A U.K. February 2021 report by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, entitled ‘The Economics of Biodiversity’ outlines the ‘extreme risk’ the ‘world’, is being put by not taking into account the ‘rapid depletion of the natural world’.
While the overarching intent of the paper is to be applauded in attempting to reduce species loss, the underlying assumptions outlined in the paper about humans’ relationships to the rest of this living world are, to put it mildly, grotesque.
Prof. Dasgupta’s comment that ‘Truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognising that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them’, is truly bizarre.
The natural world (including the human species) does not exist to provide ‘goods and services’. This arrogant and ignorant perspective of the living world around us is the root cause of why the living planet around us, is dying. All living things on this planet exist in their own right and to construct a web of interdependent life around themselves; a web that humans have been unravelling at ever-increasing speed for the past 3000 years.
To view other living organisms as ‘good and services’ for humans, is not only to debase the sanctity of life, but also confirms our fundamental lack of understanding of how life on this planet life continues to maintain itself, and once thrived. The more humans choose some organisms as being ‘worthwhile’ ( for humans), and others not- the more we destroy the web that holds all life on this planet together.
There are many humans on this planet who have never known what it is to be connected with the living world around them – who look out their windows in the morning at the dead concrete jungle surrounding them and think this life. Who truly do think of the living world as a commodity solely for humanities’ use, and who never once consider that the view from their window would have once been a joyous riot of life- of birds, trees insects and many other animals. What humans have not known, we do not miss. The more humans become immersed in an inanimate world of concrete and tar, the more it becomes ‘normal’.
We do not comprehend what we have done to our world, and what awaits us at the end of this journey of ‘commodification’.
While the NZ Government’s decision to declare a climate emergency in New Zealand is to be applauded- currently there appear few mechanisms to achieve a carbon-neutral government by 2025. Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s touted response to have all government vehicles electric, is a case in point of the contradictions in environmental policy. There is an urgent need for all citizens to recognise the impact of product and service consumption.
While electric cars will reduce carbon emissions through vehicle exhaust pipes, the production of the required number of electric vehicles will result in further destruction of our environments- lithium mining for batteries , steel production, plastics production. to name just a few. A sleight of hand process that reduces emissions in one area and replaces it with more consumption in another- is simply deceitful and will not improve our environmental impact. Any climate “emergency planning (an ’emergency’ implies a short -term problem- this is not a short-term issue) must also address the collateral bio-diversity loss that is occurring in New Zealand and everywhere in the world.
We are replacing living entities with dead inert matter at a rapidly increasing rate- a recipe not just for an emergency, but a planetary disaster.
While moving to a steady state economy is the only plausible response to the disaster rapidly unfolding on our little plant; current levers of power and influence globally and in New Zealand clearly will not allow that to happen in the short -term.
Consequently , rather than moving gently and steadily to a slow-down and cessation of human ‘growth’ , we are rushing headlong and ever faster towards the precipice of environmental catastrophe, before we fall over…and reach ‘steady-state’ in a way that will cause huge immediate human and other species’ suffering and death.
To hopefully avoid that precipitous fall, I would suggest a measure that will in a relatively short time , allow all members of New Zealand society to appreciate we cannot continue this headlong dash to oblivion.
A requirement that all animate and non-animate goods and services in New Zealand carry a warning label which indicates how much the product has impacted on both climate change ( positive or negative) but also ( and more crucially) biodiversity. The labeling could be something similar to cigarette warning labels and provide an opportunity for purchasers to be aware of the environmental impact of their purchase, to compare goods’ environmental impact and to encourage producers to reduce their environmental footprint..
Over time this labeling would also provide an opportunity for government to additionally tax those products and services that were high in environmental impact, once public support had reached an acceptable level.
From there, the public debate on how to implement a sustainable steady state economy could proceed.
As you will be well aware, as you see the data continue to pile in at an ever increasing rate on global warming and bio-diversity loss , we now have little time and opportunity to change our trajectory.
The response to my email from New Zealand’s Ministry of the Environment courteously noted my suggestions, but declined to support it,noting that there were some unnamed private New Zealand companies interested in such an idea.
Subsequently my daughter has suggested that there would be web companies out there who could develop an app which could provide information online for ‘consumers’ on the relative carbon footprint and impact on biodiversity of products being sold.
The decision by regional delegates of the New Zealand Green Party to endorse a coalition with the New Zealand Labour Party after the recent New Zealand elections, has resulted in the two co-leaders of the Green Party once again acquiring ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet. Co-leader James Shaw is now ‘Minister of Climate’ and ‘Associate Minister for the Environment’, while Marama Davidson is now Minister for the ‘Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence’ and ‘Homelessness’.
In exchange for these small shiny baubles of power in a Labour dominated Parliament, the NZ Greens have sadly irrefutably demonstrated that they are more interested in holding on to ‘power’ rather than having a mission to save our environment.
The Greens would have been able to play a far stronger advocacy role for the natural world and a future for humanity if they had stayed out of Labour’s centrist and growth oriented government.
Labour’s election byline says it all- “Let’s Keep Moving”. One might be tempted to ask ‘what for?’ and ‘where to?” : and what happens when we , in the not so distant future, run out of those natural resources we have been so relentlessly exploiting in New Zealand for the past 200 years to ‘keep us moving’?
A Greens/Labour coalition is therefore an abomination for the natural world and for our futures in New Zealand. The coalition agreement puts a green-wash over the strategies and actions of this new government to ‘expand’ the economy, which will inevitably destroy more of our living world- more roads, more concrete, more houses, more agro-business …
It is not too late to construct a New Zealand political party that truly upholds sustainable environmental principles: a no-growth steady-state party. A party that acknowledges the realities of the limits to growth and the importance of restoring much of our living world.
It is simply not possible for N.Z. to continue to pursue a “growth” strategy for the human economy- for money. We urgently need a government that places a priority on protecting and expanding the living world, and which acknowledges the reality that humans are an intrinsic part of Nature- not something separate. Without a vibrant living world around us, we humans will inevitably perish.
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.
It should be noted that while Navalny is certainly a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party from an anti-corruption point of view, and attains mythical status in Western mainstream media as Putin’s potential nemesis leading his ‘Russia of the Future’ political party , Nalvany’s has 3 to 5% support amongst Russian voters nationally and by whom he is often perceived as an extremist, means that he is currently little of a political threat to Putin. However Nalvany’s supporters in Russia and West allege, “state-run” media ignore him and the ballot boxes are always stuffed in Putin’s candiates’ favour. He may however have many enemies in both government and private corporate Russian circles.
Craig Murray, ex U.K. ambassador, whistleblower on U.K complicity in torture, supporter of Assange and other unpopular human rights issues, and now conveniently likely soon to be imprisoned by the U.K. government on some highly questionable charges , outlines below just some of the ‘peculiarities’ of the poisoning.
Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a “Novichok” for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from “Novichok”, accidentally according to the official narrative. “Novichok” did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.
“Novichok” is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?
Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.
Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.
Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok- Craig Murray
Curiously again, Navalny’s poisoning just happened to coincide with an intense level of blackmail and lobbying from the United States for Germany to renege on its agreement with Russia to provide Germany with cheap natural gas via Nordstream 2 pipeline ( to ensure Germany buys vastly more expensive U.S. gas) and the current political debacle occurring in Belorussia, where Poland, the Ukraine and the Nordic states are putting intense pressure on the Belorussian state to not sign up to the previously agreed political and military merging of Belorussia with Russia.
As Southfront notes, it would appear that the Navalny case and the colour revolution style demonstrations supported from those states, has prompted the Belorussian President Lukashenko; just recently re-elected on somewhat dubious grounds after obtaining 80% of the vote!- to once again change direction and support the merger with the Russian Federation.
It also appears somewhat strange that Germany has decided that a Russian national , supposedly poisoned on Russian soil, is the political business of the German state. Should Germany wish to pursue that line of political enquiry, then Germany should have rightly long ago sanctioned and demanded explanations from the United States, United Kingdom, France and other Western states for their appalling record of genocidal wars they they have engaged in.
All this alongside the ongoing attempt by Western intelligence agencies and their mainstream media “associates” to ‘fit up’ Russia and China with every possible charge of criminal activity and human rights violations, so that Western populations can accept and applaud the loss of access to Russian and Chinese goods, the need for more weapons and even the justification for war. It is important to recognise too, that the linkages between Western intelligence agencies are very strong, and often can be at odds with the positions of those in government, to the benefit of those who can make money out of death and destruction.
The U.S. and the U.K. are very much aware that their economic influence on the rest of the world is rapidly waning, and their historical methods of violence intimidation and corruption no longer have the power they use to, with the rise of China as an economic counterweight.
Thus we see a long term pattern of accusations of the use of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” or other mass human rights violations against states the U.S. and the U.K wish to first destabilise and then extract the profits from that destruction. The list includes Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China… Those countries that continue to violate human rights on a massive scale like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and many others are exempt from that pressure because they are already within the US/UK economic sphere . And of course the genocidal activities of the U.S. and U.K. in their endless colonial wars are simply brushed under the carpet.
Both the U.S. and the U.K. know that once China , in collaboration with its Belt and Road partners, achieves overwhelming economic ( and military) superiority, there will be many many British and American leaders confronting the International Court of Justice in the Hague for their crimes and the need for just compensation for those states they have destroyed over the past 100 years.
Follow the money….
Southfront posits some alternative reasons for Navalny being ‘poisoned’ here
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…