What’s left of Our World

While Russia and the United States fight it out by proxy in Ukraine for the spoils of war, or the 70+ year old war against Palestine and the war in Yemen to name just a few, the world continues, at an ever faster rate, to descend into climate and natural disintegration.

This is not to denigrate the appalling suffering and damage to the living world that wars bring- or to deny that there are evil people in the world (but not always the people that you consider are evil )

However, the recent IPPC 6th report of 2022 clearly articulates that the world is now in a perilous state. Climate change is now and will increasingly devastatingly impact on human’s lives and the other living things on this planet.

The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.

And in recent days, reports of astonishly high temperatures at both North and South Poles simultaneously, are ringing a lot of alarm bells as to where climate change is truly headed- and how quickly!

Despite all the hype and speeches from ‘important global people’ at the COP26 climate change conference in Edinburgh in 2021 , the rate of global CO2 emissions continues to increase, not decrease. The natural world of indigenous forest is increasingly rapidly being hacked to oblivion for quick bucks for agribusiness, and along with it’s demise- all the species that depend on that living world.

The use of chemical pesticides and herbicides (poisons) that eliminate the insects and birds that provide life for the rest of us on our planet, is not being reduced. Even our supermarkets and hardware stores continue to be lined with rows of poisons to ‘tame nature’.

It is abundantly clear that politicians around the world have absolutely no intent to eliminate the ongoing destruction of our planet, let alone begin to restore it to a sustainable living world.

The current bizarre and mythical obsession with “growth” and “progress” constantly spewed out by planners, politicians and the media provides humanity with a completely flawed sense that we are ‘going somewhere’, ever upwards! We are in reality not going anywhere (unless to oblivion if we continue our current tack); we simply exist as safely and comfortably as we can for as long we can, as part of our living planet-nothing more-or less. Psychotic illusions of human ‘progress’ will damn us all to oblivion.

We need to take both individual and collective action to save our planet from human greed and undeniable human stupidity.

The destructive changes human activity has wrought on this world in the past 40 years; let alone from the start of the Industrial Revolution and earlier, are horrendous in magnitude and depravity. And, as ‘State of the Planet’ notes, those changes are not just temporary blips in our march towards ‘progress’ . Many of those devastating environmental changes will be with the planet (and maybe humans ) for thousands if not tens of thousands of years from now.

We can and must therefore do what we can to stop the continued and accelerating destruction of our living world, and begin to reverse that damage through dramatic reductions in consumerism, through tree planting and through simply acknowledging that we as humans are interconnected with the rest of this living world we inhabit.

Every human child needs to be taught now and forever, to respect and cherish every other living thing on this planet– not just their human neighbours; to learn that they don’t need to consume the ‘stuff’ that’s ‘pushed’ at them by media, and to consider what each and every one of their actions will have on the living things around them.

A study by the University of Bath last year found that climate change is causing severe mental health concerns among people aged 16–25 years. It found that nearly 60% were “extremely worried” about climate change and that the concerns were exacerbated by governments’ lack of action.

We no longer, and never again, will have the option of disregarding the rest of our natural world- there are now simply too many of this human species on this small planet to pretend that each one of our actions do not matter !

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Links

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/20/heatwaves-at-both-of-earth-poles-alarm-climate-scientists

https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/My-first-job-was-slitting-the-throats-of-chickens-17017934.php

Gaia Strikes Back!

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the subsequent explosion of sanctions on Russian oil and natural gas, wheat and other products by Western nations, is likely to result in a substantial long-term economic downturn in both the West and Russia because of rapidly escalating oil, natural gas and nickel and paladium prices, consequent substantial increases in global transport costs, supply chain disruptions and inflation.

Food costs will also rise from shortages of chemical fertilizers, increased wheat prices and transport costs for many in the West and the third world , and this will have the most impact on those who are already struggling.

The only upside from all this chaos is that consumption in the West is likely to substantially diminish in the short to medium to…… Given that, per head of population, the West is by far the biggest producer of CO2 and the cause of much of the deforestation, species loss and environmental destruction in non Western countries, Gaia will be smiling.

Along with the impacts on consumption because of COVID- (less air travel, less conspicuous consumption because of lockdowns etc), we are likely to see a significant reduction in the production of CO2 into the atmosphere with a higher proportion of renewable energy sources, and a higher proportion of more organic fertlizers .

Of course the actual measurable processes and outcomes are much more complex than the above simplistic outline. Just two examples ; possibly coal production will increase significantly in Europe to cope with the reductions of access to natural gas and oil resulting in, at best, a status quo level of CO2 production, and/or commodity prices in the West increase to such an extent that revolutions on the street occur, and result in even more violent and extremist governments than we already have…

One of the biggest likely impacts will be on the confidence of European and U.S. populations that this current way of life of excessive consumption is both realistic, sustainable or even possible.

Combine that with the predicted but certain dire impacts on climate and global livability by the recent IPCC report on climate change, and we have an existential crisis of confidence in the Western way of ‘life’- ( or should that be ‘way of consumption’?)

Of course the other option for Gaia is nuclear war- not an impossibility given Vladimir Putin’s insistence that there can be no world without Russia, and Washington’s neoliberal and media blood-lusting for ‘no flight zones’ over Ukraine and their wish for dismemberment of Russia. Human beings have some significant cognitive problems with resolving conflict issues in reasonable ways.

Gaia may well be calculating that human beings were an unfortunate and highly destructive anomaly, and we need to start from scratch again…

Billion Dollar Deals to Destroy the Environment Just a Little Bit More

when our New Zealand government announces its fully supportive of measures to reduce climate change impact and reduce biodiversity loss (except not quite right now), and then announces a one billion dollar free trade deal with the United Kingdom, we sense there is a little mismatch!-or perhaps, dare we say it? -even a little smattering of psychosis?

The ‘environment’ is everything on this planet; its not some separate piece of work or concept that we can occasionally pull out and look at and say, ‘well we achieved this climate or biodiversity goal, now we can get back to the real work of human progress’..

So when our New Zealand government announces its fully supportive of measures to reduce climate change impact and reduce biodiversity loss (except not quite right now), and then announces a one billion dollar free trade deal with the United Kingdom, we sense there is a little mismatch!-or perhaps, dare we say it? -even a little smattering of psychosis?

That billion dollar deal will result in more dairy production in New Zealand (more polluted and depleted water sources, more natural environment destroyed for more dairy farmland, and more processing infrastructure like roads and factories), more vineyards using prodigious amounts of poisons to keep nature at bay from their precious grapes, and more sheep and cows being brutally killed in our slaughterhouses. And that’s just the start!

In return, we will be able to access cheap goods from the U.K. that we don’t really need, and that rely on exploiting third world countries for their resources; more polluting U. K. factories and encourage Britons to eat more unsustainable beef and mutton!

But that’s progress! Isn’t it?

When are we going to see governments across the world really accept that every bit of ‘progress’ they encourage in connivance with their business allies, is destroying the planet?

A steady state economy in every country around the world is literally not going to be the end of the world – (but more ‘progress’ will be). The desperate, futile and farcical arguments that we can somehow escape global climate change and loss of diversity with more technology, is simply fiction. Every new piece of ‘alternate’ industrial production, whether it be lithium batteries, hydrogen production or carbon capture is simply sleight of hand- robbing the environment to pay for more ‘progress’.

We need to start consuming less- a lot less: Eat more local food, grow our own where we can, repair broken items, buy second hand when we need something different, stop the fiction of a housing crisis in the Western world and ensure housing bought by speculators (because of low bank rates) is occupied affordably stopping the unnecessary building of houses over land and nature, get rid of the expectation that we need that overseas holiday, or that we need to kill other species for fun and relaxation…lower our expectations that we ‘need’ this or that, and more of it- we don’t.

As the climate rapidly evolves globally into some new unknowable and unpredictable chaotic pattern, we will see more drought, more floods, more storms, more climate extremes of every kind- becoming more and more intense as we rapidly, and seemingly inevitably, head towards a 3C warmer world.

In consequence, large scale human activity; industrial farming, mining and goods production is becoming more at risk- supply chain problems are escalating, production costs are rising, transport costs are ballooning, and insurance premiums will go through the roof to cover that increasing wild unpredictability. We will have to move towards smaller and more localised production; we will not have a choice.

We know that, as they have repeatedly done before, almost all, if not every statement and commitment made at the COP26 Glasgow Climate Change conference 31st October to 12th November 2021, by politicians there will be outright lies and obfuscations-pretending to respond to the climate emergency while continuing to support big business and the media who keep them in power..

Curiously, the equally important U.N Conference on biodiversity this October 2021 in China, received almost no media attention. Yet retaining as much as we can of the remaining species now left on this planet, is vital to humans and every other species’ survival- just as much, if not more so, than climate change. The difference of course is that species loss doesn’t, apparently for now at least, impact on human economies, so its not worthy of the same attention. However, almost every aspect of human ‘progress’ requires the depletion of natural environments for other species and species’ death. The level of destruction of sentient organisms in the world via human ‘progress’ is phenomenal, and has already potentially reached a tipping point of no return for the remaining species- including humans.

To mitigate some of the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, we urgently need large areas of the planet to re-wild, to enable more trees to grow that don’t get cut down for profit, but that provide a long long term home for the remaining diversity of microbes, fungi insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and other species that we unknowingly rely on for our own survival; to ensure our fresh water resources are not used for profit but are fairly shared between the species we live alongside; and to build nature into our cities so that they are no longer concrete and tar cancers on the land.

It can be done- it must be done!

SIGN THE EMERGENCY APPEAL FOR CLIMATE ACTION!

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Links

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/uk-and-new-zealand-agree-to-1bn-free-trade-deal/LN6EYDF6NBPMY6X7EHJB7ZAVDU/#:~:text=New%20Zealand%20and%20the%20United%20Kingdom%20have%20agreed,the%20appropriate%20use%20of%20the%20haka%2C%20Ka%20Mate.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/23/new-trade-deals-are-unfair-on-farmers-and-wont-help-emissions

https://www.leonard.vinci.com/en/the-technology-mirage-building-a-future-based-on-eco-sufficiency/

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/conferences/glasgow-climate-change-conference

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/what-is-cop15-biodiversity-summit-nature-cop26/

https://www.nature.com/collecti

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/11/01/over-700-groups-demand-real-climate-solutions-not-net-zero-promises?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/02/beware-gaia-theory-climate-crisis-earth

The ‘Coming’ Climate Crisis

We are told that if we do not change our ways, reduce carbon emissions, ‘soon’ it will be too late.

If we haven’t guessed by now , that ‘soon’ is right now. We are already in a climate crisis- of massive fires out of control in the United States, in coastal Mediterranean areas, in Siberia to name just a few. Of “Once in a 100” or 200 year floods, of temperatures in parts of the world that are close to killing any living thing.. We are there – right now…and its not going to get better any time soon- no matter what we do.

This is not a ‘crisis’ that will go away if we just behave ourselves.

This is a crisis that will be with those who survive on this planet for at least the next thousand years- and many more years than that, if we cannot reduce our carbon consumption and start planting trillions of trees.

Even if we were to stop creating more carbon dioxide right now, the planet will continue to warm, the climate will become more unpredictable and unstable. And of course our great politicians are not talking about anything as radical as eliminating our carbon footprint any time soon!- no!- they want us to reduce the ‘rate of increase’ of carbon by 2030 or 2050 or – some other target date far away…that doesn’t impact on their corporate ‘sponsorship’.

However, right now that rate of increase of carbon emissions is just going higher and higher- we are indeed ‘accelerating towards the cliff’.

But somehow many of us continue to believe that those great human minds will save us with some new technology -perhaps detonating some nuclear bombs to provide a nuclear winter for us, or sending dust particles into the atmosphere!

Are we consuming more and more to cope with our fears for the apocalyptic future?- bigger and bigger cars, more and more tinsel and useless consumption, more and more glorification of killing of defenseless animals for pleasure- hunting and fishing ?

But the answer , while not immediate, is simple.

  1. We have to adjust to a world where the climate is warming rapidly- first by accepting that infinite ‘growth’ on a finite world is just plain stupidity. We need to rapidly traverse to global no-growth economies.
  2. We need to try and reverse our rapid destruction of nature around us- encourage insect, bird and other non human populations to rebuild in the face of a rapidly warming world- create new perpetual habitats for other species, stop the chemical spraying, return habitats to their natural states as much and as quickly as possible .. and most importantly, plant more indigenous forest- not for forestry- but for life!
  3. We need to acknowledge that technology is not going to ‘save’ us from the climate crisis- in fact it is one of the significant causes of species loss and habitat destruction that is killing our planet.
  4. We need to acknowledge that humans simply need to support nature to get back to doing its job of making this planet a living world for every remaining species here – there’s nothing fancy about it, it won’t create many new jobs, and it wont seem like ‘progress’ – but it will save us.
  5. We need to encourage politicians to stop lying about what they intend to do about the environment and the climate. There’s no money in it from their company ‘sponsors”, and its not going to boost their fragile egos.
  6. Saving the planet from global heating and species loss is not a side issue to any decisions any of us make. Every bit of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ we make as humans must now put the cost to the climate and species loss at the forefront of EVERY decision. In most cases, human ‘progress’ is not worth the cost to the planet.
  7. We need to accept that we don’t need ‘more’. Teaching people how to be thankful and at peace with what they have and how to re-build their connection with nature – along with a respect for all living things.-that we don’t have a God-given right to treat other living entities as resources.

It’s not going to be easy- but it is simple…..

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Links

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01092-9.epdf?

https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-warmer-than-its-been-in-125-000-years/

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/09/code-red-for-humanity/

Tourism & the Destruction of ‘Nature’

Much has been said and written about the importance of economies getting back to ‘normal’ after COVID-19 lockdowns. Recently New Zealand, has reopened normal airline connections with Australia, its second largest trading partner (after China) and a major source of tourists.

The New Zealand government’s decision to re-open air links with Australia has been partly driven by humanitarian issues of families isolated from each other across “the ditch” (the Tasman Sea), but predominantly to prevent the collapse of New Zealand’s large tourism industry.

Green algae

Little has been said however, on the impact the re-invigoration of New Zealand’s tourism industry will have on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Ironically the decision to create a travel bubble with Australia coincides almost to the day of the announcement from Moana Loa in Hawaii that their instruments have for the first time measured CO2 levels at more than 420 parts per million.

As an island nation, almost all tourists into New Zealand come by plane, and often from much longer distances than Australia (which is 4,163 kilometers away, or an air travel distance of 2,587 miles.). As Atmosfair notes, the burning of kerosene for airline engines is not the only major CO2 producer from jet planes. Jet plane veils and contrails, the build-up of the greenhouse gas ozone in a sensitive atmospheric floor, and the breakdown of methane, are also major factors in increasing CO2 levels and consequent global warming.

Suzuki notes that airtravel will continue to grow rapidly until 2050. If left unchecked, they could consume a full quarter of the available carbon budget for limiting temperature rise to 1.5 C. and …The global tourism industry is responsible for eight per cent of global emissions — more than the construction industry!’ and ...The total carbon impact of a single flight is so high that avoiding just one trip can be equivalent to going (gasoline) car-free for a year.

<p class="wp-image-3612" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-3612" style="width: 450px;" src="https://newantarcticacom.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/co2.png&quot; alt="CO2 Levels Mauna Loa">CO2 Levels Mauna Loa

Tourism also has a significant impact on biodiversity loss; which, even more than climate change; is the greatest risk to this planet. While some have claimed (including U.N. reports) that tourism can increase biodiversity by encouraging humanity’s awareness of the natural world, and bringing human resources to play which protect species and prevent habitat loss; the arguments are clearly specious.

Providing humans with access to our remaining pristine natural environments necessitates environmental destruction and habitat disturbance. Roads, walking tracks, platforms, toilets, helicopters, boats, water and electrical utilities and housing are just some of the methods by which habitats are degraded by tourist activities.

And that is to ignore the impact of the introduction of pollutants like human sewage, supply waste and the accidental introduction of non-native microbes, weeds, insects and animals.

It is time for us all to throw away the ‘bucket list” and learn to be more present in the here and now, and be content with what we have. Creating mini-gardens, communal gardens and re-growing natural spaces in cities can help us all to understand the world in which we live and with which we are defendant upon.

Learning to observe, respect and value the small pieces of the natural world that are all around us, and to which we are inextricably (and often unknowingly) bound.

The natural world is not something for us to ‘experience’ and take a snapshot of; it is all around us: it is part of us, it is ‘us’.

It is more than time for all governments to demand that all products and services consumed, including tourism, are clearly packaged to show the devastating impacts they have on our ever dwindling natural world via biodiversity loss and global heating.

Then we will at last, know the true costs of our consumer society.

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Links

https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/air-travel-climate-change/

https://www.atmosfair.de/de/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/06/we-have-act-atmospheric-co2-passes-420-ppm-first-time-ever

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/envi/two.html

http://iced.cag.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2013_wgea_Wild-Life_view.pdf

The unraveling of the web of life

The Leaf in  the Concrete Pool
The Leaf in the Concrete Pool

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’.

 


Links

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/economics-failure-over-destruction-of-nature-presents-extreme-risks

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

Recognising the Environmental Impact of Consumption

Tena koutou
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.
As a recent Israeli  study  amply demonstrates;  production of inert ‘stuff’  by  humans now literally out-weighs  the living  things on  this planet https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/09/human-made-materials-now-outweigh-earths-entire-biomass-study
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.
nga mihi

Footnote
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.
Yes please!

The Anti Sino-Russian Agenda

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.

The United States response  therefore, to issues like the Russian  Nordstream2 pipelines to  Europe and their determination to bring down Huawei’s  technological  leadership  in 5G  or the attempt to  undermine China’s Belt and Road   are simply  part of the U.S.’s  intent to  ensure the U.S.  retain its  global  economic leadership  for as long as it can so  that American big business can continue to  exploit its more vulnerable partners, while its internal  infrastructure crumbles.

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.

In Russia we saw U.K  and U.S.  media  creating fictitious articles about the little green (Russian) military men in Eastern Ukraine,  and Russian  tanks rolling over the border into  Ukraine , while extolling the virtues of those ‘patriotic’ Ukrainians of dubious lineage,  along with the constant analogies to Putin as  Hitler as Russia assumed peaceful control  of the Crimea ( for several  hundred years  populated almost entirely by  Russians) .

As the British and U.S.  begin  their rapid slide to long term  economic  depression, we shall  undoubtedly see more  strident and likely more ridiculous claims surface about the Russians and the Chinese. However as the Russia/ Brexit  media response has shown in  recent times;  it works!  Many of the British  and American  public are indeed  gullible and uneducated  enough to  believe anything that their government throws at  them. Yes, of course the Russians made Brexit  a reality by  putting a few articles in Russia Today  and Sputnik supporting the British  exit from the European  Europe!!

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.


Links

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/

 

 

Back to the Old ‘Normal’?

 

The Importance of an Education
           The Importance of an Education

As the  world’s populations witness the ongoing farce  and unnecessary  deaths  that is the U.K. and U.S.  responses to  the pandemic; they  see two countries whose rulers are totally incompetent,   bombastic,  entirely ego-centred and without a clue in  the world. Their  egotistical  traits and their greed has directly resulted in  thousands more human  deaths than ever needed to  occur in this pandemic.

The entire Washington system-  Democrat  or Republican  is now hell-bent on  demonising China. China,  the cause ( supposedly deliberately  if we were to  believe that thug and inveterate liar, U.S.  Secretary  of State Pompeo), of the  COVID-19  global  pandemic. One  of the more brilliant (crazed) theories   by  the Washington swamp  is that   information  to  the world on  pandemic and the  epidemic epicentre in Wuhan  China was delayed so  that  China could corner the market  on COVID-19  masks and PPE equipment!

They  see  those two regimes, The U.S.  and The U.K.,  whose only apparent interest  is maintaining  their disintegrating economies (and subduing  countries who  do  not toe the U.S.  line on  all  matters) while their  health  systems  teeter on  the verge of collapse,  in  contrast  to  those ‘authoritarian” and other  more democratic governments, who have prioritised the safety and health of all  their populations.

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.

New cycle lanes or more public transport in  our urban  environments are lovely things to have while we  speed  ever more rapidly to    environmental  disaster – but they  don’t go  anywhere near the  need for change required to  turn  our economic system around into  something  sustainable  that  values all  living things.

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!


Relevant Links

Human Crises & Saving the Planet-New Antarctica

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/01/city-leaders-aim-to-shape-green-recovery-from-coronavirus-crisis

Why It’s Wrong (and Racist) to Blame Covid-19 on Chinese ‘Wet Markets’

Conserving Politics or Conserving Nature?

The Plot to Blame China for COVID-19

COVID-19: Complicit in Millions of Deaths Since 1945, UK Govt Won’t Face Justice Over Virus

COVID-19: Donald Trump’s Caligula Moment

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/get-ready-for-the-next-game-changer-the-digital-yuan/

https://theconversation.com/guide-to-the-classics-mary-shelleys-the-last-man-is-a-prophecy-of-life-in-a-global-pandemic-136963

https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-three-misconceptions-about-how-animals-transmit-diseases-debunked-134485

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/11/c_139048008.htm

Human Crises & Saving the Planet

Human Crises & Saving the Planet
Human Crises & Saving the Planet

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?

Western  oriented  states continue to collaborate with  the United States in  enforcing  sanctions against  North  Korea,  Iran,  Cuba, Syria, Russia and Venezuela, to name a few,  in  the ongoing hope that  the sanctions will  cause enough deaths and deprivation for their populations to  rise up  against  their “evil  governments”. ( We know we’re on  the ‘right side’ don’t we?)

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   …

Other New Antarctica Links

Sustainable Agriculture: It is possible


Momento Mori – Unpopular Thoughts on Corona Virus

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/03/is-the-coronavirus-really-more-dangerous-than-the-flu.html#more

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00548-w

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/16/number-coronavirus-pandemic?

How China Broke the Chain of Infection

COVID-19: How the Media Hyped the Public Into an Anti-China Frenzy

New Research Shows Anti-Coronavirus Drugs Could Be Produced for Pennies

People ‘shed’ high levels of coronavirus, study finds, but most are likely not infectious after recovery begins