Posts tagged environment

To paraphrase philosopher Slavoj Žižek, paradoxically, consensus of the solution to the failures of capitalism seems to be more capitalism. Runaway grow-baby-grow consumption at all costs is exemplified in our drill-baby-drill environmental policies.

After British Petroleum plastered the Gulf of Mexico with pollution through an ill-maintained oil rig, a temporary moratorium was placed on some deepwater drilling. Shortly thereafter that restriction was lifted. This year more permits for new wells have been issued than since 2007. The Obama Administration has taken it further by approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a transnational oil line to transport the most toxic oil imaginable from Canada’s tar-sands back to the very ecosystem so recently assaulted, and directly over precious natural aquifers. To top it off, [politicians want] to expand harmful drilling in Alaska’s park reserves, as well as expand the already 4,000 ticking time bombs in the Gulf.

These are not solutions to our crisis; they are band-aids to a gushing wound. They are ecocidal mania perpetuated by a global culture which does not understand that living 300% beyond sustainability is going to kill us all. None of these self-proclaimed solutions put at the forefront of our efforts that nothing can grow in perpetuity. We have grown too accustomed to the benefits of petrochemical economies, on growth for the sake of growth.


"WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
…Personal change doesn’t equal social change.”
— Derrick Jensen | Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Changes Does Not Equal Political Change

"WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

…Personal change doesn’t equal social change.”

Derrick Jensen | Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Changes Does Not Equal Political Change

“Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.”

…[F]ragile are the complex environmental conditions that make life — human and otherwise — possible. To recognize this fragility is to recognize our own fragility. Perhaps, in a technological sense, we have “outgrown” the Breton Fisherman’s Prayer. The ocean is no longer so vast that we can’t cross it in a few hours. But our ability to do so has come at a serious cost, environmentally and, perhaps, spiritually.

The largest economic and political institutions we have thus far created — nations, multinational corporations — regard climate change primarily as opportunity. Suddenly they have access to a previously hidden part of the planet, to drill, fish, mine and otherwise exploit.

In our pursuit of dominion over the seas and the heavens, have we lost the ability to love the planet that has sustained us? Do we love only our control over it?

america-wakiewakie:

Trees Communicate With One Another, Connected by Fungi 

University of British Columbia professor Suzanne Simard explains how trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected with the largest, oldest ‘mother trees’ serving as hubs.

Trees Communicate With One Another, Connected by Fungi 

University of British Columbia professor Suzanne Simard explains how trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected with the largest, oldest ‘mother trees’ serving as hubs.

Do You Change the Weather When You Change the Climate? Yes | Common Dreams

america-wakiewakie:

FAIR has noted the tendency of corporate media to play down the connection of extreme weather to climate change. (See Neil deMause’s piece in Extra!8/11.) This summer, as the country is beset by another devastating wave of drought and fires, the approach seems to be to acknowledge climate change–in the 10th paragraph–but end up by concluding that it’s impossible to say whether there’s any connection between climate change and any particular weather phenomenon. As in this L.A. Times piece (7/2/12):

Since 2000, it has not been uncommon for wildfire seasons to end with a tally of 7 million to 9 million blackened acres nationally. Though total burned acreage dropped during a few years of milder weather, it spiraled again last year when flames galloped across parched Texas.

Researchers predict that rising temperatures associated with climate change will lead to more wildfires in much of the West. But it is hard to tease out the effects of global warming from natural climate cycles, which in past centuries have seized the region with long, severe droughts.

"We’ve had conditions like this in the past," [Forest Service research ecologist Bob] Keane said. "So you can’t say with any degree of certainty…that this is climate change. But what you can say is that it certainly meets the model of climate change."

On a conceptual level, this is just wrong: It’s not as though there are some weather events that are caused by climate change and some that just happened, and there’s some way to tell one from the other. Once you’ve altered the atmosphere, every single weather phenomenon–every storm, every dry spell, every unremarkably pleasant day–is a result of that altered atmosphere. If we had not changed the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 280 parts per million to almost 400 parts per million, in other words, we would have entirely different weather every day.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have storms and droughts and pleasant days before we changed the climate. But scientists can tell you whether we’d be more or less likely to have any given type of weather with an unaltered climate. And with droughts and forest fires, the answer is clear: We’d be having less of them. This is something reporters should be pointing out in every story on the extreme weather of the summer of 2012.

cultureofresistance:

Derrick Jensen - Endgame

The fundamentals.

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise Two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise Six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise Seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

Another way to put premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

Premise Nine: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life. 

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise Fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen:
 Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise Twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.

Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty:
 Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there were any heart left—you would find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

Having long laid waste our own sanity, and having long forgotten what it feels like to be free, most of us too have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world. Seeing four salmon spawn causes me to burst into tears. I have never seen a river full of fish. I have never seen a sky darkened for days by a single flock of birds. (I have, however, seen skies perpetually darkened by smog.) As with freedom, so too the extraordinary beauty and fecundity of the world itself:

It’s hard to love something you’ve never known. It’s hard to convince yourself to fight for something you may not believe has ever existed.

Derrick Jensen, Endgame Vol. I: The Problem of Civilization  (via america-wakiewakie)

Shut It All Down: Report Calls for Nationwide Ban on Fracking | Common Dreams

The explosion of hydraulic fracturing in the last several years, according to a new report, is creating a previously ‘unimaginable’ situation in which hundreds of billions of gallons of the nation’s fresh water supply are being annually transformed into unusable—sometimes radioactive—cancer-causing wastewater.

According to the report, Fracking by the Numbers, produced by Environment America, the scale and severity of fracking’s myriad impacts betray all claims that natural gas is a “cleaner” or somehow less damaging alternative to other fossil fuels.

The report explores various ways in which gas fracking negatively impacts both human health and the environment, including the contamination of drinking water, overuse of scarce water sources, the effect of air pollution on public health, its connection to global warming, and the overall cost imposed on communities where fracking operations are located.

“The bottom line is this: The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said John Rumpler, the report’s lead author and senior attorney for Environment America. “For our environment and for public health, we need to put a stop to fracking.”

In fact, the report concludes that in state’s where the practice is now occurring, immediate moratoriums should be enacted and in states where the practice has yet to be approved, bans should be legislated to prevent this kind of drilling from ever occurring.

Though the report acknowledges its too early to know the full the extent of the damage caused by the controversial drilling practice, it found that even a look at the “limited data” available—taken mostly from industry reports and government figures between 2005 and 2012—paints “an increasingly clear picture of the damage that fracking has done to our environment and health.”

So what are the numbers?

The report measured key indicators of fracking threats across the country, and found:

• 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated in 2012,
• 450,000 tons of air pollution produced in one year,
• 250 billion gallons of fresh water used since 2005,
• 360,000 acres of land degraded since 2005,
• 100 million metric tons of global warming pollution since 2005.

“The numbers don’t lie,” said Rumbpler. “Fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment. If this dirty drilling continues unchecked, these numbers will only get worse.”

The Environment America report comes on the heels of a study released by researchers at Duke University earlier this week that found a “surprising magnitude of radioactivity” in the local water near a fracking operation in Pennsylvania.

And ClimateProgress adds:

The report also pointed out the weaknesses of current wastewater disposal practices — wastewater is often stored in deep wells, but over time these wells can fail, leading to the potential for ground and surface water contamination. In New Mexico alone, chemicals from oil and gas pits have contaminated water sources at least 421 times, according to the report.

Those toxic chemicals are exempt from federal disclosure laws, so it’s up to each state to decide if and how the oil and gas companies should disclose the chemicals they use in their operations — which is why in many states, citizens don’t know what goes into the brew that fracking operators use to extract oil and natural gas. Luckily, some states are beginning to address this — California recently passed a law ordering fracking companies to make their chemicals public, an order similar to laws in about seven other states.

The report also noted the vast quantities of water needed for fracking — from 2 million to 9 million gallons on average to frack one well. Since 2005, according to the report, fracking operations have used 250 billion gallons of freshwater. This is putting a strain on places like one South Texas county, where fracking was nearly one quarter of total water use in 2011 — and dry conditions could push that amount closer to one-third.

In addition to the impact on surface and ground water supplies, fracking is a well-known contributor to global warming and numerous studies have shown that the methane emissions created by the extraction and transportation of natural gas far outweighs any benefit generated by its ability to burn “cleaner” than oil or coal.

Download or read the complete report here (pdf). 

Maybe the difference is not so great as it seems… Jefferson said his statement about the civilized destroying Indians, but if instead we invert his meaning so the statement describes the natural world destroying civilization, the statement becomes even more true than Jefferson ever intended: “In war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them.” If you wage war on the natural world, you may be able to kill the passenger pigeons, the tigers, the salmon, the frogs, but the natural world shall surely destroy all of you. Every last one. Civilization may have the power to destroy much of the natural world and many tribes of the wild nonhumans and humans, but the wild earth will ultimately destroy every last tank and gun and airplane, every last electrical wire, every last cell phone tower, every last rail line, every last factory trawler, every last logging truck, every last skyscraper, every last dam, every last civilized human being who opposes it. Don’t be against it.

Derrick Jensen

Lately people have been asking me the “solution” or the “alternative” to industrial civilization—I say to them, and to you, ask someone who knows, someone who despite civilization’s great efforts has survived, for now—ask the Apache, the Lakota, the Cherokee, the Cheyenne, the Navajo, the Sioux, the Chickasaw, the Chippewa, the Seminole, the Yuman, the Choctaw, the Comanche or the Cree. Ask them if there is another way, and then do what you’ve never been good at doing, listen.

(via america-wakiewakie)

An interview with ELF founder, John Hanna: the first person to serve prison time for using direct action to defend Earth against pesticides.

  • Q: You've been out of the spotlight for a number of years. Why did you decide to give this interview?
  • A: I started hearing about attacks and vandalism claimed by an environmental group called E.L.F. Years ago, I founded the ELF. Of course this is a whole new entity but similar in its purpose. I felt it might be useful to make a statement at this time.
  • Q: On November 22, 1977, agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrested you at your home in Santa Cruz, California. Can you describe the circumstances leading to your arrest?
  • A: I was charged with violation of federal statutes. Specifically, I was accused of placing incendiary devices on seven crop dusters at the airport in Salinas, California on May 1, 1977. There were other charges as well relating to my underground activities.
  • Q: What prompted you to take that course of action?
  • A: At the time, I was frustrated. I chose to go underground and employ guerrilla tactics in defense of the earth. I felt conventional methods of civil disobedience were ineffective. I was upset because pesticide use and cancer rates were increasing in spite of the best efforts of the concerned scientific community to point out the hazards and alternatives to pesticides.
  • Q: To whom are you referring?
  • A: Two people influenced me: One was Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring. The other was Robert Van Den Bosch, professor of entomology at U.C. Berkeley. He wrote a book titled The Pesticide Conspiracy. He died shortly after the book was published. I believed that the warning signals were loud and clear but no one seemed to be taking heed. Here were respectable scientists with PhD's. They were working within the system but it seemed to me at the time not to be working. So I decided to take the struggle to the streets - use a bigger stick so to speak.
  • Q: And that was 24 years ago. Did your bigger stick work?
  • A: No. Our food is still being sprayed. But it seemed the way to go back then. I founded the E.L.F., which was an acronym for Environmental Life Force. With today's incarnation, E.L.F. stands for Earth Liberation Front. I've also heard it called the Environmental Liberation Front. We're comparing apples and oranges here. An ELF is an ELF - the aims and tactics are the same - defense of the earth by means of direct guerrilla action.
  • Q: In other words, violence. Isn't that a contradiction when you claim to be an environmentalist?
  • A: Yes. In truth it's not possible to where both hats. By definition, an environmentalist cherishes all life - including greedy, thoughtless people. Turns out, I was one of those thoughtless people too.
  • Q: Why did you resort to violence?
  • A: I justified my behavior by claiming "self defense" In reality, I was a pissed off frustrated sociopath. I see that now. An incident pushed me over the edge of rational behavior. Back then, I lived in an agricultural area. Lots of artichoke and strawberry fields. One day, I was driving into town (Watsonville) and I got sprayed with Parathion. A crop duster zoomed by me from behind. His wingtips were no more than fifteen feet from my car. Before I had time to roll up my windows and close up my vent, I drove into a toxic cloud. I went directly to the agricultural commissioner's office and reported the incident. Nothing ever came of it. For several hours I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Parathion is an organophosphate poison that was developed by German scientists in WW II as a nerve gas. After the war, they started using it to kill insect pests. The incident served as a catalyst. The ELF was born.
  • Q: But the first ELF action had nothing to do with pesticides or the environment, did it?
  • A: In March of '77, ELF claimed responsibility for shooting the windows of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's vacation home in Watsonville with an air-powered pistol. It was a target of opportunity and no one was home at the time. Ms. Feinstein was then a San Francisco county supervisor. The action was in retaliation for the jail house death of Larry Williams, a young black inmate. He went into diabetic shock and died for lack of an insulin shot. ELF demanded that a medical screening program be initiated for all new prisoners. The rationale: the inmate was one of earth's creatures and he died of neglect.
  • Q: I still see this contradiction. On the one hand you feign concern for this unfortunate inmate, yet ELF places homemade napalm bombs on seven crop dusters. Am I missing something here? Couldn't a pilot or a firefighter have been killed?
  • A: ELF took extraordinary measures to avoid loss of life or injury. The devices were designed so only the low-yield detonators would fire. The napalm mix had been allowed to solidify so it could not catch fire. The fuses were timed to ignite at 2:00 am. I waited nearby until all the detonators exploded. If someone would have happened by, I was prepared to warn him or her off, even at the risk of capture. Later in the day, a communiqu� was dropped at the local newspaper. ELF listed viable alternatives to the excessive and inappropriate use of pesticides on our food.
  • Q: What about the crop dusters?
  • A: They suffered some blistered paint. It had rained that night. All the planes were spraying crops just hours after the incident. But it was a successful media event. Guerrilla theater, if you will. The listing of alternatives was important. You rarely hear of bombers and activists offering alternatives to their grievances. Usually, they just rant.
  • Q: Were there other issues ELF focused on?
  • A: There was an action in Oregon. A pipe bomb was placed at the headquarters of Publishers' Paper Company in Oregon City on August 1st, 1977. (Footnote: The facility operated by Publishers' Paper is now owned by Blue Heron Paper Company). This was another retaliatory action. Fairly serious stuff because it involved the transport of explosives across state lines.
  • Q: What were the circumstances?
  • A: Publishers' Paper owned land in Rose Lodge, Oregon. They cultivated fast growing trees to provide pulp for their paper mills. They routinely sprayed herbicides to kill off competing plant species. Eventually the chemicals found their way into streams. The spawning habitat for steelhead and salmon were at risk. In protest, some local folks had chained themselves to trees on Publishers' land. They were ordered off the property and when they didn't go, a helicopter sprayed them all with the herbicide Tordon. The pipe bomb was set off at Publishers' corporate offices. ELF demanded that the company provide life-long health care and medical monitoring for the spray victims.
  • Q: Did anyone get hurt when the pipe bomb went off?
  • A: No. It was designed to be a low-yield device. The lesson learned at the Salinas airport action was: it was not necessary to do any real damage to create a media event. I think a window was blown out. Publishers' never provided the medical care; that would have been an admission of guilt. Interestingly, Publishers' Paper was owned by the Los Angeles Times News Agency. When I went to trial, all charges were dropped that related to the Publishers' action. I think pressure from the L.A. Times may have influenced the decision to drop the charges. Just a guess. I had taken full responsibility for the incident so there was no reason for the federal prosecutor to let me skate on that one. (Footnote: Reportedly, several of the Rose Lodge protestors have experienced health problems which they attribute to being sprayed with the herbicide.) THE LOS ANGELES TIMES NEEDS TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND PROVIDE MEDICAL HELP FOR THESE PEOPLE!!!
  • Q: What came after Oregon?
  • A: Nothing, really. I got arrested and went to jail.
  • Q: How did you get caught?
  • A: Good old-fashioned investigative techniques and advanced technology. ELF was issuing a lot of communiques. To avoid getting into a predictable pattern, different copy machines were used each time. We learned at my trial that the ATF had a complete record showing the time and address where every ELF communique had been printed in both California and Oregon. But I made the mistake of using a copier where my girlfriend, Carla Susan Olander worked. The ATF traced the communique to that machine and started asking the management questions: was anyone aware of an employee who had expressed anti-pesticide opinions? They learned that my girlfriend was under a doctor's care and was drawing disability payments due to an exposure to pesticides while working in a cannery. They kept the two of us under surveillance for a couple of months. On November 22, 1977 the ATF and Santa Cruz SWAT came through my front door while I was sleeping. Scared the hell out of me. In the spirit of civil disobedience, I made a full confession and prepared myself for some serious prison time.
  • Q: Were there other arrests?
  • A: No, my girlfriend Carla was a participant in the ELF's actions. She cooperated with the ATF so she wasn't charged with anything.
  • Q: Now that the statute of limitations have expired, can you tell if others were involved with ELF at the time?
  • A: I'm not sure there is a statute of limitations for terrorist acts. I told the authorities that I acted alone. They accepted that and I think their investigation bore that out. For the record, I acted alone. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  • Q: Thank you, Bart Simpson.
  • A: No, it's true. There was no more ELF actions after I was busted.
  • Q: Until now.
  • A: Right. I have no knowledge of the latest incarnation of ELF. I was alarmed when I heard one of the talking heads on the nightly news mention ELF a few months back. I thought, Oh boy, they'll be charging through my front door again.
  • Q: But that hasn't happened, has it?
  • A: No. I think they've ruled me out. (Knock on wood). My life is an open book. I have a career that takes up all of my time and I'm constantly traveling. I'm retired from that stuff. I enjoy my freedom too much to revisit that nightmare I went through a quarter of a century ago. My philosophy on militant environmentalism has changed over time. It's counter-productive to the movement. After my stint at Lompoc federal prison, I was released on probation. The judge had given me five years but he later modified the sentence to five years' supervised probation. After I was out, I contacted Richard Armentrout, one of the Rose Lodge spray victims for the first time. He told me that the ELF bombing had embarrassed them and alienated them from their former supporters. Just the simple perception that they may in some way be associated with a terrorist group was all it took to destroy their credibility in their community of peers. That really bothered me. I apologized but it was too late. the harm was done.
  • Q: So you no longer advocate militancy?
  • A: Not if it manifests itself in violence. Civil disobedience can be militant in practice or perception. But violence is NEVER civil. Thoreau and Gandhi landed in jail but they never could have accomplished their goals had they resorted to violence. They maintained the high moral ground and inspired support. They showed they were better than their adversaries.
  • Q: Do you consider your past actions to be a failure?
  • A: Yes. Both morally and strategically. After my arrest, I opted for another approach. I founded a not-for-profit organization to assist commercial growers to develop strategies for cutting back on their use of pesticides. This was a program developed, in part, by Dr. Van Den Bosch. I was fortunate to gain his support before he died. The strategy is called Integrated Pest Management or IPM. It was a fairly new concept in the late 70's. It's widely practiced these days.
  • Q: Are you still active in the IPM field?
  • A: No. I recruited a board of directors with college degrees in entomology and plant pathology. I wrote the initial seed-funding proposal and received a generous grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Then I reluctantly stepped down. The board of directors felt my pending trial could be problematic. And, of course, I had no professional credentials. Basically I was a confessed bomber awaiting trial. Not the greatest public relations asset if you're trying to influence commercial growers. The academicians took over the corporate helm but they failed to secure additional funding and the enterprise faded away. The good news is that similar businesses have flourished. So I'm reassured that my instincts were sound. Perhaps we were ahead of our time. With hindsight, I see that IPM has accomplished more than those seven firebombs ever did.
  • Q: What would you like to say to the ELF today?
  • A: If I transport myself back to when I was Underground, I don't think I would Have listened to an old fart like me. Most likely a lot of the people who make up today's ELF weren't even born when ELF was founded. So I'm not too optimistic that the current cadre will listen. But here's my request: Stop the violence. It's only a matter of time before someone gets injured or killed. Arson can get out of hand very quickly. Who would want an innocent firefighter to get killed doing his or her job? I'm so thankful no one was hurt during my activities. I couldn't live with myself had that happened.
  • Q: What's your opinion of the new ELF?
  • A: My opinion doesn't matter. I can certainly empathize with their frustration and their desire to defend the environment. But their means and methods will lead nowhere. Maybe prison. Some of the actions attributed to the ELF are so dumb it boggles the mind. Torching a used car lot or a luxury home? What the hell is that? That's the kind of crap you would expect from somebody trying to run an insurance scam or a provocateur hoping to discredit the movement. On the other hand, you have people like the Rose Lodge protestors or the young woman that lived up in that old-growth tree for months on end. She really accomplished something positive. Even the loggers had to respect her tenacity and courage. Now that's what I'm talking about. That's the true spirit of civil disobedience. The movement needs more people like them. We don't need more unibombers and idiots like my former ELF persona, running around trying to change the world by coercion and intimidation. That just doesn't get things done.

deliaopran:

Chasing Ice

I just watched Chasing Ice, a documentary about the fast melting of glaciers due to climate change. James Balog, a photographer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology,  becomes through his photographs and time-lapse videos a story teller of the dramatic changes the Earth goes through right now, due to the global warming effect.

The evidence is undeniable. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

Please, go take the time to watch this film. There are a lot of climate change deniers still out there and they exist solely to generate doubt for the unknowing bystander, but here is an opportunity for you to see it tangibly before your eyes. Here is the trailer. Here is Jason Balog’s Ted Talks presentation

How Safe is Our Food? More and more countries are banning American food

america-wakiewakie:

More and more countries are banning imports of American food products for safety reasons.

Last week, Indonesia became the first country to halt imports of US beef following the discovery of an American dairy cow infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The disease is fatal to cows and can cause a deadly brain disease in people who eat tainted beef.

“We will lift the ban as soon as the US can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease,” said Rusman Heriawan, Indonesia’s vice agriculture minister. “It could be one month or one year. It depends on how long it takes to resolve this case.”

One would think the US government would immediately test beef to make sure it’s safe. But the USDA, which regulates the test, administers it to less than 1% of slaughtered cows. Worse, until 2007 it was illegal for private beef producers to test their own cows for the disease! Larger meat companies feared that if smaller producers tested their meat and advertised it as safe from mad cow disease, they too might be forced to test all their cows—so they persuaded USDA to block individual producers from doing the test. In 2007 a federal judge said this practice could no longer stand.

The highest risk occurs if animals or humans eat infected brain or nerve tissue. Meat unconnected to bone, milk, and hooves are supposed to be safe, but who knows for sure? The ultimate source of mad cow, of course, is the filthy and disease-ridden (not to mention inhumane) conditions in CAFOs, or concentrated animal feedlot operations.

In February, Taiwan began refusing meat products from the US because they contain ractopamine, a leanness- and growth-promoting drug used widely in pork and beef production in the United States. Taiwan has a zero-tolerance policy for the drug.

Ractopamine is banned in 160 nations including Europe because it is responsible for hyperactivity and muscle breakdown in pigs, and a 10% increase in their mortality rate. It was banned in China after more than 1700 people were “poisoned” from eating American pigs that had been given ractopamine. The drug bears the warning label, “Not for use in humans. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear, and a NIOSH-approved dust mask’’—yet somehow it is considered safe in human food. How is this possible?

Most of the world’s developed countries ban, or have at least placed limits on, genetically modified organisms. The European Union and its member states, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, and Paraguay all have restrictions or outright bans on the use or importation of genetically engineered seeds, plants, or foods. A detailed map with the specific products banned in Europe is available here.

This is one reason the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative is so important. If California requires labeling products containing GMOs, it will be difficult for most manufacturers to create separate labels for their products sold in other states, so the labeling will become national. This is why we are trying to help the Right to Know Campaign raise one million dollars to drop a “money bomb” on Monsanto—to combat the anti-GMO propaganda and get this proposition passed in November.

Read more

america-wakiewakie:

"The manner in which the international political economy produces and distributes wealth is well illustrated by the production and distributions of world food resources. If the wheat, rice, and other grains produced throughout the world were distributed equally to all the world’s peoples, each individual would receive 3,600 calories per day, well above the average U.S.-recommended daily allowances of 2,700 calories for adult males, 2,000 for adult females, and 1,300 to 3,000 for teenagers. Yet 9 million children die every year from starvation, and 4 billion people do not have enough to eat. The typical Western family of four consumes more grain (directly and indirectly in the form of meat) than a poor Indian family of 20."
—The Other World 9th ed. pg. 60

america-wakiewakie:

"The manner in which the international political economy produces and distributes wealth is well illustrated by the production and distributions of world food resources. If the wheat, rice, and other grains produced throughout the world were distributed equally to all the world’s peoples, each individual would receive 3,600 calories per day, well above the average U.S.-recommended daily allowances of 2,700 calories for adult males, 2,000 for adult females, and 1,300 to 3,000 for teenagers. Yet 9 million children die every year from starvation, and 4 billion people do not have enough to eat. The typical Western family of four consumes more grain (directly and indirectly in the form of meat) than a poor Indian family of 20."

The Other World 9th ed. pg. 60

Q. I’ve recently been looking in to environmentalism and I was wondering if you had any good resources concerning it?

— Asked by Anonymous

 

A. These should help as a start:

I mean tons and tons of information is freely available on the internet and here on Tumblr. Just get started and look. I hope others will feel free to chime in and contribute. Before you start, or any of you for that matter, remember that it is vitally important to understand that ‘environmentalism’ is a term used that doesn’t put us in a vacuum of discussion just about our landbases, but one of broad scope that must help us to better understand our relationships between each other, those affluent and non-affluent by the resources the land provides each, our systems of economics and how those systems create hierarchies among us and nature, in addition to pushing us into new and reinstating old modes of sustainable living. 

You can’t compartmentalize it and say you are just an animal rights activists, or an advocate of non-GMO farming, and not touch or understand how these issues impact poverty or the rights of men and women. These things are related and so environmentalism is just a vessel of a word that labels how existing information can help you realize those connections and how to act to effect them both positively and accordingly.