6th Mass Extinction, Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment), Climate Change, Climate Change Denial, Climate Tipping Points, CO2 Emissions, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Ecological Overshoot, Extinction of Man, Fossil-Fuel Based Economy, Global Famine, Kathleen White (Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence & Director), Mass Die Off, Mass Media Manipulation, Michael Ruppert, Overpopulation, Peak Oil, unwashed public
As mankind spirals towards its own self-manufactured demise, I look with a jaundiced eye at daily events in the news and at the bread-and-circus infotainment that fills the American hologram. The mass media is replete with misinformation on the state of the world, so I wasn’t too surprised by the recent words of wisdom(sarcasm) from Kathleen White (Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence & Director, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment); nevertheless, I felt compelled to set aside a partially completed essay on capitalism and technology in order to express some of my thoughts about White’s essay on the benefits of fossil fuels to humanity:
“…Fossils fuels also augment food supply. Fertilizer derived from natural gas has increased agricultural productivity by 40-60 percent. According to economist Indur Goklany, without fossil fuels, an area equivalent to U.S., Canada, and India combined would have to be converted into crop land to meet global food demand. Fossil fuel-based fertilizer, pesticides, and mechanized substitutes for animal power have saved vast natural ecosystems from conversion to cropland. And the increased atmospheric concentration of man-made CO2 has enhanced plant growth.”
[You fail to consider that without fossil fuels, mankind would not have been enabled to overpopulate the planet to such a degree as to require so much farmland. You also fail to say that the negatives of climate change swamp (no pun intended) any supposed benefits of a warming planet. As we are already seeing, the effects of epic droughts and floods are wreaking havoc on farmers. Good luck trying to move the agricultural industry northward where the soils are extremely poor. Famine and mass extinction are the inevitable outcome of industrial civilization’s destabilizing activities on the planet.]
“Although combustion of fossil fuels releases pollutants, that environmental damage can, and is, undergoing dramatic reversal far quicker than could the conversion of natural ecosystems to croplands. The prosperity supported by fossil fuel energy allows investment in effective technologies to reduce and eliminate harmful pollution.”
[CO2 and other GHG levels are increasing every year, having gone parabolic in the last 100 years. This reality paints a bleak picture for the future of humanity. Far from being mitigated, environmental damage is accelerating everywhere one looks from the acidification of the oceans to the die-off of forests and jungles. The simple fact is that renewable energy cannot replace fossil fuel based energy at the rate the world is consuming, as European actions have recently indicated. Only a wholesale reconfiguration of the economy and our way of life will enable solutions to the environmental crisis. Rather than taking this courageous and self-reflective approach, society is putting its proverbial head in the sand concerning climate change. The public already finds the subject of climate change difficult enough to understand without having to wade through a constant onslaught of misleading articles such as yours.]
“Renewable energy still provides a sliver of global demand. Despite the billions of dollars in subsidies, retail prices are still 2-3 times higher than fossil fuels. Renewable energy from wind and solar remain diffuse, intermittent and parasitic on fossil fuels for back-up. Nuclear fission provides energy comparable or superior to fossil fuels, but the public remains resistant to broad use.”
[Yes, capitalist industrial civilization cannot be run on renewables so that is why we need to be talking about powering down and living within the carrying capacity of the planet rather than maintaining the status quo. Nuclear has the little problem of making vast swaths of the planet uninhabitable from radiation contamination, as evidenced by such catastrophes as Chernobyl and Fukushima. Nuclear energy also leaves behind tons of radioactive waste that must be stored away for thousands of years. These sort of factors tend to scare the public. With global sea levels rising and storms becoming more destructive, the world’s nuclear plants, which are mostly situated along waterways and oceans for coolant purposes, are in jeopardy. Get it?]
“Energy-dense, abundant, imperishable, versatile, reliable, portable and affordable, fossil fuels provide 85 percent of the world’s energy because they are superior to the current alternatives. And hundreds of millions still await the benefits of affordable energy. Until energy sources comparable or superior to fossil fuels are fully available, policies to reduce emissions of CO2 should proceed with caution lest they prematurely jettison the well-springs of mankind’s greatest advance — the blessings of which literally light up the holiday season.”
[The “well-springs of mankind’s greatest advance” are soon to be jettisoned into the dustbin of history and extinction as we have already tripped multiple tipping points in the earth’s biosphere such as the Polar ice melt and many others. Hundreds of millions will never experience the energy-intensive lifestyles of developed countries since climate chaos will put a halt to human expansion within this century. Fossil fuels have allowed industrial civilization to far overshoot the environment; for the rest of the world to live like Americans, we would need more than 4 Earths.]
You are so correct that her comparison of damage done by CO2 with lost cropland is utterly specious.
I try to laugh at least once a day – it’s good medicine. Already though it’s mid-afternoon so I was starting to worry, but this did it for me:
“Although combustion of fossil fuels releases pollutants, that environmental damage can, and is, undergoing dramatic reversal.”
RE White Idiot Fuck: B.A.R.F (Bipeds Are Royally Fucked)
In Review: Once upon a time, there was a tree full of happy contented monkeys eating fruit and socializing peacefully day after day. Suddenly, a retarded monkey child was born – perhaps landing on its head during birth. This happened to be a female idiot moron fuck monkey, too stupid to merely hold onto the branches or cling to its mother. So, sooner rather than later, it fell out of the tree and was too retarded to climb back up to safety. Then, shortly thereafter, a vile evil male monkey was born. He was an aggressive, violent, massive asshole monster monkey. No one in the troop could stand this gaping anus monkey. So they ganged up on him and kicked him out of their tree permanently – there wasn’t anything else they could do and continue to survive in peace in their tree. With nothing else to do on the ground, and no one else to fuck, the anus ape fucked the idiot ape and the rest is history – aka US. So you see, here we all are – the prodigy of aggressively violent horny idiot moron fucks. Eventually, the direct ancestors of anus ape and idiot fuck invented the chain saw and they cut all the trees down. No one lived happily ever after.
Roger Ramjet said:
Ted Howard said:
This is a good criticism of Kathleen White’s essay.
“As mankind spirals towards its own self-manufactured demise”
Nope, not mankind, but “modern civilised” humans are driving this…aka homo colossus or homo economicus…
Please make that distinction!
Civilisations come and go, but this one is building as far out off the cliff possible, at the expense of the biosphere. The 6th Mass Extinction is running at rates never seen before in the geological records.
We need to stop it and bring it down. It is pathological, suicidal, insane. It wants to kill everything and everyone, including itself.
Unless it is stopped, it will kill the planet. NTHE is an absolute given unless this is recognised and faced. “Exciting times” eh?!!
“We can have a healthy biosphere or industrial ‘civilisation’, but not both.”
Guy McPherson http://www.guymcpherson.com
We in the industrialized world have a habit of including everyone – those we have conquered, killed, and boxed onto reservations – when we speak of ‘mankind’. Sorry ’bout that.
Ted Howard said:
The Overthinker said:
“We need to stop it and bring it down.”
A couple of questions for you on this one:
1. How? (note: I am very familiar with the literature on this – I’d like to hear your own thoughts)
2. Are you (or is anyone you know) engaged in activities to do this (do tell – obviously without giving anyone’s game away to the NSA!)?
3. Do you think it can be done in time to “save us”, or is it possibly already too late?
4. If it really is too late, will you get out there and do it anyway in order to potentially save non-human species?
I know very few people who are putting these thoughts into action, so I’d really like to hear a few more who talk the talk tell us about how they are walking it too.
Cheers in advance 🙂
Ted Howard said:
1. By any means necessary, and depending on your abilities.
2. As an above ground activist, practising security 101, I am out spreading a meme, talking up a resistance culture, and supporting remnant indigenous and activists on the front line. All this is above ground.
3. There is no hope for the “civilised”. Homo colossus aka homo economicus will die-off. Remnant homo sapiens may survive in pockets. So our task is to transition to being localised humans aka homo sapiens, as soon as possible. Few will do this. Most of us here are walking dead. So be it.
4. Yup. Doing what we can in defence of life that may survive the bottleneck, is still worth doing, regardless of how much longer we may survive. Most remnant indigenous get it, we “civilised” don’t.
The feedback from most remnant indigenous is that the first thing we “civilised” need to do is de-colonise our hearts and minds.
I dance on the edge of Permaculture, working as a gardener/designer, stirring it up in Permaculture circles. Amongst the rose tinted glasses wearing “civilised” Permies, I’m not well received.
I doubt I would have phrased it as colorfully as lonewolf, but I think his depiction is the more accurate. There is absolutely nothing intrinsically new, other than scale, about our destructive ways. Capitalism and fossil fuels have accelerated overshoot, but the trend was there from the beginning. Why else would we have migrated all across the earth, if we were living sustainably in Africa? I wish people who desire to believe in the peaceful nobility of our ancestors would read actual history, anthropology and archaeology. But then, it would interfere with the cherished notion that we’re not actually as disgusting as Lonewolf describes. See: anthropological work (Boas, 1998 (Eco Homo); Redman, 1999 (Human Impacts on Ancient Environments) and by historical environmental sociological work (Chew, 2001 (World Ecological Degradation), 2007 (The Recurring Dark Ages; Whitaker, 2009 (Ecological Revolution). This shows that humans, ancient or present, have been involved in processes that degrade their environment instead of assumptions that somehow past humans were more ‘innocent’ (Krech, 2000 (The Ecological Indian: Myth and History).
From the first chapter, in a review of the last book mentioned:
of the Americas:
The extinctions were remarkable by any measure. Animals familiar and unfamiliar, widespread and local, and large and small disappeared. Some were well-known creatures like lemmings, salamanders, and various birds. But many were not, and they constituted a fabulous bestiary. The mammals, especially the ones that were unfamiliar and large, have attracted great attention. How many mammalian species disappeared will probably always be unknown because of uncertainty over species boundaries, but at least thirty-five mammalian genera vanished.
Mammals weighing more than one hundred pounds that became extinct have drawn intense interest partly because of their assumed attractiveness to human hunters. For one familiar only with today’s North American fauna, these so-called megafauna (literally, large animals) were exceptional. They included exotic hulking tusked mammoths and mastodons that roamed prairies and boggy woodlands, respectively, towering elephant-like over almost all else. Several types of slow-moving, giant ground sloths ranging in size from several hundred pounds to twenty feet long in the same weight range as the mammoths also vanished. So did rhinocerous-sized pampatheres, a kind of giant armadillo, and armored two-thousand-pound, six-foot-long glyptodonts resembling nothing known today.
Many herbivores disappeared, including single-hump camels, stocky six-foot-long capybaras, five-hundred-pound tapirs, three-hundred-pound giant beavers, four-horned antelopes, horses, bison-sized shrub oxen, and stag-moose with fantastic multiple-palmated and tined antlers. Carnivores also died out, including dire wolves whose large heads and powerful jaws made them resemble hyenas and huge fearsome fifteen-hundred-pound short-faced bears that were slim and possibly very quick and agile. Two large serrated-toothed cats vanished: scimitar-toothed cats that fed on mammoth young, and great saber-toothed cats that could gape, shark-like, opening their jaws to a one-hundred-degree angle before stabbing or ripping open prey with their enormous canines.
All vanished. The end for many came between 11,000 and 10,000 years ago, a watershed millennium that opened with the disappearance of many members of the amazing bestiary and closed with the demise of the remaining camels, horses, mammoths, mastodons, and other megafauna.
…preindustrial humans have caused extinctions in other times and places. Throughout the Pacific, indigenous people had a severe impact on birds. They exterminated literally thousands of species well before the arrival of Europeans.
The Hawaiian archipelago presents a classic case. There, native people altered the habitat so that it met their needs and conformed to their cultural expectations—so thoroughly that extinctions followed in their wake. Ancient Hawaiians cleared land with fire and diverted streams for irrigation, and crop plants and extensive grasslands took over what had been forested coastal areas. Fish ponds emerged where there had been mudflats. Hawaiians introduced dogs, pigs, chickens, and—inadvertently—rats and reptiles that had stowed away on their canoes. As a result of these introductions and radical changes in the habitat, over forty species of birds (well over half of all endemic bird species) became extinct. Some, especially those that could not fly, the ancient Hawaiians ate: petrels, flightless geese, ibises, rails, a hawk, and crow. Others like honeycreepers, other finches, and a thrush vanished as their habitats disappeared or as their feathers came into demand to ornament clothing.
New Zealand presents a second compelling case. As in Hawaii, early Polynesian colonizers—the predecessors of today’s Maori—deployed fire to transform New Zealand’s environment. They also hunted at least thirteen species of moas—ostrich-like flightless birds, one of which towered over men and women—to extinction. They killed adult birds in large quantities and gourmandized their eggs. They left necks and skulls unused—wasted parts they discarded. In the end, no moas survived, and these ancient Polynesians turned their attention to what was left—shellfish, fish, seals, and small birds.
Actually the current scientific evidence is that climate change rather than hunting by man was the primary reason for the extinction of the woolly mammoth:
Woolly mammoths became extinct because of climate change – not hunting
“It has previously been suggested that humans, hunting the animals for food, furs and tusks, delivered the final blow in wiping mammoths out. But there has been no scientific data collected to back this theory.”
I suppose that environmental factors were also a much bigger factor for the demise of other species as well.
I don’t think any of us here entertains the idea that indigenous cultures were “innocent”, but that they were vastly more sustainable, regarded nature as intricate to their survival, and were more reliant on the interconnectedness of their community than the current cutthroat capitalist society we live in today.
The book I linked to also said that climate may have had a role in some extinctions – stressing populations where humans dealt the coup de grace. Your article also says “Scientists leading the research from the Swedish Museum of Natural History stressed that the extinction of an animal was usually down to a combination of factors, and that while the new study reveals unprecedented details about how mammoth numbers got to perilously low levels, it does not show why they died out altogether.”.
It’s kind of amazing that you could read that devastatingly long list of lost creatures and respond by extrapolating about a study of one species to all the other many, many species that went extinct at the same time, “supposing” that it applies. That is cherry-picking to the extreme, particularly as that species was the largest and furriest of all the megafauna, least adaptable to a warming climate. Not to mention that you have ignored the evidence (and there is much more) about early extinctions on other islands and continents that are clearly proved to be caused by reckless, greedy behavior on the part of humans (killing birds for their decorative feathers for instance, or sea animals for their shells).
There is no evidence other than myth and desire that earlier human societies were more benevolent or respectful of nature and less wasteful than people now. By tradition many Indians, for example, believed that the supply of animals was limitless – that they were reincarnated, or originated in caves under the earth. In contemporary sciety, huge numbers of people now, for example, are extremely concerned about nature, from experts like ecologists and biologists to volunteer wildlife rescuers and people who clean up parks, people who contribute to countless NGOs like the WWF, Sierra Club, the list could go on and on.
I also think that you may be discounting the plethora of “inter-connected” communities in current society. If you can name an activity – bowling, bicycling, knitting, swimming, majhong, helping seniors, churches, local history, photograhpy, cooking – there will be organizations or clubs all over for it, many if not most of them free. I think you are confusing the conflict BETWEEN groups with a lock of connectedness WITHIN a group, and that has been the way humans have organized (much like wolf packs) since time immemorial.
My response below.
The Overthinker said:
A thought, if I may:
I’m glad folks here are trying to move beyond the binary of Rousseau’s ‘noble savage’ versus Hobbes’ ‘nasty, brutish and short’ re: the lives of ancient indigenous peoples.
I tend to find folks err too much one way or the other, so thought it might be wise to encourage research of the various theories of collapsed civilizations and whatnot. Perhaps I’m just echoing here: “I wish people who desire to believe in the peaceful nobility of our ancestors would read actual history, anthropology and archaeology.” (witsendnj). It is, sadly, true that humans caused 50% of the planet’s large mammals to go extinct tens of thousands of years before the agricultural paradigm was even a glimmer in some nomad’s eye. This certainly wasn’t caused by any malicious intent (as we often ascribe to today’s ecocide), but was a matter of a species overshooting its carrying capacity (like Bartlett’s bacteria in a bottle). We can’t bring any of these species back. Do the people’s who extinguished their existence deserve our praise any more than those who are finishing the job now? Well, perhaps the answer to that is yes and no.
I have evolved my own theory (not just willy-nilly – I have studied ancient human history), and need to research to see if it can really be substantiated, but so far I’d just like some feedback on it:
Overshooting our carrying capacity did not always result in (total) collapse of any given civilization. In some cases the destruction was reined in, whereas (most) others walked off the cliff in the manner of mythical lemmings. This leads one to question what differed in their approach to BAU. Of the civilizations that collapsed I find it hard to believe there was no one like us warning of what would happen. The Cassandra syndrome is nothing new, nor is intuition, nor is empirical observation. So, presumably in the case of civilizations that walked off the cliff nothing sufficiently significant was changed, or perhaps not in sufficient time. Perhaps we’ll never know. But, in the case of civilizations that survived (some up until now) we are able to study their cultures and customs and identify the emergence of certain customs that may shed light on the reasons for their survival.
One such custom is totemism, whereby each individual human has a spiritual connection with another living organism – whether animal or plant or other ‘natural objects’ (I don’t like that phrase – we’re perhaps referring to rivers and woodlands as well, as would be backed up by the Maori traditions in New Zealand). These totems cannot be killed, eaten, or otherwise interfered with in many cases. Why is this? Some esoteric nonsense? I doubt it. It seems to me that a cultural narrative was born out of necessity – the mother of invention – and that this served the purpose of conserving the most vital elements of a landbase for the humans struggling to survive on it.
Perhaps we’re in need of a new-found culture of totemism. For sure, if I ever have kids (well, that’s moot – I’ve committed not to… but speaking purely hypothetically here..) I will assign them a totem each – an animal they are responsible for conserving. This would basically write the bottom line of their lives, which would revolve primarily around their mission.
Am I talking bollocks? Please let me know what you think!
Kevin Moore said:
The obvious questions:
How much was Kathleen White paid by big oil to write such drivel?
How much funding does TPPI get from big oil?
It always comes down to who’s palms are being greased, doesn’t it?
Kathleen White! Fuck that water retaining sea cow!
Kevin Moore said:
Very appropriate to the theme of Destroy the World.
Many of us recognise that politicians around the world are traitors to their citizens and are orchestrators of carnage on a scale never witnessed before. Shame about the dumbed-down masses.
The death and destruction associated with Canada’s tar sands has increased many-fold since being highlighted in films such as Blind Spot
Thanks for replying to my questions in the last article. Useful insight. I’m aware that soil is more than pulverized rocks, and should have specified by calling the blown-up mountain rock what it is. Take care 🙂
No need to attack Kathleen White, as her viewpoint is the popular viewpoint. She said…..(that had kept human lives of all but the most privileged “poor, nasty, brutish and short,” as Thomas Hobbes memorably put it.) and no doubt, but why?
Overpopulation way back then, maybe. Exploitation way back then, maybe. Or maybe it was when humans stopped living communally and decided on the nuclear family/property paradigm.
If this is so, and I believe it is, then clearly this is what we must return to, if we care, I suppose. Actually, l don’t believe it’s quite that simple in that I suspect successful communal living requires a pretty high social and ethical skill set, which probably was deficient even in our long, long ago ancestors. If this is true, maybe we indeed are doomed.
Never the less, one might expect that level of awareness here where all are so aware. Yes? or maybe not. I don’t believe communal living requires us to be perfect human beings, but it does require a certain intent and interest in a certain outcome.
What other alternative is there other than war, famine and carnage:
“A tall order to be sure.” and “current capitalism, as is, is a living nightmare…”
This, our, situation cannot be changed from the top down. It must proceed from the bottom up, or at least simultaneously. So, what’s not to get?
Kathleen White offers a pacifier, NTE offers a bullet to the head. So, if these are the only two choices, why wouldn’t we expect people to take the pacifier, to retreat into fantasy?
NTE says there is no hope. Then why the endless critiques of capitalism? It reminds me of anarchism; some of the best social critiques come from anarchist writings, but what a hopelessly do nothing movement.
If we go extinct, it won’t be because of carbon dioxide and industrial civilization, these are the symptoms or after effects of refusing to relate person to person, refusing to cooperate and share, refusing to unite over any ethics and goals and refusing to live more simply (together) in some mutually satisfactory way on the local, personal and immediate level.
I would not care to defend the obscene income/wealth inequality that characterizes modern society,which is worsening. But what other advanced civilization has been better – other than the brief period of ridiculously cheap and abundant fossil fuels in the last century? Ancient China, or Egypt or India, or Rome? From everything I have read, the inequality was greater in the past in other cultures than it is now under industrialized capitalism, not only for wealth and income but even more extremely, lifespan. I in no way condone the exploitation of cheap, essentially forced labor, but sometimes it seems like people forget it has been this way for thousands of years. At what point back in time did we veer away from egalitarian societies, and what relevance does it have to today’s predicament?
I guess I would say, exactly. That we have gotten to this point for both positive and negative reasons. But I guess I’m assuming this website is more focused on the problems that we have gotten ourselves into and not necessarily our accomplishments.
In fact, if we are to assume near-term extinction is inevitable, I guess our accomplishments are going to count for very little.
I don’t think you have to be a scholar to have some idea that not every society that ever was was completely messed up. Most maybe, but not every single one. And if there’s never been a “perfect” society, I don’t think that matters. I don’t think we need perfect, per se, we just need something that doesn’t lead to war, crime and extinction.
We’ve been to the moon and back and so on and so forth, yet we can’t figure this out? That’s interesting to say the least! Actually, the solution is well-known and it’s reiterated on this website again and again. Why it doesn’t happen I guess, in my opinion, is because that kind of change has to happen locally at least first, or at least at the same time it might be happening from the top down.
But it’s easy to see why that’s so resisted, because that means people would have to actually do something, live differently.
Many New World tribes or nations were egalitarian societies, so there is no one point in time where it all changed. If you are interested in what happened to them, read Howard Zinn’s “A Peoples History of The United States”
There are approximately 3 billion people who live on a couple of dollars a day. That is relevant to inequality, because most of it is due to western imperialism: puppet dictators, IMF, CIA, military threat and/or intervention etc. In addition to poverty these people are and will continue to get the worst of climate change that we caused. Could anything be more unfair? Once you know this stuff and you remain silent and continue to happily consume you are just as guilty as the corporations and politicians. A lot of people know at least some of it and do make some effort. Most of the political and corporate effort is just green-washing. Fair trade and recycling are mostly bullshit too. If we really cared we would offer to help them prepare and/or offer any who wanted refuge in our countries. That would be the decent thing to do. The Christian thing. So you know it will never happen. People will say that, like China, they would have done it anyway.
As for living longer, I often wonder if we value quantity over quality too much. How many people spend a year or more of their lives just commuting to work? How many hate their jobs? 40 years, 8 hrs per day in a cubical or on the factory floor. Also, not every peasant who ever lived hated life, nor did they take everything laying down. Plus, it’s all relative. In 1974 I lived in the Canadian Rockies. We had a little black and white TV with rabbit ears and we only got 1 station (CBC) some of the time. There was a barrel bear trap on a trailer 100 meters from our front door. No police station, no hospital, no high school, no video games and our phone was a party line. When I told my niece about it, she more or less thought we lived in the dark ages. That was the best 3 years of my childhood.
The EU underestimates how 50% youth unemployment and the decade long exporting of manufacturing jobs to China, lowers their emissions. This is a shell game, pure and simple. Look around you, almost everything you see, feel, hear and touch comes from China. The emissions for almost everything in your life are let loose in China. This reeks of the height of hubris and hypocrisy.
Kevin Moore said:
I guess Gail Tverberg, Nicole Foss, Jim Kunstler, Thom Hartman. Abby Martin etc. will eventually catch up with us.
The Overthinker said:
Why include Abby Martin in that list?
A handful of healthy soil is filled will billions of micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, micro-arthropods, earthworms, etc, etc. It’s total chaos in that handful of earth, because essentially everything is eating and killing everything else, with populations of micro-life booming and busting, and nutrients in the soil being naturally recycled and utilized by plants and micro-life alike. When that handful, or an acreage of earth is disturbed by man through the use of mechanical equipment, over-grazing by livestock, chemical fertilizers, and bio-cides, life in the soil is stressed and killed. Its capacity for holding water, organic nutrients, and the texture quality are greatly diminished, and the soil rapidly degrades over time, resulting in degradation and desertification in many cases.
Man doesn’t think about killing much of the life on earth, because he either doesn’t fully realize the ramifications of his actions, or doesn’t care. When you kill billions of life forms by walking on the open ground, it’s not something you think about. The organic matter in those dead life-forms is simply recycled back into the earth’s cycle (circle) of life, as it has been for many millions of years.
When all of humanity finally dies, we will meet a similar fate, assuming the environment can still sustain micro-life. Like the billions of micro-organisms being killed in your gut right now, or the incalculable numbers of life being killed underground and nearly everywhere, our nutrients will eventually be recycled. The world is a huge killing ground. Death is all around us, on us, and in us, right now. There couldn’t be life without death.
Yes, i will acknowledge that man is a special and unique organism, and i feel great pain knowing all of the things that my species is doing to others on this rock in space called Earth. But everything dies. Many things will die even if it’s still developing, young and immature. Deaths are literally happening trillions and trillions of times every second here on Earth. Man will supply just a few billion deaths- barely a flash in the pan in the record of deaths in history. We’re like the shittiest micro-organism ever evolved, that just kills everything in the handful of soil, and renders the dirt sterile and nutrient depleted. Everything else will be better off after we’re gone. Try not to despair, death is everywhere (in you, on you and around you), and life still goes on, often because of it. 🙂
This idea of the “myth of the noble savage” has come up several times in past conversations with you, but I’m not overly impressed with the book you site. It’s been heavily criticised for drawing unfair comparisons between colonial/industrial civilization and less technological societies. Krech relies on the historical record which is extant only after the Europeans first made contact with native Americans. If you were to look at native populations today after several hundred years of industrial civilization, you would find them unrecognizable from their ancestors. Drugs, alcohol, suicide, rampant unemployment, and health problems like diabetes have been a slow form of genocide in their communities. They are but a frail shadow of what they once were.
For a scathing review of Shepard Krech’s The Ecological Indian. Myth and History, read this essay by Adrian Tanner (Department of Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland):
“…In the first chapter Krech asks if over-hunting by Paleo-Indians was responsible for the extinctions of various large mammals during the Pleistocene era. He presents the position of Paul Martin, who concludes Paleo-Indian hunters caused these extinctions, along with that of his critics. However, both arguments seem to me based on a great deal of unwarranted speculation. While Krech is unconvinced by Martin’s position, he is not sure that Paleo-Indians were entirely free of any responsibility. But, given the very distant lineage that may connect Paleo-Indians with modern aboriginal people, one wonders about the relevance of this case to the issue being addressed in this book.
The next case also seems to me to be of questionable relevance. Krech asks if the prehistoric Hohokam’s irrigation practices caused salination of their fields, leading to their disappearance. He offers the contrasting views of two authors, Bernard Powel and Emil Haury. The issue between them is whether the Hohokam should be condemned for the ecological problems arising from their system of irrigation agriculture, or admired for its achievements, which are compared to the negative effects of more recent settlement by non-natives of this region of southern Arizona. Krech delves into the considerable complexities of the case, but does not resolve this unanswerable question, acknowledging that it is not known what finally happened to the Hohokam.
One aspect of The Ecological Indian is based on the notion that North American aboriginal people looked after their environment, so the first Europeans found the continent in an unspoiled condition. Krech’s next chapter questions this. He notes that several authors have revised upward earlier prehistoric population estimates and, as a consequence, have increased their assessment of the post-contact population decline. Krech suggests that, apart from along the East Coast, many initial European reports of a pristine environment came after the aboriginal population had declined, so that the newcomers would have arrived in an environment that was no longer supporting its previous larger population. The land would have thus by then returned to the more natural state that the newcomers described. (In the next chapter he further discredits the idea of a ‘pristine’ proto-contact environment, suggesting that Europeans were predisposed to find the wilderness they described, regardless of evidence to the contrary.) But in the end his convoluted argument fails to offer any real indication of a pre-contact environment that was other than the pristine one the newcomers described.
In the next chapter, Krech asks whether the Indians were acting with environmental responsibility in their deliberate setting of forest and brush fires. The extensive literature on this topic shows that Indians in all parts of the continent used fire to modify their environment, serving a wide variety of purposes. While in some instances this was done to improve hunting, he shows that fires were also set during wars against trespassing groups, both whites and other Indians, and for communication with other Indians. Many authors believe they did so with sufficient skill that fire generally benefited the environment. But Krech refers to several settlers’ anecdotes about Indian-set fires that got out of control. However, it does not seem to matter to Krech if such mistakes were by Indians in unfamiliar territory, due to post-contact dislocation.
In the last three chapters the author examines whether Indians over-hunted, respectively, the buffalo, the white-tailed deer and the beaver. All these species were used aboriginally for subsistence, and after contact they continued to be sources of subsistence food at the same time as they provided market commodities. Krech thinks the commercialisation of deer and beaver hides lead to their overexploitation, but he also believes Indians were wasting buffalo even when the species was being hunted only for subsistence.
For me, this chapter provides the book’s most serious challenge to The Ecological Indian. While Indians had uses for every part of the buffalo, their practice of slaughtering whole herds, at a buffalo jump or in an enclosure, sometimes produced more carcasses than a group could possibly use. As a result, waste occurred. He documents instances of Indians leaving animals to rot, utilising only the cows, or taking only the tongues and the humps. However, the overkilling did not cause the extermination of the species, which only came after non-Indians and Metis hunted them commercially for fresh meat, pemmican and hides.
Krech proposes two ‘religious’ reasons for the earlier over-killing. It was believed (by the Piegan and Cree) that any buffalo that escaped while being rounded up in the hunt would warn other buffalo, who would then avoid hunters, so that it was necessary to chase and kill these escapees, whether they were needed or not. Other Indians (specifically the Cheyenne and Arapaho) believed that when hunters were unable to find buffalo it was because the animals had retreated to a land underneath a large lake, from which they would eventually reappear in endless numbers. Krech concludes that, given these beliefs, the Indians did not see overhunting as a cause of any shortage of animals or the need to conserve.
The next chapter concerns the white-tailed deer. Between about 1670 and 1800 the skins of these animals, previously the major subsistence species for Indians in the Southern and Eastern United States, became their main item of trade with Europeans. Deer were hunted in increasing numbers, in part, according to Krech, to satisfy the Indian’s craving for alcohol. By the end of the period deer were scarce or locally absent, which Krech concludes was due to overhunting by Indians. The population did not recover until many years later.
While Krech acknowledges the trade in deer skins occurred during a period of intense disruption, he does not see that dislocation and warfare resulting from European settlement may have rendered the Indian’s conservationist practices ineffective. Instead, as with the buffalo example, he explains the willingness to overkill deer by reference to the pre-Christian spiritual beliefs of the tribes of the region. He notes, for instance, that the Cherokee believed in the reincarnation of deer, some of them believing this could recur four or seven times. From this he concludes that conservation would have made no sense to them.
The final substantive chapter is about the beaver, an important subsistence food source for prehistoric northern Indians, and later a mainstay of the fur trade. Their sedentary existence made the species especially vulnerable to overhunting, particularly with the introduction of steel traps. Beaver eventually did become extinct in some regions such as New England, although generally in areas where they were never particularly numerous. For the subarctic Indian Krech blames overhunting for causing reported declines in beaver populations.
However, there were other factors Krech does not sufficiently take into account, like incursions by foreign Indians and cutthroat competition, that would have undermined local conservation efforts. Also, since beaver meat was eaten, they were harvested more intensely if other game were at the low end of their cycles of abundance, something neither Indians nor traders could control. Beavers were also subject to epidemic disease.
Krech explanation of the overhunting focuses on ideology, saying Northern Algonquians (i.e. forest Cree, Ojibway and Innu) only showed interest in “today’s conservation ethics and practices” in the nineteenth century (p. 206). He notes that in this recent period Indians used family hunting territory to conserve beaver, while traders’ tried to influence their ideas of conservation. However, Krech does not take adequate account of the evidence that Indians made their own strategic decisions.
Krech thinks Indian spiritual ideas account for their purported failure at beaver conservation. He says Algonquians believed the bones of animals were set aside to be reincarnated, so that they could not be over-hunted. Algonquian non-Christian religious ideas “apparently had nothing to do with waste and conservation of animal populations until recently” (p. 204). I, however, contend that Algonquian religious ideas support conservation strategies, by providing a moral basis for human-animal relations, beyond the pragmatic one. But these strategies also depend on their ability to control their lands.
Initially, the target for Krech’s book seems to be the use by Madison Avenue and Hollywood of the Ecological Indian image. But in the Epilogue he sets his sights on modern Indians, both those who attribute to themselves ecological sensitivity, mainly in the context of political fights over resource issues, and those who in his view engage in environmentally questionable activities, despite the image. He sees a disjunction between the Indian’s environmentalist image and their historical practices. “Their actions, while perfectly reasonable in light of their own beliefs and larger goals, were not necessarily rational according to the premises of Western ecological conservation.” (p. 212).
In his analysis Krech privileges Indian religious ideologies over their environmental knowledge. Virtually any game shortage is used to challenge the Ecological Indian, as if, for the image to be genuine, they would have had to avoid all environmental uncertainty. Anthropologically, Krech’s view of Indians seems curiously old-fashioned, presenting them as poorly adapted, without practical knowledge of sustainable production, motivated instead by irrational beliefs. By contrast, most ethnographic field studies of non-western peoples by scientifically trained participant-observers conversant in the local language reveal adaptations that involve rigorously empirical knowledge of the environment, however nonrational their other beliefs may appear…”
There was a very good article I linked to in the previous post about native Americans as well:
The fire burns yet
Native American peoples are still here and still caring for their land. Can their conquerors say the same?
by Peter Whiteley
Yeah, I don’t think I’ll waste time reading Krech’s book:
Krech seems to have an axe to grind:
Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse — Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans
“Dead Cthulu waits dreaming…” H.P. Lovecraft
Review of Kerch’s book by Chris Paci, Athabasca University, Yellowknife, Canada:
“…Taken to full argument, the evidence presented by Krech shows that ecological Indians existed. What little archaeological evidence there is to suggest extirpated species cannot be used conclusively to show a cause and effect relationship of species loss due to over-harvest. That Amerindians knew how to maintain their balance in ecosystems is demonstrated in oral history and proven inadvertently by Krech because his narrative shows that ecosystems broke down after the introduction of destructive practices by outsiders. The commons were transformed into open-access conditions through the erosion of traditional management systems, and the eventual displacement of local Aboriginal tenure, title and associated property rights regimes. The elements of transformation were accomplished piecemeal through an uneven displacement of goods, processes, diseases, ideas, languages, technologies, and the like…
…Krech unsuccessfully argues that Aboriginal peoples were, in general, destructive of various species and ecosystems…
…In mustering his research I find Krech has made no attempt to reconcile oral history with documentary evidence, perhaps the reverse of what I read in Brody’s book. The people who created the documents used to uncover the ecological Indian myth are for the most part outsiders; “ethnographic fact” is established from the accounts of fur traders, missionaries, government agents, travelers, academics, and the like. Krech fails to interrogate his sources and accepts the singular and isolated account as descriptive of all Aboriginal people in North America, a spatial and temporal generalization that we must reject…
…Krech has brought together historical readings but his analysis is a construction of generalizations about people, time and space. He bases his analysis on a thin wedge of evidence. Local examples are implied across vast geographies (and cultures). The bias of the documentary evidence is not questioned, which I find very disturbing. There are instances where he relies on very limited observations. One or two explorers seeing hundreds of rotting carcasses can mean more than caribou wasted for tongues and noses. Most ecologists would ask what condition the lichen was in, what were conditions of ice and snow, were there other ecosystem conditions that year that lead Chipewayan and others to “cull” caribou herds? Was there something happening that the outsiders did not understand? Were the people who lead the intruders equally intruding on the land of others? That newcomers, explorers, missionaries, and others wrote about some things and failed to write about others is not surprising. Furthermore, reading and assigning cultural terms like “conservation”, as if they are not cultural constructs, we are required to seek equivalencies in Aboriginal cultures…
…Rather than a clear development of cause and effect demonstrating Aboriginal cultures moving from natural ecologists to wasters to conservationists, the interference brought on by changes in language, tenure, thinking, measurement of distance and time, introduction of Christianity, and agriculture, has undermined North American ecology since contact. The case may well be that we are all born natural ecologists and learn to waste as we become producers and consumers…”
In the end, it is like arguing about religion. No amount of evidence will convince the true believers. Note the Krech is writing about evidence before contact and upon first contact, and his critics point to myths, and the dastardly treatment of indigenous people following first contact.
You obviously did not read the reviews close enough. His book is trash.
I actually read every word of each review, and more. The very first one by Tanner, for which you did not provide a link (it is here:
https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=5068) is far from scathing and the fact that you mischaracterize the expected quibbling between academics in unwarranted dramatic terms is disappointing.
Here is the first paragraph of the review, I don’t know how you can call it scathing.
“This book is handsomely produced, and well-written by a respected scholar who draws on an enormous quantity of interdisciplinary sources and diverse lines of thought. While, as will become clear below, I am sceptical about its thesis, the work covers many important issues and I, at least, found it instructive to trace the author’s endeavour, despite the shortcomings, on which my review will concentrate.”
In other words, he is concentrating on what he sees as shortcomings in the book. Perhaps that is why he mentions only a few species being driven to extinction that he believes there is not evidence for, and doesn’t mention the dozens of others?
The concluding sentences indicate the reviewer is more concerned that Krech, by demonstrating that the notion of the “Ecological Indian” is a construct of modern sensibilities, has put in jeopardy the security of the current populations. This accusation is standard for critics of realists who are striving for historical accuracy, as opposed to political correctness (which is much more popular in academia) – promoting the idea that, out of guilt and deference to the survivors of genocide, the culture must be idealized for the protection of the remaining population. Here are his last sentences that make this perspective clear:
“…if the Ecological Indian is a social construction, it was constructed partly by, and by reference to, the colonizers, as part of an ongoing political dialogue. The image of the Ecological Indian also asserts moral superiority, an understandable response of a relatively powerless group in the political context of struggles over land and resources. Unfortunately, Krech’s failure to adequately take account of the political context of Indian environmental discourse means his book may play into the hands of reactionary and racist interests and prejudices opposed to aboriginal rights.”
Actually there was a link to it in the word “essay”. Just admit the book is trash and we can move on.
“…In the first chapter Krech asks if over-hunting by Paleo-Indians was responsible for the extinctions of various large mammals during the Pleistocene era. He presents the position of Paul Martin, who concludes Paleo-Indian hunters caused these extinctions, along with that of his critics. However, both arguments seem to me based on a great deal of unwarranted speculation.“
Another damning critique of Krech’s book:
The myth of the ecological native. I tend to side on the “short, nasty and brutish” side of the argument. Ecological Indians? Were they conducting their own Audubon Christmas bird counts? An Indian culture would simply adopt any practice that pays dividends above and beyond the amount of effort given. Imagine all of the death at childbirth, the septicemia from hunting wounds, the “family” infighting, the old people left behind for the great bear gods to dispose of. Going back there is not good, nice or a step-up. The only thing it has going for it is that all of the death shapes the survivors to be survivors in their natural environment. It is a relatively long-lasting solution, or potentially so. Those individuals and tribes that cannot compete are food for the wolves or pathogens if your immune system is insufficient.
Our current technological/fossil fuel culture is an eating machine in which reproduction is unlimited and everyone survives, or at least many, many more than before. When the easy energy is gone and the ecosystem is wrecked, nature will play catch-up. Things are always looking pretty swell in the rich broth of a culture tube right up until the final doubling of population. Even if we bring population under control, the current bunch of apes can’t help but to convert what remains of nature into human utility to impress other apes or to give favors to other apes (with expectation of reciprocity).
Humans are overwhelmingly interested in becoming “richer.” Developing a portfolio of growth assets and purchasing the symbols of success so they can expand social connections to further enhance their wealth. An entire population of 7 billion want more wealth, not just to be able to take care of the basics, but once the basics are taken care of they want more to compete with others for power, influence and mates.
Eventually our lives will be completely controlled by technologies we apply against ourselves or we will collapse. Will you tolerate being chipped, told how many offspring to have, where to work, where to live, how much consumption you are allowed while enforcers and listeners watch every thing you do? Is that kind of life, doled-out by a plantation master Harvard elite really any better than “short, nasty, and brutish”? Do you want the wealth police, drug police, sex police, behavior police, income police, showing up at your door every day to modify your behavior? Perhaps you’ll be sent to a reeducation camp. And if you think you can escape to your self-sufficient natural compound, think again, as your participation in robo-society will not be optional.
I guess it’s technically possible to pull it of if everything goes according to plan, no one fights back and they can manage to obtain the resources. On the other hand…………..
“In recent years, however, the unintended consequences of U.S. military operations have helped to sow outrage and discontent, setting whole regions aflame. More than 10 years after America’s “mission accomplished” moment, seven years after its much vaunted surge, the Iraq that America helped make is in flames. A country with no al-Qaeda presence before the U.S. invasion and a government opposed to America’s enemies in Tehran now has a central government aligned with Iran and two cities flying al-Qaeda flags.”
I’m not really into propaganda:
I would like a link to that review please, because it is couched in rather hysterical terms. Nothing could be further from the truth than saying of the book that it describes Indians as “venal” or following “malevolent motivations”. I seriously doubt you will find anything like that terminology from Krech. Far from saying Indians are worse than “the presumed purity of white environmentalists” which nobody seems to be presuming other than the unknown author, Krech is simply dispelling the myth that they are any different than other humans around the world. Posting this ludicrous, muddleheaded excerpt is beneath you. Link please! Or at least the author. thanks.
Do you know how to click on a picture?
No, I didn’t know to click on the picture and honestly sometimes it is rather obscure where your links lie, not everyone is as clever as you on the intertubes. I found it anyway by googling and see that it was written by the late Vine Deloria Jr., who was a passionate advocate for Indiginous rights. That is an admirable legacy but hardly makes for impartiality.
You posted this excerpt of a review: “He presents the position of Paul Martin, who concludes Paleo-Indian hunters caused these extinctions, along with that of his critics. However, both arguments seem to me based on a great deal of unwarranted speculation” as if that renders the book “trash” when all it is saying is that Krech discussed and compared two competing theories, neither of them his own! Jeez!
A more nuanced review might be this one – I really recommend reading it for a balanced presentation of ecology, and will be forever grateful to you for leading me to this marvelous line (I will have to follow up on the author, Prof. Dean R. Snow): “Evolution is mindless, the feature of it most detested by creationists.”
“That done, he turns to a sober discuss of Pleistocene extinctions, which neither condemns nor absolves Paleoindians.”
“He then turns to a discuss of the Hohokam, and the collapse of their irrigation systems as a consequence of unintended consequences. One can detect in these examples the basic anthropological principle that no matter what people do it seems like a good idea at the time…IT IS A PRINCIPLE OFTEN OVERWHELMED BY THE POLITICS OF BLAME PLACING.” [emphasis added]
Just going to Amazon reviews turns up an entertaining critique from a reader:
“A pervasive myth about American Indians, and the perennial worry of certain scholars, is that Indians have been, or are being, over-idealized. Native Americans themselves have never blamed the over-idealization of Indians as the reason for anything of consequence that resulted from their historical encounters with Europeans, certainly not, for example, the reason for their removal to reservations, nor as the motivating factor in the decimation of their populations. Conversely, however, Indians know that it was the European over-idealization of themselves that has been the determining political force in these examples and in their attitude toward land and living space. The idea behind Indian reservations must be contemplated with a question from Vine Deloria’s God is Red: Do political and social formations reflect concepts of land?
Indians in southern America witnessed first hand the extremes of attitude toward environment when they saw their formerly pristine streets fouled by the European habit of urinating in the street and their horses defecating in the streets. What traditions reflecting concepts of land came into play when the Spanish and French wantonly burned Indian cities, or stole away their stores (for example, in 1582 Espejo carted away 40,000 cotton blankets and articles of clothing from the Southwest), or overturned their economy and destroyed their environment by herds of cattle? Despite this repeated history, the accusation against Indians of being over-idealized historically remains the enduring argument ever since the Christian/Pagan debates set the mold in the 15th and 16th centuries after the Indians were run off the island of Cuba in a relentless slaughter. Scholars such as Krech tend to come from variations of this long-standing, over mythologized school that postulates Indians as primitive savages…”
You couldn’t invent a more direct feint to distract from the issue than this segue to the genocide perpetrated AFTER the period of time in question – when discussing the “sustainability” of pre-contact Indians – than that. Notice the defenders of the faith are the ones that use and falsely attribute inflammatory rhetoric to scholars who are talking about factual evidence – please show me where Krech postulates Indians are “primitive savages” when in fact he was saying that they had very developed, and ecologically exploitative methods…just like everybody else. I notice too that the entire focus has switched to the contentious issue of indigenous American genocide and away from the Hawaiin and Polonysian islands where it is very clear they trashed their environment prior to European influences.
I’ve read enough last night to see that this book by Krech is not the definitive work for anything factual. Find another book to support what you are trying to say and I’ll take a look at it.
Very nice to see you here 🙂
I have a fundamental disagreement with you re methodology.
As I see it, the correct scientific, scholarly procedure :
The detective goes to the crime scene gathers and inspects the evidence and tries to deduce or infer a conclusion from the clues. This can be a long and arduous process with no guarantee of any clear outcome. Eventually it may provide a definitive conviction.
You appear to adopt a different procedure, starting from the other end, (which many scientists and academics do), which I believe is incorrect and inferior, i.e. deciding who the suspect is first, and then making sure that the evidence fits that profile and convicts that suspect, regardless of any inconsistencies.
I don’t consider this second model to be science at all, in the pure sense. It’s a legal model, drawn from legal advocacy, where you get paid if you win. Winning a case or winning an argument, is not the same as establishing scientific truth, is it.
LOL. Spot on. I spent hours researching this book by Shepherd Krech whom she has cited, and I’ve found many scholarly people who say his work is severely flawed.
If I come across any copies I’ll throw them into the fireplace or use the pages in the bathroom when I run out of toilet paper.
I didn’t start with a supposition – in fact I was neutral on the entire topic of tribal behavior until I saw so many people supporting the idea that earlier cultures were more “in tune” with nature, more connected, more spirtual and sustainable. I because curious as to whether that was true and have spent at least a year reading countless books and articles. The overwhelming unbiased opinion based purely on archaeological and anthropoligical evidence – not preference – is that tribal people wasted resources because they saw no reason to conserve them. Tribal people are generally warlike. The overwhelming evidence is that typically human populations go into overshoot and either crash or migrate or invade or all three.
The only conclusion I can draw from seeing this debate in so many places among environmentally/collapse aware people is that, being perhaps too intelligent to subscribe to the idiocy of the main religions, they are craving some sort of higher power, or divinity, or cosmic connectedness (call it what you will) to provide some meaning to life (and death and extinction), and have turned to unsubstantiated but comforting notions that there is some better version of humanity if only it weren’t for (fill in the blank) capitalism, sexism, industrial civilization, agricuture, patriarchy, consumerism….or whatever.
I don’t know why I bother discussing it here other than xray Mike, you seem intelligent and are of course an excellent writer. But intelligence has never gotten in the way of hope and faith, so I guess I’ll stop. Good day, gentlemen.
Well, I’m sorry if you withdraw, I didn’t mean to drive you away.
I’m trying to be scrupulously fair and objective and look at this with all the dispassionate wisdom I can muster. And you know I have paid close attention to your argument right from the start and have often engaged with you – and I readily accept, often less than the highest level of debate.
Some of those points just don’t apply to what I just said.
History is written by the winners, the archaeologists and anthropologists, the universities, science, the whole show, is the story as told by the winners, the fucking capitalist elite warmongering neoliberal shills, their house negros, who run Yale and Harvard and the book publishing companies and the lecture tour circuits and the whole circus of magazines, media, and most of Western civilisation…
If someone tells a story that FITS with the greater narrative ( e.g. that Columbus is a hero who ‘discovered’ America, or Dawkins’ Selfish Gene thing ) then you succeed and get a job and get promoted and get tv slots, and if you’re controversial, so much the better, because you can make lots of money, being set up against the other guy who says you’re rubbish, in the great game that feeds the ratings. Just so long as it stays within the limits. Nothing more radical than, say, Chomsky.
But it’s ALL part of the story, the myth, that America is telling itself… the story that it WANTS to hear. You know, Gail, I find it really quite difficult to take you seriously, when you take Dawkins and Chagnon seriously and uncritically. Because if I was a judge in a court of law, and counsel presented them as expert witness, I’d see them as stooges, as rather shabby front men for vested interests, rather like the people who were paid by Philip Morris to ‘prove’ that cigarettes were good for you, if you see what I mean. I don’t think it is SCIENCE, it’s ideology. Same as Herbert Spencer was not science.
I’m not questioning your integrity or good faith or intelligence or commitment or anything like that. Different countries, different universities, have different standards and styles about this sort of thing. Different scientists have different views as to what science actually IS. I’m just telling you my PERSONAL view, how I see it.
Like you, I think it is very interesting, a big important question, whether humans were responsible for the extinctions, or some other cause. You are convinced. I am not. I think it is much more complicated.
Kevin Moore said:
I think it is a pity you have brought up Dawkins again, because although he may be from a wealthy background, although he may be politically connected, although he may have become an egotistical prick, although the term ‘selfish’ can be open to interpretation, in the end all organisms are programmed to reproduce as many surviving offspring as possible, and those organisms that do not have enough ‘selfish’, ‘greedy’, behaviour get eliminated from the gene pool by sheer weight of numbers of the organisms that do.
Sure, we know that cooperation can lead to greater survival rates and population growth. Nobody disputes that.
As for the argument about indigenous people versus industrial people, it is all based on false assumptions, and is therefore fallacious. All humans around the globe are derived from the same stock of genetic material, according to one theory, distributed amongst as few as 30,000 individuals. As descendant of those ancient ancestors spread around the world they developed cultures that suited the local conditions, and by a process of Darwinian elimination generated physical adaptations to local conditions, e.g. pale skin.
Jared Diamond suggested that some groups learned to live within ecological boundaries after having exceeded them and suffered population collapse.
I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Rapa Nui (Easter Island), which vividly demonstrates what happens when a small group of humans stumble upon a place with untapped resources: annihilation of most of the land-bound flora and fauna, human population overshoot, and then collapse via tribal warfare, starvation and cannibalism etc.
New Zealand has been mentioned. I do know a little about the place. Several canoe loads of Polynesians arrived here just under a thousand years ago, started eating and breeding, reduced the populations of most fauna, exterminated large flightless birds and started modifying the landscape. When population growth had reached the critical point the various tribes began fighting one another for occupation of the best land and access to valued resources. Warfare and lack of large mammals to exploit seem to be the main reasons for relative population stability in the eighteenth century.
When Cook had finished his observation of the transit of Venus (important in the determination of longitude) he followed his ‘secret’ orders to map and claim for Britain as much land to the south as he could (Britain still holding the American colonies and having evicted the French from Canada around that time). The big push to obtain control of the land and start extracting resources did not come until the 1840s, and culminated in the Maori Land Wars and the first gold rush a couple of decades later.
By 1900 wool, meat, butter, gold, timber, oil and flax were being sucked out of NZ, and most of it was bound for Britain, and patriotic New Zealanders were fighting for expansion of the empire in Africa.
As we reach the end of the industrial age, the game being played out now is the extraction the last remnants of oil and gas via fracking and deep-sea drilling, and the surreptitious imposition of fascism on the general populace via the Food Safety Bill and the TPP. I nearly forgot: and building houses and shopping malls for migrants from countries that have gone kaput or are in the process of going kaput.
The Maori were gentle tribalists, damned near as holy as the Christians that dispossessed them of their territory. http://www.heretical.com/cannibal/nzealand.html
I think you are not up to date re Diamond and Easter Island and his other
research. I used to accept all that without question just as I accepted Dawkins without question when Selfish Gene first came out.
Kevin Moore said:
What is the latest narrative concerning Easter Island? It was a barren island which aliens had visited and on which had they decided to erect statues, and to plant false clues, such as burned and broken human bones, in order to deceive later investigators? A few hundred people arrived there and scratched a living for a few centuries, till they got sick of looking at statues and tore them down? Then they decided working the guano deposits of Chile for no pay offered better prospects?
Seriously, if there is some new and revealing information, please share with us.
No, kevin, sorry, it’s much too long and complicated for me to summarise. Archaeologists have gone there and investigated the evidence and come up with different interpretations which do not fit Diamond’s story. There’s been heated debate on this for a few years, I can’t possibly cover it here. Diamond has also been harshly critiqued in several other areas.
I think it is a pity you have brought up Dawkins again..etc
You are missing the point, kevin. Genetic determinism v. culture. and Dawkins using quasi scientific arguments to support an ideological agenda.
The Overthinker said:
@witsendnj – please feel free to continue to conversation with me 🙂 I am totally uninhibited by views and evidence that may conflict with my presuppositions (regardless how well I may have researched a single book you may have mentioned… note: I have not, in fact, read the book you referred to) and interested only in developmental discourse that may actually lead somewhere worth going.
I’m somewhat disappointed by the way you’ve been responded to – it seems to have descended into a Facebook-style bashing, which is totally unwarranted and arouses my suspicion that there is less desire to do things that may make a difference (replaced by more desire to “be right” – which is never a substitute for the Socratic method) here than I would otherwise have thought
The Overthinker said:
er, continue *the* conversation.
Ken Barrows said:
Interesting discussion, but not really relevant to the near future of the human race. The survivors will have no choice but to treat nature with respect if they want humans to persist.
I’ve been under extreme stress,contemplating this decision:
Everyone here is in Time Out until they find a solution to NTHE.
It’s another great day to fill with foolishness. lol
Kevin Moore said:
The only solution to NTHE seems to be KEYSER (Kill Everyone You See Except Relatives).
Most of us are not ready for the solution just yet.
At the personal level the solution to NTHE is NTS (Near Term Suicide).
Again, few are ready for that solution just yet.
All other potential solutions, like having an informed community that cares about the future, closing down corporations which are wrecking everything, abolishing the current financial system etc. seem be in the realms of fantasy.
I currently reside in Oklahoma. I can tell you from extensive first-hand experience that these “conservative” (what are they conserving anyway?) fucktards in the midwest will never change their belief systems. Nearly the entire midwest of america is engulfed in a swamp of bogus belief systems, oppressive culture and a fog of general idiocy so thick, that the average bottom-feeding prole cannot see how far up their own asses their heads are. I fucking despise these jesus-praising, gun-toting, republican, mediocre, moronic pieces of shit i formerly considered fellow human beings. I’ve tried having compassion for them for years. It almost worked. But intolerance breeds intolerance, and i am only one semi-rational voice in an ocean of idiots. If you speak a word exceeding 4 syllables in length, then your opinions are void in the eyes of these dumbass people. I cannot view them as equals any longer. I hope they die horrible deaths for the things they have promoted and the lifestyles they lead, from the gas-guzzling pickups, to the giant cattle feedlots they own, to the 8 children that every family seems to have and the walmart shopping trips and all this shit is FUCKING UNBEARABLE. HELP! I can’t just opt out of this culture either. I can’t leave it, i’ve tried hard, and it drives me nuts. I may kill myself to escape the madness of dollar stores, gospel rock, and crack-cocaine/alcohol-fueled fucking dumbassery. NTS sounds better every day. If i don’t return, i wish the best to all of you. Good day.
From Evansville Arkansas to Stillwell Oklahoma, a 10 mile stretch, there are 10 churches, I kid you not. And this is extremely rural. What part of Oklahoma are you in?
Mine position, though, is, as Will Rogers says “I never met a man I didn’t like”. Even if I don’t agree on much, I usually always find some common ground and something admirable. Of course, as eastern and west coast humanists/atheists we don’t have many friends, maybe that’s one reason for this communal fixation.
While I find more humanistic and scientific awareness on this website, I don’t see any more interest or intent on changing (as in actually living differently).. . . . . than those people going to those 10 churches. And those church goes believe the end is near too, of course.
If everyone knew my relatives, they would be the first that would have to go.
Lol, my relatives also need to go, nice people in certain contexts, but you could have said that about all the millions of average germans who went about the monstrous work of the Reich each day too, and would have continued doing so until they were forcibly stopped. My relatives are militantly ignorant and wouldn’t dream of giving up the amerikkkan way of life, and are relentlessly hostile to anyone who suggests less is better (unless its less science/tolerance/education/skepticism/gays/socialists/nonwhite people etc.). The world will be a less evil place when my dad dies, and I say good riddance, its a start.
Man.Bear.Pig: I totally relate to what you wrote, but remember that even here in the heart of Empire, there are less hellish pockets where you can ride out the Apocalypse and create a small life worth living. Use the energy of your rage to get OUT of where you are. Even living in your car (if you own one) and eating scraps left on the tables at Denny’s (which I had to do at times) in order to reach a west coast godless ghetto you can tolerate better is worth the boost in sanity. Its risky and scary and hard, but do it. I can tell you that where I live is full of refugees from the worst parts of this country. Don’t think about NTS until you’ve hunted and gathered as much as you can from even the degraded options on offer. If you make it up to my ghetto, I’ll show you where to park and dumpster dive and read books for free. Urban hipster delusion beats stripmall/megachurch delusion any day. Life can still be sweet.
Communalsolution: The options for changing the way we live that most of us are given are very few, very tiny, very insignificant. Its part of the childish amerikkkan myth to think we get to choose whatever we want. Mostly we get to choose between options that the power structure allows us, even if we know there are other options we’d like to have available and exist in potential or in theory. We can know bananas and mangoes exist, from pictures, a personal experience, or even just in literature, but perhaps the only choice available in our own lives is between rutabagas or turnips. Or maybe its just Hot Pockets, not even an actual food, just a corporate ‘food-like product’. It sucks, its confining and demoralizing and humiliating and maddening, but that is the way it is.
I’ve spent several decades in various communal experiments, all within the confines of what is available to the Precariat, those of us who only have our labor as a resource; no capital, no support networks, no power whatsoever over the means of production. We gamed the system of slumlords and temp agencies, community/guerrilla gardens, food banks, volunteer/internship options, all as best we could in order to find a way to live more lightly, more meaningfully, less enslaved. All of them failed, beyond keeping us temporarily housed and fed in situations where being on our own would have meant homelessness and hunger. But they lead to nothing more transformative or secure or even meaningful.
People at the bottom do what they can to survive, and the skills you learn are required when living in a capitalist culture often include betrayal, dishonesty, amorality, and ruthless appropriation when you can get away with it. Not the stuff that makes for commitment and communal living in a positive way. Worse than being disowned by my parents was being betrayed by people with whom I shared everything. But I couldn’t blame them in some cases, after the grief faded. I know myself what one is capable of when the options are stark and survival instinct takes over.
Perhaps the saddest thing about all these experiences for me was realizing just how much happier I was when they ended and it was just me and Spouse, living on our own, less secure and far more financially stressed but more SANE. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, I was insane. My desire for something better made me determined to create it, but that had to end. Community has costs and requires maturity that most insane and damaged people in our society just aren’t able to muster. Communism in the psych ward just won’t work. Even when the inmates have grad degrees, have traveled and seen the world, speak several languages, read books and avoid pop culture. Its not just the offspring of Jerry Springer World who are fundamentally damaged.
I’m not lucky enough to know people with money, land, skills, maturity, who will invite me to join them in their permaculture communal alternatives. I’m glad they exist, I envy those who have better options. The best a lot of us can do is connect to the lucky and more sane through the intertubes, books, youtube. It helps us in our prisons to know others are more free.
Given that ‘witsendnj’ has ‘seen fit’ to employ/pervert my brief post (‘story line’) as a pretext upon which to grind her? maul into an axe, and having now witnessing the resultant fall-out, I have this to say about all that:
Whew, what a rash of overtly speculative self-inflating conjecture! Inflamed vesicles spontaneously conjured to erupt at light speed! IMInaneO, regardless of place and/or time, anus apes are always and forever dedicated, consummate anus apes who do vociferously ‘defend’, self-rationalize and sustain said anal-ness at every cost to said sphincter (self) and/or any other willfully deluded orifice that it may possibly infect. And likewise, where the massive idiot fuck assiduously engages in the same exact behavior in promotion of his/her moron-ocratic rationalization cum end-game. In the fullness of time, both anal-ocracy and idiot-ocracy are appropriately and entirely self-extinguishing. That’s the good news ( if there is any). In the interim, its fiat fairy tales forever and forever more, more, more. … until more is no more – as if it, they and/or the collective us are minimally significant, meaningful or at all relevant (other than as operative evolutionary reset ‘buttons’ (agents)). Regardless, the monkey trees (and soon ‘the tree of life’) are dead, gone, and collectively forgotten – albeit not quite fully decomposed – and NO one lived happy ever after – or even during – the reign of King Anus Ape and Queen Idiot Fuck. But don’t let me/that stop anyone or even slow anyone down as we individually and collectively transition into oblivion. Carry on.
(Written of the canvas of ‘civilization’s wagon train: “Slime Mold or Bust” Ho!).
Canada Fisheries and Oceans library closings called loss to science – ‘I call it Orwellian’
Irreplaceable science research may be lost when Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries across the country are closed down, researchers fear.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada hopes to close seven of its 11 libraries by 2015. Already, stories have emerged about books and reports thrown into dumpsters and the general public being allowed to rummage through bookshelves.
“We actually spent about three days in the Eric Marshall library boxing up materials,” explained Kelly Whelan-Enns of Manitoba Wildlands, an environmental public research organization. That library was in the Freshwater Institute, the Fisheries Department’s central and Arctic regional headquarters in Winnipeg.
Whelan-Enns described bookshelves in shambles, periodicals strewn across the floor of the library and maps — old and new— left lying around.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada told CBC News that all of its copyrighted material has been digitized and that the rest of its collection will be soon.
“Users will continue to have completely free access to every item in DFO’s collections. All materials for which DFO has copyright will be preserved by the department,” Fisheries Minister Gail Shea wrote in a statement to CBC.
But that doesn’t calm the nerves of some researchers.
“It’s not clear what will be kept and what will be lost,” said Jeff Hutchings, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University.
The Fisheries Department had 660,000 documents in 11 libraries spread across the country. The plan was to consolidate its collection in two main facilities in Dartmouth, N.S., and Sidney, B.C. Two other auxiliary facilities in Sydney, N.S., and Ottawa would house coast guard documents.
That meant closing archive facilities such as the Eric Marshall library, the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick and the Maurice Lamontagne Institute’s library in Mont-Joli, Que.
A Radio-Canada story in June about the Mont-Joli library showed thousands of volumes of the department’s literature in dumpsters.
Fisheries and Oceans said the closings and consolidation would save the $443,000 in 2014-15.
Hutchings said he doesn’t know how well the department’s plan is going to work.
“We’re dealing right now with a department that has lost people, resources, money. It’s shutting down facilities. One wonders where they are going to find the resources to digitize this extraordinary amount of material,” said Hutchings.
The department website says 30,000 documents are available online and that “outstanding items will be digitized if requested by users.”
The website also says only duplicate items will be removed from its collection.
It does add, though, that “in rare instances, materials which fall outside of the subject disciplines pertinent to the department’s mandate” may be removed.
The Fisheries Act went through a major overhaul in 2012. At the time, critics said it was to get rid of environmental elements of the act that hindered the government’s plans for resource development and export.
Kevin Moore said:
The Easter Island narrative of over-population, starvation, civil war and cannibalism existed long before Diamond ever wrote about it. I was not referring specifically to Diamond, just giving his name as an example of someone who has written relatively recently about ecological catastrophe and population collapse.
Obviously Dawkins is a very sore spot for you. I have no emotional attachment to Dawkins. As I wrote previously:
in the end all organisms are programmed to reproduce as many surviving offspring as possible, and those organisms that do not have enough ‘selfish’, ‘greedy’, behaviour get eliminated from the gene pool by sheer weight of numbers of the organisms that do.
Do you dispute that analysis?
There is no predeterminalism. Genes that generate particular physical forms or behaviour one day might be highly mal-adaptive the following day.
The classic example which is widely known concerns moths in industrial cities in Britain, which became progressively darker as cities became grimier, and then lightened as cities became less blackened. The genetic code for dark wings was always there, but did not show itself until grime arrived.
Although cultural training might make me think differently from an Indian of an Chinese, when it cones down to survival we are all in the same boat: find enough chemical energy and essential nutrients in a daily basis to keep cells supplied with what they need. Organisms that thrive reproduce the genes that made them thrive; plague of locusts; plague of greedy apes.
As we have discussed over and over, we are now capable of overriding instinctive behaviours. However, most humans do not, especially the ones of low intelligence who seem to manage to get to the top of hierarchical systems, where low int4elligence and lack of ethics are rewarded. .
Oh ffs, kevin, you seem to be trying to pick an argument just for the sake of it.
Look, I KNOW the Easter Island story goes way back before Diamond, I read the book by Bahn and someone else years before Diamond. Point is, the whole deal has been reinvestigated by archaeologists, who have been checking out the evidence in fine detail, and the debate has been going on month by month for years and I’m not going to even ATTEMPT to present it here. I no longer have confidence in Diamond.
Obviously Dawkins is a very sore spot for you.
It’s about science, not ideology. You don’t appear able to understand the difference.
Yes, I don’t like it when people pretend they are ‘being scientific’ to support a political or economic agenda. It’s no different in principle to people like Monkton who make up fake graphs to show there’s been no global warming.
There is no predeterminalism. Genes that generate particular physical forms or behaviour one day might be highly mal-adaptive the following day.
predeterminalism ? Is that a word ? I’ve never come across it before and I’ve no idea what you are talking about.
Whatever you are trying to say, it has no connection to GENETIC DETERMINISM which is something quite different.
Anyway, seems to me this is a fruitless and pointless exchange. If you want to know my position on these matters, shorthand version is that I agree with Robert Sapolsky.
Kevin Moore said:
That’s another way of saying that genes don’t plan ahead for anticipated conditions and produce gametes that can combine to generate a physical form or behaviour that would provide a biological advantage in the future.
I think we are in agreement that we are screwed because many of the biological strategies that facilitated the success of pre-industrial humans are the very strategies that cause rapid destruction of the biosphere in the industrial age.
Kevin Moore said:
The Worst Drought In The History Of California Is Happening Right Now
By Michael Snyder
End of the American Dream,
21 January, 2014
Some interesting numbers in this item:
Did you know that 2013 was the driest year ever recorded in the state of California? And did you know that so far this is the driest January that the state of California has ever experienced? The worst drought in the history of California is happening right now. Just check out the current conditions on the U.S. Drought Monitor. About two-thirds of the state is experiencing “extreme drought” at the moment, and Governor Jerry Brown says that it is “not likely to rain for several weeks“. Unfortunately for California, the truth is that the weather in the western half of the country is simply returning to historical norms. Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century in the western half of the United States in 1000 years, and that extremely dry conditions are normally what we should expect for most areas from the Pacific Ocean to the Mississippi River. If long-term conditions truly are “returning to normal”, then the state of California could be heading for a water crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
But it is not just the state of California that should be concerned. The reality of the matter is that the produce grown in California feeds the rest of the nation. Just check out these statistics…
The state produces 99 percent of the artichokes grown in the US, 44 percent of asparagus, a fifth of cabbage, two-thirds of carrots, half of bell peppers, 89 percent of cauliflower, 94 percent of broccoli, and 95 percent of celery. Leafy greens? California’s got the market cornered: 90 percent of the leaf lettuce we consume, along with and 83 percent of Romaine lettuce and 83 percent of fresh spinach, come from the big state on the left side of the map. Cali also cranks a third of total fresh tomatoes consumed in the U.S.—and 95 percent of ones destined for cans and other processing purposes.
As for fruit, I get that 86 percent of lemons and a quarter of oranges come from there; its sunny climate makes it perfect for citrus, and lemons store relatively well. Ninety percentof avocados? Fine. But 84 percent of peaches, 88 percentof fresh strawberries, and 97 percent of fresh plums?
Come on. Surely the other 49 states can do better.
In other words, the rest of us are extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables that the state of California grows for us.
So don’t take too much joy in what California is going through. It is going to affect you too.
Things have gotten so bad that Governor Brown has declared a water emergency…
‘I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible,’ he said, in a move that will allow him to call for conservation measures and provide flexibility in deciding state water priorities.
All over the state, reservoirs are approaching dangerously low levels. In fact, at one reservoir near Sacramento water levels have dropped so low that old buildings from a Gold Rush ghost town have appeared…
In a sign of the severity of the drought, some of the state’s reservoirs are at their lowest levels in years. The Folsom Reservoir near Sacramento is so low that the remains of a Gold Rush-era ghost town – flooded to create the lake in the 1950s – are visible for the first time in years.
The state’s mountain ranges, where runoff from melting snow provides much of the water for California’s thirsty cities and farms, have just 20 percent of the snow they normally have at this time of year, officials noted.
In a previous article, I quoted a recent Fresno Bee article which described what is happening to the Pine Flat Reservoir…
Pine Flat Reservoir is a ghost of a lake in the Fresno County foothills — a puddle in a 326 billion-gallon gorge.
Holding only 16% of its capacity, Pine Flat is the best example of why there is high anxiety over the approaching wet season.
Gone is the healthy water storage that floated California through two dry years. Major reservoirs around the state need gully-washing storms this winter.
Unfortunately, there is not much hope on the horizon, and most of the state has been experiencing these drought conditions since last May…
The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that 94.25% of the state is enduring some level of drought conditions and that most of the prime agriculture area of the Central Valley is in extreme drought, the second-worst category.
At least 90% of the state has been in a drought since early May.
During the 20th century, we were extremely blessed. An abnormally high level of rainfall in most parts of the western half of the country allowed us to build teeming cities in the middle of the desert. But that may turn out to have been a tragic mistake. A recent National Geographic article contained the following chilling statement…
The wet 20th century, the wettest of the past millennium, the century when Americans built an incredible civilization in the desert, is over.
So what are we going to do with these massive cities out west when there is no longer enough water to support them?
It has been estimated that the state of California only has a 20 year supply of fresh water left. And that projection was made before this current drought began.
The truth is that if current conditions persist, California might run out long before that.
And many Americans living in the eastern half of the country do not realize this, but Dust Bowl conditions are literally returning to many parts of the western half of the country. In fact, dust storms producing “near-apocalyptic” conditions have been reported in parts of Nevada.
Today, about 38 million people live in the state of California.
There isn’t going to be enough water for all of them in the years ahead.
And there certainly isn’t going to be enough water in the years ahead to produce the massive amount of food that California is currently producing.
So how will life change as a result?
I would say, if we cared about each other in even the slightest degree, we’d set up some sort of communal living arrangements, soon, but we don’t. So who give’s shit. Apparently this NTE business is just more spectacle to glout over. Apparently, the personal comfort level here is about the same as the rest of America.
The EU promises to cut emissions 40% by 2030
The EU underestimates how 50% youth unemploymenmt and the decade long exporting of manufacturing jobs to China, lowers their emissions. This is a shell game, pure and simple. Look around you, almost everything you see, feel, hear and touch comes from China. The emissions for almost everything in your life are let loose in China. This reeks of the height of hubris and hypocrisy.
Kevin Moore said:
The whole narrative of the elites -Bush. Blair, Sarkozy, Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Hollande, Harper, Key and all the other professional liars who ever made to the top of the corrupt political system – is one of pledges and promises they have no intention of keeping or cannot keep because they are mathematically impossible.
That people continue to support such criminals is a clear indication there is no hope.
Shizel: yeah, the pollution from China is travelling the air currents over to the west coast of the U.S. now and people are beginning to notice. Add that to Fukushima radiation in the air and water, and all the other by-products of “civilization” and it becomes ever more clear that not only is there no way out, but that we’re already in the collapse state and it’ll just get more intense and severe as time goes on – until there’s no humans left (and probably little else alive).
Just a brief note from Jonny Mnemonic (of the Jumping Jack Flash Hypothesis blog):
2014-01-21 – Robert Scribbler discusses the hydrogen sulfide problem:
Note: Well, look at that! After 706 straight days of warning people, finally, a flicker of awareness of the threat from elsewhere?! Do my eyes deceive me!? I might just have to open a bottle of some vintage Trader Joe’s $4-a-bottle wine for this occasion!
Tom said: Robert Scribbler discusses the hydrogen sulfide problem:
Hydrogen Sulfide and Our Butts
Add hydrogen sulfide gas
To the woes of our final impasse;
Before it just smelled
After being expelled,
Now it’s going to be killing our ass.
AAAAAAAH!!! Great job Benjamin!
Kevin Moore said:
One of three possibilities:
1. Climate systems will return to historic norms and extreme weather events will decline in frequency and intensity.
2. Climate systems will stabilise and extreme weather events will be no worse in 2014 than in 2013.
3. Climate systems will diverge even more historic norms and extreme weather events will be more frequent and more intense in 2014 than in 2013.
Bearing in mind there will be about 2.5ppm more CO2 in the atmosphere this year than last year, logic tells us that scenario 3 will prevail.
Are 2013’s Most Extreme Weather Events Just A Taste Of What’s To Come?
21 January, 2014
Earth was hot in 2013. Really hot. So hot that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest global climate report from the National Climatic Data Center, 2013 was tied with 2003 for the fourth-warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880.
And high temperatures weren’t the only weather story of the past year. The World Resources Institute, a non-partisan environmental research organization, has put together a detailed timeline of some of the most extreme weather events of 2013, using data from NOAA’s most recent report and supplementing it with other outstanding phenomena.
“We’ve seen very low precipitation or very high precipitation depending on where you are in the world,” Kelly Levin, a senior associate at WRI and a co-author of the timeline, told The Huffington Post. “And then across the board, we’re seeing a significant number of record temperatures being broken — all of which is certainly consistent with what models suggest will happen in changing climate.”
Take a look at WRI’s timeline, below:
Last year’s high temperatures were only the latest in a long series. 2013 was the 37th consecutive year in which the average worldwide temperature was higher than 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which was the average global temperature for the 20th century. In other words, not since 1976 has Earth’s average temperature been below that mark, according to NOAA’s data.
So far, all the years of the 21st century, including 2013, have ranked among the 15 warmest on record. In addition, two of the three warmest years that have occurred on record — 2010 and 2005 — were in the 21st century, with 1998 being the other. Check outNOAA’s full report for a detailed analysis.
The extreme weather timeline is “far from comprehensive,” its authors write on the WRI blog, but it serves as “a reminder of the extreme events that have touched every community on the globe — their citizens, ecosystems, and infrastructure.”
“As we live in a world where we’re seeing these events that are supposed to happen one in every 1,000 years or one in every 100 years happen much more often, are they truly considered extreme or is this the new normal we’re living in?” Levin told HuffPost. “Certainly the last few years suggest that we’re going to have to redefine what a normal climate looks like.”
Levin added that the extreme weather events seen in 2013 were consistent with models of climate change, and that unless humanity can reduce its collective carbon footprint, more extreme weather is likely.
“Since extreme weather events and natural catastrophic loss events have been documented before 1980, there’s been a growing trend. In a warmer world, the consensus shows that certain events will become more frequent and intense,” said WRI research analyst and timeline co-author Forbes Tompkins. “What was extreme today or was extreme in 1980 might become the new normal at some point.”
Here are 10 of the most extreme weather events from around the United States in 2013, according to WRI’s timeline:
• Epic Snowfall Buries The Northeast And Central U.S.
Joe Ledford/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images
In February, states in the northeast United States saw massive snowfall and blizzard conditions. The largest snowfall from a single storm (31.9 inches) was recorded in Portland, Maine, while the sixth-largest snowstorm hit Boston. Hamden, Conn., witnessed 40 inches of snowfall from the same storm system.
Heavy winter storms hit the central United States in February also, affecting the Texas panhandle, western Oklahoma, and other areas. Wichita, Kan., saw record snowfall, receiving 21.2 inches of snow in February. (The previous record was 20.5 inches.) Amarillo, Texas, was covered in snow drifts, some greater than 10 feet in height. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Widespread Flooding In Central United States
Joe Shuman/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images
In April, extensive flooding in the Central U.S. caused rivers to reach reach record high levels in Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Widest Tornado Ever Observed In The U.S. Hits Oklahoma
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
In May, a 2.6 mile-wide tornado struck near El Reno, Okla., the widest tornado ever observed in the U.S. Not two weeks before, a severe tornado had struck Moore, Okla., and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, resulting in the deaths of more than 20 people. –WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Massive Wildfire Kills 19 Firefighters In Arizona
AP Photo/Matt York
While battling a raging wildfire in Prescott, Ariz., in July, 19 firefighters lost their lives. It was the single deadliest incident for firefighters in the U.S. since 9/11. A “19 Heros” patch was attached to a flagpole at the site where the firefighters died battling the wildfire. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Heavy Rains Along East Coast
Phil Ashley via Getty Images
In July, Florida saw rainfall almost 5 inches above average, causing the wettest July on record for the state. That same month, in Philadelphia, the rainiest day on record occurred when 8 inches of rain fell — most of which came down in less than four hours. The city also experienced its wettest July on record last year. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Wettest Summer On Record In U.S. Northeast
Zoran Milich via Getty Images
In August, the Northeast saw 134 precent of its average precipitation. It was the wettest summer on record for the region. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• A 1,000-Year Storm Floods Colorado
Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images
On Sept. 12, Boulder, Colo., received 9 inches of rain, breaking a record for the city and leading to widespread flooding. Rainfall for the month of September was three times the previous record set in 1940. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Severe Blizzard In Wyoming, South Dakota
AP Photo/KOTA-TV, Pool
In October, an early and severe blizzard swept through northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, causing the deaths of more than 20,000 cattle. October snowfall records were broken in Rapid City, S.D. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• Texas Ice Storm Wreaks Havoc
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
In December, an ice storm hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area, causing the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights and $1 billion in road damages and leaving more than 260,000 people without power. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
• California Experiences Driest Year On Record
By August, California had received only about 5 inches of precipitation, a record low for the state. By December, severe drought had affected more than one-quarter of the state. Only 7.38 inches of rain fell throughout the entire year, just 33 percent of the annual average. — WRI Extreme Weather & Climate Events 2013
A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.
Kevin Moore said:
Well ulvfugl, there is nothing at all surprising about that item; Rodney Hide is a particularly evil, mendacious bastard. Like the other charlatans that wheedle their way into political power, he has had a lot of people fooled for a rather long time. Fortunately the ACT party has pretty much imploded now, along with the corrupt liar, John Banks (ex-mayor of Auckland, maniacal petrol-head who wanted Formula One racing in the street of the city, presumably so he could get a backhander form Bernie Eccleston). I have to admit, though, that nobody in NZ can match Tony B Liar for sliminess, dishonesty, self-aggrandisement and cockiness
Thanks for posting it.
Jim Salinger, the previous head of NIWA, got pushed out because he was too outspoken about the likely dire consequences of climate change and government inaction.
The item is just one more piece of evidence of the corruption and lies that characterise government circles and political parties in NZ, just the same as everywhere else in the western world.
About a year ago a gang of morons brought ‘Lord’ Monkton, well known spin doctor and professional liar, to NZ, as a component in the continuing campaign to keep the masses misinformed and confused. People paid $20 to be lied to, and Monkton had a free holiday, paid for by fuckwits..
Unbelieveable, all of it, yet here it is right in front of us, and the ones just catching on find out its been goin’ on for years!
Former West Virginia Miner: We’ve Been Dumping Those Chemicals In The Water For Decades
When up to 7,500 gallons of toxic 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia, leaving 300,000 people without tap water for around a week, former miner Joe Stanley was well prepared. He hadn’t been drinking the water for years.
Stanley, 64, worked at West Virginia’s Marrowbone Coal Mine from 1981 to 1996. His employer was Massey Energy, the same company responsible for the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010 that killed 29 miners and which was bought out in 2011.
Stanley says he lost his job after a conflict with management, when he, as union president, demanded an inquiry into certain chemicals that were being used in the mine. He claims that mine workers, particularly electricians and pinners, were getting sick.
Decades later, the truth is hard to determine; however, we’re more interested in his bleak outlook on pollution.
“I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they’re telling us not to drink the water? We’ve been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years,” he says. “This MCHM was just one of the chemicals we were told was highly toxic but that we dumped into old mine shafts and slurry ponds, and it’s been seeping into the groundwater for years. As soon as we’re out of that mine it immediately fills with water. And where does it go from there? I don’t know, you’re guess is as good as mine.”
“I haven’t drank the water here in years, and I suggest you do the same,” he says, pausing and then pointing at us. “Don’t drink the water. Just don’t do it.”
There’s plenty of evidence to support Stanley’s suspicions.
[read the rest]
Thanks for reminding me of a bad movie I’ll never see. What’s next? Cigar store Indian statues and Washington Redskin banners?
It was a joke Mike, about the white horse. That movie is incredibly stupid but it’s all about wetigo. I thought it might make you laugh. I guess not.
You’ll have to try harder.
Never thought I would see the day when I would feel no pride in being a Canadian.
In my lifetime we went from
Pierre Trudeau to Stephan Harper
Neil Young to Justin Bieber
And shat out Kevin Oleary, Canada’s very own Donald Trump
Macin MN said:
Les Mcann sang it well,
“people get funny when they get a little money – every time!”
Might as well play it:
From Surviving Capitalism:
“We did not develop this medicine for Indians,” Dekkers said Dec. 3. “We developed it for western patients who can afford it.”
My idols are dead, my enemies are in power..
Here’s a great metaphor illustrating humanity adrift in a sea of chaotic climate change (feedback loops, radiation, pollution, . . . . ). Heading for a port near you!
Abandoned cruise ship filled with cannibal rats headed for British shore
The Lyubov Orlova has been detected off the coast of Scotland. Its only passengers are demented, disease-ridden rats feeding off each other.
[“coupla in-arresting” quotes (and my addled comments)]
An abandoned cruise liner teeming with inbred cannibal rats is adrift in the Atlantic Ocean and possibly about to run aground on Britain’s coastline, according to a new report. (once upon a time we had a civilization)
The Lyubov Orlova has been drifting east from Canadian waters since last year. (then we overpopulated the space and spewed pollution which wrecked the climate and here we are)
Salvage hunters are keen to find the dilapidated 300-foot ghost ship that can carry 110 passengers because it is estimated to be worth nearly $1 million. (the “ownership class” wants to cash in)
But once aboard, the scrappers will face unimaginable horror: a demented, disease-ridden population of rats that have been feeding on each other and breeding. (once the grid goes down and society collapses, they’re left with ‘survivors’ that are capable of previously unheard-of behaviors – best poison the food with GMO toxins and the water with pharmaceuticals and industrial waste)
“There have been huge storms in recent months, but it takes a lot to sink a vessel as big as that,” (this started a long time ago but things are getting markedly worse – still, an organism that’s as attached as a tapeworm, and this big, will take a while to destroy – but we’re working on it)
And that is the films’ real message: times are tough but don’t worry. The exceptional (entrepreneurial) individuals will save us as long as we give them space and freedom (from regulation) to act as they will. If we just trust the system, try not to intervene, the competitive, democratic culture of USA will naturally keep producing these unique individuals. These films suggest that despite signs of collapse, American-led globalisation is alive and well, waiting to fight back and carry on with the neoliberal project. Our gods will save us if we just keep the faith. Like all previous civilisations on the verge of collapse, we can retreat into myths as society unravels around us.
Tamsen Miller said:
The church of Milton Friedman and his prophets, the Chicago boys.
The more I see/read/hear, the more convinced I am that neoliberal capitalism is more a religion than any thing else.
Yes. Or call it an ideology. But it’s treated as religion. I think in the absence of any real spirituality, or a belief system that gives people a location in the Universe and guidance as to how to conduct their lives, as the traditional belief systems of tribal peoples attempted to do, a cosmology with rites of passage and sophisticated myths, etc, – in the absence of all that, people substitute whatever there is, making money or hoarding crap or sport or whatever, to try and fill the emptiness.
There’s also Hayek and Leo Strauss.
All economists are morons. Milton is one of the special few that are sub-moronic.
@ kevin, and anyone else who is interested
Re Diamond and Easter Island
You’ll have to read up on both sides of the argument and make your own minds up.
I completely accepted Diamond’s stuff when I first read it, without question. I revised my position, rather reluctantly. If you dig, you’ll find details of the debate.
“There is very little evidence for the collapse scenario” advanced by Diamond, says Mulrooney, although this does not appear to be a judgment Diamond is prepared to accept, given the testy online exchange he had with Hunt and Lipo shortly after their book was published.
It has also been argued that rats were primarily responsible for the deforestation of the island rather than men, directly.
“It was the first and most extreme ecological disaster. Easter Island, in the south Pacific, once lush with subtropical broadleaf forest, was left barren and vast seabird colonies were destroyed after the arrival of man.
“But now there is new evidence that human beings may not have been responsible for the destruction after all. Although Easter Island has long been held to be the most important example of a traditional society destroying itself, it appears that the real culprits were rats – up to three million of them.
“This contradicts the belief that the native population’s obsession with carving, constructing, and transporting its famous statues around the island led it to deplete its own natural resources, going into what has been called “a downward spiral of cultural regression”.
So what if Diamond got Easter Island wrong. Has anyone had a perfect career? I love him just for Guns Germs & Steel and not only because it was interesting. What I enjoyed most was how it brought out so many closet racists.
It’s not just Easter Island, Apneaman. I first heard Diamond in UK radio, when his first book came out and he was explaining how he wanted to take a fresh approach to history and put it on a scientific basis, which seemed an excellent idea to me, and I was a great fan, and I was very much taking his side re the Easter Island thing, but I have a greater loyalty to evidence based archaeology, and gradually I got swung around and then other stuff emerged, re Papua New Guinea, he’s just not right. I mean, I don’t want to do a hatchet job on the guy, when there’s so many real bastards, he’s not one of the real evil ones by any stretch, just disappointing, imo.
Rats LOL. Who dreams up this shit. Rats ate the trees. I thought people ate rats?
Kevin Moore said:
I am familiar with the supposedly superb agricultural system on Rapa Nui and the rat theory. I find neither theory convincing.
Using volcanic rocks to improve fertility on an island that is composed of volcanic rock? Really? The theory that the rocks were used to conserve soil moisture and reduce wind damage on the then largely denuded island seems a lot more plausible to me.
With regard to rats, there is no question that they wreck the ecological balance when introduced to locations they were not previously present; NZ has spent huge sums getting rid of rats and other introduced mammals from islands in order to protect the last remnants of bird species driven to near extinction. However, I know of no place where rats devastated trees, well certainly not the way that humans do. Indeed, any place where there were humans and rats the rats came off second best, except when the rats carried plague.
Put a healthy man armed with a stick in a room with a rat and I think you have one dead rats soon after. Put a healthy man armed with a stick in a room in a room with 10 rats and I think you will have 10 dead rats soon after.
I find it hard to imagine a situation where rats overrun an island on which there are hungry humans. Humans are the deadliest species ever to evolve and soon work out methods to catch and eat almost anything.
Because of these feeding habits the rats, which were lean in summer, became very fat in the berry-bearing season when they were trapped either in pits or in cunningly devised snares set along well-defined tracks or rat-runs which generally extended for miles. At the opening of the rattrapping season the trappers, who were under tapu, strictly followed a set ritual. As soon as the first catch was secured, the tapu was lifted. The rats were singed, plucked, and cooked in an ordinary steam oven. Sometimes, however, they were grilled and preserved in their own fat as huahua, a particularly choice dainty.
I believe theories that divert attention from overpopulation and ecological devastation caused by humans are entirely consistent the anthropocentric memes which require blame for human-induced catastrophes to be attributed to other causes.
Narratives that declare how clever humans were (are) and how they were (are) not to blame for catastrophes sell magazines and attract research funding.
Narratives that point out we are too smart for our own good but not smart enough to save ourselves from technologically-induced disasters do not sell magazines and do not attract research funding. ,
Suggest you go to the forums where the details have been argued and illustrated. This has been going on for years now. I assumed at first that the controversy was maybe somebody trying to get some publicity for a book or something. It’s not. The people on the ground are highly experienced, they have addressed all the kinds of points you mention, they’ve been doing archaeology on Pacific Islands for their careers, they know about the trees and the rats and all that stuff. But I’m not interested in debating it here or trying to persuade you. I’m just saying I’ve changed MY view. Sorry if that conflicts with YOUR preferred narrative.
Kevin Moore said:
Yes, it’s been going on for more than my entire lifetime, what with Thor Heyerdahl’s westerly migration theory which was discredited, now being resurrected.
Although most anthropologists as of 2010 had come to the conclusion they did not, in 2011, new genetic evidence was uncovered by Erik Thorsby that Easter Island inhabitants in fact do have some South American DNA, lending credence to at least some of Heyerdahl’s thesis.
Whatever the fine detail, I still believe the standard Easter Island story provides an excellent metaphor for the present culture, one of using the precious energy resources to construct ‘useless statues’.
Right now, in this town, (if I use the official word city most people would laugh because the population is around 50,000), a new art centre, to be constructed of concrete and stainless steel, is underway, with a view [in the minds of the maniacs who support it] of making New Plymouth feature prominently on the global tourism map a few years from now (and into the distant future). And the preliminary work is being done to construct an additional crossing of the river to the north, in anticipation of increased traffic flows over the next 20-50 years.
“More statues. We need more statues. And bigger ones. The gods won’t be pleased unless we build more.” .
I think the film ‘Rapa Nui;, whether it was entirely accurate or not, depicted the ineptitude of leaders and the stupidity of followers rather well. Phoney religion, phoney leadership, arbitrary rules, cults, and eventual disaster, just as we are witnessing now.
Exactly Kevin Moore. A preposterous facet of the argument against Jared Diamond’s theory relies upon the argument that the statues were “walked” with ropes long distances to the beach, rather than rolled on logs. This simply defies credulity.
But how the statues were moved is a completely different side issue, has no bearing on the destruction of the ecology.
The fact it was possible to do it that way by walking has been demonstrated, hasn’t it, there’s a video of people doing it, I can’t be bothered to get into an argument about this, I already had it all once about two years ago on Dark Mountain, it’s all old and boring.
Kevin Moore said:
Yes, ulvfugl, both walking the statues upright and dragging them on rollers have been demonstrated to be feasible methods of shifting statues. The upright method matches the narrative passed down orally.
The bearing on ecology might be that the last of the trees were cut down to facilitate statue moving. It is said that once the trees had been cut down the islanders could not build canoes to go offshore fishing.
A important point is that for a long period the islanders had a sufficient supply of food to allow an awful lot of hacking away at rock with harder rock, and strenuous hauling. After which, they didn’t.
They weren’t very smart were they. Then again. Neither are we.
Couldn’t agree more. Another “don’t worry, feel warm and fuzzy” myth dreampt up by the capitalist propaganda machine.
Monsanto’s Bt-Toxins Found to Kill Human Embryo Cells
Kevin Moore said:
The local top end of industrial civilisation is definitely collapsing. A company that was founded just as the bubbles were about to peak is now kaput. Apparently kudos is in decline too.
A dream now in tatters
$20 million fortune is gone
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2014
Peter White-Robinson stand
DREAM IN TATTERS: Peter White-Robinson
Peter White-Robinson always dreamed of building superyachts in Taranaki and for more than a decade his dream came true.
But now the former high flying New Plymouth businessman’s dream is in tatters, his $20 million fortune is gone and together with his family he has washed up relatively penniless and without a job on Canada’s Vancouver Island.
Just 18 months ago it hardly seemed possible when Mr White-Robinson sailed into the horizon aboard his $7 million boat Kahu, bound for Canada. Back then he was New Plymouth’s most audacious entrepreneur, the owner of Fitzroy Yachts, a man who did what everyone said could not be done, a man everyone wanted to be.
Now he’s shut out of the company he built from nothing and its doors will almost certainly close at the end of next month leaving its 120 staff on the scrap heap.
From their rented home on Vancouver Island, Canada, Mr White-Robinson said he and his wife Sharon were themselves searching for jobs, while their two sons, Finn and Cole are at school.
“We’re not sitting up here living the life of Riley. We’re not destitute, but it’s not easy,” he said.
Their fall has been dramatic. When Mr White-Robinson sailed into the Pacific in August 2012, he was still the owner of Fitzroy Yachts, with millions of dollars in the bank and expansive properties in trust.
“I propped the company up when it was needed. I left trusted people to look after the business,” he said.
Within a year his millions, his properties and his boat were gone. The White-Robinsons had nothing left.
Mr White-Robinson said he was not told how serious the Fitzroy Yachts’ plight had become.
Without the means to keep the business going he sold the internationally respected firm to a buyer operating from a company registered in the tax haven of Vanuatu.
Mr White-Robinson, the man who had always beaten the odds, said he would have stayed in New Zealand and tried to keep the company afloat had he known the gravity of the situation.
“Any businessman has hard times and good times, and we have had hard times in the past.
“We put everything we had into that company. Everything we had in our trust, all our assets.”
It was something he had done before. In 1991 Mr White-Robinson mortgaged everything he had to buy Fitzroy Engineering, the company he sold in a $30m deal in 2010.
Rodney Martin, Fitzroy Yachts’ managing director, has blamed the falling international demand for super yachts and the rising New Zealand dollar.
He declined to comment on Mr White-Robinson’s claims that he was unaware of the reality of the company’s condition while he was overseas.
The identity of the company’s new owner remains confidential. He is rumoured to be the same man whose yacht, dubbed FY17, is the last Fitzroy Yachts will build.
“A lot of people speculate that that’s the case, but the shareholder is a private investor and he wants to keep the details private,” Mr Martin said.
However, the website super yachttimes.com lists a boat being built by Fitzroy Yachts with the same specifications as FY17 called Escapade, which will sail under Vanuatu’s flag. Fitzroy Yachts Holding, the company that now owns Fitzroy Yachts, is also registered in Vanuatu.
Sources have told the Taranaki Daily News the boat was ordered by a mega-rich Swiss national who lives with his wife in Malaysia, where he runs his multi-national electronics company.
Back at Fitzroy Yachts, the prospect of 120 staff due to finish their jobs on February 28 is taking its toll.
“Everyone is a bit uncertain now,” said Rob Watts, who started as an employee there in 2002, when it was little more than a dream.
In the beginning, he said, staff worked out of a shed on-loan from local business AJ Cowley, before moving to the current spot on Ocean View Parade in 2002.
They worked under a tarpaulin roof for a couple of years before the big, green Fitzroy Yachts shed was built.
“We started out with about 25 or 30 people,” he said. “Sailing was a passion of Peter’s. No one believed we could run a super yacht business from New Plymouth, but Peter had visions and dreams and we did it.”
He and other staff felt an enormous amount of pride about the boats they had helped build and the awards they had won, he said.
“They come into the yard as sheets of aluminium and leave as superyachts. Everyone can take pride in what they do from the fabricator, to the electricians, welders, joiners and cabinetmakers.
“It’s a loss to New Plymouth. The company brought a lot of kudos to Taranaki and to New Zealand, but this is just the way it goes. It’s just a shame, really, that it’s come to the end this way. I would have liked to retire here.”
– © Fairfax NZ News
About 1000 birds have died in the Brooklands Lagoon area after an outbreak of avian botulism. The Waimakariri District Council has revealed about 1000 birds died at the Kaiapoi Oxidation Ponds between January 6 and 16. A further 20 birds were showing some of the classic symptoms of the disease, including lethargy and partial paralysis of the feet and wings. Council utilities and roading manager Gerard Cleary said avian botulism was common in the Christchurch area with several outbreaks reported over the last few years. This was the largest known outbreak at the Kaiapoi Oxidation Ponds. He said the disease was caused by a toxin that thrives in shallow, warm water. Humans were unable to contractthe disease. Council contractors were at the ponds yesterday to begin removing the dead birds, which included paradise shelduck, black swan, mallard, grey teal and New Zealand shoveler. Cleary said the Kaiapoi ponds were home to up to 6000 birds, many of which were moulting at this time of year, leaving them temporarily flightless and increasing their risk of contracting the disease. He said contractors were working to limit the spread of the disease by removing and safely disposing dead carcasses. In February 2012, about 6000 birds died during an avian boutlism outbreak in Christchurch’s eastern wetlands – more than double the number killed in the 2011 Rena oil spill disaster.
Electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm in Australia at a cost of A$80 ($84) per megawatt hour, compared with A$143 a megawatt hour from a new coal-fired power plant or A$116 from a new station powered by natural gas when the cost of carbon emissions is included, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. Coal-fired power stations built in the 1970s and 1980s can still produce power at a lower cost than that of wind, the research shows.
Don’t mix economics with science. The former being tripe and the latter being fact. Renewable energy is nothing more than a propaganda exercise to make you feel better while the ship goes down. As for wind and solar. How do they arrive at that price and what is the level of Government subsidies? When it comes to energy there is only one formula. EROEI.
Kevin Moore said:
So what is the motto of the Republican Party: Never allow facts to get in the way of ideology? Or maybe it’s: Cheat and lie until you can’t.
Not that the Democrats are significantly better, and these days political parties in NZ are only marginally better, though we don’t actually blow up mountains to get to the stuff underneath (yet).
America is reaping what it has sown.
“You reap what you sow” means that there is an effect for everything people do or say, and that the effort a person puts into something will be rewarded appropriately in this life or the next. People use this phrase as a reminder to be kind and work hard. Although the phrase might have roots in early Christianity, it appears in some form in other religions and also can be applied in non-religious situations. Seeing bad people succeed sometimes makes people who follow this general doctrine have emotional, social or spiritual crises, so societies usually try to provide some sort of explanation as to why good people don’t always prosper.
The general idea behind “you reap what you sow” is that actions will have consequences. The effects of a person’s behaviors are not necessarily apparent right away, such as when a farmer has to wait a while for a crop to mature. Nevertheless, they show up eventually.
Application and Purpose
People usually apply the reaping concept as a means of directing general living and working. The purpose is to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative activity, or to get a specific result. In this way, it serves as a means to move a person toward the thoughts and actions that are culturally accepted as being constructive, ethical and moral.
The Economist: European climate policy is worse than useless
Since climate change was identified as a serious threat to the planet, Europe has been in the vanguard of the effort to mitigate it. The policies it has adopted are designed with two aims in mind: to cut European emissions drastically and to push other big emitters into adopting similar policies. By both measures, they have failed.
That America and China have not taken serious steps to reduce their own emissions is hardly Europe’s fault. Yet had Europe’s policies worked better, other countries might have been more inclined to emulate the leaders in the field. That is one reason why the European Commission’s announcement on January 22nd of modest increases in its targets for emissions reductions and renewable-energy use, rather than a complete overhaul of the system, was such a disappointment (see article). Another is that the existing policies impose heavy costs on European consumers and companies, and well-designed ones could cut emissions much more cheaply.
European climate policy has two main strands. One is a carbon market to raise the price of pollution. The other—to give an extra push to investment, research and development in green energy—is a programme for boosting renewable energy through production targets and subsidies on, for instance, wind and solar power. Neither has worked.
Europe’s targets for the proportion of energy that is supposed to come from renewables—27% by 2030 for the EU as a whole—are substantial, and its subsidies generous. As a result, the renewable-energy sector has grown mightily. But much of it is not exactly the fuel of the future. The largest source of renewable energy in Europe is wood. The cost of subsidies has been far greater than anyone had expected: €16 billion ($20 billion) in Germany in 2013, which works out at a massive €150-200 per tonne of carbon dioxide. (Home insulation, in contrast, saves money while reducing emissions.) And the damage to the old electricity providers has been far worse than expected. The 20 largest European energy utilities have lost a jaw-dropping €500 billion in market value since 2008.
Kevin Moore said:
‘That America and China have not taken serious steps to reduce their own emissions is hardly Europe’s fault.’
European nations deliberately encouraged the movement of much of their manufacturing to Asia to take advantage of cheap labour and cheap materials, and promoted trade deals to facilitate cheap transport of finished goods back to Europe. And now that some Chinese have more computer digits they can get on planes to visit Europe and increase emissions where they do most damage.
It’s much the same everywhere: phony people making phony decisions on the basis of phony information, and using phony market mechanisms in the pursuit of phony agendas.
It’s all a shell game in which every nation loses in the long run.
‘Worse than useless’ applies to all the MPs I know of in the NZ parliament and the vast majority of mayors, councillors, bureaucrats, lawyers and financial advisors etc.
Every time I see this
I wonder whether this time might be ‘it’.
But every time markets plunge 2% the rescuers come in and prop them up.
Filling lakes in California with water
might be rather more difficult.
I was wondering the same thing. I took my Mom out for her weekly grocery shopping this morning and I guess I was a bit worried, cause I bought 48 cans of beans and two 10kg bags of rice.
Assuming we all understand the meaning of capitalism surely we all know that there will never be any attempt to reduce Greenhouse emissions? From a practical view point given our dependency on fossil fuels, our pop of 7 Billion and our infinite growth economies and the negative EROEI of renewables, how exactly do you reduce your emissions?
Shrek has the answer. The problem is onion with many layers. Focusing on one layer will never solve the problem (there is no solution anyway) and you will never understand how royally screwed we really are. For example, addressing climate change but ignoring population, peak oil, peak gas, peak phosphates etc. etc. is well, stupid. By the time we have squandered our last fossil fuel reserves in a futile attempt to some how fix climate change we would have run out of energy anyway and accelerated the process. So you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. There is only one solution that solves all the problems over night. An immediate reduction in the world population by about 6 Billion people. A new world order that controls everything. You can’t have a Utopian world with different countries doing their own thing. It doesn’t work. Whoever wrote the Georgia Guide stones knows exactly what the problem is and I hope the power to enact it. Funny how some people see this as a bad thing. Only because they live under the ridiculous illusion that our current way of life is actually sustainable.
Kevin Moore said:
Finance link didn’t work. Try this.