, the microbiome significantly contributes to metabolism and provides functions that humans did not need to evolve on their own (Gill et al., 2006). Hence, the genes present in the human microbiome are considered the secondary genome…. In the human microbiome, the highest density of microbes is found in the gastrointestinal tract, where ‘they synthesize essential amino acids and vitamins, and process components of otherwise indigestible contributions to our diet…..-Cross-kingdom similarities in microbiome functions, Rodrigo Mendes & Jos M Raaijmakers (2015)
Thus, (the) nature-relatedness (a person’s level of connectedness with the natural world ), biodiversity of ecosystems in which humans reside or to which they are exposed, access to greenspace and/or habitation in rural environments can have beneficial effects on physical and mental wellbeing …..(However the) erosion of environmental ecosystems is affecting biodiversity and microbial ecology. Together with declining nature-relatedness this is reducing human contact with immunomodulatory organisms found in natural environments – reflected in differences in skin microbes. This is increasingly being recognised as a risk factor for chronic inflammatory diseases……..There is now consistent evidence that environmental degradation, whether by climate change, invasive species or industrial activity, is linked to diminished human physical and mental health [110, 111].
The very existence of this skin-environment interface raises important questions about how erosion of global biodiversity, and declining contact with the natural environments is affecting skin ecosystems and human health . Examining this question in the context of the epidemic rise of allergy and other inflammatory diseases is informative because allergy is one of the earliest manifestations of inflammation often first observed in the skin as disruptions in barrier function and atopic eczema. Furthermore, the declining microbial diversity that has been long linked to the rise in allergic disease also has important implications for other organ systems across the life course. – The skin microbiome: impact of modern environments on skin ecology, barrier integrity, and systemic immune programming: Susan L. Prescott et al (2017)
Or again….It is increasingly evident that inflammation is an important determinant of cognitive function and emotional behaviors that are dysregulated in stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and affective disorders. Inflammatory responses to physical or psychological stressors are dependent on immunoregulation, which is indicated by a balanced expansion of effector T-cell populations and regulatory T cells. This balance is in part driven by microbial signals. …. With the global trend toward urbanization, humans are progressively spending more time in built environments, thereby, experiencing limited exposures to these immunoregulatory “old friends.” Here, we evaluate the implications of the global trend toward urbanization, and how this transition may affect human microbial exposures and human behavior.-The Microbiome of the Built Environment and Human Behavior: Implications for Emotional Health and Well-Being in Postmodern Western Societies. Stamper CE1 et al (2016)
All organisms are capable of genetic change in their own lifetimes through external microbiome absorption and adaptation ( an adaptation of the old Lamarckian evolution theory, with a Darwinian perspective)
The importance of being in regular physical contact with the rest of the living world has been vastly under-rated in its effect on health and mental wellbeing. An organism’s health and wellbeing depends on having a wide variety of external microbiomes to incorporate into its body and genetic structures on an ongoing basis.
Modern human society is dramatically reducing, not only human’s interchange with microbiomes, but also through poisonous agribusiness practice and destruction of habitats, is irretrievably destroying all species’ capacity to genetically adapt and change and to have optimum wellbeing.
The steadily decreasing number of species in the world ( largely by human ecocide) markedly increases all species’ capacity for survivability
Human beings’ obsession with creating cities, with ‘clean’ environments and the sealing over of the living world with concrete and tar, are rapidly reducing microbiome diversity on the planet.
For the human species to survive for further millenia it has to acknowledge its interdependence with the rest of the living world, and stop creating dead spaces on the planet. Celebrate all life!
While 16 year old Greta is a passionate and well-meaning advocate for change to our headlong dash to climate and species loss disaster; it is eminently clear that talk-fests by leading politicians and climatologists are definitely not going to make one damn bit of difference to our current polices rapidly destroying the planet.
The Paris Accord, hailed as some turning point in human behaviour to our planet, was simply a cruel facade and a hoax. Global emissions have increased, not declined since that accord was signed, and the environmental destruction of our living world has accelerated. We now elect clowns and idiots to run our countries. Those who participate in those climate talk-fests are those who are in league with those who knowingly destroy our world- the business men, the media men, the investors, the politicians- all locked in to making more money from the destruction of the thin veneer of life that used to make our little blue world a safe place for all its inhabitants.
The solutions are not to be found with those who have created this disaster. The solutions are simple ones which do not provide any profits or backhanders for those in power. In fact the solutions will help to demolish the lie of the ‘human progress’ model that has been sold to us for the past 200 years.
Planting billions of indigenous trees, ripping up the concrete and tar that seals the life out of our once living earth; growing plants of all kinds, not for profit or ‘development’ but to help restore our natural world, is our only saviour. We cannot ‘develop’ our way out of this tragedy, or find a new technological solution- that is the way of the con-man. We must return to nature- our natural heritage.
Native indigenous trees not only breathe in carbon dioxide , they provide a refuge for enormous numbers of living things, from the insects that feed from trees, the local fungi and bacteria that symbiotically live near the roots of the trees, the birds that live on the insects and the multiplicity of other organisms ( including humans) that thrive in proximity to the trees. Trees also have a huge capacity to provide shade in hot climates, to eliminate human made toxins from the air , and to increase the level of water vapour in the air bringing life-giving rain while protecting the soil beneath from erosion. Despite the ongoing hype and lies from the mass- killers of animals – we humans do not need to consume the vast amount of dead cows, pigs and sheep that we are led to believe keeps us healthy. Dramatically reducing the area of land used for grazing and replanting with the trees that once lived there, can indeed help save our planet.
The fishing industry empires, scouring the seas for the last surviving fish in our over-heated oceans are not required. Humans can and will have a much smaller footprint on our earth.
Do you need that air plane trip to Bali for your holiday? Do you need that new car? that non- repairable piece of technology ?
Each of us can plant a tree, can help save our world- now!
With dear little Mike Pompeo immediately accusing Iran of attacking two Japanese-bound tankers in the Gulf of Oman with supposed “torpedoes” or limpet mines (note that limpet mines have limited effect above the waterline and would only punch a small hole in a large tanker, and that torpedoes have not been known to fly out of the water to hit targets above the waterline) – we reach new heights of lunacy within the United States foreign policy arena. The attack was precisely timed to ‘fit’ with Iran’s meeting with a Japanese foreign policy team attempting to defuse a confrontation between Iran and the U.S. -which cannot be defused. (Clear principle of mediation Mr Trump (oh wise and great mediator!) – where one party is attempting to threaten and bully another party into total submission- no agreement is possible until the bullying party desists. The other party will fight to defend itself unless physically defeated. Where the bullied is aware of the bully’s strengths and weaknesses , the bullied party can and will come up with alternative strategies that defeat the bully at their own game…they are after all, fighting for their survival and their lives, not for new profits in the weapons industry..
It is quite likely that one of John Bolton’s terrorist allies, like his good friends the brutal MEK , played a part in the tanker bombings after having not achieved the desired result a few weeks ago in a botched attack on other tankers in the Gulf that caused minimal damage . The fact that Pompeo, -ex CIA Director, ( it tells one a lot about ‘intelligence’ agencies when they have men with the extraordinarily limited intellectual capacities like Pompeo at their heads ) has immediately come out saying it was ‘Iran wot did it’, does somehow demonstrate the crudity and stupidity of American foreign policy, and its total reliance on violence and intimidation as its sole foreign policy tool.( with a little bit of bribery and corruption thrown in for good measure)
The United States has been forthright in saying that Iran does not behave like a ‘normal country’ . What they mean is that Iran does not accept the United States’ right to impose its will and ‘values ( such as they are) on other countries – Iran does not behave according to ‘accepted international norms’.
An article by Christopher Black in New Eastern Outlook article by notes that the (U.S.) ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy Report’, of June 1, 2019 includes the statement that, “We will not accept policies or actions that threaten or undermine the rules-based international order (my emphasis)– an order that benefits all nations. We are committed to defending and enhancing these shared values”.
Christopher Black notes that, ‘”What they mean by “rules based international order” is not the order of international law as accepted by the world governments in the United Nations Charter and other international agreements but a US imposed international order, – an order that does not yet exist except in the fantasies of these gangsters-but which they never stop trying to impose on the world, an order of militarism, fear, and tyranny for the rest of the world”.
The fact that the United Kingsom’s current government can immediately endorse the wild accusations of these crazed and foolish Americans about Iran being the cause of the tanker attacks , is not unsurprising. Britain since the First World War has promoted and supported the brutal Saud tribe in Arabia and its fanatical Wahhabist ( and anti-Shi-ite) teachings, and used to such great effect in Libya, Iraq Afghanistan and Syria in promoting sectarian division and violence to provide power and profit for both British and American business interests in the Middle East.
What is perhaps most disturbing in recent analyses of the rumours that the U.S. will bomb Iran’s non-existent nuclear bomb facilities -even by those opposed to the bombing-is that this is not going to end well for the United States. As with the previous multiple acts of murder against the Iranian people; (not least the attack by USS Vincennes on an Iranian civilian jumbo-jet which killed 290 people in 1988: -(just one of so many attacks the United States has never apologised for ; let only compensated the victims for)we see the complete absence of analyses of what terror, murder and destruction such attacks will inflict on Iran’s 80 million people -already under atack from years of United States’ vicious sanctions . As with almost every United States war; this is a rascist war- a war of agression against darker skinned peoples who clearly are no match for ‘exceptional’ (white) Americans like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
It’s time to acknowledge that the United States is simply a rogue state that needs to be controlled by others more mature and steady and with some modicum of intelligence. Hvaing pychopaths at the helm does not bode well for the survivability of the planet.