Articles, papers, comments, opinions and new ideas worth sharing

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

Subhankar Banerjee, Michael Brune, Eugênia Diana Silva de Camargo, Ellen Cantarow, Countercurrents, Guy Crequie (4), Tom Engelhardt, Mardilê Friedrich Fabre, Dr. S.L. Gandhi, Rob Hopkins, Marty Kaplan, Pasteur CESAR KATEHE, Alexandra Paul, Steve Salmony, Glenn Scherer, Carol Smith, Regina Mercia Sene Soares, Sandra Steingraber, Andreas Weber, Ben White

Subhankar Banerjee, Keep the Arctic Cold: Why the Rush to Drill Alaska Must Be Stopped Keep the Arctic Cold: Why the Rush to Drill Alaska Must Be Stopped
Michael Brune 5 Critical Actions Obama Needs to Take Right Now to Avert Massive Climate Disruption 5 Critical Actions Obama Needs to Take Right Now to Avert Massive Climate Disruption
Eugênia Diana Silva de Camargo QUE VENHA... A PAZ! Que vienne LA PAIX ! That Vienna peace! Eso Paz de Viena! QUE VENHA... A PAZ! Que vienne LA PAIX ! That Vienna peace! Eso Paz de Viena!
Ellen Cantarow Fracking Ourselves to Death in Pennsylvania Fracking Ourselves to Death in Pennsylvania
Countercurrents Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reach Highest Point In Three Million Years Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reach Highest Point In Three Million Years
Guy Crequie Splendeurs du monde et protection de la nature. Poème « LA BAIE d’HALONG » Splendeurs du monde et protection de la nature. Poème  LA BAIE d’HALONG
Guy Crequie LA GRANDE MURAILLE DE CHINE(Le dragon de pierre) LA GRANDE MURAILLE DE CHINE(Le dragon de pierre)
Tom Engelhardt Imperial Gigantism And The Decline Of Planet Earth Imperial Gigantism And The Decline Of Planet Earth
Dr. S.L. Gandhi Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability
Rob Hopkins Why I’m Marking Passing 400 ppm By Getting Back On An Aeroplane Why I’m Marking Passing 400 ppm By Getting Back On An Aeroplane
Marty Kaplan What Will It Take for Us to Recognize That the Way We Live Could Be Destroying Life as We Know It? What Will It Take for Us to Recognize That the Way We Live Could Be Destroying Life as We Know It?
Alexandra Paul Overpopulation: Maybe It’s Time To Offend A Few Folks Overpopulation: Maybe It’s Time To Offend A Few Folks
Steve Salmony Human Population Bomb Blows Up Human Population Bomb Blows Up
Glenn Scherer How Our National Parks Are Threatened by Fracking How Our National Parks Are Threatened by Fracking
Carol Smith Climate Change’s ‘Evil Twin’: Ocean Acidification Climate Change’s ‘Evil Twin’: Ocean Acidification
Regina Mercia Sene Soares A Paz é o caminho do amor La paix est le chemin de l'amour Peace is the path of love La paz es el camino del amor A Paz é o caminho do amor La paix est le chemin de l'amour Peace is the path of love La paz es el camino del amor
Sandra Steingraber Will Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Stop Meaning Anything When Climate Change Hits? Will Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Stop Meaning Anything When Climate Change Hits?
Andreas Weber The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons
Ben White 5 Reasons Why the Smartest Man in the World Is Right to Boycott Israel 5 Reasons Why the Smartest Man in the World Is Right to Boycott Israel

Articles and papers from authors

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  May 16, 2013
Why I’m Marking Passing 400 ppm By Getting Back On An Aeroplane
by Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture, Countercurrents

In November 2006, I sat at the back of the Barn Cinema, Dartington, and watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘. It had such an impact on me that by the time it ended, I had decided that I couldn’t just leave the cinema without marking the event by making some kind of change in my life. I decided that evening not to fly again, and I haven’t flown since. I have played an active part in supporting the growth of an international movement in 40 countries since then, participating in countless workshops, and discussing Transition internationally through Skype and pre-recorded talks, most of which I begin with how much carbon I have saved by not travelling in person. However, I recently watched the film ‘Chasing Ice’, and it had, if anything, a more visceral impact than ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. My resolution at the end of watching it, re-enforced by the recent passing, for the first time, of 400 ppm of C02 in the atmosphere, was that it was time to get back on a plane, and I want to use this post to tell you why.

When I was born, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere was 325.36 ppm. I was 19 when it passed 350 ppm for the first time, the level which climate scientists such as James Hansen argue is the highest concentration possible if we are to “preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted” When, in 2004, the first seeds of Transition were sown when I sat with my students in a classroom at Kinsale Further Education College to watch The End of Suburbia, we were at 376.15 ppm. On the day this blog first began with its first post, we were at 378.29 ppm.

When I watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, it was 380.18 parts per million (ppm). On the day Transition Network was formally established we had reached 386.40 ppm. On the day I left Venice last September, following the Degrowth conference (which I had travelled to by train), seeing Venice from the sea as this extraordinary jewel just inches above sea level, concentrations had reached 391.06ppm. When I sat down to watch ‘Chasing Ice’ it was 395.55 ppm.

The rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations during my lifetime (

A couple of weeks ago we passed, for the first time, 400 ppm. It’s just a number, but it had a deep impact on me, a sobering line in the sand, a deeply troubling face. As Joe Romm at Climate Progress puts it:

Certainly as we hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human existence, with not even a plan to avoid 600 ppm, 800 ppm, and then 1000 — not even a national discussion or an outcry by the so-called intelligentsia – it is worth asking, why? Is there something inherent in homo “sapiens” that makes us oblivious to the obvious?

This means that current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are far higher than they have been for the last 4.5 millions years at least. The graph below shows how concentrations have fluctuated over the past 800,000 years. By way of context, 30,000 years ago, Cro-Magnon man was flourishing, hunting and gathering and painting cave walls. The Guardian have created a great infographic that tells the story of 400 ppm and what it means in a very understandable way. As Damien Carrington in The Guardian puts “the last time so much greenhouse gas was in the air was several million years ago, when the Arctic was ice-free, savannah spread across the Sahara desert and sea level was up to 40 metres higher than today”.

In spite of all the efforts of the green movement, Transition initiatives, a slew of international conferences and meaningless agreements, the rise has continued inexorably. It shows little sign of slowing, the International Energy Agency warning last year that the world is on track for at least a 6 degree rise in temperatures by 2100.

Carbon dioxide concentrations for the last 800,000 years (

I know anecdotally that my giving up flying has inspired quite a few people to do the same, but has it had any impact at all on the rising levels of emissions? Clearly not. But has it been the right thing, thus far, to have done? Absolutely. A fascinating paper by Joakim Sandberg, called My emissions make no difference explored this question. He writes:

My suggestion is that we have a collective obligation to change our ways, and this collective obligation may be partly separate from the obligations of individuals. While my own flying makes no difference, it should be noted, climate change could be averted if we all changed our ways. But then it seems plausible to say that we act wrongly as a collective, even though no individual driver or flyer may be doing anything wrong. This view could be further explained by saying that moral questions can be asked on at least two different levels, with implicit reference to different sorts of agents. It is one thing to ask “What should I do?” but quite a different thing to ask “What should we do?” and the answers may not always converge.

The fact is that at a time in history when we desperately need to cut emissions sharply, we all have a responsibility to re-evaluate behaviour we undertake that normalises, for those around us, ways of acting that generate high levels of emissions. As Sandberg puts it, “while it may not typically be wrong of me to drive or fly, then, it may be wrong of us to do so and we must therefore seek ways of coordinating our environmental efforts more effectively”. I will still not fly for holidays or family reasons, to conferences, for pretty much any reasons. However I have decided, through discussions with those I work with, that passing 400 ppm, the extent of the climate crisis, means that it is time to get back on a plane, in cases where the benefits can be seen as outweighing the impacts.

Around 25% of the world’s emissions come from the US, the world’s greatest emitter of carbon dioxide. I recently had a moving conversation with someone in the US, who works for an organisation who fund groups acting on climate change, and who is very well connected politically in the US. She told me, with strong emotion in her voice, that it was her sense from talking to people she knows in the UN and other organisations, that there seems to be a consensus to give it another 18 months, 2 years at most, and then the funding and political effort will shift from mitigation and into adaptation and defence.

I’ll say that again. The funding and political effort will shift from mitigation and into adaptation and defence. Or to put it another way, that they will give up. The consensus will shift to the assumption being that it is now too late. Officially. The imminent White House briefing about the state of the Arctic ice and its implications probably won’t help either, given the gravity and seeming irreversibility of that situation.

I refuse to accept that the lurch to 500ppm, 600ppm, 800ppm is an inevitability. I refuse to accept, as Nigel Lawson tried to argue in his debate with the remarkably patient Kevin Anderson on Jeremy Vine’s radio show recently, that doing anything about climate change would impact on economic growth so we shouldn’t bother. I refuse to agree with Peter Lilley that the only way to preserve our economy is to allow unfettered gas fracking anywhere the gas industry decides it wants to drill because “there are simply no affordable renewable technologies available to replace fossil fuels”. I refuse to accept that we can’t do any better than what we have now, and that communities have only a passive role to play in doing something about this with the real work being done by governments and business. I refuse to give up while there’s still a chance.

So when an explicitly personal invitation came in to speak to a gathering of the largest philanthropic funders at their gathering in the US, and the opportunity to present them with Transition’s model of bottom-up, community-led action and to explain how Transition is increasingly focusing on the creation of a new economy, owned by the people, for the benefit of the people, the climate and the future, I had to think twice. That’s quite an extraordinary opportunity to try and influence the mindset of people who have the power and capacity to significantly support communities, and other crucial actors, who need to act to make the real and rapid shift so needed. I have thought long and hard about it.

I have come to a place, also through discussions with other people here at Transition Network and in discussion with our friends at Transition US and Post Carbon Institute, of feeling that it is worth having a go and getting on a plane and making the journey, in the (possibly naive) hope that it might sow some seeds of a new direction in the minds of some of the US’s foremost funders, give Transition in the US a boost, raise its profile, do what I can to try and support what’s already happening there. I would expect to return home wrung out like a sponge. This doesn’t open the door to now flying here, there and everywhere. This is a very particular invitation that has been looked at entirely on its own merits.

What do I know? Many of the movements, ideas, people and projects that have inspired me over the last 20 years have come from the US. There are wonderful things happening there, inspirational projects, great movements, incredible networks. But if Transition can bring something energising, some insights from this 7-year global experiment, some kind of renewed optimism that change is possible, something, anything, then it feels worth doing, before the window of possibility closes.

What haunts me every day, and no doubt will for the rest of my days, is what I will reply to my grandchildren when they ask me what I did during the time when climate change could have been brought under some sort of control, when the necessary changes could have been put in place to create a low-carbon, resilient and thriving culture that nurtured healthy human cultures. Was I as effective as I could have been? Did I do everything I could have? Having reflected on this for some time, it feels churlish to decline an opportunity that could potentially have a far greater positive impact than the negative impact of the flight.

So sometime in late September, it looks very much as though I will make that journey. Quite what I’ll do when I’m there has yet to be agreed (although we will of course let you know). Whether it will have any meaningful impact is even less certain. But it needs to be done, so I’m doing it.

The CO2 concentration statistics come from the Earth System Research Laboratory’s website, from measurements taken at the Mauna Loa research station.

Rob Hopkins is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network.

  Read Why I’m Marking Passing 400 ppm By Getting Back On An Aeroplane
  May 15, 2013
The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons
by Andreas Weber, The Wealth of the Commons, Countercurrents

There is an all-enclosing commons-economy which has been successful for billions of years: the biosphere. Its ecology is the terrestrial household of energy, matter, beings, relationships and meanings which contains any manmade economy and only allows for it to exist. Sunlight, oxygen, drinking water, climate, soil and energy – the products and processes of this household – also nourish the Homo economicus of our time who, despite all his technological and economical progress, still feeds on products of the biosphere.

I wish to argue that nature embodies the commons paradigm par excellence. With that definition I do not only mean that man and other beings have been living together according to commons principles for an overwhelming majority of time. My argument is more complex: I am convinced that ecological relations within nature follow the rules of the commons. Therefore, nature can provide us with a powerful methodology of the commons as a natural and social ecology. The goal of this chapter is to give a brief outline of this “existential commons ecology.”

Liberalism as a hidden metaphysics of life

But which nature are we talking of? To analyze nature’s household without the bias added by the liberalist metaphors of nature as capitalist marketplace we will have to reconsider the underlying ecology and economy of natural housekeeping step by step. Particularly, we will have to question the mainstream view of ecological interactions as competition and optimization processes between mechanical actors (or “genes”) due to the pressure of external laws, e.g., selection. We will rather discover in nature a deep history of evolution towards more freedom, where the players are autonomous subjects bound together in mutual dependence. This idea, however, is in opposition to the current view of matter and information exchange in biological and economic theory.

In the last 200 years few models of reality have been influencing each other so strongly as the theory of natural evolution and the theory of man’s household of goods and services. Both disciplines received their current shape in Victorian England, and both reciprocally borrowed and reapplied each other’s key metaphors. Consequentially, social findings have been projected on to the natural cosmos and scientific knowledge, and in turn reapplied to socioeconomical theories. Today both paradigms together form a bioeconomic metaphysics which does not so much deliver an objective description of the world as an assessment of civilization itself.

In this context it is important to notice that a political economist, Thomas Robert Malthus, delivered the crucial cornerstone for the modern concept of biology as evolution. Malthus was obsessed by the idea of scarcity as explanation for social change – there would never be enough resources to feed a population which steadily multiplies. Charles Darwin, the biologist, adapted that piece of theory which had clearly derived from the observation of Victorian industrial society and applied it to a comprehensive theory of natural change and development. In its wake such concepts as “struggle for existence,” “competition,” “growth” and “optimization” tacitly became centerpieces of our self-understanding: biological, technological, and social progress is brought forth by the sum of individual egoisms. In perennial competition, fit species (powerful corporations) exploit niches (markets) and multiply their survival rate (return margins), whereas weaker (less efficient) ones go extinct (bankrupt). The resulting metaphysics of economy and nature, however, are less an objective picture of the world than society’s opinion about its own premises.

By this exchange of metaphors, economics came to see itself more and more as a “hard” natural science. It derived its models from biology and physics – leading all the way up to the mathematical concept of Homo economicus1. This chimera – a machine-like egoist always seeking to maximize his utility – has become the hidden, but all-influencing model of humanity. Its shadow is still cast over newer psychological and game-theoretical approaches. Reciprocally, evolutionary biology also gained inspiration from economical models. The “selfish gene,” e.g., is not much more but a Homo economicus mirrored back to biochemistry.2

We can call this alliance between biology and economics an “economic ideology of nature.” Today it reigns supreme over our understanding of man and world. It defines our embodied dimension (Homo sapiens as gene-governed survival machine) as well as our social aspect (Homo economicus as egoistic maximizer of utility). The idea of universal competition unifying the natural and the social sphere is always rival and exclusive:3 You have to eliminate as many competitors as possible and take the biggest piece of cake for yourself – a license to steal life from others.

Historically therefore, the reinvention of nature as an economical process of competition and optimization has been an organizing template for the enclosure of the commons. It has served as a mental fencing-off which preceded the real dispossessions and displacements and invented a context of justification.

The first transformations of common into private property took place in early modern times (1500–1800). This was the same epoch when our self-understanding increasingly was dominated by the dualist view of the French thinker René Descartes. Mind was no longer intimately entangled with body but rather a rational principle that stood above matter. Organisms, the whole diversity of nature, but also man’s own body, were conceived of as automata made of subjectless and deterministic matter. This conviction is the refusal of any form of connectedness. The British philosopher Thomas Hobbes expanded on that idea and claimed an absolute separation of society and politics from nature. Nature is seen as the dominion of blind causes and effects and hence is no longer available as a point of reference for human self-understanding – in much the same way as the forest that the nobility had once shared with the peasants became exclusive property and was no longer accessible. The idea that the inhuman forces of opimization and selection dominate the realm of “pure things,” and hence also ourselves, closely parallels that historical exclusion. Both follow a basic model of estrangement and fencing off of living abundance. It is most noteworthy that the human sphere, which in this manner has been purified from nature, does not gain more freedom. Rather, society is also understood as a battle of brute and cruel forces – forces which have lost any connection with creative and lawful powers of existing-within-nature and embodied subjectivity. Hobbes’ model of society, which remains influential in our time, shuns all connection with natural objects yet nonetheless becomes the embodiment of a world driven by brute force. It is built upon the idea of the “Leviathan,” the war of all against all as a “natural” state.

The enclosure of nature that had once been accessible by all reaches deeply into our mind and emotions. The inner wilderness of man increasingly has come under control. It has become difficult to understand oneself as an embodied part of a developing whole. Man-as-a-body did not belong any longer to the realm of beings, nor were his feelings about being alive to be taken seriously anymore. Rather, man’s experiences and emotions became isolated from the rest of reality. This view culminates in an idea that today is quite common, that “nature” is not real at all but only exists as a mental concept, leaving no room to care for that which does not exist. The economic ideology of nature excluded any wilderness from our soul; unenclosed nature which accomplishes itself by itself and which is possessed by no being, made no sense to the liberal mind. No understanding of ourselves and of the world which reaches beyond the principles of competition and optimization can now claim any general validity. It is “nothing but” a nice illusion which “in reality” is only proof of the underlying forces in the struggle for existence. Love reduces itself to choice of the fittest mate; cooperation basically is a ruse in the competition for resources; and artistic expression shows the economy of discourses.

The enclosure of nature hence finally touches the Homo sacer,4 the innermost core of our embodied and feeling self, which contains the vulnerable existence in flesh and blood, the nude, emotional, animate existence. If we prefer to think of ourselves as apart from animate life, we have divorced ourselves from the realm of the living. As a final consequence, the enclosure of the commons manifests itself as biopolitics – the bid to own and monetize life.

Natural anticapitalism

A new economy can become a realistic alternative if we can challenge the mainstream biological view that sees life as an endless process of optimization. A new picture of life indeed is overdue – particularly in biology itself. Here, in fact, the Hobbsean paradigm of “war of all against all” is being overcome. The biological view of the organic world – and the picture of man within it – is changing from the idea of a battlefield between antagonistic survival-machines to that of an interplay of agents with goals and meanings. The organism starts to be seen as a subject who interprets external stimuli and genetic influences rather than being causally governed by them, and who negotiates his existence with others under conditions of limited competition and “weak causality.”

This shift in the axioms of “biological liberalism” leads to an emerging picture of the organic world as one in which freedom evolves. This is particularly evident in the following issues:

Efficiency: The biosphere is not efficient. Warm-blooded animals consume over 97 percent of their energy only to maintain their metabolism. Photosynthesis achieves a ridiculous efficiency rate of 7 percent. Fish, amphibians and insects have to lay millions of eggs only to allow for the survival of very few offspring. Instead of being efficient, nature is highly redundant. It compensates for possible loss through incredible wastefulness. Natural processes are not parsimonious but rather based on generosity and waste. The biosphere indeed is based on donation, but it is not reciprocal: the foundation of all biological work – solar energy – falls as a gift from heaven.

Growth: The biosphere does not grow. The quantity of biomass does not increase. The throughput does not expand – nature is running a steady-state- economy – that is, an economy where all relevant factors remain constant toward one another. Also, the number of species does not necessarily increase. It rises in some epochs and falls in others. The only dimension that really grows is the diversity of experiences: ways of feeling, modes of expression, variations of appearance, novelties of patterns and forms. Therefore, nature does not gain weight, but rather depth.

Competition: It has never been possible to prove that a new species arose from competition for a resource alone. Species are rather born by chance: they develop through unexpected mutations and the isolation of a group from the remainder of the population through new symbioses and cooperations (as our body cells have done, for example). Competition alone, e.g., for a limited nutrient, causes biological monotony: the dominance of relatively few species over an ecosystem.

Scarcity: The basic energetic resource of nature, sunlight, exists in abundance. A second crucial resource – the number of ecological relationships and new niches – has no upper limit. A high number of species and a variety of relations among them do not lead to sharper competition and dominance of a “fitter” species, but rather to a proliferation of relationships among species and thus to an increase in freedom, which is at the same time also an increase of mutual dependencies. The more that is wasted, the bigger the common wealth becomes. In ecosystems where only a few nutrients are freely available, as in the tropical rainforest, this limitation brings forth more niches and thus a higher overall diversity. This is the result of an increase of symbioses and reduced competition. Scarcity on a biological level does not lead to displacement, but to diversification.

Property: There is no notion of property in the biosphere. An individual does not even possess his own body. Its matter changes permanently and continuously as it is replaced by oxygen, CO2, and other inputs of energy and matter. But it is not only the physical dimension of self that is made possible through communion with other elements, it is the symbolic as well: language is brought forth by the community of speakers who are using it. Habits in a species are acquired by sharing them. In any of these dimensions the wilderness of the natural world – which has become, and not been made, and which cannot be exclusively possessed by anybody – is necessary for the individual to develop its innermost identity. Individuality – physical and social/symbolic – thus can only emerge through a biological and symbol-based commons.

Commons features of the biosphere

In a temperate forest there are different rules for flourishing than in a dry desert. Each ecosystem is the sum of many rules, interactions, and streams of matter, which share common principles but are locally unique. This strict locality follows the fact that living beings do not only use the commons provided by nature, but are physically and relationally a part of them. The individual’s existence is inextricably linked to the existence of the overarching system. The quality of this system, its health (and beauty) is based on a precarious balance that has to be negotiated from moment to moment. It is a balance between too much autonomy of the individual and too much pressure for necessity exerted by the system. Flourishing ecosystems historically have developed a host of patterns of balance that lead to extraordinary refinement and high levels of aesthetic beauty. Hence, the forms and beings of nature can be experienced as solutions that maintain a delicate balance in a complex society. The embodied solutions of individual-existence-in- connection are that special beauty of the living which fills most humans with the feeling of sense and belonging.

Nature as such is the paradigm of the commons. Nothing in it is subject to monopoly; everything is open source. The quintessence of the organic realm is not the selfish gene but the source code of genetic information lying open to all. Even the genes being patented today by biocorporations in truth are nonrival and nonexclusive in a biological sense. Only in being so are they able to provide biological and experiential novelty. DNA was only able to branch into so many species because everybody could use its code, tinker with it and derive the most meaningful combinations from it. This is the way Homo sapiens himself came about: by nature playing around with open source code. Some 20 percent of our genome alone is once viral genes that have been creatively recycled. As there is no property in nature – there is no waste. All waste byproducts are food. Every individual at death offers itself as a gift to be feasted upon by others, in the same way it received its existence by the gift of sunlight. There is a still largely unexplored connection between giving and taking in which loss is the precondition for productivity.

In the ecological commons a multitude of different individuals and diverse species stand in various relationship to one another – competition and cooperation, partnership and predatorship, productivity and destruction. All those relations, however, follow one higher law: over the long run only behavior that allows for productivity of the whole ecosystem and that does not interrupt its self-production is amplified. The individual is able to realize itself only if the whole can realize itself. Ecological freedom obeys this form of necessity. The deeper the connections in the system become, the more creative niches it will afford for its individual members.

Commons as relations of the living

A thorough analysis of the economy of ecology can yield a powerful methodology of the commons. Natural processes are able to define a blueprint to transform our treatment of the embodied, material aspect of our existence into a culture of being alive. The term “commons” provides the binding element between the natural and the social or cultural worlds. To understand nature in its genuine quality as a commons opens the way to a novel understanding of ourselves – in our biological as well as in our social life.

If nature actually is a commons, it follows that the only possible way to achieve a productive relationship with it will be an economy of the commons. The self-realization of Homo sapiens can be best achieved in a system of common goods because such a culture – and thus any household or market system – is the species- specific realization of our own particular embodiment of being alive within a common system of other living subjects.

Although the deliberations that have led us to this point stem from a thorough analysis of biology, their results are not biologistic – but rather the opposite. The thorough analysis here has revealed that the organic realm is the paradigm for the evolution of freedom. Therefore, even if we determine that the commons is the basic law of nature, the necessities resulting from that basic law are non- deterministic – contrary to the prevailing ideas of optimization and growth. The basic idea of the commons is rather grounded on an intricate understanding of embodied freedom and its relationship to the whole: the individual receives her options of self-realization through the prospering of the life/social systems she belongs to. To organize a community between humans and/or nonhuman agents according to the principles of the commons always means to increase individual freedom by enlarging the community’s freedom. (See Table 1).

Contrary to what our dualistic culture supposes, reality is not divided into substances of matter (biophysics, deterministic approach) and culture/society (non-matter, indeterministic or mental/semiotic approach). Living reality rather depends on a precarious balance between autonomy and relatedness on all its levels. It is a creative process that produces rules for an increase of the whole through the self-realization of each of its members. These rules are different for each time and each place, but we find them everywhere life is. They are valid not only for autopoiesis – the auto-creation of the organic forms – but also for a well- achieved human relationship, for a prospering ecosystem as well as for an economy in harmony with the biospheric household. These rules are the laws of the commons.

The idea of the commons thus delivers a unifying principle that dissolves the supposed opposition between nature and society/culture. It cancels the separation of the ecological and the social. In any existence that commits itself to the commons, the task we must face is to realize the well-being of the individual while not risking an increase of the surrounding and encompassing whole. Here, too, the idea of the commons conflates the realms of theory and of application. Reflections on theory are not isolated in some separate realm, but inexorably return to practice, to the rituals and idiosyncrasies of mediating, cooperating, sanctioning, negotiating and agreeing, to the burdens and the joy of experienced reality. It is here where the practice of the commons reveals itself as nothing less than the practice of life.

1. Concerning the concept of Homo economicus, see Friederike Habermann’s essay on pp. 13–18.
2. See Dawkins, Richard. 1990. The Selfish Gene. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
3. For an explanation of these terms see Silke Helfrich’s essay on pp. 61–67.
4. See Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford. Stanford University Press.

Andreas Weber (Germany) is a biologist, philosopher, magazine writer, and book author. His focus of thinking and writing is the relationship between human self-understanding and nature. He lives in Berlin and Varese Ligure, Italy. His activities can be followed at

  Read The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons
  May 15, 2013
Climate Change’s ‘Evil Twin’: Ocean Acidification
by Carol Smith, OurWorld 2.0, Countercurrents

A three-year assessment from a team of international scientists will detail how the phenomenon dubbed “climate change’s evil twin” is shaping up to be a global problem. The rapid acidification of the Arctic Ocean will have widespread impacts to be felt for “tens of thousands of years” even if we stop emissions now, say the scientists.

The primary driver of this acidification is the ocean’s uptake of carbon dioxide. When carbon-rich materials such as coal or oil are burned, some of the CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, slowing its build-up in the atmosphere and the pace of human-induced climate warming, but at the same time increasing seawater acidity. As a result of this process, the average acidity of surface ocean waters worldwide is now about 30 percent higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution, say the experts.

The assessment’s key scientific findings were discussed last week as part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme’s (AMAP) International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification that took place in Bergen, Norway. The report and its policy recommendations will be presented to the Arctic Council Ministers at their meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, on 15 May.

“The ocean has been performing a huge climate service over the last 200 years by having a great capacity to absorb CO2. It has taken up 50 percent of the CO2 that we have emitted and is currently still taking up 25 percent of the CO2 that we are producing,” according to lead author Richard Bellerby, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research.

The key findings of the study explain that scientists have measured significant rates of acidification at several Arctic Ocean locations. In the Nordic Seas, for example, acidification is taking place over a wide range of depths — most rapidly in surface waters and more slowly in deep waters. Decreases in seawater pH of about 0.02 per decade have been observed since the late 1960s in the Iceland and Barents Seas. Notable chemical effects related to acidification have also been encountered in surface waters of the Bering Strait and the Canada Basin of the central Arctic Ocean.

“Arctic ocean acidification is happening at a faster rate than found in other global regions. This is because climate change such as warming and freshening of the oceans is acting in tandem with the enormous oceanic uptake of C02,” said Bellerby.

Sam Dupont, researcher at the University of Gothenburg, says that “something really unique is happening. This is the first time that we as humans are changing the whole planet; we are actually acidifying the whole ocean today.”

“Continued rapid change is a certainty,” Bellerby told BBC News. “We have already passed critical thresholds,” warned Bellerby. “Even if we stop emissions now, acidification will last tens of thousands of years. It is a very big experiment.”

“The most optimistic prediction,” Dupont says, “tells us that within few decades, by the end of this century, the ocean will be two times more acidic. And we also know that it might be even faster in the Arctic.”

Ocean acidification will have direct and indirect effects on Arctic marine life, the findings state. And while it is likely that some marine organisms will respond positively to new conditions, others will be disadvantaged, possibly to the point of local extinction.

Because Arctic marine food webs are relatively simple, Arctic marine ecosystems are vulnerable to change when key species, such as Arctic cod, are affected. But the study notes, the team was not able to “assess the precise nature and extent of Arctic ecosystem vulnerability, as most biological studies have been undertaken in other ocean regions. Arctic-specific long-term studies are urgently needed.”

And despite some knowledge gaps, it is clear that Arctic marine organisms, and the indigenous communities and commercial fisheries (important to northern economies) that rely on them, are experiencing not only ocean acidification but other large, simultaneous changes like climate change, habitat degradation, and pollution.

Challenging changes indeed.

See more in the Arctic Ocean Acidification video from AMAP:


• • •

This story is a modified version of a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licensed article written by Andrea Germanos and published on Common Dreams.

  Read  Climate Change’s ‘Evil Twin’: Ocean Acidification
  May 9, 2013
Human Population Bomb Blows Up
by Steve Salmony Countercurrents

We are neither acknowledging all of the extant science of the human species nor ‘connecting the dots’ between the skyrocketing global growth of the human population and the cascading evidence of climate destabilization, declining TFRs in many overdeveloped countries notwithstanding. Many too many experts continue to eschew ecological science of human population dynamics. Something is happening in our time that appears to be directly driven by seven billion (to become 9 billion by 2050) human beings overconsuming, overproducing and overpopulating. These activities of humankind threaten the very future of life on Earth. Some of us overconsume; some overproduce and some overpopulate in our planetary home. And many of us do all of the above. All of this distinctly human-driven activity is soon to become patently unsustainable on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth. Well established scientific knowledge, human intuition and common sense are in agreement that the colossal current scale and fully anticipated growth of unrestrained overconsumption, unbridled overproduction and unregulated overpopulation activities of the human species cannot continue much longer, much less indefinitely.

Let us begin getting serious about the global predicament humanity faces by responding ably to the planetary emergency the human species appears to have recklessly precipitated and relentlessly exacerbated on the surface of Earth. This means we are to search for adequate solutions to the huge, emerging and converging global challenges that can be seen threatening the future of children everywhere while there is still some time to act in ways intended to move the human community toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises.

First we need to recognize what is happening, what 7 billion human beings are doing here now that is soon to become patently unsustainable. As a human community, we cannot much longer keep doing what we are doing now because the gargantuan current scale and growth of the human species and its big business-as-usual activities can be expected to destabilize Earth's climate, extirpate global biodiversity, dissipate finite resources, despoil frangible ecology with pollution as well as threaten future human well being and environmental health in the foreseeable future. But that is not the end of the story. There is at least one other matter that calls out to us for consideration, a matter that any reasonable and sensible person would want to examine, I suppose. And that matter is, “Why is the human population on Earth exploding? Why?” The question is straightforward enough. In keeping with what is to be expected in the evolution of science extant, new uncontested research related to the question of ‘why a human population bomb' has been presented for review but ubiquitously avoided or denied by many too many of the very experts on human population matters with regard to ‘what is happening’ vis a vis human population growth. If science of ‘why global human population numbers are exploding’ is willfully ignored, how is the humankind to so much as even hope to respond ably to human-induced threats to humanity and the Earth as a fit place for human habitation? How can we speak about the necessity for advances in science, for fidelity to scientific facts and truth, for the individual and collective will to go wheresoever the evidence leads us while top ranking scientists with appropriate expertise collude to deliberately deny scientific evidence of human population dynamics/overpopulation? For self-proclaimed experts to consciously refuse to examine scientific research and report objective findings regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ has got to be overcome fast because failing to do so thwarts the gathering of momentum needed to address and overcome the challenges looming so ominously before all of us. Scientists' misguided fealty (to that which is 'true' based upon what is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially correct, religiously tolerable and culturally prescribed) represents a breach of one’s duty to science and humanity, and stands for all to see as a personal betrayal of both acquired knowledge and the future of life as we know it.

What kind of moral atmosphere is possible when colluding experts choose not to acknowledge uncontested science regarding what could be real with regard to the human species? What is to be said in defense of experts who, when presented with scientific research, cavalierly say, “Well, I cannot refute what is before my eyes but still, I refuse to acknowlege the evidence because it is unbelievable.” In such circumstances is it even possible to speak honorably of a moral atmosphere? Can there be morality in any meaningful sense without intellectual honesty, moral courage and the will to speak truth to power, according the lights and scientific knowledge we possess? The arc of moral order in the world must adhere to what is true about ourselves and what is real about the planetary home we inhabit, I suppose.

Steve Salmony is a self-proclaimed global citizen, a psychologist and father of three grown children and two grandchildren. Married 40 years ago. In 2001 Steve founded the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population to raise consciousness of the colossal threat that the unbridled, near exponential growth of absolute global human population numbers poses for all great and small living things on Earth in our time. His quixotic campaign focuses upon the best available science of human population dynamics in order to save the planet as a place fit for habitation by children everywhere. He can be reached at

  Read  Human Population Bomb Blows Up
  May 7, 2013
Imperial Gigantism And The Decline Of Planet Earth
by Tom Engelhardt,, Countercurrents

It stretched from the Caspian to the Baltic Sea, from the middle of Europe to the Kurile Islands in the Pacific, from Siberia to Central Asia. Its nuclear arsenal held 45,000 warheads, and its military had five million troops under arms. There had been nothing like it in Eurasia since the Mongols conquered China, took parts of Central Asia and the Iranian plateau, and rode into the Middle East, looting Baghdad. Yet when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, by far the poorer, weaker imperial power disappeared.

And then there was one. There had never been such a moment: a single nation astride the globe without a competitor in sight. There wasn’t even a name for such a state (or state of mind). “Superpower” had already been used when there were two of them. “Hyperpower” was tried briefly but didn’t stick. “Sole superpower” stood in for a while but didn’t satisfy. “Great Power,” once the zenith of appellations, was by then a lesser phrase, left over from the centuries when various European nations and Japan were expanding their empires. Some started speaking about a “unipolar” world in which all roads led... well, to Washington.

To this day, we’ve never quite taken in that moment when Soviet imperial rot unexpectedly -- above all, to Washington -- became imperial crash-and-burn. Left standing, the Cold War's victor seemed, then, like an empire of everything under the sun. It was as if humanity had always been traveling toward this spot. It seemed like the end of the line.

The Last Empire?

After the rise and fall of the Assyrians and the Romans, the Persians, the Chinese, the Mongols, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the English, the Germans, and the Japanese, some process seemed over. The United States was dominant in a previously unimaginable way -- except in Hollywood films where villains cackled about their evil plans to dominate the world.

As a start, the U.S. was an empire of global capital. With the fall of Soviet-style communism (and the transformation of a communist regime in China into a crew of authoritarian “capitalist roaders”), there was no other model for how to do anything, economically speaking. There was Washington’s way -- and that of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (both controlled by Washington) -- or there was the highway, and the Soviet Union had already made it all too clear where that led: to obsolescence and ruin.

In addition, the U.S. had unprecedented military power. By the time the Soviet Union began to totter, America's leaders had for nearly a decade been consciously using “the arms race” to spend its opponent into an early grave. And here was the curious thing after centuries of arms races: when there was no one left to race, the U.S. continued an arms race of one.

In the years that followed, it would outpace all other countries or combinations of countries in military spending by staggering amounts. It housed the world’s most powerful weapons makers, was technologically light years ahead of any other state, and was continuing to develop future weaponry for 2020, 2040, 2060, even as it established a near monopoly on the global arms trade (and so, control over who would be well-armed and who wouldn’t).

It had an empire of bases abroad, more than 1,000 of them spanning the globe, also an unprecedented phenomenon. And it was culturally dominant, again in a way that made comparisons with other moments ludicrous. Like American weapons makers producing things that went boom in the night for an international audience, Hollywood's action and fantasy films took the world by storm. From those movies to the golden arches, the swoosh, and the personal computer, there was no other culture that could come close to claiming such a global cachet.

The key non-U.S. economic powerhouses of the moment -- Europe and Japan -- maintained militaries dependent on Washington, had U.S. bases littering their territories, and continued to nestle under Washington’s “nuclear umbrella.” No wonder that, in the U.S., the post-Soviet moment was soon proclaimed “the end of history,” and the victory of “liberal democracy” or “freedom” was celebrated as if there really were no tomorrow, except more of what today had to offer.

No wonder that, in the new century, neocons and supporting pundits would begin to claim that the British and Roman empires had been second-raters by comparison. No wonder that key figures in and around the George W. Bush administration dreamed of establishing a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East and possibly over the globe itself (as well as a Pax Republicana at home). They imagined that they might actually prevent another competitor or bloc of competitors from arising to challenge American power. Ever.

No wonder they had remarkably few hesitations about launching their incomparably powerful military on wars of choice in the Greater Middle East. What could possibly go wrong? What could stand in the way of the greatest power history had ever seen?

Assessing the Imperial Moment, Twenty-First-Century-Style

Almost a quarter of a century after the Soviet Union disappeared, what’s remarkable is how much -- and how little -- has changed.

On the how-much front: Washington’s dreams of military glory ran aground with remarkable speed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, in 2007, the transcendent empire of capital came close to imploding as well, as a unipolar financial disaster spread across the planet. It led people to begin to wonder whether the globe’s greatest power might not, in fact, be too big to fail, and we were suddenly -- so everyone said -- plunged into a “multipolar world.”

Meanwhile, the Greater Middle East descended into protest, rebellion, civil war, and chaos without a Pax Americana in sight, as a Washington-controlled Cold War system in the region shuddered without (yet) collapsing. The ability of Washington to impose its will on the planet looked ever more like the wildest of fantasies, while every sign, including the hemorrhaging of national treasure into losing trillion-dollar wars, reflected not ascendancy but possible decline.

And yet, in the how-little category: the Europeans and Japanese remained nestled under that American “umbrella,” their territories still filled with U.S. bases. In the Euro Zone, governments continued to cut back on their investments in both NATO and their own militaries. Russia remained a country with a sizeable nuclear arsenal and a reduced but still large military. Yet it showed no signs of “superpower” pretensions. Other regional powers challenged unipolarity economically -- Turkey and Brazil, to name two -- but not militarily, and none showed an urge either singly or in blocs to compete in an imperial sense with the U.S.

Washington’s enemies in the world remained remarkably modest-sized (though blown to enormous proportions in the American media echo-chamber). They included a couple of rickety regional powers (Iran and North Korea), a minority insurgency or two, and relatively small groups of Islamist “terrorists.” Otherwise, as one gauge of power on the planet, no more than a handful of other countries had even a handful of military bases outside their territory.

Under the circumstances, nothing could have been stranger than this: in its moment of total ascendancy, the Earth’s sole superpower with a military of staggering destructive potential and technological sophistication couldn’t win a war against minimally armed guerillas. Even more strikingly, despite having no serious opponents anywhere, it seemed not on the rise but on the decline, its infrastructure rotting out, its populace economically depressed, its wealth ever more unequally divided, its Congress seemingly beyond repair, while the great sucking sound that could be heard was money and power heading toward the national security state. Sooner or later, all empires fall, but this moment was proving curious indeed.

And then, of course, there was China. On the planet that humanity has inhabited these last several thousand years, can there be any question that China would have been the obvious pick to challenge, sooner or later, the dominion of the reigning great power of the moment? Estimates are that it will surpass the U.S. as the globe’s number one economy by perhaps 2030.

Right now, the Obama administration seems to be working on just that assumption. With its well-publicized “pivot” (or “rebalancing”) to Asia, it has been moving to “contain” what it fears might be the next great power. However, while the Chinese are indeed expanding their military and challenging their neighbors in the waters of the Pacific, there is no sign that the country’s leadership is ready to embark on anything like a global challenge to the U.S., nor that it could do so in any conceivable future. Its domestic problems, from pollution to unrest, remain staggering enough that it’s hard to imagine a China not absorbed with domestic issues through 2030 and beyond.

And Then There Was One (Planet)

Militarily, culturally, and even to some extent economically, the U.S. remains surprisingly alone on planet Earth in imperial terms, even if little has worked out as planned in Washington. The story of the years since the Soviet Union fell may prove to be a tale of how American domination and decline went hand-in-hand, with the decline part of the equation being strikingly self-generated.

And yet here’s a genuine, even confounding, possibility: that moment of “unipolarity” in the 1990s may really have been the end point of history as human beings had known it for millennia -- the history, that is, of the rise and fall of empires. Could the United States actually be the last empire? Is it possible that there will be no successor because something has profoundly changed in the realm of empire building? One thing is increasingly clear: whatever the state of imperial America, something significantly more crucial to the fate of humanity (and of empires) is in decline. I’m talking, of course, about the planet itself.

The present capitalist model (the only one available) for a rising power, whether China, India, or Brazil, is also a model for planetary decline, possibly of a precipitous nature. The very definition of success -- more middle-class consumers, more car owners, more shoppers, which means more energy used, more fossil fuels burned, more greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere -- is also, as it never would have been before, the definition of failure. The greater the “success,” the more intense the droughts, the stronger the storms, the more extreme the weather, the higher the rise in sea levels, the hotter the temperatures, the greater the chaos in low-lying or tropical lands, the more profound the failure. The question is: Will this put an end to the previous patterns of history, including the until-now-predictable rise of the next great power, the next empire? On a devolving planet, is it even possible to imagine the next stage in imperial gigantism?

Every factor that would normally lead toward “greatness” now also leads toward global decline. This process -- which couldn’t be more unfair to countries having their industrial and consumer revolutions late -- gives a new meaning to the phrase “disaster capitalism.”

Take the Chinese, whose leaders, on leaving the Maoist model behind, did the most natural thing in the world at the time: they patterned their future economy on the United States -- on, that is, success as it was then defined. Despite both traditional and revolutionary communal traditions, for instance, they decided that to be a power in the world, you needed to make the car (which meant the individual driver) a pillar of any future state-capitalist China. If it worked for the U.S., it would work for them, and in the short run, it worked like a dream, a capitalist miracle -- and China rose.

It was, however, also a formula for massive pollution, environmental degradation, and the pouring of ever more fossil fuels into the atmosphere in record amounts. And it's not just China. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about that country's ravenous energy use, including its possible future “carbon bombs,” or the potential for American decline to be halted by new extreme methods of producing energy (fracking, tar-sands extraction, deep-water drilling). Such methods, however much they hurt local environments, might indeed turn the U.S. into a “new Saudi Arabia.” Yet that, in turn, would only contribute further to the degradation of the planet, to decline on an ever-larger scale.

What if, in the twenty-first century, going up means declining? What if the unipolar moment turns out to be a planetary moment in which previously distinct imperial events -- the rise and fall of empires -- fuse into a single disastrous system?

What if the story of our times is this: And then there was one planet, and it was going down.

  Read Imperial Gigantism And The Decline Of Planet Earth
  April 30, 2013
Overpopulation: Maybe It’s Time To Offend A Few Folks
by Alexandra Paul, The Daly News, Countercurrents

The Daly News


Speaking out about human overpopulation is not an easy thing, as I have been told that people get offended. I have not personally experienced offending anyone, but perhaps those folks have been too polite to tell me. I have not read any studies that prove people are offended, but perhaps I have missed them. If I offend you in this video, please let me know.

I once asked the executive director of the Rainforest Action Network why RAN didn’t discuss the huge number of people on the planet as a factor in rainforest devastation and encourage smaller human families, as everyone in that nonprofit organization probably understands that the demand for resources from 7 billion people on the planet is causing extensive damage to the earth. They know that if the UN projection of 10 billion people on the planet by 2050 is right, it will be disastrous for forests everywhere. She admitted, abashedly, that she did not want to alienate donors.

RAN is an organization whose members break into corporate offices and hang banners out the windows excoriating Big Oil, yet they are afraid to talk about human overpopulation in their pamphlets or on their website. If RAN won’t admit the link between diminishing natural resources and a population that grows by 220,000 people every day, then what large environmental organization will?

It turns out, none.

Is it really impolite to promote smaller families?

Even within the population community, there is disagreement on how to approach the topic of lowering fertility. Some activists believe that the word “overpopulation” is too strong, even though by all accounts the world IS overpopulated: An article in the journal Nature reports that the global groundwater footprint is about 3.5 times the actual amount we have in our aquifers. Scientists have estimated that humans consume 50% more of the earth’s resources than she is able to restore each year. If people continue to consume the planet’s resources at this rate, by 2030 humanity will need two planets worth of resources to support the world’s population.

My message is clear: I recommend one child per couple to lower the population, avert future famines, and avoid wars over water. If that sounds radical, then maybe it is time for radicalism. In a culture that bemoans a falling fertility rate because it will damage the economy — instead of praising smaller families because it means less crowding, more nature and better quality of life for all — there is great need for more voices of sanity. Voices like Edward Abbey who said, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

For those of us in the United States, this message is especially important. Although our families average 2 kids per couple, our consumption outweighs that of larger families in Africa and Asia. The average American consumes 20 times more resources than someone from Mozambique and generates 169 times more carbon dioxide than a Bangladeshi. We have even outdone ourselves: a family of four today lives in a house twice as large as one the family would have occupied in 1950.

I believe that we must stabilize and then lower the world population if humans are to survive on this planet. If advocating a culture that encourages smaller families is offensive, then I must offend. Too much is at stake to be polite.

Alexandra Paul is an internationally recognized actress and an environmental and social activist. To hear Alexandra speak about overpopulation, please see her TEDx video.

  Read  Overpopulation: Maybe It’s Time To Offend A Few Folks
  April 30, 2013
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reach Highest Point In Three Million Years
by Countercurrents

As global carbon dioxide, emissions teetered on the threshold of 400 parts per million (PPM) for the first time in three million years, delegates from countries all over the world yesterday started another round of talks on how to tackle climate change

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory recorded CO2 levels of 399.72ppm last week. “It looks like the world is going to blow through the 400ppm level without missing a beat,” said Ralph Keeling of the US Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which runs Mauna Loa.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told the opening session of the Bonn talks – officially the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) – that the disturbing news from Hawaii gave the meeting “a heightened sense of urgency”.

Ireland’s David Walsh, speaking on behalf of the EU and Croatia, recalled that the Durban summit in December 2011 had “reaffirmed our shared goal of keeping the global temperature increase below 2° Celsius [to avoid] potentially devastating impacts.”

Yet greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 “are exceeding levels never experienced in human history”, he said. “The EU is ready to work with all parties to move quickly into focused discussions on the issues at hand.”

Walsh said all parties had agreed to “work towards a single, fair and comprehensive legally binding agreement” in 2015, to come into force in 2020, as well as adopting a “practical and results-orientated approach” to increasing levels of ambition in the meantime.

“Raising ambition through existing and new pledges is essential,” he told delegates. “We need to work on identifying concrete actions that will help us close the gap between what science tells us is required and the pledges put forward by parties to date.”

ADP co-chair Jayant Moreshver Mauskar, of India, said parties needed to develop a “strong and coherent response to climate change post-2020, and the gap between the present level of ambition and the requirements of science must be addressed with urgency.”

The negotiations are split into two “workstreams” – one aimed at achieving a comprehensive accord in 2015, at a climate change summit scheduled to be held in Paris, and the other focused on increasing the level of ambition by all parties between now and 2020.
Ambassador Marlene Moses, from the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru, described the imminent 400ppm level of CO2 as an “ominous milestone” and warned that “the time we have to act is rapidly slipping away” if the world was to limit warming below 2°.

Speaking for the 44-strong Alliance of Small Island States, she said the Bonn talks and a further negotiating session in June to prepare for the Warsaw climate summit in December – needed to achieve concrete outcomes. “Failure for us is a direct threat to our very existence,” she said.

But the Umbrella Group (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the US) talked in terms of a looser “global regime for national actions” under which all countries would “act in a way that’s compatible with their circumstances”.

Meena Raman, of the Third World Network, said it was clear “some developed countries” wanted to rewrite the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to “eliminate their historical responsibilities” instead of negotiating a “fair, just agreement”.

Developed countries will come under pressure this week to fulfill their pledges of significant funding for poorer nations to cope with climate change, following the release of OECD figures showing that the amount of aid fell to a relatively minuscule €1.38 billion in 2011.

Another report [2] by James Gerken said:

Scientists monitoring global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations report that, for the first time in human history, CO2 levels could soon rise above 400 parts per million for a sustained period of time in much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Hourly readings have surpassed 400 ppm in the past week, but daily averages remain just below 400, reported The Guardian. Daily readings are expected to surpass 400 ppm in early May. They will reach their annual peak by mid-month.
The measurements come from the NOAA-operated Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which has maintained a continuous record of atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1958.

Records of earlier levels come from air bubbles inside Antarctic ice core samples.

"I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat," said Scripps Institution geochemist Ralph Keeling in a press statement. Keeling's late father began taking the measurements which have come to form the "Keeling Curve."
"At this pace we'll hit 450 ppm within a few decades," he added.

Coal currently accounts for 80 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

Last summer, CO2 concentrations surpassed 400 ppm in the Arctic, but that concentration has not been recorded for prolonged periods across the globe.
Emissions from industrialized nations have dipped recently, but increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations -- due to human activities like the burning of fossil fuels -- mean continued planetary warming and more record years for temperature and extreme weather.

Scientists have argued that atmospheric CO2 levels must be reduced to 350 ppm to prevent disruptive climate change.
Increasing concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide mean "largely irreversible" climate change for 1,000 years after emissions are curtailed, research has shown.


[1] The Irish Times, April 30, 2013,

[2] The Huffington Post, 04/29/2013, “400 PPM Atmospheric CO2 Levels Soon To Be Surpassed, Scientists Report”,

  Read  Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reach Highest Point In Three Million Years
  May 2, 2013
Fracking Ourselves to Death in Pennsylvania
by Ellen Cantarow, Tom Dispatch, AlterNet

More than 70 years ago, a chemical attack was launched against Washington State and Nevada. It poisoned people, animals, everything that grew, breathed air, and drank water. The Marshall Islands were also struck. This formerly pristine Pacific atoll was branded “the most contaminated place in the world.” As their cancers developed, the victims of atomic testing and nuclear weapons development got a name: downwinders. What marked their tragedy was the darkness in which they were kept about what was being done to them. Proof of harm fell to them, not to the U.S. government agencies responsible.

Now, a new generation of downwinders is getting sick as an emerging industry pushes the next wonder technology -- in this case, high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Whether they live in Texas, Colorado, or Pennsylvania, their symptoms are the same: rashes, nosebleeds, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, joint pain, intestinal illnesses, memory loss, and more. “In my opinion,” says Yuri Gorby of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “what we see unfolding is a serious health crisis, one that is just beginning.”

The process of “fracking” starts by drilling a mile or more vertically, then outward laterally into 500-million-year-old shale formations, the remains of oceans that once flowed over parts of North America. Millions of gallons of chemical and sand-laced water are then propelled into the ground at high pressures, fracturing the shale and forcing the methane it contains out. With the release of that gas come thousands of gallons of contaminated water. This “flowback” fluid contains the original fracking chemicals, plus heavy metals and radioactive material that also lay safely buried in the shale.

The industry that uses this technology calls its product “natural gas,” but there’s nothing natural about up-ending half a billion years of safe storage of methane and everything that surrounds it. It is, in fact, an act of ecological violence around which alien infrastructures -- compressor stations that compact the gas for pipeline transport, ponds of contaminated flowback, flare stacks that burn off gas impurities, diesel trucks in quantity, thousands of miles of pipelines, and more -- have metastasized across rural America, pumping carcinogens and toxins into water, air, and soil.

Sixty percent of Pennsylvania lies over a huge shale sprawl called the Marcellus, and that has been in the fracking industry’s sights since 2008.  The corporations that are exploiting the shale come to the state with lavish federal entitlements: exemptions from the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Clean Drinking Water Acts, as well as the Superfund Act, which requires cleanup of hazardous substances. The industry doesn’t have to call its trillions of gallons of annual waste “hazardous.” Instead, it uses euphemisms like “residual waste.” In addition, fracking companies are allowed to keep secret many of the chemicals they use.

Pennsylvania, in turn, adds its own privileges. A revolving door shuttles former legislators, governors, and officials from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) into gas industry positions. The DEP itself is now the object of a lawsuit that charges the agency with producing deceptive lab reports, and then using them to dismiss homeowners’ complaints that shale gas corporations have contaminated their water, making them sick. The people I interviewed have their own nickname for the DEP: “Don’t Expect Protection.”

The Downwinders

Randy Moyer is a pleasant-faced, bearded 49-year-old whose drawl reminds you that Portage, his hardscrabble hometown in southwestern Pennsylvania, is part of Appalachia. He worked 18 years -- until gasoline prices got too steep -- driving his own rigs to haul waste in New York and New Jersey. Then what looked like a great opportunity presented itself: $25 an hour working for a hydraulic-fracturing subcontractor in northeastern Pennsylvania.

In addition to hauling fracking liquid, water, and waste, Randy also did what’s called, with no irony, “environmental.” He climbed into large vats to squeegee out the remains of fracking fluid. He also cleaned the huge mats laid down around the wells to even the ground out for truck traffic. Those mats get saturated with “drilling mud,” a viscous, chemical-laden fluid that eases the passage of the drills into the shale. What his employer never told him was that the drilling mud, as well as the wastewater from fracking, is not only highly toxic, but radioactive.

In the wee hours of a very cold day in November 2011, he stood in a huge basin at a well site, washing 1,000 mats with high-pressure hoses, taking breaks every so often to warm his feet in his truck. “I took off my shoes and my feet were as red as a tomato,” he told me. When the air from the heater hit them, he “nearly went through the roof.”

Once at home, he scrubbed his feet, but the excruciating pain didn’t abate. A “rash” that covered his feet soon spread up to his torso. A year and a half later, the skin inflammation still recurs. His upper lip repeatedly swells. A couple of times his tongue swelled so large that he had press it down with a spoon to be able to breathe. “I’ve been fried for over 13 months with this stuff,” he told me in late January. “I can just imagine what hell is like. It feels like I’m absolutely on fire.”

Family and friends have taken Moyer to emergency rooms at least four times. He has consulted more than 40 doctors. No one can say what caused the rashes, or his headaches, migraines, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, or the shooting pains down his back and legs, his blurred vision, vertigo, memory loss, the constant white noise in his ears, and the breathing troubles that require him to stash inhalers throughout his small apartment.

In an earlier era, workers’ illnesses fell into the realm of “industrial medicine.” But these days, when it comes to the U.S. fracking industry, the canaries aren’t restricted to the coalmines. People like Randy seem to be the harbingers of what happens when a toxic environment is no longer buried miles beneath the earth. The gas fields that evidently poisoned him are located near thriving communities. “For just about every other industry I can imagine,” saysAnthony Ingraffea of Cornell University, coauthor of a landmark study that established fracking’s colossal greenhouse-gas footprint, “from making paint, building a toaster, building an automobile, those traditional kinds of industry occur in a zoned industrial area, inside of buildings, separated from home and farm, separated from schools.” By contrast, natural gas corporations, he says, “are imposing on us the requirement to locate our homes, hospitals and schools inside their industrial space.”

The Death and Life of Little Rose

Little Rose was Angel Smith’s favorite horse. When the vet shod her, Angel told me proudly, she obligingly lifted the next hoof as soon as the previous one was done. “Wanna eat, Rosie?” Angel would ask, and Rosie would nod her head. “Are you sure?” Angel would tease, and Rosie would raise one foreleg, clicking her teeth together.  In Clearville, just south of Portage, Angel rode Little Rose in parades, carrying the family’s American flag.

In 2002, a “landman” knocked on the door and asked Angel and her husband Wayne to lease the gas rights of their 115-acre farm to the San Francisco-based energy corporation PG&E(Pacific Gas & Electric.) At first, he was polite, but then he started bullying. “All your neighbors have signed. If you don’t, we’ll just suck the gas from under your land.” Perhaps from weariness and a lack of information (almost no one outside the industry then knew anything about high-volume hydraulic fracturing), they agreed. Drilling began in 2002 on neighbors’ land and in 2005 on the Smith’s.

On January 30, 2007, Little Rose staggered, fell, and couldn’t get up. Her legs moved spasmodically. When Wayne and Angel dragged her to a sitting position, she’d just collapse again. “I called every vet in the phone book,” says Angel. “They all said, ‘Shoot her.’” The couple couldn’t bear to do it. After two days, a neighbor shot her. “It was our choice,” says Angel, her voice breaking. “She was my best friend.”

Soon, the Smiths’ cows began showing similar symptoms. Those that didn’t die began aborting or giving birth to dead calves. All the chickens died, too. So did the barn cats. And so did three beloved dogs, none of them old, all previously healthy. A 2012 study by Michelle Bamberger and Cornell University pharmacology professor Robert Oswald indicates that, in the gas fields, these are typical symptoms in animals and often serve as early warning signs for their owners’ subsequent illnesses.

The Smiths asked the DEP to test their water.  The agency told them that it was safe to drink, but Angel Smith says that subsequent testing by Pennsylvania State University investigators revealed high levels of arsenic.

Meanwhile, the couple began suffering from headaches, nosebleeds, fatigue, throat and eye irritation, and shortness of breath. Wayne’s belly began swelling oddly, even though, says Angel, he isn’t heavy. X-rays of his lungs showed scarring and calcium deposits. A blood analysis revealed cirrhosis of the liver. “Get him to stop drinking,” said the doctor who drew Angel aside after the results came in. “Wayne doesn’t drink,” she replied. Neither does Angel, who at 42 now has liver disease.

By the time the animals began dying, five high-volume wells had been drilled on neighbors’ land. Soon, water started bubbling up under their barn floor and an oily sheen and foam appeared on their pond. In 2008, a compressor station was built half a mile away.  These facilities, which compress natural gas for pipeline transport, emit known carcinogens and toxins like benzene and toluene.

The Smiths say people they know elsewhere in Clearville have had similar health problems, as have their animals. For a while they thought their own animals’ troubles were over, but just this past February several cows aborted. The couple would like to move away, but can’t. No one will buy their land.

The Museum of Fracking

Unlike the Smiths, David and Linda Headley didn’t lease their land. In 2005, when they bought their farm in Smithfield, they opted not to pay for the gas rights under their land.  The shallow gas drilling their parents had known seemed part of a bygone era and the expense hardly seemed worth the bother.

With its hills and valleys, the creek running through their land, and a spring that supplied them with water, the land seemed perfect for hiking, swimming, and raising their son Grant. Adam was born after all the trouble started.

Just as the couple had completed the purchase, the bulldozers moved in. The previous owner had leased the gas rights without telling them. And so they found themselves, as they would later put it, mere “caretakers” on a corporate estate.

Today, the Headleys’ property is a kind of museum of fracking. There are five wells, all with attendant tanks that separate liquids from the gas, and a brine tank where flowback is stored. Four of the wells are low-volume vertical ones, which use a fracking technology that predates today’s high-volume method. A couple minutes’ walk from the Headleys’ front door stands a high-volume well. A pipeline was drilled under their creek.

“Accidents” have been a constant. When the well closest to the house was fracked, their spring, which had abounded in vegetation, crawfish, and insects, went bad. The DEP told the Headleys, as it did the Smiths, that the water was still safe to drink. But, says David, “everything in the spring died and turned white.” Adam had just been born. “No way was I exposing my kids to that.” For two years he hauled water to the house from the homes of family and friends and then he had it connected to a city water line.

All the brine tanks have leaked toxic waste onto the Headley’s land. Contaminated soil from around the high-volume tank has been alternately stored in dumpsters and in an open pit next to the well. The Headleys begged the DEP to have it removed. David says an agency representative told them the waste would have to be tested for radioactivity first. Eventually, some of it was hauled away; the rest was buried under the Headleys’ land. The test for radioactivity is still pending, though David has his own Geiger counter which has measured high levels at the site of the well.

An independent environmental organization, Earthworks, included the Headleys among 55 households it surveyed in a recent study of health problems near gas facilities. Testing showed high levels of contaminants in the Headleys’ air, including chloromethane, a neurotoxin, and trichloroethene, a known carcinogen.

Perhaps more telling is the simple fact that everyone in the family is sick. Seventeen-year-old Grant has rashes that, like Randy Moyer’s, periodically appear on different parts of his body. Four-year-old Adam suffers from stomach cramps that make him scream. David says he and Linda have both had “terrible joint pain. It’s weird stuff, your left elbow, your right hip, then you’ll feel good for three days, and it’ll be your back.” At 42, with no previous family history of either arthritis or asthma, Linda has been diagnosed with both. Everyone has had nosebleeds -- including the horses.

Five years into the Marcellus gas rush in this part of Pennsylvania, symptoms like Randy Moyer’s, the Smiths', and the Headleys' are increasingly common. Children are experiencing problems the young almost never have, like joint pain and forgetfulness. Animal disorders and deaths are widespread. The Earthworks study suggests that living closer to gas-field infrastructure increases the severity of 25 common symptoms, including skin rashes, difficulty breathing, and nausea.

Don’t Expect Protection

DEP whistleblowers have disclosed that the agency purposely restricts its chemical testing so as to reduce evidence of harm to landowners. A resident in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Washington County is suing the agency for failing fully to investigate the drilling-related air and water contamination that she says has made her sick. In connection with the lawsuit, Democratic state representative Jesse White has demanded that state and federal agencies investigate the DEP for “alleged misconduct and fraud.”

In the absence of any genuine state protection, independent scientists have been left to fill the gap. But as the industry careens forward, matching symptoms with potential causes is a constant catch-up effort. A 2011 study by Theo Colborn, founder of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and recipient the National Council for Science and Environment’s Lifetime Achievement Award, identified 353 industry chemicals that could damage the skin, the brain, the respiratory, gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine (hormone production) systems. Twenty-five percent of the chemicals found by the study could cause cancers.

David Brown is a veteran toxicologist and consultant for an independent environmental health organization, the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. According to him, there are four routes of exposure to gas-field chemicals: water, air, soil, and food. In other words, virtually everything that surrounds us.

Exposure to water comes from drinking, but showering and bathing makes possible water exposure through the skin and inhaling water vapor. “Air exposure is even more complicated,” says Brown. The impacts of contaminated air, for example, are greater during heavy activity. “Children running around,” he says, “are more apt to be exposed than older people.” What further complicates the emerging toxicology is that chemicals act not as single agents but synergistically. “The presence of one agent,” says Brown, “can increase the toxicity of another by several-fold.”

Brown deplores the government’s failures to heed citizens’ cries for help. “No one is asking, ‘What happened to you? Are there other people who have been affected in your area?’ I teach ethics. There’s a level of moral responsibility that we should have nationally. We seem to have decided that we need energy so badly... that we have in almost a passive sense identified individuals and areas to sacrifice.”

Circles of Trust

No one I interviewed in communities impacted by fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania drinks their water anymore. In fact, I came to think of a case of Poland Spring as a better house gift than any wine (and I wasn’t alone in that). Breathing the air is in a different universe of risk. You can’t bottle clean air, but you can donate air purifiers, as one interviewee, who prefers to be unnamed, has been doing.

Think of her as a creator of what a new Pennsylvania friend of mine calls “circles of trust.” The energy industry splits communities and families into warring factions. Such hostilities are easy to find, but in the midst of catastrophe I also found mutual assistance and a resurgence of the human drive for connection.

Ron Gulla, a John Deere heavy equipment salesman, is driven by fury at the corporation that ruined his soil -- his was the second farm in Pennsylvania to be fracked -- but also by deep feeling for the land: “A farm is just like raising a child. You take care of it, you nurture it, and you know when there are problems.”

Gulla credits Barbara Arindell, founder of the country’s first anti-fracking organization, Pennsylvania’s Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, with teaching him about the dangers of the industry’s efforts. Now, he is a central figure in an ever-widening network of people who are becoming their own documentarians. Everyone I interviewed brought out files of evidence to show me: photographs, videos, news reports, and their own written records of events.

Moreover, in the midst of ongoing stress, many have become activists. Linda Headley and Ron Gulla, for instance, traveled with other Pennsylvanians to Albany this past February to warn New York State officials not to endorse fracking. “A lot of people have said, ‘Why don’t you just walk away from this?’” says Gulla. “[But] I was raised to think that if there was something wrong, you would bring it to people’s attention.’”

“You have to believe things happen for a reason,” says David Headley. “It’s drawn so many people together we didn’t know before.  You have these meetings, and you’re fighting [for] a common cause and you feel so close to the people you’re working with. Including you guys, the reporters. It’s made us like a big family. Really. You think you’re all alone, and somebody pops up. God always sends angels.”

Still, make no mistake: this is an alarming and growing public health emergency. “Short of relocating entire communities or banning fracking, ending airborne exposures cannot be done,” David Brown said in a recent address in New York State. “Our only option in Washington County... has been to try to find ways for residents to reduce their exposures and warn them when the air is especially dangerous to breathe.”

In the vacuum left by the state’s failure to offer protection to those living in fracking zones, volunteers, experts like Brown, and fledgling organizations like the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project have become the new protectors of citizens’ health. Growing numbers of fracking victims, including Angel and Wayne Smith, are also suing gas corporations. “If I could go back to 2000, I’d show them the end of the road and say, ‘Don’t come back,’” Angel told me. “But we’re in the situation now. Fight and go forward.”


Ellen Cantarow first wrote from Israel and the West Bank in 1979. ATomDispatch regular, her writing has been published in the Village Voice,Grand Street, Mother Jones, Alternet, Counterpunch, and ZNet, and anthologized by the South End Press. She is also lead author and general editor of an oral history trilogy, Moving the Mountain: Women Working for Social Change.

  Read  Fracking Ourselves to Death in Pennsylvania
  May 20, 2013
Will Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Stop Meaning Anything When Climate Change Hits?
by Sandra Steingraber, Orion Magazine, AlterNet

This article first appeared at Orion magazine under the title "The Discontent of Our Winter." You can enjoy future Orion articles by signing up to the magazine's free trial subscription program.

My children have snow anxiety. For the record, this started in the winter of 2011–12 when no snow fell—at all—and sleds, saucers, skis, and snowball makers sat dejectedly on the porch, unused, next to the irrelevant and despondent snow shovel. Week after week, month after month, Faith and Elijah scanned the skies and studied the forecast. When June-like temperatures hit in March, the sight of the toboggan filled them with so much despair that they wordlessly dragged it back to the barn and put it in storage.

Which did not go unnoticed by their dad and me. When had our kids ever put stuff away without being asked? It was as unprecedented as a snowless winter in upstate New York. Nobody had ever experienced that either.

During the unfrozen winter of 2011–12, the grown-ups all walked around saying, “This is crazy!” True enough. When the temperature in the mudroom hits eighty degrees before the daytime:nighttime ratio hits parity, some synonym for insane is what the thesaurus should take you to. But “This is crazy!” also implies that we possess no rational explanation for June arriving in March. And I noticed that my son and his friends never said things like that to each other. They spoke more grimly, along the lines of, Global warming. It’s here. Now we can’t go sledding. Probably ever. So what do you want to do, dude?

When snow and ice finally fell in April—hard enough and fast enough to cancel school—it fell on tulip and magnolia petals and killed off the entire cherry crop.

The toboggan stayed in the barn.

But wishful thinking springs anew in the hearts of children, even in the face of permanent catastrophe, so, after a cherryless summer and a fall with few apples, Faith and Elijah conferred hopefully about the upcoming winter. Last year was a global warming winter. But maybe global warming winters come only every other year. Maybe this year would be normal.

The snow fell. The sleds came out. The snow melted.

The snow fell again. And turned to rain. The ground thawed and great lakes of water filled the low areas, and the sleds that had been parked at the bottoms of sledding hills across the county bobbed around like flotillas of small boats at harbor.

The sight of floating sleds made the adults say, “It’s crazy!” all over again.

The kids just gave up. Let the record show that in February 2013, the children of Trumansburg, New York, gave up on winter. As a season, it was no longer reliable. You could wake up in the morning to a wonderland—snowflakes dutifully falling, the front yard all white, perfect, hushed, squeaky—and by the time school let out in the afternoon, the miraculous world had already reverted back to brown, gray, mushy, yucky.

“Don’t get excited,” said Faith to Elijah right before Valentine’s Day when he looked out the window at first light and announced a fresh snowfall. “It won’t last.”

My children were born just before and after the turn of the century. They are old enough to reminisce about the days before winter went bad and became the crazy uncle in the seasonal family. Faith’s fashionable friends discuss the clothes they used to wear—month after arctic month—when they were little and the snow was piled high from November to March. Kids today, they note with disinterested interest, just don’t have the same relationship to their snow pants.

I think I’m on to something here, and I’d like to make a prediction. I predict that the cohort of kids who are now ten to fifteen years old are going to have a very different worldview than those born just a few years after them. My kids and their friends and everyone roughly their age will, in fact, be the last human beings to remember a stable, predictable procession of seasons.

Let me put a finer point on this. My kids, who are in middle school, know that winter is supposed to be cold and that January pond ice should be thick enough for skating. They possess snowman-making techniques, snow-fort construction skills, and an elaborate ethos about exactly what kind of snowballs can and can’t be used for ambushing the friends of one’s sibling and what body parts are and are not off-limits (no ice balls, never in the face). They have methods for assessing the slide-ability and pack-ability of any given snowfall. They know which methods of tucking snow pants into snow boots work and which leak. They have strong opinions on gloves versus mittens and the proper way to make a snow angel. And yet, for the last two years, they have had almost no opportunity to exercise this knowledge.

Meanwhile, a friend calls to tell me that her otherwise very bright granddaughter, who is of nursery-school age, is having trouble learning the names of the seasons. They make no sense to her. “But grandma, you said that winter was cold!” Winter, when she said it, wasn’t. And there was the added problem of the forsythias. They bloomed this year during a warm spell that spanned the twelve days of Christmas. April showers bring May flowers. When the nursery rhymes no longer match the empirical evidence, what’s a three-year-old to think?

Here are two more stories for the record. Because of climate change, Elijah gave up on Little House in the Big Woods. He liked the first half. But the episodes involving horse-drawn sleighs and maple-syrup snow cones were too painful. He refused to read on. “It’s not that way anymore, Mom,” he said matter-of-factly, and set the book aside.

I was stunned. But then it happened to me. While rereading the poem “Corsons Inlet” by A. R. Ammons—“I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning / to the sea, / then turned right along / the surf”—which had once been the subject of my own master’s thesis, I found that I couldn’t go on. It’s not that way anymore, Archie. And how come, in 1965, you didn’t see it coming? Corson’s Inlet, a last undeveloped stretch of beach in New Jersey, was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

I set the book aside. Matter-of-factly.

Not to say that our hearts have all turned to stone around here. Here’s my other story: After days of wild, record-breaking weather, our village winter festival was canceled because of rain and flood warnings. When I told Elijah the bad news on the walk home from school, he began to cry. I told him I was sorry.

He said, “I’m not upset about the festival. I’m upset because the planet’s dying. I know this is all because of global warming.”

This is what I heard myself say: “Look, Mom is on the job. I’m working on it. I’m working on it really hard, and I promise I won’t quit.”

And then I cried. And not only because my son believes himself to be alive on a dying planet, but because all the generations of parents before mine have been unable to deal with the facts and mount a response of sufficient scale to solve the problem, meaning that all of us now have a monumental task before us. I cried because keeping my promise makes me arise before dawn to get on buses, puts bullhorns in my hand in faraway cities, may yet land me in jail, and, in these and other ways, takes me away from my children so that I can prove them wrong.



This article first appeared at Orion magazine under the title "The Discontent of Our Winter." You can enjoy future Orion articles by signing up to the magazine's free trial subscription program.


Sandra Steingraber is the author of "Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment" and "Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood." She is the founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking.

  Read  Will Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Stop Meaning Anything When Climate Change Hits?
  May 17, 2013
Keep the Arctic Cold: Why the Rush to Drill Alaska Must Be Stopped
by Subhankar Banerjee, Seven Stories Press, AlterNet

I wrote a letter to the editor as a follow up to the generous review “ In the Beautiful,Threatened North” by Ian Frazier in The New York Review of Books of the anthology, Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point that I edited. My letter, “ Can Shell Be Stopped?” has just been published in the  New York Review

After the June 6 issue (with my letter) went to the printer a few significant things happened that relate to the letter that I’ll mention here briefly. On May 10, the White House  published a 13-page document, “National Strategy for the Arctic Region.” It opens with a one-page introduction by President Obama. He begins with these words: “We in the lower forty-eight and Hawaii join Alaska’s residents in recognizing one simple truth that the Arctic is an amazing place.” All fifty-five contributors in Arctic Voices, I’m sure, will be very pleased with these words from the President. But before the tears of joy could flow down my cheeks, the droplets dried up as I began to read the second paragraph: “Our pioneering spirit is naturally drawn to this region, for the economic opportunities it presents…” President Obama hides his excitement for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean by carefully choosing the euphemism—“economic opportunities.” In page 7 the true intent of the report is finally revealed: “The region holds sizable proved and potential oil and natural gas resources that will likely continue to provide valuable supplies to meet U.S. energy needs.” Of course the report mentions protecting the environment but gives no specific details. This major report from the White House was released after we came to know that on midnight on May 7, the average global CO2 concentration had reached 400 parts per million (ppm). The pre-industrial average was 280 ppm. The Scientific American  reported, “[T]he last time CO2 levels are thought to have been this high was more than 2.5 million years ago, an era known as the Pliocene.” This is so significant that Scientific American now plans to publish in the coming year a “400 ppm” series of articles, “to examine what this invisible line in the sky means for the global climate, the planet and all the living things on it, including human civilization.” And George Monbiot correctly  pointed out in The Guardian, “The only way forward now is back: to retrace our steps and seek to return atmospheric concentrations to around 350 ppm, as the campaign demands.” We may have forgotten, or didn’t pay attention, that the Arctic had reached 400 ppm almost exactly a year ago. A May 31, 2012  press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated, “The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) this spring, according to NOAA measurements, the first time a monthly average measurement for the greenhouse gas attained the 400 ppm mark in a remote location. … Carbon dioxide at six other remote northern sites in NOAA’s international cooperative air sampling network also reached 400 ppm at least once this spring: at a second site in Alaska and others in Canada, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and an island in the North Pacific.” Arctic is the barometer of our planet. When it comes to climate change, if you want to know what will happen tomorrow, do not hire an astrologer, instead simply pay attention to what’s happening in the Arctic today. Dr. James Hansen and I are currently engaged in a conversation that will be published in the paperback edition of Arctic Voices in August. As Jim told me, “We must keep the Arctic cold, for us to have a stable planet.” Drilling in the Arctic Ocean is a wrong path for the planet. By asking “Can Shell Be Stopped?” in the NYR, I wasn’t interested in philosophical contemplation but rather to figure out a practical path that might stop oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean–a small but significant step toward helping to “keep the Arctic cold.”

Subhankar Banerjee is a photographer, writer, activist, and founder of

  Read  Keep the Arctic Cold: Why the Rush to Drill Alaska Must Be Stopped
 May 14, 2013
What Will It Take for Us to Recognize That the Way We Live Could Be Destroying Life as We Know It?
by Marty Kaplan AlterNet

Say goodnight, Earthlings.

That message — plus the slimmest of shots at an eleventh-hour reprieve — was announced to the people of the world last week. 

When this happens in science fiction — 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is the classic — the planet pays attention.  The flying saucer lands; an alien, in this case played by Michael Rennie, emerges; a final warning is issued:  Stop it.  If you don’t, you’re doomed.

Back then, the “it” was violence — the Cold War, and the threat of nuclear midnight.  Last week, it was climate change — greenhouse gases, and the promise of ecological extinction.

“Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears,” ran the headline on the front page lead story in Saturday’s New York Times, with this sub-head: “CO2 at Level Not Seen in Millions of Years, Portending Major Climate Changes.”

A headline like that — millions of years? really? — normally turns up in comic books and superhero movies, not in the paper of record.  In fiction, what usually comes next is a montage.  At breakfast tables and on street corners, in souks and igloos, in the Oval Office and at the U.N., the shocking news galvanizes humanity into action.  

In the real world, it was pretty much a one-day story.

What does it take to grab us by the eyeballs?  Chris Christie’s waistline is guaranteed wall-to-wall coverage.  The next Jodi Arias is waiting in CNN’s wings.  The Benghazi circus will be in town at least through 2016.  Sure, disaster porn is always good for ratings, but though a Superstorm Sandy may momentarily raise the specter of climate change, daily bulletins on the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere apparently aren’t Nielsen enough.

It’s not that people who know our planet’s hair is on fire aren’t trying to get our attention. The animated graph from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth Science Research Lab showing how atmospheric carbon dioxide has changed over the last 800,000 years should be as horrifying as any computer-generated imagery Hollywood has to offer.  Along with the news that we had hit the 400 ppm mark on the CO2 curve for the first time since the Pliocene epoch came scary quotes from scientist after scientist calling this our last chance before the point of no return.  Unless we act, children born today will see temperatures rise irreversibly and sea levels rise catastrophically.  Weather patterns will be disrupted, deserts and drought will spread and—in the words of Lord Stern, head of the U.K.’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment—“hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died ...  [W]hen they try to migrate into new lands ... [they will be brought] into armed conflict with people already living there.  Nor will it be an occasional occurrence.  It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth."

If graphs and quotes aren’t sexy enough to warrant a permanent place in the news, there are other ways to hang on to the spotlight.  The Climate Reality Project’s website features 18 disturbing but entertaining videos about the price of carbon and our addiction to fossil fuels.  “Do the Math,” the film that journalist Bill McKibben is using to spark his movement, has a dramatic narrative that’s compelling but not preachy.  “The Years of Living Dangerously,” Showtime’s climate change documentary series now being shot, has producers who know a little something about how to capture audiences: James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Those efforts use media to engage an informed, activist public.  Could such a citizenry make change?  There’s plenty we can do in our personal lives to reduce our carbon footprint.  Local and state policies in conservation, transportation, building design and urban planning can also curb greenhouse gas emissions.  But without federal leadership like killing the Keystone XL pipeline and putting a tax on carbon, and without global commitments with teeth to enforce them, it’s hard to imagine a path back from the brink. 

In the U.S., the same dysfunctions that prevent anything else useful from happening—the Senate filibuster, the gerrymandered House, the corrupt campaign finance system—also hold climate change mitigation hostage.  So does denial.  And though some denial can be attributed to hoax propaganda funded by the fossil fuel industry, some comes from an infantile strain in the American psyche that should not be mistaken for religious freedom. 

Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) gave a floor speech urging his colleagues to “awaken to what carbon pollution is doing to our planet, to our oceans, to our seasons, to our storms.  And I wonder, ‘Why is it that we are so comfortable asleep, when the warnings are so many and so real?’ What could beguile us away from wakefulness and duty?  I was recently at a Senate meeting where I heard a member of our Senate community say, ‘God won’t allow us to ruin our planet.’ ... [That] statement ... is less an expression of religious thinking than it is of magical thinking.”

I admit that my fantasy that last week’s CO2 headlines might rally our planet like an alien invasion may make me as guilty of magical thinking as Senator God-Won’t-Allow-Us.  On the other hand, Ronald Reagan was a big fan of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and as president he often referred to it.  When he first met Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, he speculated that the threat of an alien invasion might get the Americans and the Soviets to cooperate.  If Michael Rennie’s “Klaatu barada nikto” line is the father of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” maybe blowing past the 400 ppm barrier can be the progenitor of “Mr. Obama, cancel that pipeline.”

The following is a column from The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Read more of Marty Kaplan's columns here

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  Reach him at

  Read  What Will It Take for Us to Recognize That the Way We Live Could Be Destroying Life as We Know It?
  May 9, 2013
5 Reasons Why the Smartest Man in the World Is Right to Boycott Israel
by Ben White, Al Jazeera, AlterNet

As announced by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) and subsequently covered by The GuardianReuters and others, world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking has decided to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, and pull out of an Israeli conference hosted by President Shimon Peres in June. After initial confusionthis was confirmed - Hawking is staying away on political grounds. 

Here are five reasons why Professor Hawking is right to boycott: 

5. Whitewashing apartheid 

The Israeli government and various lobby groups use events such as the "Presidential Conference" to whitewash Israel's crimes past and present, a tactic sometimes referred to as "rebranding". As a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official put it after the 2009 Gaza massacre, it is the kind of approach that means sending "well-known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, [and] exhibits" in order to "show Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war". "Brand Israel" is all about creating a positive image for a country that is the target of human rights campaigners the world over - as if technological innovations or high-profile conferences can hide the reality of occupation and ethnic cleansing. 

4. Shimon Peres 

Despite his reputation in the West as a "dove", Peres' career to date includes war crimes in Lebanon,support for collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza, and, in private discussions, incitementagainst non-Jewish citizens. Anyone would do well to avoid a conference hosted by such a hypocrite. Simply not being Ariel Sharon does not really cut it; Peres should be scheduled for a trip to The Hague, not welcoming foreign dignitaries and celebrities. 

3. Boycott is not incompatible with 'dialogue' 

Contrary to the rhetoric of Israeli officials and sympathisers, boycott is not contrary to dialogue. Hawking's decision, for example, will mean people are discussing Israeli policies and strategies for ending occupation. That is not atypical - BDS initiatives often encourage a meaningful exchange of views and perspectives. However, some people abuse the concept of dialogue to defend an asymmetrical status quo, leaving intact a colonial power dynamic where, in the words of South African poet James Matthews, "the oppressor sits seared with his spoils/with no desire to share equality/leaving the oppressed seeking warmth/at the cold fire of/Dialogue". Boycott has nothing to do with having, or not having, conversations - it is about accountability for, and opposing, basic violations of a people's rights. Confronting and resisting the reality of Israeli apartheid begets a dialogue that is fully realised in the context of equality and decolonisation. 


2. Impunity and accountability 

The boycott is grounded firmly in the well documented facts of Israeli policies. The US State Department speaks of "institutional discrimination" faced by Palestinian citizens, while Human Rights Watch says Israel maintains a "two-tier system" in the West Bank. From the "discriminatory" control and distribution of water resources (Amnesty International) to the "forced transfer of the native population" (European Union), it is no wonder that the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination hasreported Israel as violating prohibitions against "racial segregation and apartheid". 

Illegal settlements are used to colonise the West Bank, Palestinians in Gaza are blockaded and bombed, Palestinians in East Jerusalem have their homes demolished - and all the while, of course, expelled Palestinian refugees just a few miles from their properties are still prevented from returning home on the basis they are not Jews. And note that the "But what about China/Myanmar/Syria etc" line misses the point (as well as placing Israel in some rather interesting company). A boycott is a tactic, advisable in some contexts, and not in others. It is not about a scale of injustice or wrongdoing. It is about a strategy targeting systematic human rights abuses and breaches of international law, called for by the colonised. Which brings us to… 

1. The Palestinian call for solidarity 

Palestinians suffering under Israeli apartheid are calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a strategy in the realisation of their basic rights, a fact that many Zionists choose to ignore when attacking boycott campaigns. The Palestinian civil society call for BDS was officially launched on July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel's Separation Wall. Signatories to the BDS call come from representatives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinian refugees. Since then, growing numbers of people in the likes of academia, the arts world, trade unions and faith communities have answered the BDS call with initiatives that put the focus firmly on Israel's routine violations of international law and ending complicity in these crimes. Professor Hawking is to be commended for seeking the advice of Palestinian academics, and heeding their request for international solidarity in a decades-long struggle for freedom and justice. 

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. He is a graduate of Cambridge University.

You can follow the editor on Twitter: @nyktweets

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

  Read  5 Reasons Why the Smartest Man in the World Is Right to Boycott Israel
 May 6, 2013
5 Critical Actions Obama Needs to Take Right Now to Avert Massive Climate Disruption
by Michael Brune AlterNet

This article was published in partnership with

If all goes well, my parents will finally get to return home today. They live on the New Jersey Shore, on Chadwick Beach Island, next to Barnegat Bay. My brother, sisters, and I all grew up in the house, which my dad built with my uncle, almost fifty years ago.

Six months ago, Sandy took it apart.

By the time it hit the eastern seaboard, Sandy was an unusual hybrid of a post-tropical cyclone and an upper level low system. "Superstorms" like Sandy could develop without the influence of climate disruption, but warmer ocean temperatures and a shifting jet stream unquestionably have increased the odds. The scariest thing about Sandy is that such a freak of weather may no longer be so freakish.

A new norm of extreme weather is a daunting prospect. In Sandy's case, the damage to my childhood home was part of the worst U.S. natural disaster since hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- much more than $50 billion in damages and at least 72 deaths. But Sandy also destroyed something intangible -- our complacency. No longer can we assign the consequences of climate disruption to some distant future. When Sandy struck, the future rose with the sea and smashed into us head on. The question it left behind was this: What do we do about it?

For the past 100 days, Sierra Club members and supporters have answered that question loudly and clearly. We gathered in Washington, D.C., for the largest climate rally in history. We held town hall meetings and grassroots rallies across the country. And we helped send more than a million messages to Barack Obama -- telling him that we want bold action on climate disruption.

For his part, the president answered Sandy's challenge by talking about the climate crisis in his strongest words yet, both in the State of the Union and his inaugural address.

The president's words were welcome, but words will not be enough. Here are five critical actions we need him to take:

  1. Reject the toxic Keystone XL pipeline.
  2. Protect our water from coal plant pollution.
  3. Close loopholes on fracking and protect our wildlands from oil and gas development.
  4. Finalize strong standards for cleaner tailpipe emissions.
  5. Move forward with standards against industrial pollution.

Each of these actions is within President Obama's power right now. If he's serious about addressing climate disruption, not one of them is optional.

Meanwhile, we have to keep our own voices raised. If you haven't added yours yet --  you can do it here. Together, we will move forward on climate -- and we need our president to lead the way.

  Read  5 Critical Actions Obama Needs to Take Right Now to Avert Massive Climate Disruption
 May 14, 2013
How Our National Parks Are Threatened by Fracking
by Glenn Scherer, Blue Ridge Press, AlterNet

When I was a teenager, a friend and I cruised across the U.S., touring our national parks. What I remember most from that 1977 trip is rolling over vast, wild, unspoiled miles, heading toward the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion.

Three years later, I visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my fiancé. What I recall from that trip is Gatlinburg, the park’s garish gateway with its Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium, Elvis Presley Hall of Fame, Hillbilly Village, and other weird attractions vying for the attention of corndog and cotton candy-eating visitors.

Gatlinburg became a tourist eyesore by accident—born out of random uncontrolled development. A more serious accident is now occurring in the great open spaces downwind and downstream of such natural wonders as Grand Tetons National Park, Glacier National Park, and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

The threat is fracking. A booming and unregulated energy industry is quietly but quickly encroaching on some of our most cherished national parks with gas and oil drilling fields.

“From Glacier National Park’s eastern boundary, visitors can throw a stone and hit any of 16 exploratory wells and their associated holding tanks, pump jacks, and machinery,” says a just released report by the National Parks Conservation Association Center for Park Research. “Visitors heading east from Glacier National Park encounter road signs urging caution against the poisonous gases that fracking operations emit.”

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a lesser-known preserve in the North Dakota Badlands, once offered stargazers some of the nation’s darkest most pristine night skies. Now, fracking fields just outside the park create a scene right out of the science fiction movie Blade Runner, with gas flares spewing flames high into the sky and huge trucks roaring by. Ironically, a proposed bridge and road to service a newly planned fracking field will soon dominate the view from the park’s Elkhorn Ranch, where President Theodore Roosevelt first conceived his influential conservation ideas.

Of today’s 401 national park units, 131 lie either directly above or fewer than 25 surface miles from major underground oil and gas deposits. More than 33 percent of America’s national parks could be impacted by fracking.

The number of fracked wells encroaching on national parks is currently still small, but about to skyrocket. In 2010, for example, there were 1,000 frack well pads in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale region west of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. That number is projected to rise to as many as 15,000 well pads in twenty years.

Fracking doesn’t belong near our national parks. Hundred-foot tall derricks dominate the drilling fields. Each well consumes acres of land for its concrete well pad, plus more land for roaring, air-polluting compressor stations; wastewater tanks and pits; miles of potentially leaky pipeline; and new roads that require thousands of truck trips to transport the millions of gallons of freshwater needed to frack a well, and to haul away toxic wastewater containing volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene and xylene.

Add to this a witches brew of air pollution—fumes burned off of wells or that rise from wastewater pits that can contain carbon disulfide and carbonyl sulfide (smelling like rotten eggs); the neurotoxins methyl pyridine and dimethyl pyridine; and lung-damaging ozone.

Fracking isn’t just a toxic eyesore. Its infrastructure is bad for local business, and already putting pressure on people who earn a living through tourism, hunting and fishing. Outfitters near national parks complain that they can’t take hunters back to prime hunting areas because elk and deer have been driven off by drilling. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership notes on its website that “increases in energy development… are threatening public-lands hunting and fishing opportunities across the country.”

Fracking needs to be managed responsibly. There’s no reason we can’t increase domestic energy production while also protecting our nation’s most inspiring natural wonders. Protection may not even require an act of Congress. All that is likely needed is conscientious oversight by the Department of the Interior and the Obama administration.

©Blue Ridge Press 2013

Blue Ridge Press senior editor Glenn Scherer lives in Hardwick, Vermont.

  Read  How Our National Parks Are Threatened by Fracking
 May 17, 2013
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle



































 May 12, 2013
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
A Paz é o caminho do amor La paix est le chemin de l'amour Peace is the path of love La paz es el camino del amor

by Regina Mercia Sene Soares, Brasil

A Paz é o caminho do amor e
sem amor o humano morre
Porque é esse amor
que dá a vida
alimenta o viver
alimenta o coração.

Com o amor o coração
bate forte e alimenta
o corpo levando o
liquido precioso
da vida que é o sangue.

Sangue vermelho e quente
que alimenta toda a gente
deste planeta que entra
em decomposição.

Mas não vamos deixar
Isso acontecer temos
que lutar em prol
da grande Paz
universal porque
somos todos irmãos.

La paix est le chemin de l'amour
et sans amour, l'homme meurt
Pourquoi est-ce l'amour
qui donne la vie
flux en direct
nourrit le coeur.

Avec l'amour dans le coeur
et les battements forts
l'organisme entraîne le
précieux liquide
de la vie, c'est le sang.

Sang rouge et chaud
nourrir tout le monde
cette planète qui se décompose

Mais ne la laissons pas
il faut se battre pour
la grande paix
Universelle car
Nous sommes tous frères.

Peace is the path of love
and without love, man dies
Why is this love
live stream
nourishes the heart.

With love in the heart
and the strong beats
the body causes it
precious liquid
of life, it is the blood.

Blood red and hot
feed everyone
this planet that breaks down

But let it not
you have to fight for
the great peace
Universal car
We are all brothers.

La paz es el camino del amor
y sin amor, el hombre muere
¿Por qué esto es amor
da vida
transmisión en vivo
alimenta el corazón.

Con amor en el corazón
los fuertes latidos
el cuerpo hace que se
preciado líquido
de la vida, es la sangre.

Sangre roja y caliente
este planeta que descompone

Pero no la dejan
tienes que luchar por
la gran paz
Coche universal
Somos todos hermanos.
  Read   A Paz é o caminho do amor La paix est le chemin de l'amour Peace is the path of love La paz es el camino del amor
 May 7, 2013
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle

by Mardilê Friedrich Fabre, Bresil


Quero um mundo de paz,
e não aquele que jaz
no mais profundo flagelo.

Quero uma vida tranquila,
e não aquela que aniquila
em barbáries e torturas.

Quero meus dias sossegados,
e não aqueles acionados
pelo terror e pela destruição.

Quero meu coração despreocupado
e, de nenhum modo amedrontado,
sofrendo com a violência das ruas.


Sou o mensageiro da paz,
Que desfaz lúgubres figuras.
Cumulo-as de índole vivaz.

Sou o cavaleiro do bem.
Ressurjo íntegro das amarguras.
Nada condeno, nem ninguém.

Sou o portador de quimeras,
Que da passagem são molduras.
Clareio todas as crateras.

Sou o emissário da virtude,
Que abre caminhos de venturas.
Dissipo do dia a inquietude.

Sou o enviado da paixão,
Que das almas tira armaduras
Para instalar a exaltação.

O homem suplica pela paz...
Quando a tem, dela se desfaz.
Percorre o caminho voraz,
Que apesar de árduo satisfaz.
Estar em paz é ser feliz,
É dissipar o tempo gris
E nunca pegar em fuzis.


Envie d'un monde de paix,
et pas celui qui se trouve
dans le fléau le plus profond.
Envie d'une vie tranquille,
et pas un seul qui tue
dans les atrocités et la torture.
Je veux mes jours tranquilles,
et pas ceux qui ont tiré
par la terreur et la destruction.
Tiens mon cœur sans soucis
et, en aucun cas effrayé,
souffrant de la violence des rues.


Je suis le Messager de la paix,
Qui annule les chiffres lugubres.
le caractère vivace.
Je suis le chevalier du bien..
Rien que je condamne, ni personne d'autre.
Je suis le porteur de chimères,
Que le passage sont bons.
Clarifie tous les cratères.
Je suis l'émissaire de la vertu,
Qui ouvre des chemins vers l'aventure.
L'anxiété dissipée.
Suis l'envoyé de la passion,
Que d'âmes s'aiment
Pour installer l'exaltation.


L'homme plaide pour la paix...
Lorsqu'il l'a, il s'écroule.
Le long du chemin, vorace
Que, en dépit de dur satisfait.
Être la paix est être heureux,
Est de dissiper le temps gris
Et jamais relever de fusils.


Deseo de un mundo de paz,
y no que se sienta
en la plaga más profunda.
Quiere una vida tranquila,
y no uno que mata
en las atrocidades y torturas.
Quiero que mis días tranquilos,
y no los que dispararon
por el terror y la destrucción.
Deseo mi corazón sin preocupaciones
y de ninguna manera asustado,
sufren la violencia de las calles.

HERALD Yo soy el Mensajero de la paz,
Que reemplaza las figuras sombrías.
Altura - el carácter perenne.
Yo soy el buen caballero.
Ressurjo saludable de amargura.
Nada que yo condeno, ni nadie.
Soy portador de quimeras,
Ese pasaje son marcos.
Clareio todos los cráteres.
Soy el emisario de la virtud,
Abre caminos a venturas.
La ansiedad de Dissipo.
Soy el enviado de la pasión,
Como Ames tiene armadura
Para instalar la exaltación.


El hombre aboga por la paz...
Cuando se tiene, se derrumba.
En el camino, voraz
Que, a pesar de duros satisfizo.
Ser paz es ser feliz,
Es para disipar el tiempo gris


Desire of a world of peace,
and not one that sits
in the deepest scourge.
Want a quiet life,
and not one that kills
in the atrocities and torture.
I want my quiet days,
and not the ones who fired
by the terror and destruction.
Wish my heart without worries
and in no way frightened,
suffering from the violence of the streets.


I am the Messenger of peace,
Which overrides the dismal figures.
Height - the perennial character.
I am the good Knight.
Healthy Ressurjo of bitterness.
Nothing that I condemn, nor anyone else.
I am the bearer of chimeras,
That passage are frameworks.
Clareio all the craters.
I am the emissary of virtue,
That opens paths to venturas.
The Dissipo anxiety.
Am the Envoy of passion,
As Ames has armor
To install the exaltation.


The man pleads for peace...
When has, it collapses.
Along the way, voracious
That, despite hard met.
Be peace is to be happy,
Is to dispel the gray time
And never pick up rifles.
 May 7, 2013
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
QUE VENHA... A PAZ! Que vienne LA PAIX ! That Vienna peace! Eso Paz de Viena!

by Eugênia Diana Silva de Camargo, Bresil

Que venha a PAZ
Que a tanto sonhamos
E não a tristeza que nos abalou
De vidas tão jovens
Que um “beijo” calou.
Que venha a PAZ
Que tanto queremos
E não a certeza que a mãe natureza
Os filhos soterra
Pelas correntezas.
Que venha a PAZ
Que tanto pedimos
E não a miséria que tanto se faz
E o sonho de muitos
Que a droga desfaz.
Que venha a PAZ
que tanto imploramos
E não violência; pedimos clemência
Por balas perdidas
Matando a inocência.
Que venha a PAZ
que tanto rogamos
A Deus nós pedimos, com toda a humildade
Que venha... A PAZ !
Para a humanidade.


Quanto falamos de paz...
Quanto a buscamos...
A paz interior, a paz entre irmãos.
Em todo lugar... Se erguem as mãos...
Busca incessante...
Caminho sem fim.
E todos procuram...
E gritam... E rogam...
Como se fosse fugaz.
Nos tragam a paz! Queremos a paz!
E a paz... Humilde, tranquila serena...
De vida está plena.
Não está nas alturas, nas montanhas, após...
Está bem pertinho...
Dentro de nós!

Que vienne LA PAIX !

Paix d'entrée
Que tous rêvent
Et que le chagrin n'a pas ébranlé
Vie aussi jeune
Un silence de « Baiser ».
Paix d'entrée
Que nous voulons
Pas sûr que mère nature
L'enfants sautera
Par les courants.
Paix d'entrée
Que tous demandent
Et pas la misère qui est chaque fois
Et le rêve d'un grand nombre
La drogue dehors.
Paix d'entrée
que tous ont soif
Et de la non-violence ; Nous vous demandons miséricorde
Par des balles perduesTuer des innocents.
Paix d'entrée
pour tous s'il vous plaît
Le Dieu que nous demandons, en toute humilité
Que vienne... LA PAIX !
Pour l'humanité.

PAIX Quand nous parlons de paix...
Alors nous cherchons...
Paix intérieure, paix entre frères.
Partout... Debout les mains...
Poursuite sans relâche...
Chemin sans fin.
Et tout ce que vous souhaitez...
Et crier... Et plaider...
Comme si elle était passagère.
Nous amenons la paix ! Nous voulons la paix !
Et la paix... Humble, calme, sereine...
La vie est pleine.
N'est pas sur les hauteurs, dans les montagnes, après...
Elle est bien étroite...En nous !

That Vienna peace!

Peace of entry
All dream
And that grief has not shaken
As young life
A silence of 'kiss '.
Peace of entry
That we want
Not sure if mother nature
The children will jump
By currents.
Peace of entry
Require all
And not the misery that is every time
And the dream of a large number
The drugs out.
Peace of entry
that all crave
And non-violence; We ask for mercy
By bullets perduesTuer of innocent people.
Peace of entry
for all please
The God whom we ask humbly
Vienna... PEACE!
For humanity.


When we speak of peace...
Then we are looking...
Inner peace, peace between brothers.
Everywhere... Standing hands...
Relentless pursuit...
Path without end.
And whatever else you want to...
And shout... And plead...
As if she was a passenger.
We bring peace! We want peace!
And peace... Humble, quiet, serene...
Life is full.
Is not on the heights, in the mountains, after...
It is well close...In us!

Eso Paz de Viena!

Paz de entrada
Todos sueñan con
Y que el dolor no ha sacudido
Como joven vida
Un silencio de 'kiss'.
Paz de entrada
Que queremos
No estoy seguro si la madre naturaleza
Los niños se saltan
Por las corrientes.
Paz de entrada
Todos requieren
Y no la miseria que es cada vez
Y el sueño de un gran número
Las drogas hacia fuera.
Paz de entrada
que todos anhelan
Y la no violencia; Pedimos misericordia
Por balas perduesTuer de personas inocentes.
Paz de entrada
para todos por favor
El Dios a quien le pedimos humildemente
Viena... PAZ!
Para la humanidad.


Cuando hablamos de paz...
Entonces estamos buscando...
Paz interior, paz entre hermanos.
Por todas partes... Manos de pie...
Búsqueda implacable...
Camino sin fin.
Y todo lo que usted quiere...
Y gritar... Y alegar...
Como si ella fuera un pasajero.
Traemos paz! Queremos la paz!
Y la paz... Humilde, tranquilo, sereno...
La vida está llena.
No está en las alturas, en las montañas, después de...
Está bien cerca...En nosotros!
  Read  QUE VENHA... A PAZ!    Que vienne LA PAIX !  That Vienna peace!  Eso Paz de Viena!
  May 4, 2013
Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability
by Dr. S.L. Gandhi

8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action (8th ICPNA)
Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability

organized jointly by
(a transnational center for peace and nonviolent action associated with United Nations Department of Public Information)

(a university dedicated to jainlogical studies and nonviolence research)

from October 20 to October 23, 2013
First three days i.e. Oct 20 to Oct 22, 2013 at
Anuvibha Jaipur Kendra, Opp. Gaurav Tower, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur
Valedictory Session on Oct 23, 2013 at
Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, Dist Nagaur (Rajasthan)
Dear friend / friends,

We cordially invite you to come and participate in the 8th ICPNA to be held at Jaipur, the Pink City of India from Oct 20 to Oct 22, 2013. It is a well-equipped building which will not only accommodate the delegates but also has facilities like a big hall on the ground floor for plenary sessions and a small conference hall and workshop rooms in the basement. The ambience of the venue is ideally suited for a conference on nonviolence and sustainability.

The valedictory session will be held on Oct 23, 2013 at JVB Campus, Ladnun (Raj.) from 10.00AM to 12.30 NOON under the auspices of His Holiness Acharya Shri Mahashraman, Head of Anuvrat Movement and Jain Swetamber Terapanth Relgious Order. The town Ladnun is in the Western Rajasthan known worldwide on account of its being the birth place of His Holiness, Acharya Tulsi, the 9th Acharya of Terapanth Religious Order and initiator of ANUVRAT MOVEMENT, a Jain Peace Movement. The town shot into prominence when Jain Vishva Bharati University dedicated to nonviolence and human values was established here by Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya in the sixties of the 21st Century. The conference is being jointly organized by Anuvrat Global Organization (ANUVIBHA) and Jain Vishva Bharati University, Ladnun.

The delegates must arrive in Jaipur by the evening of Oct 19, 2013 since the inaugural ceremony is scheduled to be held at 10.00AM on Oct 20, 2013 at ANUVIBHA Jaipur Kendra, Opp. Gaurat Tower, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. All the nine plenary sessions planned for the 8th ICPNA will be held at Jaipur only. For participation in the valedictory session to be held at Ladnun from 10.00AM to 12.30noon on Oct 23, 2013, special buses will be ready at the venue after 5.00PM on Oct 22, 2013 to take the delegates to Ladnun which is about 225 Kilometres from Jaipur. Arrangements for the dinner and stay at night on Oct 22, 2013 have been made in the guest houses at Salasar, an eminently known place of worship which is 170 Kilometres from Jaipur and just three hours bus journey. After spending the night of Oct 22, 2013 at Salasar the delegates will leave the town at 8.00AM so that they may reach Ladnun in time to attend the most important valedictory session to be held in the benign presence of Acharya Shri Mahashraman, an apostle of ahimsa. Judging by the significance of the theme we hope you will be able to spare your valuable time and join at Jaipur and Ladnun for exploring strategies for a nonviolent future. For detailed features like theme, call for papers, registration, information on travel etc. read the foregoing pages.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Pink City of Jaipur and Ladnun (Raj.).

T.K. Jain
Anuvrat Global Organization (ANUVIBHA)
New Delhi

Rev Samani Ji Charitra Prajna
Jain Vishva Bharati University

Dr. S.L. Gandhi
International Coordinator
of the 8th ICPNA and
International President
Anuvrat Global Organization

About the Theme
As has already been stated that the theme of the 8th ICPNA will be TOWARDS A NONVIOLENT FUTURE : SEEKING REALISTIC MODELS FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY. In the preceding conferences the emphasis was on the problems that we face and their solutions but 8th ICPNA will be a conference with a difference. Against the backdrop of global warming, climate change and the looming threat of ecological disaster we inevitably think of the future. If the limited resources on the planet earth continue to deplete, our survival into the third millennium will be in peril. In order to ensure the advent of a nonviolent future, we have to mind our current lifestyle. A nonviolent future depends on our ability to restrain consumption and improve our relationships with other living beings – be they humans or non-humans. The main aim of 8th ICPNA is to evolve strategies for an environmentally sustainable society and peaceful co-existence. It is verily a pathway to a nonviolent future. It is for the first time that we are going to discuss the blueprints for a nonviolent future. It may be possible only if we switch over to a nonviolent lifestyle today. Come and share your vision with us.

Call for Papers

We invite those who are interested in speaking at various plenary sessions to make proposals for speaking or leading workshops.

We have planned the following plenary sessions:

1. Nonviolence, Perception, Practice and Concept

2. Is Nonviolent Future Possible?

3. Models of Peaceful Co-existence

4. Training Children in a Culture of Ahimsa : Balodaya Model of Education

5. Interfaith Insights for a Nonviolent Future

6. Culture of Nonviolence, Shared Cultures and Universal Culture

7. Environmental and Ecological Crisis vis-à-vis Human Behaviour

8. Anuvrat as an Instrument of Change for a Better World

9. The Role of Youths in Creating a Peaceful World

10. Our Future Attitude within Nature and with Life

11. Possibilities of a Weaponless World

(A) For a presentation at any of the above plenary session please use the following format and fax to +91-11-66173584 or email to

· Title of the paper or presentation
· Name of the plenary session for which it is meant
· Summary of your paper in 100 words

The last date for submitting papers is August 31, 2013

The programme committee will inform you of its decision in the first week of the September 2013.

(B) For a workshop just write the title and a summary of what you would do in a hundred words. It should also be faxed to +91-11-66173584 or emailed to

Note : Those whose papers are accepted must register themselves before due date.

Last Date for Registration

Though the last date for registration is Aug 31, 2013 we advise you for early registration since we expect a large number of delegates this time and accommodation is limited.


In addition to learned delegates we are also inviting some men and women of eminence who have crusaded against violence and atrocities. We will keep you updated.


Though the climate is pleasant delegates are advised to bring warm clothes with them.


The official language at all plenary sessions will be English but non-English speaking delegates may bring with them their own translators for simultaneous translation.


The delegates are advised to seek tourist visas only. But if delegates from African and Latin African countries face any difficulty we will help them but they should contact us well in advance.

Free Local Hospitality

All delegates whose registrations are confirmed will be extended free local hospitality.

Registration Fee

Token registration fee for early registrants i.e. before May 31, 2013 is 100 US dollars and for those who register later the fee will be 125 US dollars. For delegates from India and SAARC countries the registration fee will be Rs. 2000 if they register before May 31, 2013 and Rs. 2500 if they register later. The fee can be directly transferred to our account in Gandhi Nagar Branch of SBBJ Bank Jaipur. The following is the mode of transfer:

The Bank Name : State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur

Gandhi Nagar, Jaipur – 302 015 (Raj.) INDIA Swift Code : SBBJ IN BB017

IFSC Code : SBBJ0010383

Anuvibha Account No. : 51004850079


This is just a token amount. We are extending free local hospitality and free local transportation to all. It is your contribution towards our peace initiatives.

Waiver / Scholarship

In extremely deserving cases the registration fee can be reduced. For that the delegates are advised to write to the coordinator giving their background and contribution to the cause of peace. There are only 10 scholarships.

:: Conference Secretariat ::

Dr. S.L. Gandhi
International Coordinator and International President
Anuvrat Global Organization (ANUVIBHA)
Anuvibha Jaipur Kendra
Opp. Gaurav Tower, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur – 302 017 (Raj.) INDIA
Telefax : +91-141-2722412 Fax : +91-11-66173584
e-mail :
web :


Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability

First three days i.e. Oct 20 to Oct 22, 2013 at
Anuvibha Jaipur Kendra, Opp. Gaurav Tower, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur
Valedictory Session on Oct 23, 2013 at
Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, Dist Nagaur (Rajasthan)

Note : Please fax or email the completed registration form to fax no. 011-66173584 or email to

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  Read  Towards a Nonviolent Future : Seeking Realistic Models for Peaceful Co-existence and Sustainability
 May 8, 2013  
Défi de l’humanité
Débuté au Ve siècle avant notre ère
Lorsque la Chine était divisée en fiefs féodaux
Sur 6700 kilomètres
Elle exerça son emprise
sur les sept provinces du Nord

En 221 avant Jésus Christ
Elle contribua à unifier la Chine
Et les tronçons existants
En la protégeant des hordes barbares

Considérée comme l’une
des sept merveilles du monde
Patrimoine culturel universel
Des environs de Pékin
Au Hebei jusqu’au désert de Gobi
Des rives de la mer jaune
Jusqu’aux contreforts de la province du Gansu
Elle serpente par les monts et les vallées

Epousant les reliefs des cimes
C’est le dragon de pierre
Dont les contorsions
Permettent de découvrir
Les montagnes qui ondulent
De la nature embellie

Soleil couchant ou levant
Ciel pourpre ou cendré
Guets dans la brume épaisse
Ou colline d’or sous la luminosité du ciel
Escaliers sous la gelée
Murailles enneigées
Sa réalité est œuvre d’immensité
Léguée par la sueur de l’épopée humaine
Et le génie de l’Empereur Qin Shi Huang Di

Peinture du ciel
Parfois accompagnée par l’arc-en-ciel
Son pastel de couleurs
Reflète les paysages naturels
De son parcours enchanteur

A Jhanjou ou à Badaling
Entre le petit et le grand mont Jinshan
Ou sur le site de Mutianyu
Le cours de sa vie
Se confond avec l’infini

Elle semble à l’assaut du ciel
Tant la courbe de sa ligne
Trace un trait sibyllin
Dans l’horizon des esprits

Briques en terre battue alignées
Dans un spectacle ordonné
Par des mains expertes et besogneuses avisées
Des vies y furent parfois le prix payé
Pour qu’elle transcende les destinées
Au-delà, du temps et de l’espace
Ce trésor d’ingéniosité
Appelle nos altérités
Qui dévoilent nos humanités

Contribution au rapprochement des nations
Lieu d’échanges culturels Scientifiques et touristiques
Passage de la compréhension entre les peuples
Son harmonie est un appel
A la lucidité des esprits

Sa beauté relie les cœurs
Des êtres variés
Est un symbole de fusion
Terreau des civilisations
Passées et futures
Qui restitueront la vaillance
De la Physionomie
De ce grand pays qu’est la Chine
Espérance d’avenir
Pour la paix durable
Le développement du dialogue
Entre l’Orient et l’Occident.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Of: Guy Crequie []
Envoy: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 13:55
Subject: Ecological Poetry!
Ecological Poetry

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA (The stone dragon)

Challenge of humanity
Begun at the 5th century before our era
When China was divided into feudal strongholds
On 6700 kilometers
She exerted her influence
on the seven provinces of North

In 221 before Jesus Christ
She contributed to unify China
And existing sections
By protecting it from the cruel hordes

Regarded as one
of the seven wonders of the world
Universal Cultural heritage
Surroundings of Beijing
In Hebei to the Gobi Desert
Banks of the yellow sea
To the buttresses of the province of Gansu
It curves by the mounts and the valleys

Marrying the reliefs of the summits
It is the stone dragon
Of Which distorsions
Allow to discover
The mountains which undulate
Natural clearing

Sleeping or raising Sun
Sky crimson or ashy
Watches in the thick fog
Or gold hill under the luminosity of the sky
Staircases under the frost
Snow-covered Walls
Its reality is work of vastness
Bequeathed by the sweat of the human epopee
And genius of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di

Painting of the sky
Sometimes accompanied by the rainbow
Its pastel of colors
Reflect the natural landscapes
Of its course enchanter

In Jhanjou or Badaling
Between the small one and the large Jinshan mount
Or on the site of Mutianyu
The course of its life
Merges with the infinite one

It seems with the attack of the sky
Such An Amount Of the curve its line
Trace a sibylline feature
In the horizon of the spirits

Beaten ground Bricks aligned
In an ordered spectacle
By expert and needy hands advised
Lives were there sometimes the paid price
So that it transcends the destinies
Beyond, time and space
This boundless ingenuity
Call our othernesses
Who reveal our humanities

Contribution to the bringing together of the nations
Place of Scientific and tourist cultural exchanges
Passage of comprehension enters the people
Its harmony is a call
With the clearness of the spirits

Its beauty connects the hearts
Varied beings
Is a symbol of fusion
Compost of the civilizations
Passed and future
Who will restore valiancy
Of this large country which is China
Hope with a future
For durable peace
The development of the dialog
Between the East and the Occident.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
  Read LA GRANDE MURAILLE DE CHINE(Le dragon de pierre)
 May 8, 2013  
Sakyamuni le bouddha aurait enseigné :

« Creusez la terre au-dessus de vos pieds, c’est là que se trouve la source. »

Quelle dose de courage il doit falloir effectivement pour accéder aux sommets de la chaîne de l’Himalaya. Qualité de mental, force intérieure, condition physique, désir de se dépasser pour atteindre ses objectifs, sont sans nul doute indispensables pur prétendre atteindre le toit du monde : le mont Everest !

La voix du ciel, les chants des oiseaux qui vivent dans la montagne, au bord d’une rivière dans la vallée encaissée, telles sont les premières impressions pour ceux qui tentent cette épopée.

En effet, la chaîne de l’Himalaya est précédée d’une zone couverte d’une jungle épaisse : »le Terai »puis d’une zone de collines et de moyennes montagnes : les Siwaliks.

Au-dessus de cinq mille mètres, apparaît la chaîne dite de l’Himalaya avec ses glaciers et ses neiges éternelles ;

Dans le lointain
Une déchirure de nuages
Permet d’apercevoir les hauts sommets
De la chaîne de l’Himalaya
D’une blancheur éclatante sereine et majestueuse.
Les pics vertigineux de ces montagnes
Sont selon sa filiation philosophique
Les trônes des dieux ou le sommet de l’univers
Invitant l’esprit humain à s’élever toujours plus haut.

Norgay TENSING, le sherpa qui fut le premier avec le néo-zélandais sir Edmond HILLARY à escalader le mont Everest et atteindre le sommet en 1953 aurait déclaré : (1) »
En montagne, on trouve de l’amitié. Rien ne rapproche plus les gens que la montagne. Sur les sentiers les plus périlleux : nous devons nous tenir par la main et nous parlons de cœur à cœur….Les problèmes du monde devraient se résoudre en montagne. C’est ici que Kroutchev, Mao, Nehru, Johnson, devraient venir discuter… »

Dans son poème ; »la jeunesse » le poète népalais Madhav Prasad GHIMIRE écrit (2) : » la lumière de l’aube éclaire le sommet enneigé, une force pure nouvelle jaillit dans les bras du héros.
Oh jeunesse, touchant la flèche étincelante du soleil levant Provoque de nouvelles vagues
Réveille le monde en le touchant du doigt
Vers un nouveau siècle dynamique…. »
(1)Tensing aurait prononcé ce discours à l’occasion de sa visite au Japon en février 1964
(2) Youth (Moderns Napali Poems) Katamandu Royal Népal - Academy 1973, page 229.


Au sein de la chaîne de l’Himalaya
On te surnomme le toit du monde
Tan ta splendeur et ta grandeur
Interpellent le genre humain

Neiges éternelles, glaciers étincelants
Sus le soleil
Colère du blizzard et du froid transperçant
Qui font gémir les os de notre squelette

Pour atteindre ton sommet
Le physique le meilleur
A besoin d’un solide pouvoir soft intérieur
La nature est distinguée
Elle a vaincu bien des vanités assouvies
Trop présomptueuses de leurs capacités à te dominer

On ne soumet pas un sommet
On l’atteint !
Ceci pour en vivre toutes les dimensions
Du Tibet au Népal
En passant par l’Inde
Leurs habitants nous rappellent
Que le silence est gradué
D’une importante motivation du dedans

Pour apprécier la beauté des sites
Et en mesurer l’immensité
Seuls les adeptes d’une spiritualité élevée
Ont pu planter leur drapeau
Exprimer leur humanité
Graver l’image ….De longues soirées
Immaculées de volonté et de gratuité
La qualité d’existence
La joie de l’esprit
Celle du corps harmonieux
Tendus vers cette interdépendance d’osmose
Ce but impérieux
De l’harmonie du défi.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Ecological Poetry:

Sakyamuni the Buddha would have taught:
“Dig the ground above your feet, it is there that the source is. ”

Which amount of courage it must be necessary indeed to reach the tops of the chain of the Himalayas. Quality of mental, interior force, physical condition, desire to exceed itself to achieve its goals, are without any doubt essential pure to claim to reach the roof of the world: the Mount Everest!

The voice of the sky, the songs of the birds which live in the mountain, at the edge of a river in the steepsided valley, such is the first impressions for those which try this epopee.

Indeed, the chain of the Himalayas is preceded by a covered zone of a thick jungle: ” Terai” then of a zone of hills and medium mountainss: Siwaliks.

Above five thousand meters, the chain known as appears of the Himalayas with its glaciers and its eternal snow;

In the distance
A tear of clouds
Allows to see the high summits
Chain of the Himalayas
Of a serene and majestic bright whiteness.
Vertiginous peaks of these mountains
Are according to its philosophical filiation
Thrones of the gods or the top of the universe
Inviting the human spirit to rise always higher.

Norgay TENSING, the sherpa which was the first with the New Zealander to sir Edmond HILLARY to climb the Mount Everest and to reach the top in 1953 would have declared: (1)”

In mountain, friendship is found. Nothing brings closer more people than the mountain. On the most perilous paths: we must be held by the hand and we speak about heart in heart….The problems of the world should be solved in mountain. It is here that Kroutchev, Mao, Nehru, Johnson, should come to discuss…”

In its poem; ” youth” the Nepalese poet Madhav Prasad GHIMIRE written (2): ” the light of the paddle clarifies the covered with snow top, a new pure force spouts out in the arms of the hero.

Oh youth, concerning the sparkling arrow of the rising sun Causes new waves
Awake the world in concerning finger
Around a new dynamic century…. ”

(1) Tensing would have made this speech at the time of its visit in Japan in February 1964
(2) Youth (Moderns Napali Poems) Katamandu Royal Nepal - Academy 1973, page 229.


Within the chain of the Himalayas
You are called the roof of the world
Tan your splendor and your size
Challenge mankind

Eternal Snow, sparkling glaciers
Known sun
Anger of the blizzard and the transpiercing cold
Who make groan the bones of our skeleton

To reach your top
The best physique
With need for a solid interior power software
Nature is distinguished
It has overcoming many appeased vanities
Too Much presumptuous their capacities to dominate you

A top is not subjected
It is reached!
This to live all dimensions of them
Of Tibet in Nepal
Via India
Their inhabitants recall us
That silence is graduated
Of an important motivation of the inside

To appreciate the beauty of the sites
And to measure the vastness of it
Only followers of a high spirituality
Could plant their flag
To Express their humanity
To Engrave the image….Long evenings
Immaculate of will and exemption from payment
The quality of existence
Joy of the spirit
That of the harmonious body
Tended towards this interdependence of osmosis
This pressing goal
Harmony of the challenge.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
 May 8, 2013  
Situé au nord de l’Arizona
Après le désert de Mojave
Bibliothèque de l’univers
Merveille des couleurs
Accélération du cœur

Frissons du corps
Le visiteur ébahi
Découvre ce panorama
Les falaises surplombent l’abîme
1600 mètres plus bas
Le Colorado River serpente
Pas plus large qu’un trombone depuis le haut
L’immensité de la scène défie l’imagination

Grand livre de pierres
Tes couleurs changeantes
Selon la luminosité du ciel
Et la clarté du soleil

Mauve, jaune, émeraude, or, cristal
Plus que l’arc-en-ciel
Tes teintes sont la panoplie d’harmonie

Beauté paradisiaque
Des chutes nichées dans les canyons latéraux
Suscitent en nos esprits
La merveille du rêve infini.
La magie qui défile
Déferle sous nos yeux
Défie l’horizon promis
Transcende les émotions de vie

Ta taille est impossible à estimer
Cerné par tes murailles
Tu représentes cette quatrième dimension
Le passage du temps géologique
Au-delà de notre perception temporelle

Impressions laissées par la boue
Gouttelettes d’eau sur les fougères
Craquelures sous la sécheresse
Traces d’une patte d’animal
Ecureuil vif au bord de tes précipices

Falaises de calcaire
Grès durs
Schistes argileux
Feuilles dorées des trembles
Vert profond des sapins et des épicéas
Pins d’Oregon
Yuccas, chardons rouges, cactus
Mésanges, cerfs, mouflons, faucons, lézards
Flore et faune
Son le lit promis
A celles et ceux
Qui savent intérioriser et restituer ton défi.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE


A quelques 700 kilomètres
Au sud-ouest du Sri Lanka
Constitué de1190 îles
Dispersées dans 26 atolls
Au sein de l'océan indien
Au nord-est de sa célèbre voisine
"Les Seychelles"

L'archipel des Maldives
Offre aux touristes ébahis
Le spectacle insolite
D'un océan aux eaux pures
Couleur cobalt
Les lagons alternent les nuances du cristal
De l'émeraude ou d'un bleu
Turquoise ou indigo.

Promenade en Dhoni(1)
D'île en île
Raies,requins, barracudas,
Tortues carets ou imbriquées…
Promettent au petit jour
Un spectacle inédit
Celui de leurs ébats
A quelques encablures de la plage
De sable coralien
Dont la blancheur
Illumine la laguine paradisiaque

le Rythme des vagues
la luminosité du ciel
Et la chaleur du soleil
Accompagnen le silence de la nature
Qu rappelle à l'humain
Ses règles d'harmonie
Et son influence sur notre biologie

Protéger ces sites enchanteurs
Admirer les cocotiers
La démarche du héron cendré
la course des crabe sur le sable
leur disparition par l'orifice
D'une cavité
Font partie du spectacle journalier proposé

Moment magique
la contemplation de la vie diurne
Permet de reposer nos sens altérés
par une existence moderne sans mesure
qui oublie la qualité
De la nature cette alliée
Sans laquelle l'homme est réduit
A n'être que petit
Face à l'univers qui relie
Lescoeurs de toutes lesethnies
Rassemblés sur un lieu sublimé

Malé:port maritime et centre commercial
Ville capitale de la République des Maldives
Sa mosquée indique aux touristes épatés
Que même un emerveille respectée
Résonne de la spiritualité
L'ISLAM est ici la religion pratiquée

Le va et vient incessant
De gros porteurs de tous les continents
Démontre aux êtres de l'Orient
Comme ceux de l'Occident
Que la beauté estune émotion partagée

Appel de nos humanités
Au -delà des nationalités
Et des cultures variées
Tous les rêvesd'altérité
Font honneur à la grandeur d'immensité
de cette destination magnifiée.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

(1) DHONI = barque typique des Maldives construite selon les techniques anciennes que pratiquèrent les grecs et les phéniciens;;
Autrefois conçue à voile, de nos jours, elle est équipée d'un moteur japonais à diesel.


Located north of Arizona
After the desert of Mojave
Library of the universe
Wonder of the colors
Acceleration of the heart

Shivers of the body
The amazed visitor
Discover this panorama
The cliffs overhang the abyss
1600 meters lower
Colorado River curves
Not broader than a trombone since the top
The vastness of the scene defies imagination

Large stone book
Your colors changeantes
According To the luminosity of the sky
And the clearness of the sun

Mauve, yellow, emerald, gold, crystal
More than the rainbow
Your colors are the panoply of harmony

Paradisiac Beauty
Falls broods in the side canyons
Cause in our spirits
Wonder of the infinite dream.
The magic which ravels
Break under our eyes
Defy the promised horizon
Transcend the emotions of life

Your size is impossible to estimate
Encircled by your walls
You represent this fourth dimension
The passage of geological time
Beyond our temporal perception

Impressions left by mud
Water Droplets on the ferns
Cracks under the drought
Traces of a leg of animal
Sharp Squirrel at the edge of your chasms

Limestone Cliffs
Hard Sandstones
Sheets gilded of tremble
Major Green of the fir trees and the spruces
Pines of Oregon
Red Yuccas, thistles, cactus
Titmouses, stags, moufflons, falcons, lizards
Flora and fauna
Its promised bed
With those and those
Who can interiorize and restore your challenge.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE


With a few 700 kilometers
In the south-west of Sri Lanka
Constituted de1190 islands
Dispersed in 26 atolls
Within the Indian Ocean
In the North-East of its famous neighbor

The archipelago of the Maldives
Offer to the amazed tourists
The strange spectacle
Of an ocean to pure waters
Color cobalt
The lagoons alternate the nuances of the crystal
Emerald or of a blue
Turquoise or indigo.

Walk in Dhoni (1)
From island in island
Lines, sharks, barracudas,
Tortoises reels or overlapping…
Promise at the small day
A new spectacle
That their frolicking
With some cables of the beach
Of coral sand
Of Which whiteness
Illuminate the paradisiac laguine

the Rhythm of the waves
the luminosity of the sky
And the heat of the sun
Accompagnen the silence of nature
Qu recalls to the human one
Its rules of harmony
And its influence on our biology

To Protect these sites enchanters
To Admire the coconuts
The approach of the ashy heron
the race of crab on sand
their disappearance by the opening
Of a cavity
Be part of the daily spectacle proposed

Magic Moment
the contemplation of the diurnal life
Allows to rest our faded directions
by a modern existence without measurement
who forgets quality
Nature this allied
Without which the man is reduced
To be only small
Vis-a-vis the universe which connects
Lescoeurs of all lesethnies
Gathered on a sublimated place

Male:seaport and shopping center
Capital City of the Republic of the Maldives
Its mosque indicates to the impressed tourists
That even one fills with wonder respected
Resound of spirituality
ISLAM is the practised religion here

Ceaseless to and from
Large transport aircrafts of all the continents
Show with the beings of the East
Like those of the Occident
That the beauty estune shared emotion

Call of our humanities
Beyond nationalities
And varied descultures
All the rêvesd' otherness
Make honor with the grandeurd' vastness
of this magnified destination.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

(1) Typical =barque DHONI of the Maldives built according to the old techniques which the Greeks and the Phoenician ones practiced;;
Formerly conceived with veil, nowadays, it is been driven by a Japanese engine with diesel.
  May 7, 2013  
Poèmes extraits du recueil » la poésie du cœur (symphonie entre la personne et l’univers) »

Avec une préface de Maurus YOUNG alors Secrétaire général de l’Académie mondiale de la culture et des arts, et du congrès mondial des poètes-–Editions le Manuscrit 2005. (WAAC-WCP)

Splendeurs du monde et protection de la nature

Poème « LA BAIE d’HALONG »

Situé à une cinquantaine de kilomètres d’Haiphong
Dans le Nord du Vietnam
Sur une superficie de1500 kilomètres carrés
Composée de 1969 îlots
La baie d’HALONG est un espace enchanteur
Certains désignent cet endroit majestueux comme la huitième merveille du monde

Don offert à un littoral
Parfum de l’existence
Senteurs de l’Orient
Ses jonques et sampans
Avec l’agilité du dragon de mer

Couleurs aux nuances de jade
Selon la clarté du ciel
Ou vert émeraude
L’infini semble sans cesse repoussé
Par ces barrières naturelles
De calcaire ou de rochers karstiques
Engendrés depuis la fin de l’ère primaire.

Grottes, tunnels, cavernes.
Forgés par l’eau de pluie
Surgissent de la brume
Le temps d’un regard ou de mots balbutiés

Ici le temps a fécondé son œuvre
Halong ! Panoplie de séquences variées
Multiplicité des formes et des grandeurs
Même le ciel semble échancré
Par l’infinité de petites îles magnifiées
Et la douceur d’un ciel vietnamien

- la caverne de la neige
- le mont brûle parfum
- le chien de garde
- la montagne à la forme de la tête de l’homme
- le mont du crapaud
- la cave du paradis
- L’île coq de combat
- La caverne du pélican
- Le palais des fées
- La caverne des merveilles
- La grotte des surprises…..

Autant de lieux sublimés
De la nature d’immensité
Blaise PASCAL a écrit un jour
« Le silence des espaces infinis m’effraie »
Mais en ce lieu
Le silence est ravissement et sagesse
Le poète exprime son cri de vérité
La nature embellie
Rappelle à l’homme son défi de vie.

Durant trop d’années
Terre de feu
De la cruauté humaine
Vietnam d’eau
Finesse de l’Orient

Tu restitues
Par la magnificence
L’appel d’humanité
Qui gît dans chacun d’entre nous
Si nous savons ouvrir
Notre accueil de beauté
Aux rêves d’altérité

A Halong
Sous le soleil ou dans les nuages
Horizon visible ou translucide
Le chant de l’Orient est bien réel.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Splendeurs et protection de la nature


(Montagne acérée)
Dans l’archipel de Svalbard
Située entre l’Islande et le pôle nord
Montagnes découpées, rochers acérés
Proche de la banquise
Blocs de glace teintés, glaciers parsemés
A 80° de latitude nord dans l’océan arctique
Tel est le spectacle proposé

L’île du Spitzberg est un spectacle de féérie
Qu’embrasse un seul regard
Sensations indescriptibles
Le monde semble englouti
Dans la baie du roi
Dans un seul instant d’existence
Et son glacier du même nom
Accompagné des trois couronnes
Nous pouvons entrevoir
A hasard d’une tête tournée
L’antichambre de l’indicible

Le souffle du renard polaire
L’ouverture vers un autre monde
Ou le crissement du vol
De la bernache nonette
Celui du silence de l’infini
Vient troubler la quiétude
Des espaces absolus
De couleurs vives comme irréelles

A la jumelle
Sur le sol gelé
Du songe en quête de sublime
Le bruant des neiges
Révèle la présence volatile
De ce lieu insolite

La baie de la Madeleine
Offre aux visiteurs ébahis
Des glaçons bleutés
Sous le filtre incandescent du soleil

Les lumières magiques
Aveuglent les yeux impatients
Il peut être
Les eaux vertes translucides
Comme un songe d’été contemplé

Pour protéger l’œuf fécondé
La sterne peut-être agressive
Par ses battements d’ailes
Le mercule trace un cercle
Sur la mer en dentelles
Le goéland rivalise de virtuosité
Ses oscillations dans le ciel
Ressemblent à une séquence d’étoiles argentées

Bercé par le rythme du vent
Le phoque trouve un morceau d’iceberg
La griffe de l’ours blanc
Rappelle aux touristes imprudents
Que le repos du mammifère « hôte de l’immensité »
Au sein de la nature
A ses règles d’existence

Sur l’ensemble de l’île du Spitzberg
Lieu sublime
Qu’il convient de protéger
Quelques mines de charbon du passé
Signalent que la dignité humaine
Est appelée au rêve d’altérité
Pour sauvegarder ce site enchanté.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

¡ Of: Guy Crequie []

Envoy: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 15:50



Poems extracted the collection” the poetry of the heart (symphony enters the person and the universe)”
With a foreword of Maurus YOUNG then General secretary of the world Academy of the culture and arts, and world congress of the poet-Editions the Manuscript 2005. (WAAC-WCP)

Splendors of the world and protection of nature
Poem “the BAY of HALONG”
Located at about fifty kilometers of Haiphong
In the North of the Viêt - Nam
On a surface de1500 square kilometers
Composed of 1969 small islands
The bay of HALONG is a space enchanter
Some indicate this majestic place like the eighth wonder of the world

Gift offered to a littoral
Perfume of the existence
Scents of the East
Its junks and sampans
With the agility of the dragon of sea

Colors with the nuances of jade
According To the clearness of the sky
Or green emerald
The infinite one seems unceasingly pushed back
By these natural barriers
Of limestone or karstic rocks
Generated since the end of the primary era.
Caves, tunnels, caves.
Forged by rainwater
Emerge from the fog
The time of a glance or stammered words

Here time fertilized its work
Halong! Panoply of varied sequences
Multiplicity of the forms and the sizes
Even the sky seems indented
By the infinity of magnified small islands
And the softness of a Vietnamese sky
- the cave of snow
- the mount burns perfume
- the watchdog
- the mountain with the shape of the head of the man
- the mount of the clamping plate
- the cellar of the paradise
- The island fighting cock
- The cave of the pelican
- The palate of the fairies
- The cave of the wonders
- The cave of the surprises .....


As Many sublimated places
Nature of vastness

Blaise Pascal wrote one day
“The silence of infinite spaces frightens me”
But in this place
Silence is rapture and wisdom
The poet expresses his cry of truth
Natural clearing
Recall to the man his challenge of life.

During too many years
Covers Over with Soil of fire
Human cruelty
Viêt - Nam of water
Smoothness of the East
You restore
By the magnificence
The call of humanity
Who to lie in each one among us
If we know to open
Our reception of beauty
With the dreams of otherness

In Halong
Under the sun or in the clouds
Visible or translucent Horizon
The song of the East is quite real.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Splendors and protection of nature


(Sharp-edged Mountain)

In the archipelago of Svalbard
Located between Iceland and the north pole
Cut out Mountains, sharp-edged rocks
Near to the ice-barrier
Blocks of ice tinted, strewn glaciers
With 80° of northern latitude in the Arctic Ocean
Such is the spectacle proposed

The island of Spitzberg is a spectacle of fairyhood
What embraces only one glance
Indescribable Feelings
The world seems absorbed
In bay of the king
In only one moment of existence
And its glacier of the same name
Accompanied by the three crowns
We can foresee
With chance of a turned head
The anteroom of the inexpressible one

The breath of the arctic fox
The opening towards another world
Or the squealing of the flight
Barnacle goose
That of the silence of the infinite one
Comes to disturb quietude
Absolute spaces
Bright colors like unreal

With the binocular
On the cold ground
Dream in search of sublime
The bunting of snows
Reveal the volatile presence
Of this strange place

The bay of the Madeleine
Offer to the amazed visitors
Bluish ice floes
Under the incandescent filter of the sun

Magic lights
Plug the impatient eyes
It can be
Translucent green water
Like a dream of contemplated summer

To protect fertilized egg
The perhaps aggressive tern
By its beats of wings
The mercule trace a circle
On the lace sea
The seagull competes of virtuosity
Its oscillations in the sky
Resemble a silver plated star sequence

Rocked by the rhythm the wind
The seal finds a piece of iceberg
The claw of the polar bear
Recall the imprudent tourists
That rest of mammalian “the host of the vastness”
Within nature
With its rules of existence

On the whole of the island of Spitzberg
Sublime Place
That it is advisable to protect
Some coal mines of the past
Announce that human dignity
Is called with the dream of otherness
To safeguard this magic site.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

Gift offered to a littoral
Perfume of the existence
Scents of the East
Its junks and sampans
With the agility of the dragon of sea

Colors with the nuances of jade
According To the clearness of the sky
Or green emerald
The infinite one seems unceasingly pushed back
By these natural barriers
Of limestone or karstic rocks
Generated since the end of the primary era.
Caves, tunnels, caves.
Forged by rainwater
Emerge from the fog
The time of a glance or stammered words

Here time fertilized its work
Halong! Panoply of varied sequences
Multiplicity of the forms and the sizes
Even the sky seems indented
By the infinity of magnified small islands
And the softness of a Vietnamese sky
- the cave of snow
- the mount burns perfume
- the watchdog
- the mountain with the shape of the head of the man
- the mount of the clamping plate
- the cellar of the paradise
- The island fighting cock
- The cave of the pelican
- The palate of the fairies
- The cave of the wonders
- The cave of the surprises .....

As Many sublimated places
Nature of vastness

Blaise Pascal wrote one day
“The silence of infinite spaces frightens me”
But in this place
Silence is rapture and wisdom
The poet expresses his cry of truth
Natural clearing
Recall to the man his challenge of life.

During too many years
Covers Over with Soil of fire
Human cruelty
Viêt - Nam of water
Smoothness of the East

You restore
By the magnificence
The call of humanity
Who to lie in each one among us
If we know to open
Our reception of beauty
With the dreams of otherness
In Halong
Under the sun or in the clouds
Visible or translucent Horizon
The song of the East is quite real.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
  Read Splendeurs du monde et protection de la nature. Poème LA BAIE d’HALONG


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