Ego Emere, Ergo Sum; (I buy, therefore I am)

J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Subliminal Man’, written in 1963, outlines a future 1960-ish world where the state ‘encourages’ the population to buy more useless things so that they work more hours to pay for them and therefore consume more… in a never-ending circle of supply and demand.

In ‘The Subliminal Man’, the population is locked into this endless cycle via subliminal messaging from huge electronic billboards next to the motorways…How far we have come since 1963!

Today one is struck by governments all over the world exhorting the public to go out and spend, go on holidays etc, once COVID 19 lockdowns are over, ostensibly to ensure that we have full employment and therefore more money in the system….

But the reality is that we are all locked into a crazy system that relies on ever increasing demand for ever increasingly useless items that need to be ‘sold’ to us as essential, as ‘must-haves’, or the ‘bucket-list’, so that we can afford to live the life we ‘choose’….

We are no longer consumers; we are the consumed.

The barrage of advertisements on our cellphones delivered via social media and the apps we use; the ever more strident advertisements on TV for another ‘latest product’; even the billboards on our highways, are all testament to the fact that those advertised things are really non-essential- otherwise they would not need to be ‘sold’ to us. We would simply purchase them when our old product stops working, when we really need them, or not purchase them at all.

The ongoing process to ensure ‘essential items’ are designed to be non-repairable, only replaceable, and that commodities are constructed with plastics and other materials that deteriorate rapidly, also ensures that we must continue to buy and consume.

Everything that humans now require to live becomes a commodity, a consumable, packaged and labelled and sold; from the food we eat to the water we drink, the sentient animals we depend on for food; perhaps soon too, the air we breathe. Only money now provides us with meaning …’we know the price of everything and the value of nothing’.

Given that societies’ globally almost all rely on this psychotic fragile consumer cycle – we are in deep sh*t.

We know our consumer behavior is pushing our living world to oblivion- destroying the remainder of the natural world and creating enormous amounts of toxic gases and plastics and ‘land-fill’-yet our governments continue to relentlessly promote this consumer society, while simultaneously talking about reducing carbon emissions and retaining biodiversity.

It is as if they don’t think there are any other options- but of course- there are- just not ones palatable to the businesses and global corporations feeding off our consumer addictions.

We all deserve a better life than this..

_______________________________

Links

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/01/could-we-live-in-a-zero-growth-society/

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

15 Ways To Stop Destroying Our World

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 
  • worldwide checks on human material consumption. 
In other words, the end of capital civilization as we know it and its replacement by low-energy, pre-industrial, self-sufficient local and regional economies  —within a decade.
From https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/09/26/the-illusion-of-saving-the-world/

Seagul and
seagull and fledglings

However much more is needed to save our world; including….
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. The planting of  indigenous trees and shrubs in  every  available green  space  
  4. The banning of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
  5. The planting of billions of indigenous trees -replacing areas used for monoculture farming; particularly meat and dairy production
  6. The pulling up of vast  areas of concrete and tar and replacing it  with  perennial  vegetation trees and shrubs
  7. The end of all  ‘growth’  economies-  a return  to  no-growth- (an end to  consumption for its own  sake)
  8. The encouragement of wildlife into  urban areas
  9. The banning of killing of all  wildlife
  10. The re-enlivening of buried urban  rivers and streams
  11. The  end of  non repairable goods
  12. The  compulsory  education of all  children in permaculture gardening
  13. The banning of all non essential air traffic
  14. The construction of efficient light-rail rail  networks
  15. 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…

Economists, politicians and business-people alike know full  well  that  a closed system like our world, cannot produce indefinite economic  “growth” (a completely flawed concept in itself). Why are they  pushing the world to the precipice ever faster? 

Therefore the sooner we begin to  implement the above processes and policies, the easier the transition  will be, with less loss of human  and other species lives.


Other   Links

The Illusion of Saving the World

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/saving-the-planet-means-overthrowing-the-ruling-elites/

Greta Thunberg & the Consolation of Doubt

The Great Acceleration….

Selling your Mother…

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/12/doughnut-growth-economics-book-economic-model

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/25/rewilding-britains-rainforest-planting-trees

The Whirlpool of Environmental Collapse

Greta Thunberg is to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht next month to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile ….which she described as “pretty much where our future will be decided”.

While 16 year  old Greta is  a passionate and well-meaning advocate for change to  our headlong dash to  climate  and species loss disaster;  it is eminently clear that  talk-fests by  leading politicians and climatologists are definitely not going to  make one damn bit of difference to  our current polices rapidly destroying the planet.

The Paris Accord, hailed as some  turning point in  human behaviour to our planet, was simply a cruel  facade and a hoax. Global  emissions have increased,  not declined since that accord was signed, and the environmental destruction of our living world has accelerated. We now elect clowns and idiots  to  run   our countries. Those who  participate in  those climate  talk-fests are those who  are in league with  those who  knowingly destroy our world-  the business men,  the media men, the investors,  the politicians-  all  locked in to  making more money  from  the destruction of the thin veneer of life  that used to  make our little blue world  a safe place for all its inhabitants.

The solutions are not to be found with  those who  have created this disaster. The solutions are simple ones which  do  not provide any profits or backhanders for those in  power. In  fact  the solutions  will  help  to demolish the lie of   the ‘human progress’  model  that  has been  sold to  us for the past 200  years.

Planting billions of indigenous  trees, ripping up  the concrete and tar that  seals the life out of our  once living earth;  growing plants  of all  kinds,  not for profit or ‘development’  but to  help  restore our natural  world, is our only saviour. We cannot ‘develop’  our way  out of this tragedy,  or find a new technological  solution-  that  is the way  of the con-man. We must  return  to  nature-  our natural  heritage.

Native  indigenous trees not only  breathe  in carbon  dioxide , they  provide a refuge for  enormous numbers  of living things, from  the insects that  feed from  trees, the  local fungi  and bacteria that   symbiotically  live near the roots of the trees, the birds that  live on  the insects  and the multiplicity of other organisms ( including humans)  that thrive in  proximity to  the trees. Trees also  have a huge capacity to  provide shade in  hot climates, to   eliminate human made toxins from  the air , and to  increase the  level  of water vapour  in  the air bringing life-giving rain  while protecting the soil  beneath  from erosion. Despite the ongoing hype and lies from  the mass- killers of animals –  we humans do  not need  to  consume the vast  amount of dead cows, pigs  and  sheep  that  we are led to  believe keeps us healthy.   Dramatically reducing  the area of land  used for   grazing  and replanting with  the trees that  once lived there, can  indeed help  save our planet.

The fishing industry  empires, scouring the seas for the last surviving fish  in  our over-heated oceans are not required. Humans can  and will  have a much  smaller footprint on our earth.

Do  you need that  air plane trip  to  Bali  for your holiday? Do  you need that  new car? that  non- repairable piece of technology ?

Each  of us can  plant a tree, can  help  save our world-  now!

 


Links

https://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/trees-affect-weather1.htm

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/29/earliest-ever-earth-overshoot-day-shows-humanitys-consumption-planets-natural?

Democracy & the Power of Persuasion

Patient dummy
The dummy in the hospital bed

That  racist old warmonger, Winston Churchill,  has often been  quoted as saying,  “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”…

Is it true now?-  and was it ever true?

The capacity of taxpayer funded government institutions to  manipulate public opinion has grown over the past 100  years as the theories of propaganda and  the power to  influence  individuals’  beliefs with  media, particularly electronic media, has grown   exponentially.

Modern  government bureaucracies  have always constructed ‘stories’  for their publics about how the world is:  who  is our ‘enemy’ – what  is ‘safe’ and what  is  ‘appropriate’ etc;  and the major medium  in  the past has been  via  status quo  newspapers ( the vast majority of modern newspaper and visual  media publishers are  active mouthpieces of  state propaganda  ( as in  the U.K.  with the BBC and The Guardian)  perhaps because of the enormous  costs of printing and distribution which  requires substantial  funding from  status quo funders.

Solely online social  media however;  blogs and online newspapers require far less input and resources, and their legitimacy  and media sources can  be easily hidden. They are easily accessible at minimum  cost  to  every  member of society, and the public can be ‘fed’  the official line-subtly and invisibly through  advertising   and other online  preference algorithms. The one small  downside of the electronic medium  world for  governments however,  is that  ‘rogue’  alternative media outlets also have access to  this cheap  media distribution process  (hence the desperate measures by  ‘respectable’  news outlets and governments to  promote the ‘fake news’  narrative and the need for  major  search  engine algorithms  to  be tightly controlled by  ‘respectable governments.

To  foster  and maintain the government narrative therefore requires more and more input to  feed the official  media line. As Craig Murray  notes, in the U.K. there are very large amounts of tax payer money  going into   manipulating public opinion for the benefit of those currently in  power.  The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity InitiativeMI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet. 

We can  be sure that  those U.K. manipulation agencies also exist everywhere across the world where there is sufficient taxpayer money, and sufficient need to  maintain  the status quo.

We could accurately call  these individuals and agencies,  the ‘Secret  Thought Police’.

Perhaps, if those agencies had some access to  a higher truth;  a global  need for a better life for all, saving the planet  or simply creating a more equitable world,  we might be able to  possibly argue that  those secret agencies are to  our mutual  benefit. But the reality is far from  that. Those agencies are designed to  entrench  those in  power with more power,  and with more money,  and to  negate,   satirize  and destroy by  whatever means available, alternative arguments, alternative strategies  that  might benefit and save ourselves and the planet. They  are in  consequence,  administered by  humans with limited understanding of their world,  with vast  prejudices  and with limited ethics and morality.

With  those huge resources  of thought engineering at  their disposal,  ‘governments’ which   across the world,  have  demonstrated their blindness and  total incapacity to  respond to  the catastrophes of global   heating and species loss facing us now, have instead steadfastly maintained their incestuous linkages with  the very corporations and  industries which  have created the nightmare unfolding day  by  day  in front of us.

When  many Western  governments,  but especially the U.K.  and U.S.,  have  knowingly and actively collaborated with states,  individuals and agencies over many years in  many countries   that   create  public fear  through  violence (the anatomy of terrorism), then  we have a sick  and debauched set of governments who  have no  moral right to  govern. Certainly  the current  leaders of Britain  and United States will,  in  the future, be key defendants  in  the dock  for war  crimes in Yemen  and other countries.

The Colour revolutions of the  past  10  years , (harnessing local  discontents with   resources from  foreign  governments and NGOs  and businesses such  as Soros) which have destabilized both  authoritarian  and socialist  governments alike across the globe,  have also, perhaps inadvertently , cast into question the authority of ‘democratic’ governments. Election results  are  more easily able to be questioned and invalidated in  their eyes of their voting publics.  Even  those  governments who  have destabilised   other foreign  governments with  such  tools for many years;  particularly the U.K.  and the U.S. , now find  themselves the victims of such  anti-establishment processes.

We have the somewhat  unique situation of the U.K.s Brexit poll  being questioned by  many in  the U.K.;  not because  the voting was flawed,  but  simply because it was not the result that  the powers that  be ,  wanted. The U.K.   may therefore  hold further Brexit votes until  they  get  the answer they  want;  a process which naturally underlines the key premises of the democratic system-  that  you vote for a party or issue  at  a certain  moment in  time  to  make longer term changes which  you may  or may  not disagree with later.

The recent Hong Kong riots  are an  example of the complexity of the issues where governments are actively destabilised by internal groups. The fears that  the proposed new extradition laws from  semi-autonomous Hong Kong to  mainland authoritarian  China will  create opportunities for Hong Kong dissidents to be controlled or  imprisoned in  China are  likely correct. As a former British  colony , ceded by  the  Qing dynasty of China  to  the British after the  First Opium War,  a brutal  and ethically bankrupt  war raged by  the British  to  ensure  a good supply of Chinese opium addicts, British  Hong Kong was  governed by  a British  Governor appointed by  the British “Crown”  and who  had  significant powers of authority up  to  1997 . The current dissidents therefore hancor for a non existent time when  there was in  fact a democratic Hong Kong not controlled by  ‘foreigners”. It is very  likely that , in the current anti-Chinese climate being rapidly developed by  U/S.  intelligence agencies,  that  their British  underlings are supporting the dissidents in  Hong Kong to put further pressure on Communist China,  along with  the  National  Endowment for “Democracy”,  an  NGO front for the U.S.  government destabilization agenda.

We are in  desperate need of change. Our ‘democratic’  system  is deeply flawed,  easily manipulated by  the powerful, and does not benefit in  the  longer term or even,  in  many cases,  the short term ,  its constituent publics.

 


Links

https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/formations-divisions-brigades/force-troops-command/77-brigade/ 

How To Spot A Twitter Troll

https://williamblum.org/chapters/rogue-state/trojan-horse-the-national-endowment-for-democracy

 

 

 

 


Links

http://www.twainquotes.com/19100424b.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Proposed Actions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • RE-PLANT!