2017-03-31

The Empire Express, March 2017


A world in collapse, it turns out, is a busy place. One has a hard time keeping up with all the breaking news of mid-term and long-term significance. “May you live in interesting times!” is one famous Chinese curse that Westerners usually fail to understand. We are currently learning the hard way what it truly means. Though not consistently. Often times I want to cry out loud how the worst of desasters still pass us by as though they were scenes from the movies. And really, all that rapid change can just make you dizzy.
With my own writing, I can only cover a small spectrum of topics. At its foundation lies a worldview, or rather, an understanding, that expresses itself in essays whose contents get inspired by the overabundant information flowing in.

In this digest, I would like to present some of the more 'interesting' articles I came across recently. I recommend them for either their illustrative information on the state of affairs or their profound insight into what said information means.
Starting out as a monthly category, the frequency may change if needed.

Make careful choices on what you invite into your consciousness and take your time taking in, exploring further, and processing it.

Ongoing Assault


What if all I want is a mediocre life? - Krista O'Reilly Davi Digui, No Sidebar, 201703x
Is a simple life a good enough life?

Can democracy save us? – George Barrett, CounterPunch, 20170327
"Here in Germany there is a term for the (inadequate) proposals of the Green Party to change popular thinking about environmental issues: the Greens’ suggestion in the last national election that it would be a good thing for everyone to refrain from eating meat for one day every week was scorned as attempted “Öko-Diktatur” (Eco-Dictatorship). The Greens were lampooned mercilessly in the press for wanting to control the behavior of Germany’s allegedly politically conscious citizens, and sustained losses in the election as a result. That is the mentality faced by anyone who seriously believes democracy or dialogue can save the environment […] Of course, I am aware that this sounds like a plea for authoritarianism, and I suppose that it is, although I am fully aware that it will not win me many political allies. But I believe that a deluded optimism is far more dangerous than a clear view of a frightening future. In spite of my anarchist heart, I want life on this planet – not only human life, but especially plant and animal life, which it appears ever more likely we would destroy along with ourselves – to survive. And that means, as I see it, in fact, some kind of Eco-Dictatorship.”
Fukushima: government guilty of destroying Pacific Ocean -- Daniel Newton, NeonNettle, 20170327
The Maebashi district court ordered government and operator to pay some commpensation.
"Radioactive Debris from Fukushima approaching North America’s western coast. If that weren’t bad enough, Fukushima continues to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day. It will continue to do so indefinitely as the source of the leak cannot be sealed as it is inaccessible to both humans and robots due to extremely high temperatures. It should come as no surprise, then, that Fukushima has contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean in just five years. This could easily be the worst environmental disaster in human history" and "will likely continue affecting wildlife and humans for the next 250,000 years."
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
The nuclear disaster has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.

Read more at: http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2003-fukushima-japanese-government-guilty-of-destroying-pacific-ocean-
© Neon Nettle
Near Term Human Extinction has saved my life – DareToBeDifferent, 20170327
"This [Guy McPherson] lecture sent shock waves through me and of course sadness, numbness, but also validation. Validation because I could see how this war machine, deteriorating capitalistic, species slaughtering, ice cap reducing system was all leading to something […] The most important thing is now I am trying to live a life of excellence and I am definitely living here now. It’s changed my life completely and I feel like looking back on it all finding out about NTHE saved me.”

Why being realistic feels like doomsday thinking – Joe Brewer, Medium.com, 20170325
“To avoid the negative has a name in psychology — it is called denial. And far too many among us are in denial right now.”

[Regarding the discussion on climate change] – Charles Eisenstein, 20170324
Although I sometimes get the feeling that figures do not matter enough in Charles' perspective -- after all, without figures we couldn't state that there is more to the weird weather all over the globe than atmospheric hickups and freak occurances -- I absolutely support the points he makes about climate change (and all the rest of our huge pile of civilized trouble) not being physical events merely. There is an emotional dimension to it, a spiritual dimension, and elements that speak to us as biological, tribal beings. Having neglected those has played a huge part in getting us stranded in our predicament. Now, Charles means to say that, if there is a solution, it might be hidden within the neglected and the denied aspects of our lives. For certain, pursuing life not as a supposedly flawed machine but as the wholesome human being that I am, to me, is worth whatever it takes, regardless of outcome. And that is not at all as anthropocentric as it sounds at first. For us to live like humans, to feel human, and to be human does not require our cultural 'achievement' in the first place, but our embeddedness with the living planet. Even in its wrecked state there is nothing we can do to improve it.

"This year, NOAA [the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] predicts that a weak to moderate El Nino may form which would further exacerbate climate change driven water stresses in India.
These are tough conditions. But the worst may be yet to come for 2017.
April, May and June is the hottest, driest period for India. And the state is entering this season with almost a 150 million people already facing water stress. Moreover, the warming of Equatorial waters in the Pacific as another El Nino is again expected to emerge increases the risk that the 2017 monsoon could be delayed or weakened. So with a water crisis now ongoing in the south, conditions are likely set to worsen soon."
We may change to less water-intense crops, but those are not suitable for feeding everyone. The human population needs to go down. People need to understand that it is basically the amount of irrigation water that determines the amount of food available, and that, generally spoken, to reduce the amount of water used for farming results in the reduction of human food. Think about it.

“Climate change is out for the time being,” officials say.

Key issue of climate change: the not at all surprising state of affairs.

Failed government policy regarding electricity and a growing population wanting to eat are meeting changing climatic conditions that impact the Monsoon as the main provider of water.

A recently published study looked into how life recovered after the "Great Dying", the end-Permian extinction event during which more than "90% of all living creatures went kaput" and found interesting analogies to our current 6th mass extinction.
“This is what makes it so interesting,” Foster told me, “Because you have this huge volcanic eruption that releases all these gases, and then you look at what’s happening today [with climate change] and they’re all the same gases. They’re causing the same effects. So we can say, ‘This is what it did in the past and this is what we might be looking at for the future [...]
We don’t think we will reach the threshold we reached in the Great Dying,” Foster told me. “Or, we hope we won’t, anyway."
Well, one can hope, of course, but for hope to have a tangible efect we need to hope much harder than before, it seems. The article in The Atlantic in which the above-mentioned study was reported describes a few of the conditions we could have found back then -- and maybe again tomorrow -- if only we were able to survive them for longer than a few minutes.
Adrienne Lafrance did a fine job here because she doesn't come from that arrogant point of view that 'this can't happen to us'. She writes, "the story of life on our planet isn’t the story of a single species at the top of the food chain, but ultimately a tale of relentless adaptability."

Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years? Eurocentric modernism has unhinged us from our human nature, argues Rajani Kanth in his new book – Lynn Parramore, Films for Action, 20170314
The article doesn't fully go to the root of our predicament, but it has some damn good points about how our culture does not work out – and where to look for solutions. A must-read.

Revolutions Are Bloody, But So Is Doing Nothing – Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy, 20170314
I concur. Staying silent is a political act that supports the ravaging of the living planet.

The convergence of critical climatic tipping points in a brief overview, and the bleak outlook on near-term developments. 1.2C increase since 1880 baseline as mentioned in the article translates into 1.6C increase since 1750 (real) pre-industrial baseline. Beware of snow jobs.

Yemen and several African states across the continent are facing severe droughts. Early stages of abrupt climate change – 1.6C above pre-industrial baseline – and we already see the world burning.

Pearls Before Swine

Discoveries of older articles that - obviously - didn't change the world.

12 Life Lessons from a Man Who's Seen 12000 Deaths – Deepak Ramola, Uplift Connect, 20160621
You may have heard of Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who wrote about the top-10 regrets of the dying. Here is something similar from an Indian perspective. They share certain insights, but there is also a specifically South Asian understanding that Westerners can learn from, like, "Acceptance is liberation". Facing death consciously liberates from the all-pervasive background fear we often carry around all our lives, and so helps with experiencing life more intensely, more joyfully.

From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love – Cory Morningstar, The Art of Annihilation, home, 201703x
How the environmental movement has been hijacked by the mainstream and turned into the activist arm of industrial interests.

Sustainability is destroying the Earth – Kim, Stories of Creative Ecology, 20120828
Similar to Cory Morningstar's article, Kim shows how sustainability is an expression of the unwillingness to let go of our destructive culture.

Cartoon

The train of civilization
Economic Joyriders
(August 27, 1891 Statesville, North Carolina: A passenger train of the Western North Carolina Railroad derails upon entering Bostian's bridge, plunging to the creek below)

No comments:

Post a Comment