Tag Archives: Nature

Punxsutawney Phil fails to see eclipse of mankind, declares early spring for nature

You know it’s GROUNDHOG DAY when newspaper weather forecasts read like articles in the Onion. The unseasonably warm winter that followed a record breaking hot summer has been declared by Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s mascot meteorologist to be an “Early Spring”. FOR NATURE. The rat.

Silly honeybee, High Fructose Corn Syrup is for kids, American humans, fat

If you’d like one reason to despise corporate honey producers, how’s this? Humans come by honey because of the largess of bees. Beekeepers harvest the surplus as honeybees go about –what we’ve learned is their more critical responsibility for human interests– pollinating our crops. Unfortunately it’s become more profitable to milk the hives of more of the honey and leave sugar water or High Fructose Corn Syrup for the hardworking honeybees. Yes it’s killing them.

Never mind it’s suspected as the leading cause of why American honeybees are dying off, it’s crude and parasitic. There might have been a time we’d say it was un-American.

HFCS-induced obesity and diabetes is too gentle a fate for greedy beekeepers. Likewise for cattle farmers who sell the milk, leaving their calves to nurse on a concocted dilution containing cow’s blood and other dairy substitutes — care to wager HFCS is not among them?

You can avoid Big Agra honey, and no doubt any processed foods which market themselves as containing honey. Although, you might check the label, most often the corporate nutritionists have already swapped out your honey for HFCS.

Turning the economic corner to what?

economic indicators
The US media is now full of optimistic assurances to ‘We, The People’, that ‘the economy is turning the corner’ and all will be well once again as if that was ever all that much the case! Certainly it has been better though, yet today the US does not, and cannot, operate in isolation from the world downturn of Big Business. So how’s it going elsewhere? Take a look at our friends the British, and you will see just how they are doing? …and it’s not so good.

From the conservative and hallowed British newspaper, the Telegraph, you can read that the British economic collapse rivals Great Depression, and that British output fell 5.6 % over the last year! That’s a -5.6% GDP, so why is the American press so full of bullshit about ‘turning the corner’? A short stock market rally is no turning of any corner, but a negative rate of GDP for the last year is definitely an ominous sign. It will simply take more than positive spin or pep talks to turn any corner yet ahead.

The desire to paint such a big happy face comes about when corporate leadership has no plans to alleviate any misery anywhere these days. If anything, they remain absolutely fixated on spreading more misery through more war, rather than improving the economic welfare of people through PEACE and a productive society run by a productive economy. Capitalism simply is not a productive economy, but rather is merely a route for and elite to get rich off the rest of us and through a looting of Nature. Changing that would be turning a corner but capitalist elites are not going to change The-ir System.

Capitalism is killing off nature itself

dodo extinctionMost people say that overpopulation is what’s destroying our Planet, but in reality, it is how the world population organizes its economic activity that is responsible.
 
In truth, most of us have no say about how the rich and powerful run their economic system, no more than the slaves of Rome could influence how the Roman Empire was run. We still live in a world run from the top down. Our large number is not the determinant part of the equation that just doesn’t add up very well for long term survival. Threat to European biodiversity ‘as serious as climate change.’

National Geographic is a nature pic zoo

Upsala Glacier Chile in retreat
January’s National Geographic featured an article about Charles Darwin. Juxtaposed against excerpts from Darwin’s diary on the Beagle, were the usual photographs of nature at its most vivid. But an image of a glacier, purporting to match Darwin’s awed description, left me slack- jawed with contrary impression. We’ve all been treated to then and now pictograms of retreating glaciers, so the National Geographic’s usual reverse illusionist, nature-isn’t-vanishing-act, wasn’t going to work for this pastoral scene. I’m looking straight through the glossy NATURE industry, and it’s nothing but a virtual zoo.

You might say the world of nature documentaries keeps more to the spirit of the early collector-adventurers, who shot and stuffed their specimens, in the name of documenting their existence. Certainly the photographers of today are capturing the living images of soon to be gone phenomena. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to regard their nature images as exhibits of Natural History.

Except that Museum goers know that what they are looking at is dead. Nature program viewers are given no such insight. And need they, really? If the closest that the recliner-set get to the Pacific Ocean is their HD flat screen TV, what does it matter if the Pacific is full of plastic instead of fish? Nature-appreciation wise, the eyes of the climate-controlled majority dictate its value.

The illusion which nature programs create is of a living Earth, susceptible to cycles, or whatever excuse they present for why you are hearing reports of coral bleaching while enjoying high saturation images of vibrant, fully vital, reefs. You are shown things alive, and so you believe it lives. That’s where this glossy facade is a lot more like a zoo.

Zoos are criticized for showing nature out of context. Even as the best zoo settings approach the theatrical stages of natural history dioramas, they still present an inert being. The zoo animal is not searching for food, fending off predators, or jockeying for a mate. The zoo attraction might almost be preserved in formaldehyde, for all it teaches about nature, and mankind’s relation to his origin.

Zoos, like domestic animals neutered or spayed, like doe-eyed Disney renditions of circle-of-life citizen animals, teach an antiseptic version of wild life, where man might deduce that his own life’s purpose is but a few years spent pinned like a butterfly adjacent thousands and millions more.

Camera lens filters enhance reality, camera lenses compress and direct it. That much we already knew.

Nature programs and nature photography present life as a spectacle, and seem at first glance to highlight every minutia for our increased understanding. But shown out of the context of the Earth’s present difficulties, the images inform less than they distort.

Fell not one more forest tree!

old-growth-forests-1620-1990
OLD GROWTH FORESTS. Sure we need lumber but we now need forests yet more. Two hundred years of industrial exploitation of the planet and now most of the forests are gone, and what remains are scraggly, sickly remnants that are not supportive of any remaining natural wildlife. Still, the slaughterhouse ‘forestry’ approach continues to bulldoze them down. The goal?

Well there is no goal, no sanity, no intelligence in all this. The only desire is that the forestry companies be allowed to do their final cash out on the Nature that hangs on. Ecologist GEORGE WUERTHNER in his comments Who Will Speak for the Forests? elaborates on this sad situation and the blindness of many who continue to advocate for what they consider to be scientific approach to the remaining pockets of semi Nature that still exist.

There are alternatives since very little actually has to be built out of wood. That hard wood floor I now walk on could have been built out of other materials. That house could have used something other than wood for its structure. That toilet paper you (and i guess me too) wipe your ass on could have come from something other than wood products. That idiotic newspaper you have in your hands, just didn’t need to be so full of utter trash and so over sized. It takes a personal commitment on your part to not support an economic system built on the total wasting of Nature for the System to be changed. Where is that commitment?

DEAD

Alice and dodo
One in four mammals risks extinction for now, but it will be a much worse forecast 50 years from now. The problem is not too many people, but how those people we actually have organize their economic activity on Planet Earth.

Seas turn to acid as they soak up CO2 The problem is not too many people, it is what the people do to the oceans when organized in a destructive world economy.

Vanishing forest: a northern forest is disappearing at a rapid pace—that spells trouble for billions of animals Do you have an American or Canadian flag waving from your house? Why are you so proud and defensive about all this destruction? Don’t you know what is happening? Stop celebrating this culture, this economy, this spirit of DEAD.

Factory farming leads to ‘Destruction of biodiversity — A tendency towards using single adapted breeds (a mono-culture) in factory farming, both in arable and animal farming, gives uniform product designed for high yields, at the risk of increased susceptibility to disease. The loss of locally adapted breeds reduces the resilience of the agricultural system. The issue is not limited to factory farming and historically the problem is reflected in the rapid adoption of one or two strains of crops across a wide area as seen in the Irish potato famine of 1854 and the Bengal rice famine in 1942.[58] The loss of the gene pool of domesticated animals limits the ability to adapt to future problems. This issue exists in all types of farming practices.’ from wikipedia

The Factory Model simply is not the solution at all to anything, whether it be economic or agricultural production, whether it be the production of ‘services’ or the production of ‘education’. Factories run top down by rich owners is DEAD. Factory buffalo hunting is DEAD. Factory fishing is DEAD. Factory logging is DEAD. Factory mining is DEAD. Factory living in shopping mallandia is DEAD.

WaMu shares fall from $39 to $2 in one year

wallstreetThe Domino Theory at work! Next to fall- Washington Mutual. Nothing related to Vietnamese Communism at all, but to American capitalism itself.

And what does Wall Street and Washington, D.C. advocate now? Why socialism! They advocate socialism for themselves,The Rich, where profits are privatized for the super elites and losses are socialized for the poor to pay the costs of bad business dealings done by private owners. They call that ‘bailout’.

So if we are to have this form of socialism in place in the US one begins to wonder about having a much different form of Socialist Movement return to the scene, where benefits are privatized and the super rich must pay their fair costs to a society that they have been looting from? Well why not? Why should government always be benefiting only the rich, where corporate corruption allows Big Business to seize control of the government to use only for themselves?

Also, we need to ask ourselves whether Big Business will ever care for Nature? The answer seems obvious that NO it will not, since looting nature is part of the essential business ethic of making profit for owners at the expense of others (workers and Nature).

Yes, Socialism is back and we need to see that it is not the National Socialism of the rich for the rich that shall predominate, but rather Socialism of those who do the work for those who do the work, that is put into effect. Because one way or the other, it is what’s now on the agenda. After WaMu, which next? The corporate-run government is bankrupting itself to stop bankruptcy! The FDIC will have to spend another $20 billion if this bank blows bringing itself almost to the point of insolvency. The money for bailouts and bankruptcies is not endless.

Waldo Canyon, Colorado


Sometimes the only thing standing between me and complete despondency is the mountain.
 
My fellow bloggers have endless energy to tackle important issues — homelessness, hunger, war, politics, environment, media, government, healthcare, torture, death. The list is depressing and endless. I admire them, but I am not made of steel like they are. I am more a fragile flower and, when buried under humanity’s toxic waste and cut off from nature’s largesse, I wither very quickly.

For me, the correlation between physical and mental energy is 1:1. So, rather than blog or read the Sunday paper today, I hiked Waldo Canyon!

A bit about the hike:
Heading west on Highway 24, you’ll find the trailhead on the right side just past the Manitou Springs exit. The Waldo Canyon loop is seven miles of easy trekking and amazing views. The scenery, especially the view of Pikes Peak, is the best reason to do this hike. In my opinion, seven miles of easy hiking is about four miles too many. I like to earn my relaxation with a couple miles of sheer hellish exertion.

I suppose if I were a runner — and there were quite a few of them beginning to train for the Pikes Peak Ascent — I might feel differently. Nonetheless, the cool weather, beautiful vistas, and proximity to the serious runner crowd made for an excellent Sunday morning!

Please don’t tell me what world news I’ve missed. Let me just enjoy my tired muscles and slightly sunburned shoulders until I’ve finished sorting my photos. The horrid world can wait for me today.



Consumers to the very end

Garish funeral casketIf you’ve ever watched Six Feet Under, you have a sense of what happens to the body prior to a conventional funeral and burial. If this is an indignity that you are willing to suffer, and a price tag that you are willing to bear, so be it.

But consider for a moment the environmental impact of the typical funerary send-off.

After the funeral service, the body is sealed inside a metal casket or lacquered wooden coffin lined with plush satin and adorned with gleaming brass accessories. This is then lowered into a concrete vault and buried. The reinforced concrete tomb is covered with a ton of dirt, and planted with non-native grass which is kept artificially green with pesticide and weed killer.

A ten-acre tract of cemetery ground hides enough coffin wood to construct more than 40 homes, and contains nearly a thousand tons of casket steel and another twenty thousand tons of concrete.

Formaldehyde, the primary ingredient in embalming fluids and a known carcinogen, is another concern. Nearly a million gallons of embalming fluid are buried every year in North America, some of which eventually leaches out and runs into surrounding soil and groundwater.

Above ground, the local cemetery looks peaceful and pastoral. But below the surface it serves, to all intents and purposes, as a landfill of hazardous wastes and non-biodegradable materials. An affront to nature, to be sure.

Natural burial groundA modern natural burial, wherein the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life, is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices. The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper.

A completed natural burial preserve is a green place with trees, grasses, and wildflowers, which in turn bring birds and other wildlife to the area. It is a living memorial and leaves a legacy of care for those of us who respect the earth and understand our connection to it.

What could be more organic than to become a part of nature? Death does, after all, complete the circle of life. I would find it comforting to know that my body will someday enrich the soil and allow living things to flourish. Maybe a molecule of mine will end up in a berry eaten by a bird. More likely, I’ll be a nut eaten by a manic squirrel.