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Global Community Newsletter main website

Volume 17 Issue 8 May 2019

Business, trade and global resources.
( see enlargement Business, trade and global resources. )

We are the first species on Earth that will have to limit itself for its own survival and that of all life.

To attain Peace in the world, we must take into account many aspects of Life in society.
( see enlargement To attain Peace in the world, we must take into account many aspects of Life in society. )

Global Community will celebrate its 35th year in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.

Paper and animations concerned about the Global Community 35th year achievements and celebration from its beginning in 1985 to 2020 Paper concerned about the Global Community  35th year   achievements and celebration from its beginning in 1985 to 2020..

Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.
( see enlargement Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life. )
Watch promoting animation. (50 MBs) Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.

Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.
( see enlargement Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life. )
Watch animation promoting participation. (41 MBs) Global Community will celebrate its 35th year  in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.

Theme of May 2019 Newsletter

Cosmology, cosmogony, and the Elohim, our extra-terrestrial beings who created the human species on Earth.

Thousands of years ago, the human species was first created, engineered, on Earth, by extra-terrestrial Elohim beings.

by Germain Dufour
April 10, 2019


Master's Degree Thesis
"La Cosmologie et la Cosmogonie: Une Discussion" by Germain Dufour
Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Departement de Physique, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

Note to the reader:
The following link and text were based on the articles, letters, reports, research papers, discussions and global dialogues, and messages written by author(s) whose work were published in monthly Newsletters of years mostly 2017 and 2018, and 2019. All published work can be found in the Global Dialogue Proceedings (check link http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/GIMProceedings/). Scroll down to years 2017 and 2018 and follow the Proceedings sections, and you will find the actual authors lists, with their papers and all references. Global Community Media is a way to communicate workable sound solutions to problems arising in the world. Let us share our problems and workable sound solutions. Sharing information is a necessity to all life and humanity's survival. Our world is changing fast before our eyes, and we must react quickly and hard to protect all life on Earth. No hesitation! Right now and no waiting! Life on the planet is our first priority. We must protect it at all costs. We, global citizens, fight to protect life on Earth for this generation and the next ones. We are the defenders of the environment and the global life-support systems. We know who the beasts are, and how they destroy the living on our planet. We have rallied together all over the world to protect our home, Earth. Just so you all know we don't pay anyone, and we don't pay expenses. We do volunteer work for humanity. We expect volunteers to be responsible and accountable of all their actions. We do soft activism work. We do not have a copyright research expert to do this work. In order to create a harmonious and compassionate Global Civilization, and to protect our planetary environment, the global life-support systems, we want to help you concerning all issues, and you may become a volunteer yourself. Check our volunteer page at: http://globalcommunitywebnet.com/GPA/gpahelpsyou.htm

Love the world, save the world! Rise up global citizens! You are needed! Life needs you, now.

Table of Contents of May 2019 Newsletter.

Reporting News
( see enlargement Reporting News)

Reporting News.
( see enlargement Reporting News)

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

Anitha S, Pratap Antony, Prof. John S. Avery, Farooque Chowdhury (2), Dr James M Dorsey, Dr Andrew Glikson, Sam Harris, Chris Hedges, Robert Hunziker, Peter Koenig (2), Jeannette de Nazareth, Dr Marianne de Nazareth, Doug Noble, James Petras, Paul Craig Roberts, Carl Sagan, Suprabha Seshan, David Swanson, Gail Tverberg, Tatyana Vorontsova, Meena Miriam Yust, Kevin Zeese.

Anitha S, Burn Me Not: A Letter From Earth. Burn Me Not: A Letter From Earth.
Pratap Antony, Political Manifestos Neglect Out Environment. Political Manifestos Neglect Out Environment
Farooque Chowdhury, Imperialist capitalism is heading towards a cataclysmic crisis: John Smith on imperialism. Imperialist capitalism is heading towards a cataclysmic crisis: John Smith on imperialism.
Farooque Chowdhury, Climate crisis poses a major political challenge to imperialism: John Smith on imperialism. Climate crisis poses a major political challenge to imperialism: John Smith on imperialism.
Dr James M Dorsey, Civilizationism vs the Nation State. Civilizationism vs the Nation State.
Dr Andrew Glikson, Under a greenhouse atmosphere. Under a greenhouse atmosphere.
Sam Harris and Carl Sagan, The Meaning of Life by Sam Harris and Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot. Sam Harris and Carl Sagan,    <B>The Meaning of Life by Sam Harris
and Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.
Chris Hedges, Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth. Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth.
Robert Hunziker, Arctic Permafrost No Longer Freezes … Even in Winter. Arctic Permafrost No Longer Freezes … Even in Winter.
Peter Koenig, Water Is Life – They Are Stealing Our Livelihood and We Aren’t Even Noticing. Water Is Life – They Are Stealing Our Livelihood and We Aren’t Even Noticing.
Peter Koenig, NATO – 70th Anniversary of the Most Murderous – and Legal – Organization on our Planet. NATO – 70th Anniversary of the Most Murderous – and Legal – Organization on our Planet.
Jeannette de Nazareth, Canada, and Tatyana Vorontsova, Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!! Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!!
Dr Marianne de Nazareth, New Species of Deep-Sea Corals Discovered in US Atlantic Marine Monument. New Species of Deep-Sea Corals Discovered in US Atlantic Marine Monument.
Doug Noble, Collusion Hiding in Plain Sight. Collusion Hiding in Plain Sight.
James Petras, Why Venezuela Has Not Been Defeated. Why Venezuela Has Not Been Defeated.
Paul Craig Roberts, Russian Military Expert Says Time for Russia to Prepare for War. Russian Military Expert Says Time for Russia to Prepare for War.
Sam Harris and Carl Sagan, The Meaning of Life by Sam Harris and Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot. Sam Harris and Carl Sagan,    <B>The Meaning of Life by Sam Harris
and Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.
Suprabha Seshan, From This Wounded Forest: A Dispatch. From This Wounded Forest: A Dispatch.
David Swanson, Exporting Dictators. Exporting Dictators.
Gail Tverberg, The true feasibility of moving away from fossil fuels. The true feasibility of moving away from fossil fuels.
Jeannette de Nazareth, Canada, and Tatyana Vorontsova, Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!! Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!!
Meena Miriam Yust, Dangerous Plastics Are a Threat to Us and Future Generations: Why a Legally Binding Treaty Cannot Be Postponed. Dangerous Plastics Are a Threat to Us and Future Generations: Why a Legally Binding Treaty Cannot Be Postponed.
Kevin Zeese, Greens Say ‘No to NATO’ While War Parties Give Standing Ovations to NATO. Greens Say ‘No to NATO’ While War Parties Give Standing Ovations to NATO.

Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
  March 24, 2019
The Meaning of Life by Sam Harris
and Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

by Sam Harris and Carl Sagan, Information Clearing House.

 The Meaning of Life - Sam Harris


Life, death & the present moment.

Posted March 24, 2019



Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot

Be humble for you are made of earth, be noble for you are made of stars.

  Read  The Meaning of Life
 April 15, 2019
Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!!
by Jeannette de Nazareth, Canada, and Tatyana Vorontsova, Russie, Cercle Univ. Ambassadeurs de la Paix.


Notre Dame de Paris en Incendie !!!

(lundi le 15 avril, 2019)

O Notre Dame de Paris, majestueuse Église!

Qu’est-ce qui t’arrive à toi aujourd’hui?

De grandes flammes infernales surgissent

Venant de l’enfer de jalousie t’envahissent

Je vois partout le cœur des fidèles se déchirent

Qui élèvent leurs yeux vers le Ciel et prient

Afin que le feu cesse une fois pour tout se termine

Avant que tu deviennes victime et un grand Sacrifice  

O Dieu, pourquoi as-Tu permis cette incendie

A la Princesse et la plus belle Cathédrale de Paris?

Qu’est ce qui se passe dans ce pays qui enrage toute la ville?

Tant de violence et de ravages qui graduellement t’envahissent

O Seigneur pardonne tous ceux qui T’offensent jours et nuits

Par les sacrilèges et des blasphèmes des ennemis de ton Église!

O Sainte Vierge, Mère de l’Univers et de tous les pays

Viens au secours de Ton Église chérie, O Marie, je te supplie

Impose tes tendres mains et fais arrêter ce méchant incendie

Intercède auprès de ton Fils Unique Jésus-Christ, je te prie

Sauve ces sacrées œuvres artistiques de grande valeur spirituelle infinie

Garde notre Foi ferme en ces moments durs les plus difficiles

Donne à tous les croyants la persévérance et de bien tenir

Au cœur de toutes ces turbulences infernales face à la Vie

O Seigneur Jésus, vient sauver ta grandiose belle Église

Cette œuvre artistique qui est infiniment magnifique

Pourquoi permets-Tu la destruction de ce Temple unique

Pourtant Elle est dédiée à Ta Mère Chérie Vierge Marie?

Comment est-il possible de ne rien faire ni réagir

Pourquoi tel silence alors que les cœurs des fidèles de déchirent?

Ne vois-Tu pas cette terre plus jamais qui devient aride et stérile?

O Jésus de Nazareth vient rebâtir ce que le malin détruit

Ces mauvais esprits nous envient pour l’Amour qui nous réjouit

Dans la mélancolie et la souffrance, nos âmes grandissent

Grâce à votre grand Sacrifice par lequel on se nourrit et se fortifie

Je remets ma confiance totale en Toi, Jésus-Christ

Et Toi, notre très chère Mère de Dieu, Marie

Je reconnais ton Fils comme notre Roi et Sauveurs

Ne nous laisse pas orphelins; viens vivre au cœur de notre Vie

Sans Vous, nous sommes impuissants, Jésus et Marie

Nous avons besoin de Vous face aux tribulations,

Châtiments, destruction de nos Églises

Sans Vous, on est noyé dans les ennuis

Viens à notre secours, Vierge Marie

A Toi et Ton Fils Unique Jésus-Christ

Je dis au nom du monde entier : Merci!




Держись, Нотр-Дам!


Татьяна Воронцова


Держись, Нотр-Дам, я рыдаю с тобой...

Ты выдержал шторм революций и войн.

Симфония в камне, отсчёт всех дорог...

Раскрытая книга, что создал сам Бог.


Ты видел упадок, руины и боль...

Забвенье времён и народа разбой.

Века революций ушли в забытьё -

И всё ж воцарилось величье твоё.


И вот ты опять Нотр-Дам на краю,

И дьявол щебечет про гибель твою.

Но тщетно, Бог прежний ансамбль возродит,

И вновь твой орган с торжеством зазвучит.


Мой перевод на французский язык



Attends, Notre-Dame!


Attends, Notre-Dame, je pleure avec toi ...

Vous avez subi une tempête de révolution et de guerre.

Symphonie en pierre, le compte à rebours de toutes les routes ...

Livre ouvert que Dieu lui-même a créé.


Avez-vous vu la carie, la ruine et la douleur ...

Oubli des temps et du vol des gens.

Les siècles de révolution sont tombés dans l'oubli -

Et pourtant ta grandeur a régné.


Et vous voilà de nouveau sur le bord de Notre Dame,

Et le diable pépie à propos de votre destin.

Mais en vain, Dieu fera revivre l'ancien ensemble,

Et encore une fois, votre orgue sonnera avec triomphe.


  April 3, 2019
Collusion Hiding in Plain Sight.
by Doug Noble, Information Clearing House.

Donald Trump’s suspected “collusion” with Russia in the 2016 elections has been extensively investigated. But almost nothing has been said about his, and Congress members’, open collusion with another nation, Israel, whose pervasive impact on US elections and US policy takes place in plain sight. Despite courageous critiques by Rep Omar and others, few candidates for Congress or members of Congress, including its top leaders, are willing to risk challenging US policy toward Israel or the impact of its American lobbying arm, AIPAC.

Since taking office, Trump has openly colluded with Netanyahu’s Israel.  Early in his term, Trump made a unilateral decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a holy site of both Jews and Muslims. This despite the city’s designation since 1948 as an international protectorate, only half controlled, through conquest, by Israel. Now Trump has unilaterally “recognized” Israeli sovereignty of Syria’s Golan Heights, occupied through conquest by Israel since 1967. Both of Trump’s actions support Israel in its ongoing violation of international law prohibiting any nation’s acquisition or annexation of land occupied through conquest.

Trump also turns a blind eye to the murderous crimes against humanity that continue to be perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Instead he provides the money for Israel’s weapons, at $3.3 billion in foreign military financing, more than the United States provides to the rest of the world combined.

Now that’s real collusion. But who’s looking, let alone investigating?

Doug Nobleis an activist with Upstate (NY) Drone Action Coalition.

This article was originally published by " Counterpunch

  Read  Collusion Hiding in Plain Sight
  April 13, 2019
Russian Military Expert Says Time for Russia to Prepare for War.
by PaulCraig Roberts, Information Clearing House.

Russian Military Expert Says Time for Russia to Prepare for War

By Paul Craig Roberts

April 13, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -Someone should speak to the Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, and put him in touch with reality. According to a RT news report, Siluanov has called for restoring economic and political ties between Moscow and Washington.

Ties between the US and Russia were intentionally wrecked on purpose by the US military/security complex and its congressional and media vassals in order to provide the military/security complex with an enemy big enough to justify the $1,000 billion annual budget of the complex.
What does Siluanov think Russiagate was about other than to prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Russia?

The last president who tried to rein in the military/security complex was John F. Kennedy, and he was assassinated. On Trump they used Russiagate instead of bullets, and it proved almost as effective.

If Russian government officials continue to be victims of their dreams to be America’s partner, they and their country are headed to destruction. The Putin government’s toleration of a Fifth Column financed by Washington that is operating within Russia against the Russian government and Russian sovereignty indicates that the Russian government can’t get its mind around the fact that the neoconservatives intend to reestablish a unipolar world.

Perhaps Igor Korotchenko should speak to Siluanov. Korotchenko says that Russia needs to quit dawdling and prepare properly for war. In the digital/thermonuclear world of today, Russia will not have time, as Stalin had, to recover from an attack and go on to victory. Among the things Russia needs to do in order to be ready for war, says, Korotchenko, is “to multiply the strategic stocks of high precision missiles,” which requires building additional plant and equipment to manufacture them, protect Russia’s digital sovereignty, and increase the functionality of the FSB (the Russian Security Service) in order to prevent the externally funded Fifth Column from operating against Russia. https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=3136021&cid=4441

Russia’s weakness is the government’s toleration of the Western-financed media and politicians inside Russia that operate as Washington’s agents. The Russian government tolerates these agents of Washington, because the Russian government wants to show how democratic it is in the hopes that the West will accept Russia as one of its own.

All the while the West is preparing Russia’s demise.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

  Read Russian Military Expert Says Time for Russia to Preparefor War
  April 14, 2019
Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth.
by Chris Hedges, Information Clearing House.

Editor’s note: The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed a former oil and mining industry lobbyist as secretary of the interior. President Donald Trump’s nomination of David Bernhardt, a government official during the George W. Bush administration, easily survived challenges by environmentally minded senators and others. It came amid rapidly mounting scientific evidence that global warming is an existential threat to huge numbers of species, including Homo sapiens.

In the reposted column below, first published on Truthdig on Aug. 19, 2018, Chris Hedges writes about climate change and interviews a scientist who is among the many warning about what they call the monumental damage that human-made emissions are causing to the atmosphere and the planet. Hedges will return with a new column next Monday.

April 15, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -  The spectacular rise of human civilization—its agrarian societies, cities, states, empires and industrial and technological advances ranging from irrigation and the use of metals to nuclear fusion—took place during the last 10,000 years, after the last ice age. Much of North America was buried, before the ice retreated, under sheets eight times the height of the Empire State Building. This tiny span of time on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old is known as the Holocene Age. It now appears to be coming to an end with the refusal of our species to significantly curb the carbon emissions and pollutants that might cause human extinction. The human-induced change to the ecosystem, at least for many thousands of years, will probably make the biosphere inhospitable to most forms of life.

The planet is transitioning under our onslaught to a new era called the Anthropocene. This era is the product of violent conquest, warfare, slavery, genocide and the Industrial Revolution, which began about 200 years ago and saw humans start to burn a hundred million years of sunlight stored in the form of coal and petroleum. The numbers of humans climbed to over 7 billion. Air, water, ice and rock, which are interdependent, changed. Temperatures climbed. The Anthropocene, for humans and most other species, will most likely conclude with extinction or a massive die-off, as well as climate conditions that will preclude most known life forms. We engineered our march toward collective suicide although global warming was first identified in 1896 by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.

The failure to act to ameliorate global warming exposes the myth of human progress and the illusion that we are rational creatures. We ignore the wisdom of the past and the stark scientific facts before us. We are entranced by electronic hallucinations and burlesque acts, including those emanating from the centers of power, and this ensures our doom. Speak this unpleasant truth and you are condemned by much of society. The mania for hope and magical thinking is as seductive in the Industrial Age as it was in pre-modern societies.

Ate and Nemesis were minor deities who were evoked in ancient Greek drama. Those infected with hubris, the Greeks warned, lost touch with the sacred, believed they could defy fate, or fortuna, and abandoned humility and virtue. They thought of themselves as gods. Their hubris blinded them to human limits and led them to carry out acts of suicidal folly, embodied in the god Ate. This provoked the wrath of the other gods. Divine retribution, in the form of Nemesis, led to tragedy and death and then restored balance and order, once those poisoned with hubris were eradicated. “Too late, too late you see the path of wisdom,” the Chorus in the play “Antigone” tells Creon, ruler of Thebes, whose family has died because of his hubris.

“We’re probably not the first time there’s been a civilization in the universe,” Adam Frank, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester and the author of “Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth,” told me when we met in New York.

“The idea that we’re destroying the planet gives us way too much credit,” he went on. “Certainly, we’re pushing the earth into a new era. If we look at the history of the biosphere, the history of life on earth, in the long run, the earth is just going to pick that up and do what is interesting for it. It will run new evolutionary experiments. We, on the other hand, may not be a part of that experiment.”

Civilizations probably have risen elsewhere in the universe, developed complex societies and then died because of their own technological advances. Every star in the night sky is believed to be circled by planets, some 10 billion trillion of which astronomers such as Frank Drake estimate are hospitable to life.

“If you develop an industrial civilization like ours, the route is going to be the same,” Adam Frank said. “You’re going to have a hard time not triggering climate change.”

Astronomers call the inevitable death of advanced civilizations across the universe “the great filter.” Robin Hanson in the essay “The Great Filter—Are We Almost Past It?” argues that advanced civilizations hit a wall or a barrier that makes continued existence impossible. The more that human societies evolve, according to Hanson, the more they become “energy intensive” and ensure their own obliteration. This is why, many astronomers theorize, we have not encountered other advanced civilizations in the universe. They destroyed themselves.

“For a civilization to destroy itself through nuclear war, it has to have certain emotional characteristics,” Frank said. “You can imagine certain civilizations saying, ‘I’m not building those [nuclear weapons]. Those are crazy.’ But climate change, you can’t get away from. If you build a civilization, you’re using huge amounts of energy. The energy feeds back on the planet, and you’re going to push yourself into a kind of Anthropocene. It’s probably universal.”

Frank said that our inability to project ourselves into a future beyond our own life spans makes it hard for us to grasp the reality and consequences of severe climate change. Scenarios for dramatic climate change often center around the year 2100, when most adults living now will be dead. Although this projection may turn out to be overly optimistic given the accelerating rate of climate change, it allows societies to ignore—because it is outside the life span of most living adults—the slow-motion tsunami that is occurring.

“We think we’re not a part of the biosphere—that we’re above it—that we’re special,” Frank said. “We’re not special.”

“We’re the experiment that the biosphere is running now,” he said. “A hundred million years ago, it was grassland. Grasslands were a new evolutionary innovation. They changed the planet, changed how the planet worked. Then the planet went on and did things with it. Industrial civilization is the latest experiment. We will keep being a part of that experiment or, with the way that we’re pushing the biosphere, it will just move on without us.”

“We have been sending probes to every other planet in the solar system for the last 60 years,” he said. “We have rovers running around on Mars. We’ve learned generically how planets work. From Venus, we’ve learned about the runaway greenhouse effect. On Venus the temperature is 800 degrees. You can melt lead [there]. Mars is a totally dry, barren world now. But it used to have an ocean. It used to be a blue world. We have models that can predict the climate. I can predict the weather on Mars tomorrow via these climate models. People who think the only way we can understand climate is by studying the earth now, that’s completely untrue. These other worlds—Mars, Venus, Titan. Titan is a moon of Saturn that has an amazingly rich atmosphere. They all teach us how to think like a planet. They have taught us generically how planets behave.”

Frank points out that much of the configurations of the ecosystem on which we depend have not always been part of the planet’s biosphere. This includes the Gulf Stream, which carries warm water and warm air up from Florida to Boston and out across the Atlantic.

“Hundreds of millions of people in some of Earth’s most technologically advanced cities rely on the mild climate delivered by the Gulf Stream,” Frank writes in “Light of the Stars.” “But the Gulf Stream is nothing more than a particular circulation pattern formed during a particular climate state the Earth settled into after the last ice age ended. It is not a permanent fixture of the planet.”

“Everything we think about the earth just happens to be this one moment we found it in,” he told me. “We’re pushing it [the planet] and we’re pushing it hard. We don’t have much time to make these transitions. What people have to understand is that climate change is our cosmic adolescence. We should have expected this. The question is not ‘did we change the climate?’ It’s ‘of course we changed the climate. What else did you expect to have happened?’ We’re like a teenager who has been given this power over ourselves. Just like how you give a teenager the keys to the car, there’s this moment where you’re like, ‘Oh my God I hope you make it.’ And that’s what we are.”

“Climate change is not a problem we have to make go away, in a sense that you don’t make adolescence go away,” Frank said. “It is a dangerous transition that you have to navigate. … The question is are we smart enough to deal with the effects of our own power? Climate change is not a pollution problem. It’s not like any environmental problem we’ve faced before. In some sense, it’s not an environmental problem but a planetary transition. We’ve already pushed the earth into it. We’re going to have to evolve a new way of being a civilization, fundamentally.”

“We will either evolve those group behaviors quickly or the earth will take what we’ve given it, in terms of new climate states, and move on and create new species,” he said.

Frank said the mathematical models for the future of the planet have three trajectories. One is a massive die-off of perhaps 70 percent of the human population and then an uneasy stabilization. The second is complete collapse and extinction. The third is a dramatic reconfiguration of human society to protect the biosphere and make it more diverse and productive not for human beings but for the health of the planet. This would include halting our consumption of fossil fuels, converting to a plant-based diet and dismantling the animal agriculture industry as well as greening deserts and restoring rainforests.

There is, Frank warned, a tipping point when the biosphere becomes so degraded no human activity will halt runaway climate change. He cites Venus again.

“The water on Venus got lost slowly,” he said. “The CO2 built up. There was no way to take it out of the atmosphere. It gets hotter. The fact that it gets hotter makes it even hotter. Which makes it even hotter. That’s what would happen in the collapse model. Planets have minds of their own. They are super-complex systems. Once you get the ball rolling down the hill. … This is the greatest fear. This is why we don’t want to go past 2 degrees [Celsius] of climate change. We’re scared that once you get past 2 degrees, the planet’s own internal mechanisms kick in. The population comes down like a stone. A complete collapse. You lose the civilization entirely.”

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. https://www.truthdig.com/author/chris_hedges/

  Read Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth
  April 15, 2019
Why Venezuela Has Not Been Defeated.
by James Petras, Information Clearing House.

Over the past half decade, a small army of US analysts, politicians, academics and media pundits have been predicting the imminent fall, overthrow, defeat and replacement of the Venezuelan government. They have been wrong on all counts, in each and every attempt to foist a US client regime.

In fact, most of the US induced ‘regime changes’ has strengthened the support for the Chavez – Maduro government.

When the US promoted a military-business coup in 2002, a million poor people surrounded the presidential palace, allied with the military loyalists, defeated the coup. The US lost their assets among their business and military clients, strengthened President Chavez, and radicalized his social program. Likewise, in 2002-03 when state oil company executives launched a lock-out.They were defeated, and hundreds of hardcore US supporters were fired and Washington lost a strategic ally.

A more recent example is the overbearing role of President Trump’s bellicose proclamation that the US is prepared to invade Venezuela. His threat aroused massive popular resistance in defense of national independence ,even among discontented sectors of the population.

Venezuela is in the vortex of a global struggle which pits the imperial aspirations of Washington against an embattled Venezuela intent on defending its own, and like countries, in support of national and social justice.

We will proceed by discussing the multi-sided means and methods adopted by Washington to overthrow Venezuela’s government and replace it by a client regime.

We will then analyze and describe the reasons why Washington has failed, focusing on the positive strengths of the Venezuelan government.

We will conclude by discussing the lessons and weaknesses of the Venezuelan experience for other aspiring nationalist, popular and socialist governments.

US Opposition: What Venezuela Faces

The US assault on Venezuela’s state and society includes:

  • (a)  A military coup in 2002
  • (b)  A lockout by the executives of the Venezuelan oil company
  • (c)  The exercise of global US power – organized political pressure via clients and allies in Europe, South and North America
  • (d)  Escalating economic sanctions between 2013 – 2019
  • (e)  Street violence between 2013 – 2019
  • (f)  Sabotage of the entire electrical system between 2017 -2019
  • (g)  Hoarding of goods via corporations and distributors from 2014 – 2019
  • (h)  Subversion of military and civilian institutions 2002 – 2019
  • (i)  Regional alliances to expel Venezuelan membership from regional organizations
  • (j)  Economic sanctions accompanied by the seizure of over $10 billion dollars of assets
  • (k)  Sanctions on the banking system

The US direct intervention includes the selection and appointment of opposition leaders and ‘dummy’ representatives overseas.

In brief the US has engaged in a sustained, two decades struggle designed to bring down the Venezuelan government. It combines economic, military, social and media warfare. The US strategy has reduced living standards, undermined economic activity, increased poverty, forced immigration and increaser criminality. Despite the exercise of US global power, it has failed to dislodge the government and impose a client regime.

Why Venezuela has Succeeded?

Despite the two decades of pressure by the world’s biggest imperial power, which bears responsibility for the world’s highest rate of inflation, and despite the illegal seizure of billions of dollars of Venezuelan assets, the people remain loyal , in defense of their government. The reasons are clear and forthright.

The Venezuelan majority has a history of poverty, marginalization and repression, including the bloody massacre of thousands of protestors in 1989. Millions lived in shanty towns, excluded from higher education and health facilities. The US provided arms and advisers to buttress the politicians who now form the greater part of the US opposition to President Maduro. The US- oligarch alliance extracted billions of dollars from contracts from the oil industry.

Remembrance of this reactionary legacy is one powerful reason why the vast majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention in support of the puppet opposition.

The second reason for the defeat of the US is the long-term large-scale military support of the Chavez-Maduro governments .Former President Chavez instilled a powerful sense of nationalist loyalty among the military which resists and opposes US efforts to subvert the soldiers.

The popular roots of Presidents Chavez and Maduro resonates with the masses who hate the opposition elites which despise the so-called ‘deplorables’. Chavez and Maduro installed dignity and respect among the poor.

The Venezuelans government defeated the US-backed coups and lockouts, these victories encouraged the belief that the popular government could resist and defeat the US-oligarch opposition. Victories strengthened confidence in the will of the people.

Under Chavez over two million modern houses were built for the shanty town dwellers; over two dozen universities and educational centers were built for the poor, all free of charge . Public hospitals and clinics were built in poor neighborhoods as well as public supermarkets which supplied low-cost food and other necessities which sustain living standards despite subsequent shortages.

Chavez led the formation of the Socialist Party which mobilized and gave voice to the mass of the poor and facilitated representation. Local collectives organized to confront corruption, bureaucracy and criminality. Together with popular militias, the community councils ensured security against CIA fomented terror and destruction.

Land reform and the nationalization of some mines and factories secured peasant and workers support – even if they were divided by sectarian leaders.


The cumulative socio-economic benefits consolidate support for the Venezuelan leadership despite the hardships the US induces in recent times. The mass of the people have gained a new life and have a lot to lose if the US- oligarchy return to power. A successful US coup will likely massacre tens of thousands of popular supporters of the government. The bourgeoisie will take its revenge for those many who have ruled and benefited at the expense of the rich.

There are important lessons to be learned from the long-term large-scale successful resistance of the Venezuelan government’s experience but also its limitations.

Venezuela , early on, secured the loyalty of the army. That’s why the Chavista government has endured over 30 years while the Chilean governments of Salvador Allende was overthrown in three years.

The Venezuelan government retained mass electoral support because of the deep socio-economic changes that entrenched mass support in contrast to the center-left regimes in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador which won three elections but were defeated by their right-wing opponents, including electoral partners, with a downturn in the economy, and the flight of middle-class voters and parties.

Venezuelas linkages with allies in Russia, China and Cuba provided ‘life jackets’ of economic and military support in the face of US interventions, something the center- left governments failed to pursue.

Venezuela built regional alliances with nearly half of South America, weakening US attempts to form a regional or US invasion force.

Despite their strategic successes the Venezuelan government has committed several costly mistakes which increased vulnerability.

  • (1)  Failure to diversify their exports, markets and banking system. The US sanctions exploited these weaknesses.
  • (2)  Failure to carry out monetary reforms to reverse or contain hyperinflation.
  • (3)  Failure to maintain the hydro-electoral system and secure it from sabotage.
  • (4)  Failure to invest in and recruit new technical professional to upgrade the operation of the financial system and prosecute financial corruption in the banking system. Venezuela worked with high officials who engaged in financial and real estate transactions of a dubious nature.
  • (5)  The failure to recruit and train working class and professional political cadres capable of oversight over management.

Venezuela has taken steps to rectify these errors but the question is whether they have time and place to realize radical reforms?

  Read   WhyVenezuela Has Not Been Defeated
  April 16, 2019
Exporting Dictators.
by David Swanson, Information Clearing House.

The U.S. government gets little credit for it, doesn’t even like to brag about it, but as of 2017 provided military “aid” to 73% of the world’s dictatorships. Ocassionally, the U.S. turns against one of its dictators and chooses that moment to tell everyone about him: Hussein, Noriega, Gadaffi, Assad. Sometimes it loses a dictator for other reasons: the Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak.

Sometimes the U.S. imposes a U.S. dictator on a foreign colony: as historically in the Philippines, or Haiti, Chile, or post-“liberation” Iraq. More often it selects and trains, imposes and props up a dictator from within the population of “natives” or “savages.” And sometimes such a dictator spends many years in the United States preparing and awaiting opportunity.

When I heard that Juan Guaido, a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., had proclaimed himself president of Venezuela, I was reminded that his fellow GW (and Harvard and Princeton) graduate Syngman Rhee was flown to South Korea by the United States government and put in charge of the place, and given the power to commit massive atrocities — the greatest of which was pushing the Korean peninsula into war. Does George Washington University recruit students with promises of small distant countries in which to have life-and-death power over the primitives?

Then Khalifa Haftar hit the news again. This guy lived in Falls Church, Virginia, from around 1990 to 2007, and Vienna, Virginia, until 2011. If you’re not from Fairfax County, Virginia, you should know that you could practically topple over a pyramid of naked Muslim prisoners on the roof of the CIA in Langley, Virginia, and land some of them in Falls Church or Vienna. Haftar was exported to Libya multiple times during those years in failed attempts to take the place over. His latest attempt has been ongoing since the United States exported him in 2011. Maybe there is an area of U.S. exports other than weaponry that is increasing.

Haftar is not unique. The D.C. area harbors a number of dictators in waiting less well known than Mike Pence. There’s Crown Prince Ahmad Shah Khan and various other members of the Afghan royal family. There’s Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last dictator whom the United States imposed on Iran from 1953 to 1979. Pahlavi lives in Potomac, Maryland, (across the river from Langley) and openly advocates for an overthrow of the Iranian government (because 1953 has worked out so well?) or, as the Washington Post puts it, “runs an advocacy association that is outspoken about the need for democracy in his home country.”

Now, call me crazy, but I’d like to leave it up to the people of Iran to run their own country, free of sanctions, lies, and threats. But the dictator-export industry does not seem to me to be completely without value. Surely there must be some place to which — despite his troubled apprenticeship — we can now export Donald Trump.

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.


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  Read Exporting Dictators
  March 24, 2019
Civilizationism vs the Nation State.
by Dr James M Dorsey, in World, countercurrents.org.

Many have framed the battle lines in the geopolitics of the emerging new world order as the 21st century’s Great Game. It’s a game that aims to shape the creation of a new Eurasia-centred world, built on the likely fusion of Europe and Asia into what former Portuguese Europe minister Bruno Macaes calls a “supercontinent.”

For now, the Great Game pits China together with Russia, Turkey and Iran against the United States, India, Japan and Australia. The two camps compete for influence, if not dominance, in a swath of land that stretches from the China Sea to the Atlantic coast of Europe.

The geopolitical flashpoints are multiple. They range from the China Sea to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Central European nations and, most recently, far beyond with Russia, China and Turkey supporting embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

On one level, the rivalry resembles Risk, a popular game of diplomacy, conflict and conquest played on a board depicting a political map of the earth, divided into forty-two territories, which are grouped into six continents. Multiple players command armies that seek to capture territories, engage in a complex dance as they strive for advantage, and seek to compensate for weaknesses. Players form opportunistic alliances that could change at any moment. Potential black swans threaten to disrupt.

Largely underrated in debates about the Great Game is the fact that increasingly there is a tacit meeting of the minds among world leaders as well as conservative and far-right politicians and activists that frames the rivalry: the rise of civilisationalism and the civilizational state that seeks its legitimacy in a distinct civilization rather than the nation state’s concept of territorial integrity, language and citizenry.

The trend towards civilisationalism benefits from the fact that 21st century autocracy and authoritarianism vests survival not only in repression of dissent and denial of freedom of expression but also maintaining at least some of the trappings of pluralism that can include representational bodies with no or severely limited powers, toothless opposition groups, government-controlled non-governmental organizations, and degrees of accountability.

It creates the basis for an unspoken consensus on the values that would underwrite a new world order on which men like Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Victor Orban, Mohammed bin Salman, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump find a degree of common ground. If anything, it is this tacit understanding that in the shaping of a new world order constitutes the greatest threat to liberal values such as human and minority rights. By the same token, the tacit agreement on fundamental values reduces the Great Game to a power struggle over spheres of influence and the sharing of the pie as well as a competition of political systems in which concepts such as democracy are hollowed out.

Intellectually, the concept of civilisationalism puts into context much of what is currently happening. This includes the cyclical crisis over the last decade as a result of a loss of confidence in leadership and the system; the rise of right and left-wing populism; the wave of Islamophobia and increased anti-Semitism; the death of multi-culturalism with the brutal crackdown on Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang as its most extreme expression; the Saudi and Russian alliance with ultra-conservative Christian groups that propagate traditional family values; and Russian meddling in Western elections.

Analysts explained these developments by pointing to a host of separate and disparate factors, some of which were linked in vague ways. Analysts pointed among others to the 2008 financial crisis, jihadist violence and the emergence of the Islamic State, the war in Syria, and a dashing of hope with the rollback of the achievements of the 2011 popular Arab revolts. These developments are and were at best accelerators not sparks or initiators.

Similarly, analysts believed that the brilliance of Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Towers and the Pentagon in Washington was the killing of multi-culturalism in one fell and brutal swoop. Few grasped just how consequential that would be. A significant eye opener was the recent attack on the mosques in Christchurch. New Zealand much like Norway in the wake of the 2012 attacks by supremacist Andre Breivik stands out as an anti-dote to civilisationalism with its inclusive and compassionate response.

The real eye-opener, however, was a New Zealand intelligence official who argued that New Zealand, a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance alongside the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, had missed the emergence of a far or alt-right that created breeding grounds for violence because of Washington’s singular post-9/11 focus on what popularly is described as Islamic terrorism. That remark casts a whole different light on George W. Bush’s war on terror and the subsequent war against the Islamic State. Those wars are rooted as much in the response to 9/11, the 7/7 London attacks and other jihadist occurrences as they are in witting or unwitting civilisationalism.

The global war on terror has become a blueprint for violence against Muslims. When there isn’t a shooting at a mosque, there’s a drone strike in Somalia. When one Friday prayer goes by without incident, an innocent Muslim is detained on material support for terrorism charges or another is killed by law enforcement. Maybe a baby is added to a no-fly list,” said human rights activist Maha Hilal. Scholars Barbara Perry and Scott Poynting warned more than a decade ago in study of the fallout in Canada of the war on terror that “in declining adequately to recognize and to act against hate (crimes), and in actually modelling anti-Muslim bias by practicing discrimination and institutional racism through “‘ethnic targeting,’ ‘racial profiling,’ and the like, the state conveys a sort of ideological license to individuals, groups and institutions to perpetrate and perpetuate racial hatred.”

The same is true for the various moves in Europe that have put women on the frontline of what in the West are termed cultural wars but in reality are civilizational wars involving efforts to ban conservative women’s dress and endeavours to create a European form of Islam. In that sense Victor Orban’s definition of Hungary as a Christian state in which there is no room for the other is the extreme expression of this trend. It’s a scary picture, it raises the spectre of Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations, yet it is everything but.

Fact is that economic and geopolitical interests are but part of the explanation for the erection of a Muslim wall of silence when it comes to developments in Xinjiang, the Organization of Islamic Countries’ ability to criticize the treatment of Muslim minorities in various parts of the world but praise China for its policy, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s alliance with a man like Victor Orban and his joining the right-wing chorus that has turned Jewish financier and philanthropist George Soros into a bogeyman or the rise of militant, anti-Muslim Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, the signs of this were already visible with the alliance between Israel and the evangelists who believe in doomsday on the Day of Judgement if Jews fail to convert to Christianity as well as the recent forging of ties between various powerful Islamic groups or countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the evangelist movement.

Civilisationalism is frequently based on myths erected on a falsification and rewriting of history to serve the autocrat or authoritarian’s purpose. Men like Trump, Orban, and Erdogan project themselves as nationalist heroes who protect the nation from some invading horde. In his manifesto, Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch attacks, bought into the notion of an illusionary invader. Muslims, he wrote, “are the most despised group of invaders in the West, attacking them receives the greatest level of support.”

He also embraced the myths of an epic, centuries-long struggle between the white Christian West and Islam with the defeat of the Ottomans in 1683 at the ports of Vienna as its peak. Inscribed on Tarrant’s weapons were the names of Serbs who had fought the Ottomans as well as references to the battle of Vienna. To Tarrant, the Ottomans’ defeat in Vienna symbolized the victory of the mythical notion of a world of inviolable, homogeneous nations. “The idea that (medieval societies) are this paragon of unblemished whiteness is just ridiculous. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so awful,” said Paul Sturtevant, author of The Middle Ages in the Popular Imagination.

Much like popular perception of the battle for Vienna, Tarrant’s view of history had little relation to reality. A multi-cultural empire, the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna in cooperation with Catholic French King Louis XIV and Hungarian Protestant noble Imre Thokoly as well as Ukrainian Cossacks. Vienna’s Habsburg rulers were supported not only by Polish armies but also Muslim Tartar horsemen. “The Battle of Vienna was a multicultural drama; an example of the complex and paradoxical twists of European history. There never has been such a thing as the united Christian armies of Europe,” said historian Dag Herbjornsrud. Literary scholar Ian Almond argues that notions of a clash of civilizations bear little resemblance to the “almost hopelessly complex web of shifting power-relations, feudal alliances, ethnic sympathies and historical grudges” that shaped much of European history. “The fact remains that in the history of Europe, for hundreds of years, Muslims and Christians shared common cultures, spoke common languages, and did not necessarily see one another as ‘strange’ or ‘other,’” Almond said.

That was evident not only in the Battle of Vienna but also when the Ottomans and North Africa’s Arab rulers rallied around Queen Elizabeth I of England after the pope excommunicated her in 1570 for breaking with Catholicism and establishing a Protestant outpost. Elizabeth and her Muslim supporters argued that Protestantism and Islam were united in their rejection of idol worship, including Catholicism with its saints, shrines and relics. In a letter in 1579 to Ottoman sultan Murad III, Elizabeth described herself as the “most mighty defender of the Christian faith against all kind of idolatries.” In doing so, she sought to capitalize on the fact that the Ottomans had justified their decision to grant Lutherans preferred commercial treatment on the basis of their shared beliefs.

Similarly, historian Marvin Power challenges the projection of Chinese history as civilizational justification of the party leader’s one-man rule by Xi Jinping and Fudan University international relations scholar Zhang Weiwei. Amazon’s blurb on Zhang’s bestselling The China Wave: Rise of the Civilizational State summarizes the scholar’s rendition of Xi Jinping’s vision succinctly: “China’s rise, according to Zhang, is not the rise of an ordinary country, but the rise of a different type of country, a country sui generis, a civilizational state, a new model of development and a new political discourse which indeed questions many of the Western assumptions about democracy, good governance and human rights.” The civilizational state replaces western political ideas with a model that traces its roots to Confucianism and meritocratic traditions.

In his sweeping study entitled China and England: The Preindustrial Struggle for Justice in Word and Image, Powers demonstrates that Chinese history and culture is a testimony to advocacy of upholding individual rights, fair treatment, state responsibility to its people, and freedom of expression rather than civilisationalism, hierarchy and authoritarianism. Powers extensively documents the work of influential Chinese philosophers, writers, poets, artists and statesmen dating back to the 3rd century BC who employed rational arguments to construct governance systems and take legal action in support of their advocacy. Powers noted that protection of free speech was embedded in edicts of the Han Emperor Wen in the second century BC. The edicts legitimized personal attacks on the emperor and encouraged taxpayers to expose government mistakes. The intellectuals and statemen were the Chinese counterpart of contemporary liberal thinkers.

In a lot of ways, Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church have understood the utility of civilisationalism far better than others and made it work for them, certainly prior to the Russian intervention in Syria. At a gathering several years before the intervention, Russia achieved a fete that seemed almost unthinkable. Russia brought to the same table at a gathering in Marrakech every stripe of Sunni and Shiite political Islam.

The purpose was not to foster dialogue among the various strands of political Islam. The purpose was to forge an alliance with a Russia that emphasized its civilizational roots in the Russian Orthodox Church and the common values it had with conservative and ultra-conservative Islam. To achieve its goal, Russia was represented at the gathering by some of its most senior officials and prominent journalists whose belief systems were steeped in the values projected by the Church. To the nodding heads of the participating Muslims, the Russians asserted that Western culture was in decline while non-Western culture was on the rise, that gays and gender equality threaten a woman’s right to remain at home and serve her family and that Iran and Saudi Arabia should be the model for women’s rights. They argued that conservative Russian Orthodox values like the Shariah offered a moral and ethical guideline that guarded against speculation and economic bubbles.

The Trump administration has embarked on a similar course by recently siding in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women with proponents of ultra-conservative values such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq and several African countries. Together they sought to prevent the expansion of rights for girls, women, and LGBT people and weaken international support for the Beijing Declaration, a landmark 1995 agreement that stands as an internationally recognized progressive blueprint for women’s rights.

The US position in the commission strokes with efforts by conservative Christians to reverse civilizational US courts decisions in favour of rights for women, minorities, members of the LGBT community, Muslims and immigrants and refugees. It is what conservative historian and foreign policy analyst Robert Kagan describes as the war within traditionally liberal society. It is that civilizational war that provides the rationale for Russian meddling in elections, a rational that goes beyond geopolitics. It also explains Trump’s seeming empathy with Putin and other autocrats and authoritarians.

The US alignment with social conservatives contributes to the rise of the civilizational state. Putin’s elevation of the position of the church and Xi’s concentration of absolute power in the Communist Party strengthens institutions that symbolize the rejection of liberal values because they serve as vehicles that dictate what individuals should believe and how they should behave. These vehicles enable civilisationalism by strengthening traditional hierarchies defined by birth, class, family and gender and delegitimizing the rights of minorities and minority views. The alignment suggests that the days were over when Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov trumpeted that the West had lost “its monopoly on the globalization process” because there was a “market of ideas” in which different “value systems” were forced to compete.

Similarly, conservative American author Christopher Caldwell asserted that Orban’s civilizational concept of an authoritarian Christian democracy echoed the kind of democracy that “prevailed in the United States 60 years ago” prior to the civil rights movement and the 1968 student protests. Orban’s Hungary epitomizes the opportunism that underlies the rise of the civilizational state as a mechanism to put one’s mark on the course of history and retain power. In Orban’s terms, civilizational means not Christianity as such but those Christian organizations that have bought into his authoritarian rule. Those that haven’t are being starved of state and public funding.

Civilisationalism’s increased currency is evident from Beijing to Washington with stops in between. Trump’s and Steve Bannon, his former strategy advisor’s beef with China or Russia is not civilizational, its about geopolitical and geo-economic power sharing. In terms of values, they think in equally civilizational terms. In a speech in Warsaw in 2017, Trump declared that “the fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive” but assured his audience that “our civilization will triumph.” Bannon has established an “academy for the Judeo-Christian west” in a former monastery in the Italian town of Collepardo. The academy intends to groom the next generation of far-right populist politicians.

It is initiatives like Bannon’s academy and the growing popularity of civilizational thinking in democracies, current and erstwhile, rather than autocracies that contribute most significantly to an emerging trend that transcends traditional geopolitical dividing lines and sets the stage for the imposition of authoritarian values in an emerging new world order. Interference in open and fair elections, support for far-right and ultra-conservative, family-value driven Western groups and influence peddling on both sides of the Atlantic and in Eurasia at large by the likes of Russia, China and the Gulf states serve the purpose of Bannon and his European associates.

Civilizationalists have put in place the building blocks of a new world order rooted in their value system. These blocks include the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The grouping is centred on the Chinese principle of non-interference in the sovereign affairs of others which amounts to support for the region’s autocratic regimes. The SCO’s Tashkent-based internal security coordination apparatus or Regional Antiterrorist Structure (RATS) has similarly adopted China’s definition of the “three evils” of terrorism, extremism, and separatism that justifies its brutal crackdown in Xinjiang.

Proponents of the civilizational state see the nation state and Western dominance as an aberration of history. British author and journalist Martin Jacques and international relations scholar Jason Sharman argue that China’s history as a nation state is at best 150 years old while its civilizational history dates back thousands of years. Similarly, intellectual supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) project India as a Hindu-base civilization rather than a multi-cultural nation state. Modi’s minister of civil aviation, Jayant Sinha, suggests that at independence, India should have embraced its own culture instead of Western concepts of scientific rationalism. Talking to the Financial Times, Sinha preached cultural particularism. “In our view, heritage precedes the state… People feel their heritage is under siege. We have a faith-based view of the world versus the rational-scientific view.”

Arab autocracies like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have stopped short of justifying their rule in civilizational terms but have enthusiastically embraced the civilizational state’s rejection of western notions of democracy and human rights. One could argue that Saudi Arabia’s four decade long global propagation of ultra-conservative strands of Islam or the UAE effort to mould an Islam that is apolitical and adheres to the principle of obedience to the ruler is civilizational in nature.

Islamic law scholar Mohammed Fadel argues that one reason why Arab autocracies have not overtly embraced civilisationalism even though they in many ways fit the mould is the absence of a collective memory in post-Ottoman Arab lands. To explicitly embrace civilisationalism as a concept, Arab states would have to cloak themselves in the civilizational mantle of either pan-Islam or pan-Arabism, which in turn would require regional integration. One could argue that the attempt by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to impose their will on the Middle East for example with the boycott of Qatar is an attempt to create a basis for a regional integration that they would dominate.

The rise of the civilizational state with its corporatist traits raises the spectre of a new world order whose value system equates dissent with treason, views an independent press as the ‘enemy of the people’ and relegates minorities to the status of at best tolerated communities with no inherent rights. It is a value system that enabled Trump to undermine confidence in the media as the fourth estate that speaks truth to power and has allowed the president and Fox News to turn the broadcaster into the United States’ closest equivalent to state-controlled television. Trump’s portrayal of the media as the bogeyman has legitimized populist assaults on the press across the globe irrespective of political system from China and the Philippines to Turkey and Hungary. It has facilitated Prince Mohammed’s effort to fuse the kingdom’s ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam with a nationalist sentiment that depicts critics as traitors rather than infidels.

In the final analysis, the tacit understanding on a civilisationalism-based value system means that it’s the likes of New Zealand, Norway and perhaps Canada that are putting up their hands and saying not me instead of me too. Perhaps Germany is one of the countries that is seeking to stake out its place on a middle ground. The problem is that the ones that are not making their voices heard are the former bastions of liberalism like the United States and much of Europe. They increasingly are becoming part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title and a co-authored volume, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa as well as Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa and recently published China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

Edited remarks at Brookings roundtable in Doha

A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,

  Read Civilizationism vs the Nation State
  March 25, 2019
Water Is Life – They Are Stealing Our Livelihood and We Aren’t Even Noticing.
by Peter Koenig , in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

This article was first published on World Water Day, 22 March 2018.

Author’s Update, March 24, 2019: Today is World Water Day 2019 – and the situation has become much worse.

Today, Jair Bolsonaro, is Brazil’s President, pushed in by Washington, a fascist with no respect for human life, as long as it is not his own, or that of his cronies, and even less respect for the environment, the beautiful planet earth which gives us all life. 

Under his leadership, not only water is being privatized, but all of Amazonia is up for grabs -that’s what Bolsonaro says and wants to make sure the corporate thieves understand. Rain forest can indiscriminately logged and destroyed, water can be captured and privatized, by major water giants to the detriment of people -and ultimately of peoples’ lives.

So, what Nestlé and Coca Cola have been “negotiating” behind closed doors a year ago at the ‘fake’ Water Conference in Brasilia, was just the beginning – the sell-out of the Guarani Aquifer, the world’s largest, underground freshwater storage. It is said to hold enough water to supply every human being over the next 200 years with 100 liters of water per person – including projected population growth.

Once the giant water corporations – those that privatize even city water in poor countries, Veolia, Suez (French), ITT Corporation (US), United Utilities (UK) – and more – get a hold of these underground water reservoirs, in the case of the Guarani, more than 70% underlays Brazil -the world water supply is doomed.

Stay alert and stop this theft of impunity of a public good, our most precious element for survival – WATER.

Today, 22 March 2018, marks World Water Day. It is also the week, when the 8th World Water Forum (WWF-8) convenes, 18 to 23 March 2018, in Brasilia. It is no coincidence, for sure, that Brazil was chosen for this noble WWF – about the water equivalent to the political and corporate elites, represented at the WEF – World Economic Forum, in Davos. The two are intimately related, and interlinked, as we will see.

The WWF is organized by the World Water Council, just another layer to confuse who is who in the circus of water elitists attempting to control a vital source of life – freshwater. The WWF prides itself with an honorable mission statement:

“To promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life”.

There you have it. Nestlé, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Dow Chemicals and other transnationals with strong water interests, Veolia, Suez (French), Thames (UK), Bechtel (US), Petrobras and a myriad of others, join together with the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), different UN bodies, and many multi- and bilateral donors, so-called development institutions – as well as dozens more ultra-liberal organizations, NGOs and corporations, pretending to work for the good of humanity; for the good of hundreds of millions of people who persistently are deprived of affordable potable water by an onslaught of water privatization (Organizers and supporters of the WWF).

Another layer of this prominent international water forum is the World Bank-created Water Resources Group (WRG). Its chief purpose is to pursue the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG-6), “Clean Water and Sanitation”. The WRG’s leadership is composed of an interwoven group of individuals and institutions, such as the head of  the WEF, leadership of Nestlé, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Dow Chemicals, the UN (UNDP) … and the Global Water Partnership (GWP), yet another layer within the maze of the global water mafia, created by the usual ‘suspects’, World Bank, UN (UNDP), and a number of  multi- and bilateral development agencies, whose priority focus is on water, i.e. the Swiss, the Swedes, the Dutch…

And not to forget – also present at the WWF is the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), part of UNESCO, based at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, whose mission is sharing information on worldwide groundwater resources, in view of protecting them, and focusing mainly on transboundary aquifer assessment and groundwater monitoring.

By and large, the WWF is the sum of this tremendous non-transparent, complex colossus of institutions and technocrats that is gradually taking over control of the global freshwater resources. This is happening under our eyes and under a seemingly anodyne promotion logo – PPP = Public Private Partnership which means in reality, the Public puts at disposal of the Private sector its publicly funded and publicly-owned infrastructure and water resources, to be exploited for profit at the detriment of the very public, who paid for the infrastructure and whose life depends on this vital resource, water.

Privatization of freshwater resources is a crime, but it’s the name of the game. Just look who is prominently represented in the World Bank-created Water Resources Group – it’s IFC, the International Finance Corporation, the private sector development branch of the World Bank Group.

The result of these multiple and often repetitive meetings and gathering is largely zero – safe for a litany of recommendations and resolutions whose implementation hardly ever see the light of the day. Imagine the tremendous annual cost of running this multi-agency sham; mostly business class travel, food and lodging (five-star accommodations), of the high-level technocrats crisscrossing the globe from one conference to another! – Millions and millions of dollars per year. How many people could be served with drinking water and safe sanitation for this amount of money?

The WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) estimates (July 2017) that “some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation.” – This, out of a world population of about 7.4 billion.

The Guarani Aquifer (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians and of World Water Watch, and author of “Blue Gold” (2002), “Blue Covenant” (2007), and of “Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever” (2013), refers in the latter to the WEF 2010 which under the aegis of the WRG was launching a platform of public-private partnership, to help engage mainly developing country governments in ‘reforming’ the water sector, i.e. putting it into the hands of private water corporations. Many of these countries have no choice, if they want to continue receiving “development” funds from the World Bank and Co. Barlow is also the founder of the Blue Planet Project, seeking to protect vital water resources, like the Guarani Aquifer for future generations.

Flashback to the World Economic Forum in Davos (January 2018). Brazilian President Temerattended this year’s WEF. Temer, a corrupt criminal, should be in prison rather than running a most wonderful country, Brazil, into the ground. Literally. His only purpose to be in Davos was to tell this elite forum about his intention to sell out and privatize his country, foremost water resources.

How did such a dishonest person become president of Brazil? – Washington, who else, put him there. Against all odds. The dark Zion-handlers representing the US financial sector removed an honest Dilma Rousseff and replaced her with Michel Temer, at that time an indicted crook. The indictment was lifted as he was supposed to be made President. It is still beyond me how this could happen, as Dilma had the entire military on her side and could have called a state of emergency to halt the parliamentary ‘regime change’ charade, instigated by the US. She didn’t. Somebody must have threatened her.

By now we know how Washington manipulates elections and other political processes around the world – by the shady methods of Cambridge Analytica (CA), a ‘marketing’ consultancy that steals personal data from internet, foremost from facebook, to target specific segments of a population with specific messages to influence their opinion. By their own account, CA methods have been applied in over 200 cases around the globe within the last 3 to 4 years, to influence elections and other political processes, including in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, the UK (Brexit), Germany, France and many more. This is true meddling in other countries’ sovereign affairs, by the one and only rogue state of this globe, the United States of America. And they are talking about Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential Elections!

Stealing by stealth is one of the neoliberal crimes we haven’t quite understood yet, let alone mastered. Hindsight is always 20/20. This article hopes to contribute to foresight.


Brazil, with about 8,200 km3 annually renewable freshwater, ranks number one with about one eighth (1/8) of the world’s total renewable freshwater resources which are estimated at 45,000 km3. The Amazon Basin holds about 73% of all of Brazil’s freshwater. Renewable freshwater is the composite of annually sustainable surface and groundwater recharge combined (recharge by precipitation and inflow from outside). The second most water-abundant country is Russia with 4,500 km3 / year, followed by Canada, Indonesia, China, Colombia, US, Peru, India – all with renewable water resources of between 2,000 and 3,000 km3 / year.

  Read  Water Is Life – They Are Stealing Our Livelihood and We Aren’t Even Noticing
  March 31, 2019
Under a greenhouse atmosphere.
by Dr Andrew Glikson, in Climate Change, countercurrents.org.

As carbon emissions have been growing at an accelerated rate (Figure 1) and new power plants are under construction (Figure 2) the race to destroy species and civilization is heading toward its critical conclusion (Figure 3), already with fatal consequences (Figure 4). According to the UNHCR, since 2008an estimated 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate or weather-related events. According to researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Wisconsinglobal warming is already responsible for some 150,000 deaths each year around the world. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that climate change would lead to about 250,000 additional deaths each year between 2030 and 2050, from factors such as malnutrition, heat stress and malaria.

The climate crisis constitutes the greatest existential threat humanity has ever faced and nature has suffered since 66 million years ago. From 1870 to 2014, cumulative carbon emissions totaled about 545 GtC (Billion ton/year).Emissions are partitioned among the atmosphere (approx. 230 GtC or 42%), ocean (approx. 155 GtC or 28%) and land (approx. 160 GtC or 29%). The transfer of additional part of the known fossil fuel reserve of >3000 GtC to the atmosphere is threatening to render large parts of the Earth uninhabitable. Yet, bar lip service and non-binding agreements, world governments are now presiding over the demise of much of the global biosphere and of civilization. As the planet keeps warming and the powers to be are spending $trillions on so-called “defense” and murderous wars, tragically people and nature suffer.

Figure 1. the rise in global carbon emissions to 37.1 GtC per year between 1960-2018

Figure 2.Coal power plants under construction

Every week the internet reports newlydiscovered and exploited coal, oil and gas fields. Just as often it reports cyclones, floods and fires. The two are intrinsically linked. Whereas any single extreme weather event may not be related to global warming, the trippling of the incidence of extreme weather eventsheralds the rising warming/energy of the planetary system away from conditions that allowed humans to flourish in the Neolithic, as contrasted with conditions in which stone age people had to struggle to survive.

By 2018 the carbon concentration of the atmosphere exceeded 750 billion tons(GtC) ascompared to pre-industrial atmospheric composition of ~620 GtC,representing the largest transfer of carbonfrom the Earth to the atmospheresince 56 million years ago. Over the last quarter century carbon emissions have risen by almost 63 percent (1990 -22.6 MtCO2/year; 2005 – 30MtCO2/year; 2017 – 37MtCO2/year; 2017/1990 -+163.5%).Coal production in Australia increased 13.6% between 2005 and 2010 and 5.3% between 2009 and 2010. In 2016 Australia was the fourth-highest producer with 6.9% of global production (503 MtC out of 7,269 MtC total) and was the biggest net exporter of coal, with 32% of global exports (389 MtC out of 1213 MtC total).

As a consequence of global carbon emissions by 2018 mean temperatures reached +0.98C over pre-industrial conditions and rose further by more than +0.5C over the continents. For example in Mongolia reaching +2.2C.The temporary masking effect by human-emitted aerosols potentially accounts for latent additional temperature rise ofbetween 0.5 and1.0C (as was manifested for example whenjet flightscontrails were discontinued on 9/11).

In coastal regions and islands the rise in temperature is driving increasingly intense cyclones and flood events, such as hit the Caribbean islands, southeastern Texas, Florida, Mississippi,  southwest Pacific islands, the Philippines, Kerala, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Japan, Queensland, and otherregions.

Figure 3. (a) CO2 concentration rise 1970-2100and (b) mean temperature rise to 2100 to levels well above the stability limit of the large ice sheets

In terms of the effects of global warming on human life (OECDClimate change: Consequences of inaction”), a quantitative risk assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests additional climate change-related deaths for the year 2030 would total241000people(38000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48000 due to diarrhea, 60000 due to malaria, and 95000 due to childhood under-nutrition).A review of the effects of extreme weather events in 2018 is given in “Deadly weather: the human cost of 2018’s climate disasters – visual guide” by Daniel Levitt et al (2018).

A changing climate not only affect agriculture but also leads to greater food spoilage from heat, leading to diarrheal illnesses and hunger that caused around 310,000 deaths in 2010. Heat and cold illnesses, malarial and vector-borne diseases, meningitis and environmental disasters account for the rest of the almost 700,000 deaths attributable to these direct climate impacts. Pollution, indoor smoke, and occupational hazards related to the carbon economy cause the rest of those 5 million deaths(Figure 4) through ailments like skin and lung cancer.

Figure 4. Numbers of climate related deaths in 2011 and 2030.

The melting of the polar ice sheets, where warming takes place at twice the rate as over the rest of the Earth, heralds a fundamental climate shift. Development of temperature contrasts between cold ocean regions and warming tropical regions (Figure 5) would lead to storminess, costing the lives ofmillions.

Figure 5. Hansen et al.’s 2016 model of global land and sea climate changes in 2065, 2080 and 2096, according to the IPCC emission scenario AIB. As melting of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets progress large volumes of cold ice melt water flow into the North Atlantic Ocean and the southern ocean, leading to meters-scale sea level rise and to transient cooling of the oceans. Until near-complete melting of polar ice allows resumed rise of global temperature rise, tropical zones and deep sea continue to warm. Near-complete melting of the large ice sheet would allow the Earth to return to climate conditions such as existed in the Early Eocene.

Life on Earth is controlled by presence of water, insolation, the composition of the atmosphere and oceans, asteroid impacts and large volcanic eruptions. Cyclic and abrupt changes in these factors have affected the climate over billions of years. Sharp rises in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, such as about 66 and 56 million years ago and at present have and are leading to major crises in nature. The current rise in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, combining the effects of CO2, methane and nitric oxide, is now tracking toward 500 ppm CO2 equivalent, the stability threshold of the large ice sheets. The consequent rise in mean global temperature by of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius over a period as short as a century or so represents oneof the largest catastrophes recorded in geological history, posing an existential threat for most species and for civilization. Current manifestations include a growing spate of extreme cyclones, floods, droughts and fires killing large number of people. Inexplicably business as usual persists among the political classes, chief executives and the media, expressing a plethora of half-truths and lies, defying the original definition of the species as “sapiens”.

Andrew Glikson is an Earth and Climate scientist

  Read Under a greenhouse atmosphere
  April 1, 2019
Burn Me Not: A Letter From Earth.
by Anitha S, in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

Dear all,

It was only a few months back  (August 2018) that I wrote to you all, soaked and wet after the scary and devastating floods that wrecked havoc on this tiny piece of land known for its forested hills, rivers, waterways and long coastline. Now I write this burning and hot, dry and life less after the fires that have torn my innards apart. Yes, my innards already torn by mining, blasting and piling as the chariot of progress rolls on. All around is a different kind of heat generated by human noises and war cries that elections are causing..the false rings of promises and oaths to bring development and prosperity all around..the grins and cheers as each one adorns garbs that does not suit them, as they swear by honesty, sincerity and humbleness-virtues that you cannot even buy or loan from a shopping mall or bank. Yet it is there..am afraid of the pollution caused by speeding vehicles, the unnecessary burning of fossil fuels, the plastic pollution and burning of waste, the intense drought all around! I am shocked that safe food, reliable source of drinking water, secure livelihoods and sustainable life styles are not on any of the agendas !

This is along with the fires that have been spreading all over the hills since a month ago. Hill after hill in the forested areas of Attapady, Wynad, Idukki,Nelliampathy and Thiruvananthapuram burnt for days. No, many are still burning…Along with this was the shocking reports of intense and harsh burning in the forests of Bandipur and Mudumalai. For you these regions belong to different states with  boundaries that mark protected areas and even sanctuaries. But for me it is my one and only body with the forests and hills my lungs, the rivers, streams and lakes my blue arteries ,the soil with its moisture and innumerable microorganisms my skin that gives me immunity and strength,  the underground aquifers my veins that purify water and the animals and plants my appendages that give movement and energy to my life springs.

As the first flame from a cigarette thrown carelessly fell on my parched grass and small herbs, the crackling sound of fire licked up the already drying water in my body. As the mad mob of people organised by political and social groups set fire to the forests at the edge of their homes just because it gives refuge to an elephant they chose to call “rogue and villain”, I felt my innards burning from the outer layers of soil. What hurts and shocks me most is the vengeance and violence with which my appendages were burnt and pushed away by the mob from all possible refuges.  The poachers who enter the forests secretly to set fire and scare the animals out of their bowers also have a cunning skill that is full of cruel avarice. Not to speak of the deliberate fires that are being set all over by the illicit brewers and illegal ganja cultivators. The forests which were once the abode of calmness, diversity and wisdom has become the closed arena for all that is unjust, inhuman and cruel. The epitome of this- the ultimate weapon with which ancient humans conquered Nature is still being used today to subjugate and rape me, make me powerless and helpless, inanimate and life less.  I wonder if these humans do not realise the simple truth that without water, soil, air and living beings life for them would also be impossible? Or has the power of death wish overcome the human race who pride in being modern, civilised and progressive?

As fires burn all over my body, I can feel the life sustaining nutrients in my skin- the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium vanishing for ever at a scale in which their replenishment will take decades. I do not have to explain how these 3 along with organic carbon are essential to retain the fertility of soil that will sustain agriculture and food security. The third degree burns that I suffer removes all moisture from the soil which is so essential to hold the particles together. In many places, especially in the mountains of Western Ghats where the forests have burnt in summer, the soil that loses its holding capacity due to dryness gives away and slips down causing massive land slides in monsoon. The continuous occurrence of fires that raise soil and atmospheric temperatures, increase dust and particulate matter contributes to atmospheric carbon increasing warming and desiccation.

It breaks my already weak heart when the smell of burning flesh of innumerable creatures that inhabit the sub soil layers are destroyed by the fires. Little do we know about the web of fungi that connect tree and plant roots creating a communication network that transmits nutrients and energy. When this is destroyed in a fire, the heart of the forest dies. When crown fires spread to the top of the trees and they burn like standing torches before falling on my breast, it is the homes of squirrels, lizards, birds and monkeys that vanish.  It is life’s last capacity to rejuvenate that you destroy without a thought, with a negligence that is criminal and inhuman.

I can understand that humans cannot sense the cool water droplets that evaporate from my innards when it burns.  I can feel that you cannot ever hear the heart beats of green trees as they fall. I sense that you will never know the gasping of thousands of microorganisms that burn inside me, the organic carbon and life’s elements that vanish forever! Yes, I know that humans have lost this capacity that was natural for the ones who lived here and vestiges of whom are still here in some places.

But I fail to understand why you humans cannot sense the Obvious destruction of life that fire causes. Why do humans have to classify a bird as endangered, a tree as endemic, a butterfly as rare, a forest as unique if he does not know how best to protect them?  Why do you need satellite images and data to understand that this year since January 2019 four times more fires have ravages the forests than in past years? Why is that you are not able to hear the frightened wing beats of hornbills and orioles, the scampering whimpers of monkeys and squirrels, the crackling of live tree barks, the slight hoof beats of deer and bison, the scared trumpeting of elephants ? Are you not able to smell the burning of live flesh, the dragging of half dead creatures as they struggle for breath?

I understand that it is not lack of funds that causes this massive overkill. It is so heartening to know that all over the world a campaign to stop Mother Earth from burning has been started by a 16 year old. The rallying of youngsters in Kerala to form a whatsapp group to involve in fire fighting during the last 2 months has been heartening. I watch with fear as young people climb the hills with insufficient and unsuitable gear to quench the fire, with primitive equipments , shoes, water bottles and costumes that attract the fires, with  scarce water and vehicles that are unable to move in the harsh terrain. I bow my head with gratitude to those brave hearts who are willing to risk their lives so trees, grass, animals and birds, soil and water can be saved! It comes as a shock that some of your science sees fires as essential to “manage “forests while others have analysed that fire can cause irreparable damage to the water cycle disrupting replenishment   especially in grasslands.

I wonder why we cannot start the preparations to prevent an out break of fire months before the summer.   If setting fire to life giving forests, mountains and grasslands is an act of vandalism and deliberate crime, can a law not be made that can be enforced by the concerned authorities? I understand that after the floods we have fires being declared as a “ disaster “ for which urgent measures are implemented –   we need to sit back and honestly analyse the impact and extent of human hands in creating this disaster. It would be foolish to create a delusion that forest fires are born out of “ bamboo poles rubbing against each other “ or a stray thunder bolt that strikes a tree in the summer rain”..as a friend said ‘ we are not living in Stone Age anymore, but in the age of Climate Change”. Yes, you should not fool yourselves any more..as the last drop of water disappears in the heat, as soil loses its life sustaining power, as the creatures that are fellow beings with right to live are being burnt, as trees that are suppliers of oxygen and reservoirs of carbon are fumigated…as you  are grabbing water, air and soil from the lives of your children…spare a thought for me and help me to recharge and rejuvenate, to refresh and replenish so Earth can sustain life..Start by saying No to burning waste in your back yards….

With infinite patience but burning anger

Mother Earth

Anitha.S in conversation with Dr.S.Santhi, Usha.P.E, Pappal, Badusha, Hamid Ali, AnuradhaSarang, Soumini, AshaKampurath, Aravind, Usha.S, Soumya, Ashok, Vijayakumar, Sanjeev ,Renu, Iris and many others.

  Read  Burn Me Not: A Letter From Earth
  April 4, 2019
Arctic Permafrost No Longer Freezes … Even in Winter.
by Robert Hunziker, in Climate Change, countercurrents.org.

Global warming is starting to hit hard like there’s no tomorrow, and at current rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, there may not be a tomorrow, as emissions continue setting new records year-by-year, expected to hit a 62-year record in 2019. So much for the Paris 2015 climate agreement!

The most sensitive areas to global warming, (1) the Arctic (almost all of its multi-year ice, or old ice, is gone- already melted), and (2) East Antarctica, the coldest spot in the planet… strangely melting, and (3) Siberian ground that “no longer freezes in winter” are three occurrences that should keep world leaders up late into the night, blankly staring at the ceiling.

In fact, over the past couple of decades global warming has groomed ultra-dangerous climate upheavals that could destroy sizeable swaths of civilization. But how soon remains an open question?

Moreover, there are several ecosystem flashpoints with enough potential to massively destroy large segments of life right now, which, in fact, is already happening in real time, and scientifically documented, with nearly total loss of arthropods in the tropical rain forests of Mexico and Puerto Rico as a result of excessive global warming, which can destroy populations of arthropods by inhibiting reproduction and disorienting internal organ functionality (Climate-Driven Declines in Arthropod Abundance Restructure a Rainforest Food Web, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

According to the scientists that conducted the 40-year rainforests studies in Mexico and Puerto Rico, rainforests temperatures exceeded the dreaded 2° C post-industrial guardrail (Maybe the IPCC is on to something by insisting the world must not allow temps to exceed 2° C, post-industrial).

Another ecosystem flash point of major concern is the failure of Arctic ground to freeze— even in the winter, in turn, exposing permafrost to thawing. This is unheard of, and it defies claims by many Republicans in Congress that say climate change/global warming is a hoax, or they often times fall back on the time-worn hackneyed statement: “The climate always changes.”

Albeit, failing to recognize the several ominous threats of global warming, especially now that the “ground cover protecting permafrost from thawing is not freezing in the Arctic wintertime” is comparable to applying for lifetime membership in the Flat Earth Society. After all, some things in life are so bloody obvious that denial is tantamount to imbecility or brainlessness, traits that are not DNA inclusive, rather symbolic of a deadness bordering on lunacy.

If not global warming, then what’s behind Arctic ground not freezing in the dead of winter, exposing permafrost to thaw, and East Antarctica, the world’s coldest spot, starting to melt?

In that regard, National Geographic ran a story a couple of months ago entitled: “Some Arctic Ground No Longer Freezing— Even in Winter” d/d August 20th, 2018.

Here’s a snippet: “Could a thaw of permafrost begin decades sooner than many people expect in some of the Arctic’s coldest, most carbon-rich regions, releasing trapped greenhouse gases (GHG) that could accelerate human-caused climate change?”

Ipso facto, signage needs to be posted in northern Siberia with big bold red lettering: “Caution… Area Subject to Massive Release of Greenhouse Gases and Runaway Global Warming!”

Still, smart-alecky people may query: Runaway Global Warming (RGW), so what? Answer: Check out Australia at year-end 2018 when all-time sustaining record temperatures brought the destruction of biblical proportions, melted highways, thousands of bats deathly falling in city streets, massive losses of fishes, and fruit that “cooked from the inside out.” Yes, believe it or not, cooked from the inside out! But, that’s only a sampler of what’s in store with full-scale planetary RGW. It’ll take one’s breath away… literally!

RGW is not outside the realm of possibility, according to National Geographic, there’s plenty of carbon trapped in permafrost: “Every winter across the Arctic, the top few inches or feet of soil and rich plant matter freezes up before thawing again in summer. Beneath this active layer of ground extending hundreds of feet deeper sits continuously frozen earth called permafrost, which, in places, has stayed frozen for millennia.”

But the ground cover for permafrost did not freeze-up in a region of the Arctic where temperatures typically dip to -40° F, and where permafrost has always remained frozen since time immemorial.

That same article goes on to describe some details about the discovery of ground cover for permafrost not freezing in winter: “The discovery has not been peer-reviewed or published and represents limited data from one spot in one year. But with measurements from another scientist nearby and one an ocean away appearing to support the Zimovs’ findings, some Arctic experts are weighing a troubling question: Could a thaw of permafrost begin decades sooner than many people expect in some of the Arctic’s coldest, most carbon-rich regions, releasing trapped greenhouse gases that could accelerate human-caused climate change?”

Is that how Runaway Global Warming starts? Probably!

Not only that, but throughout the Arctic, change is happening lightening fast in geological terms, e.g., 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Norway temperatures reached 90°F this past spring. In other words, the Arctic is cookin’.

Nearly a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere landmass sits on permafrost trapped in frozen soil that contains twice the amount of carbon that’s already in the atmosphere, which is a surefire deadly formula for trouble.

The jury is still out on the National Geographic article. Hopefully, it is not a major trend throughout the Arctic, but ominously, it’s popping up in other Arctic permafrost regions thousands of miles away.

To that point, thousands of miles from Siberia, Vladimir Romanovsky, a permafrost expert at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks found freeze-ups of permafrost shifting from mid-January to as late as March, happening since 2014.

Additionally, from National Geographic: “It’s worrisome,’ says Sue Natali, a permafrost expert, also with Woods Hole, who saw an active layer not re-freeze recently during a research trip to Alaska’s Yukon region. ‘When we see things happening that hasn’t happened in the lifetime of the scientists studying them, that should be a concern.”

The stakes in the Arctic are high. It’s common knowledge that if permafrost layers are consistently exposed to thawing, consequences can be hard, fast and not pleasant. Counter-intuitively, once it’s unfrozen, permafrost can potentially release GHG year-round, not only in summertime. And, that’s a huge problem without a solution, no solutions at all, unless well-beforehand Homo sapiens halt GHG emissions. No chance.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

  Read Arctic Permafrost No Longer Freezes … Even in Winter
  April 5, 2019
Imperialist capitalism is heading towards a cataclysmic crisis: John Smith on imperialism.
by Farooque Chowdhury, in Imperialism, countercurrents.org.

John Smith, former oil rig worker, bus driver, telecommunications engineer, longtime activist in the anti-war and Latin American solidarity movements, and author of Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis (Monthly Review Press, January 2016), discusses the question of imperialism in the following interview taken by Farooque Chowdhury during July 2018-February 2019. The interview, in slightly abridged form, originally appeared on MR Online on March 19, 22, and 23, 2019.

Following is the 3rd part of the four-part interview.

Constraints of imperialism

Q 10: What constraints is imperialism facing today?

JS: Just six words, but you could not ask a bigger question! The financialization phenomenon discussed in preceding answer, and the immense over-accumulation of capital, which it has fostered, is the surest sign that imperialist capitalism is heading towards a cataclysmic crisis, since the financiers’ ability to use debt to amplify profit streams and inflate asset values is finite. Their ability to resume this peculiar form of “wealth generation” despite the temporary interruption of the global financial crisis, has crucially depended on the zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) implemented by the central banks of the imperialist nations — the USA’s Federal Reserve has raised its interest rate nine times since November 2015, each time by 0.25%, but once inflation of around 2% is subtracted from its current level of 2.5%, the real interest rate in the USA is barely above zero. Central banks in the UK, Europe and Japan are yet to follow the Fed in moving away from ZIRP, their real interest rates are strongly negative.

Official interest rates (sometimes called the “base rate”) reflect the cost of money to private banks, large corporations and wealthy investors, and are much lower than those charged on loans to households and small businesses. It should not be thought that power over interest rates allows governments and central banks to dictate market conditions — rather, it is the markets, i.e. the owners of finance capital, who exercised dictatorship over governments and central banks. The official interest rate reflects the so-called “natural rate of interest”, determined by the supply of and demand for investment funds. The supply is vast, yet it is faced with a dearth of productive investment opportunities — there is plenty that needs doing, but capitalists calculate that expected profits are insufficient to balance risks.

Why is this so important? Unless capitalists think they will make more money by investing their cash in the production of goods and services than what they’d earn in interest if they left it in the bank, they will not invest. By pushing interest rates down towards zero or even into negative territory, central banks hope that capitalists will be stimulated to invest their cash and not just stash it in the bank. Ultra-low interest rates are therefore a sign of deep crisis — signifying that capitalists are exceedingly reluctant to invest, either because of a dearth of profitable investment opportunities, or because they perceive the risk of losing their money to be too high, or both. Given that real interest rates are lower than at any time in the history of capitalism, for the rate of investment to be so low (whether this is measured as a proportion of GDP or as a fraction of available funds for investment) in the imperialist economies and in much of the rest the world, is truly astonishing.

There are lots of complications which could be explored and qualifications which could be made about all of this, but I now want to move to a slightly different subject: given that ultra-low interest rates are a sign of deep malaise, how could they also be a means to support and further inflate the value of all manner of financial assets, from stocks and shares to bonds to real estate? Simply, because ultra-low interest on cash deposits in banks encourage the owners of this cash to purchase stocks and shares, residential or commercial property, bonds — anything which gives them title to a stream of profits or of rents or of interest payments that include a risk premium. Not only that, ultra-low interest rates encourage banks, large corporations and very rich people to borrow money in order to purchase even more financial assets, leading one Morgan Stanley banker to describe zero-interest-rate policy as “crack cocaine for the financial markets”. And, so it is that the extreme monetary policies pursued by central banks since 2008 (and indeed in the decade before the financial crisis!) have created money-making opportunities for the super-rich on a scale never seen before in human history. An indication of this can be gleaned from Cap Gemini’s annual World Wealth Reports, which report that the total wealth in the hands of the world’s “high net worth individuals” (that is, people who own more than $1 million in investable assets), more than doubled in the 10 years following the beginning of the global crisis, growing from $32.8 trillion in 2008 to $70.2 trillion in 2017 — an increase of 114% in just 10 years, yet during the same period global GDP increased by only 27% (adjusted for inflation, these figures translate to 100% growth in HNWI wealth compared to a 24% growth in global GDP).

The final detail to be added to this picture concerns the consequences of these extreme monetary policies. Ultra-low interest rates have encouraged capitalists to borrow money to finance investments; but instead of investing in new means of production, the bulk of it has financed speculation in markets, inflating asset bubbles that are reflected in ballooning HNWI wealth discussed above; or in so-called intellectual property (IP), which generates monopoly rents for its owners but does not increase social wealth (and in many cases reduces it); or to finance share buy-backs, which increase the wealth of shareholders but which, again, do not result in any increase in the production of goods and services. Governments and central bankers are aware that all of this is storing up immense problems for the future, yet the capitalists they serve have become addicted to this “crack cocaine”, and so far only the USA has taken timid steps to restore interest rates to what they call “normal” levels.

The great fear is that, if ultra-low interest rates have stimulated asset inflation, higher interest rates will result in asset deflation, in other words another financial crash. And if they leave interest rates where they are, not only will asset bubbles, debt mountains and other pathological disorders continue to get worse, central banks will be deprived of the chief tool they need to prevent the next cyclical recession from rapidly gaining momentum and provoking another financial crash. Recall that, in the last three recessions in the United States, the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates by an average of 5%, but this option is unavailable right now (because the Fed’s “policy rate” is currently 2.5%, or 0.5% when inflation is taken into account); and still less is it available to central banks in the UK, Europe and Japan where real interest rates are currently well into negative territory.

“Global yields lowest in 500 years of recorded history. $10 trillion of negative rate bonds. This is a supernova that will explode one day,” in the words of leading bond trader Bill Gross. The metaphor is apt — a supernova occurs when the energy fueling a star’s expansion becomes balanced by the gravitational force pulling it towards the centre. It may take eons to arrive at this moment, but when it does the star collapses on itself in seconds, and then explodes, scattering debris throughout its galaxy.

So, to get back to the question, the chief constraints confronting imperialism are those that arise from capitalism’s own internal contradictions, and these manifest themselves in the systemic crisis briefly described above. Their fundamental root lies in the nature of capital, which can be defined as self-expanding wealth, that is wealth which appears to grow magically by itself, a goose which lays golden eggs, but whose growth, as Karl Marx proved in Capital, depends on unpaid wealth generated by exploited workers, which Marxists call surplus value; augmented by wealth captured from working people employed in non-capitalist sectors of the economy, so-called accumulation by dispossession. As briefly described above, the financial system has allowed capitalism to turbo-charge capital accumulation, through the generation of vast quantities of fictitious capital, but in the end every single one of the $70 trillion in the hands of HNWIs can only become capital and remain as capital thanks to surplus value extracted from living labor. Thus, the fundamental constraint is the extreme and growing disproportion between the total mass of wealth in the hands of capitalists, on the one hand, and the quantity of surplus value it is capable of extracting from living labor in order to convert this wealth into capital on the other. And as Lenin explained, it is precisely this disproportion, which impels capitalism onto its imperialist trajectory.

Q 11: Is it different from the days Lenin defined imperialism?

JS: Fundamentally, it is no different. What is different is that these contradictions are many magnitudes deeper and are also far more extensive. When Lenin wrote his famous book on imperialism in the middle of World War I, capitalism had yet to fully impose its social relations on the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America; the relation between imperialist nations and subject nations was a relation between capitalism and pre-capitalist social formations. This is one reason why I believe that capitalism’s contradictions are immeasurably deeper now than they were in the period that led to World War I and to the Russian revolution.

Q 12: How is imperialism trying to overcome the constraints it is facing today?

JS: By escalating its assault on workers and poor people, by fighting to reverse the expensive concessions it has made to pacify the working class in imperialist countries, by intensifying its rape of mother Earth, by increasingly resorting to “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies, as manifested in currency manipulation, trade wars and the disintegration of multilateral institutions.

Imperialist camps

Q 13: Is it possible now to define imperialist camps? What these camps are? How these camps are behaving with each other? It’s observed that one faction of imperialism is opposed to a free trade agreement while another faction is going after it. Fights among imperialist powers are going on in the World Trade Organization. There’s increase in protectionism. What signifies these developments?

JS: The process by which economic contradictions translate into political rivalry and military confrontation is extremely complex and depends on many things — including contingencies such as the emergence onto the stage of history of mavericks like Donald Trump or the outcome of a finely-balanced referendum such as the one that led Britain to decide to withdraw from the European Union. It is not possible to predict with any degree of certainty how the post-WWII US-led imperialist world order will break up, just that it will break up. Will the Franco-German alliance survive the next stage of the European Union death agony? Will the USA maintain its close embrace of Japan, the country it nuked in 1945? Will China forge its own sphere of influence and take the next steps towards becoming an imperialist power?

Only by discussing the past and the present can we get a glimpse of the future. All I can say for sure is that there is a massive storm coming, and that the only way out is for workers to cease their reliance on any wing of the bourgeoisie and do what Russia’s workers and farmers did in 1917 and what Cuban workers and farmers did in 1959 — to take power into their own hands, to carry out a socialist revolution.

[Part 3 concludes.]

  Read Imperialist capitalism is heading towards a cataclysmic crisis: John Smith on imperialism
  April 6, 2019
NATO – 70th Anniversary of the Most Murderous – and Legal – Organization on our Planet.
by Peter Koenig, in Imperialism, countercurrents.org.

On 4th of April 2019 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)“celebrated” the 70th Anniversary of its murderous existence. Thishorror organization was born sort of as a “Rosemary’s Baby”, signed into life in Washington DC, as the North Atlantic Treaty. Itscreation was absolutely unethical but also absolutely “legal” -meaning what we, the west, have made the law, a man-made law for war, was applied by the Washington-Pentagon driven NATO. Estimates have it, that NATO and its ‘allies’, cronies, proxies and mercenaries killed more than 20 million people since NATO’s existence, basically since the end of WWII. Compare this with about 70 to 80 million killed in WWII. – The 70 years of NATO are considered “Peace Time” – were they really a period of Peace?

This is a call on all NATO members to exit NATO – to opt for Peace and to exit NATO! To stop fighting wars – to liberate yourselves from the shackles of NATO.

Was the artificially and under totally false pretenses, as we know today, Cold War, which started immediately after WWII and lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 – aperiod of Peace? – Or was it rather a period of constant intimidation for war, a period of armament of the west, a period of maximizing profits for themainly US military industrial complex – a period, to destroy any chance the Soviet Union may have had to economically advance, as the arms race made it impossible for the USSR, the country that won WII, to concentrate on economic development at home after having lost 25 million lives and her basic production infrastructure.

And yes, it was the Soviet Union – not the “allies” (US, UK, and France) that liberated the world atthetimefromthe German Nazi dominance. And yes, western history books tell you a different story. Western history books are never to be trusted.

The entirely Pentagon-run NATO has today 29 member countries (NATO member states: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_states_of_NATO), 26 of which are in Europe, and one, Turkey, in Eurasia.Plus, there are anumber of “associated” or wannabe members, like Ukraine, Israel – and in recent months, would you believe! – Colombia in South America joined NATO through a so-called “Cooperation Agreement”,dating back to 2013 – and Brazil is perhaps the next candidate. The US want to control again their “backyard”, by applying again their Monroe Doctrine (no foreign power, other than the US, in Latin America) except, that the backyard has learned its lesson.

While Venezuela and her hydrocarbon and other mineral riches is the main target right now for NATO’s presence in Colombia and perhaps soon in Brazil, the most democratically elected government in the western world, is not just buckling under, as Washington is used to from the past. No. Venezuela has a solid strategic, economic – and MILITARY alliance with Russia and China. Despite all the infamous Trump-Pompeo-Bolton saber-rattling, its Russia and China who are drawing the red line. So much for the Monroe Doctrine. Times ar’a changing.

The US / NATO – all ruled by the Pentagon – have about 800 – and according to some estimates more than 1,000 military bases in about 100 countries. Not all are known to the public. The funds used to arm and maintain the bases are your tax-payer’s moneys. While producing weapons for theNATO killingbulldozer, these moneys are not available formuch needed, educationandhealth care, let alone basic infrastructure in poor countries, precisely those countries that are being colonized by the US / NATO military bases.

It has, of course, never been a priority for the western elite – those financial-military-petrol and lie-propaganda giants – that dark shady neofascist state that pretends to manipulates the rest of the world, to care for people’s health, and, of course even less so, for people’s education. Educated people are dangerous for these nefarious lecherous, greedy kingpins.

Take note! People around the world, your education is not wanted. Instead the money – YOUR MONEY – your government is supposed spend to give you a decent education soyou can earn adecent living and understandthe ropes of this ever more complex globe – these funds – YOUR FUNDS – arespent for arming to the teeththe NATO bases, tocolonize you and your countries, to enslave you to a One World Order under a western dollar dominated financial hegemony.

They have already all the instruments in place, IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO); they are subordinates to NATO. Get out of them too. They are the “elite’s” (for lack of a better term) tool to suffocate you with debt – so you will be at their mercy and sell them your resources for a pittance. Create your own economy, outside of the realm of GLOBALIZATION, of globalized neoliberalism, bordering already today on neofascism. Get out of NATO – and the rest will follow.

Because that’s what Europe has become: A US-NATO-Pentagon colony. European Nations – you think since you area member of NATO, you have a say in NATO decisions? – Better think again. You know,you have no say in NATO. It couldn’t be more obvious that the Pentagon is calling the shots. Trump and his minions, on behalf of the Pentagon and, of course, on behalf of the military industrial oligarchs, is threatening you – you European members, better pay upto NATO, or else…Whatever “else” means, it’s supposed to scare you. You know, you leaders (sic) of so-called EU members, you have been coopted to obey. Your non-elected European Commission (EC) that calls the shots on European legislation – yes, not the EU Parliament – has also been bought by Washington. The EU is nothing but a puppet of Washington and run by NATO.

But, then, what can you expect, the European Union was never an idea of Europeans. It was an idea born by the CIA already during WWII – then transplanted to some “willing” Europeans, with the promise of NATO protection from the evil Soviets. And, bingo, the red scare did it. It was the US Senator Joseph McCarthy era. The Red Scare. And today, we live in the entire wester era Russia Scare, then the China Scare, scares no-end – they keep NATO in place – keep NATO in Europe and gradually moving around the world – South China Sea, Latin America; the scares keep NATO ravagingand killing millions aroundthe globe.

All the while – there is a real danger of a nuclear war – People, wake up! The Masters of WAR, NATO, are just waiting for the moment to provoke that infamous Red Button. People of this Universe, don’t you realize – if that happens, we are all doomed; mankind is doomed. Mother Earth may recover, but humans self-destruct.

People! Before that happens, kill the killing machine; kill NATO in its roots. Exit NATO! Contribute no penny anymore to the NATO budget. Withdraw from NATO, get out of NATO. Kick NATO out of your sovereign countries. Regain your NATO-stolen sovereignty. – And you will see the feeling of Peace enhances your wellbeing, while the constant fear of war destroys your soul.

Getting out of NATO is actually easy, it’s also legally possible. Asper Article 13 of the NATO charter, all of you members are eligible to exit NATO and to opt for PEACE:

There most likely may be multiple attempts to coopt (buy) your leaders again, under the false pretenses of security. Don’t fall for it. There is no danger from the “East”. In fact, neither Russia or China have an expansionist history. They have a different philosophy. They are seeking amultipolar world, by connecting to what is most logical – the so-called European Continent,which is geographically just the westernmost part of the huge contiguous Continent of Eurasia, even including the Middle East.Trading with friendly nations within this huge land mass is not only logical, it had been done in the past for thousands of years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, six years ago, launched the so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, connecting the world with transport, industrial cultural, learning and research infrastructure; the largest and most brilliant all-inclusive economic development project of known human history. It aims at connecting people, not separating them. It aims at equality and justice, including those left behind, for a world of Peace. As a Chinese delegate to an international conference recently said – we are building bridges to connect people, while the west is building walls.

It’s time for a new era of Peace. Seventy years of NATO, of killing for dominance and greed – is passé. Stop NATO. Exit NATO. Abolish NATO.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

  Read  NATO – 70th Anniversary of the Most Murderous – and Legal – Organization on our Planet
  April 6, 2019
Dangerous Plastics Are a Threat to Us and Future Generations: Why a Legally Binding Treaty Cannot Be Postponed.
by Meena Miriam Yust, in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

Every day people make decisions about what to eat, sometimes opting for colorful fruits and veggies, sometimes finding the smell of bacon irresistible.  At the end of the day people are controlling their own health.  What is remarkable though, is the possibility that something one swallows today could have a lasting effect on future offspring – children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.  New research is finding a generational impact of certain chemicals.  This time it’s not the bacon we’re worried about – but plastics and the toxins within them.

Twenty years ago, researchers  at Washington State University discovered accidentally that the now-infamous bisphenol A (BPA) was leaching out of plastic cages, harming the mice within.  The contamination caused abnormalities in mice eggs and fertility.  Numerous subsequent studies found BPA exposure affects adult fertility and health across species, including monkeys, fish, and humans.  Known to decrease sperm count in rats and to cause breast cancer in women, BPA was banned in 2012 by the FDA from being used in baby bottles and sippy cups.  Yet BPA is still used in many products, including epoxy resins used to coat canned foods.  A 2004 study of 2,517 people found that 93% had detectable quantities of BPA’s by-product in their urine.

Since the toxic effects of BPA came to light, several replacement bisphenols were quickly brought to market by chemical companies and are now in widespread use.  Twenty years after the BPA toxicity discovery, by remarkable chance, the same Washington State University lab recently noticed again that something was amiss with their mice.  This time the mice were housed in cages comprised of replacement bisphenols, largely believed to be safer than BPA.  The researchers subsequently performed controlled studies with several of the replacement bisphenols including BPS, a widely used replacement.

Results demonstrated that the new bisphenols behaved similarly to BPA, causing health problems including detrimental effects on fertility in both males and females, reported in Cell Biology in September 2018.  Scientist Sarah Hunt explained, “This paper reports a strange déjà vu experience in our laboratory.”  What the lab discovered once with BPA, it was seeing again with the replacements.  Perhaps most troubling were the long-lasting effects of the toxins.  Even if all bisphenols could be magically eliminated today, the toxic effects would still last about three generations through the germline of people already exposed.  This means bisphenols ingested today could affect the fertility of one’s great grandchildren.

The bisphenol case demonstrates that FDA bans do not necessarily solve the root problem.  Chemical companies tend to roll out similar chemicals to those that have been banned, because this is the easiest way to bring something to market quickly.  But more testing is needed before chemicals are released into the environment.  Long term problems such as generational infertility and cancer risk often cannot easily be examined in clinical trials, and environmental effects are not rigorously analyzed prior to release.

The Washington State University study also proved that damaged and heated plastics are particularly deadly, as the damaged cages leached more toxins.  This should serve as a warning for those who microwave food in plastic containers for their families.  And it should remind us that discarded plastic bottles degrading in oceans and rivers are releasing toxins that cause irreversible infertility.

The current estimate of plastics in our oceans is approximately 150 million metric tons. By 2050, the amount is expected to ‘outweigh the fish,’ according to Jim Leape, co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions.  A recent study has determined microplastics (small plastic particles) are present in every river and lake in Britain.  And they have been found in tap water, everywhere from the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC to the Trump Grill in New York.  A study of 159 drinking water samples on five continents found that 83% of those samples were contaminated.  Plastics are everywhere, from the highest mountains to the deepest parts of the ocean and Arctic.  Nanoplastics less than 50 nanometers long have even been found in plankton, which is ingested by fish that humans eat.

Scientists are finding that plastics are disrupting marine mammals’ ability to reproduce.  Many forms of plastic including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Bisphenol A are endocrine disruptors, meaning they affect the hormonal systems of animals.  An orca of adult age called Lulu, researchers recently found, was barren as if she was a juvenile.  Analysis revealed very high levels of PCBs in her lipid tissues.  One orca pod off the coast of Scotland has not produced a calf in 25 years.  Despite bans on PCBs 30 years ago,  toxins remain in orca mothers’ milk, and are passed from mother to baby.  A recent study published in the journal Science predicts that half the world’s population of orcas will be extinct in just a few decades due to PCB poisoning.  Researchers have also found that despite the PCB ban in Europe, levels of PCBs have not decreased, indicated that they may be leaching out of landfills.  Hormone disruptors have also been found to impair male frogs’ fertility, and to cause tadpoles to more frequently develop ovaries rather than testicles, thus skewing the proportion of males to females.  Similar problems have been found in fish.  Reproductive risks associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals span species.

Bisphenol A is known to decrease sperm count and to cause cancer in many species.  Its counterpart replacement plastics (BPS, BPF, BPAF, BPZ, BPP, BHPF… to name just a few), researchers have recently discovered, are no better.  Whether these pollutants have already affected humans is anyone’s guess, but it would be wise to view statistics during the time period since plastics became popular, starting in the 1960s, and to see if there is a significant trend over time.

It appears there is.  Notably, a 2017 study found that sperm counts per milliliter declined by more than 50% from 1973 to 2011, with total sperm counts down almost 60%.  Two other recent studies have demonstrated that over the past few decades in the U.S. and Europe, both sperm count and motility have decreased.

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) recently debated a proposed legally binding treaty to address plastic pollution.  One objective of the proposed treaty was to phase out single use plastics by 2025.  Norway also suggested a global agreement for handling ocean plastic pollution.  Sadly, the U.S. was the largest voice against the proposed treaty and the proposed global waste disposal plan.

Eventually a non-legally-binding agreement was reached in which the U.S. watered down the language to “significantly reduce” plastics by 2030, eleven years from now.  One UN delegate described the Trump representatives as “trying to remove all targets and timelines.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. has been exporting large quantities of plastics overseas for years, historically mostly to China.  In the previous year, 70% was exported to China and Hong Kong.  But in 2018, China banned imports of plastic waste.  Since the ban the U.S. has looked to poorer nations for its overseas garbage dump.  Unearthed, Greenpeace’s research group, has found that in the first six months of 2018, almost half of U.S. plastic waste was sent to developing countries: Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  U.S. plastic waste exports to Thailand went up by nearly 2,000% this year.

Most developing nations do not have sufficient recycling infrastructure to properly handle plastic waste.  On Earth Day 2018, the top producers of mismanaged ocean plastic waste were ranked by tons of waste.  The top five after China were Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.  In some cases as in parts of the Philippines, recycling is done laboriously by hand, picking bottles out of large dumps.  As this is very difficult and time consuming, large quantities find their way into oceans and rivers.  Sadly and not surprisingly, the Pasig River in the Philippines transports approximately 72,000 tons of plastic downstream, and has been declared “biologically dead” since 1990.  Instead of helping these countries to develop recycling infrastructure, we are sending them more toxic waste.

We might think we are kicking the can down the road by sending plastics overseas but they will wash right back up on the Hawaiian and California coast.  Beachgoers might witness solid litter washing ashore, or unearthed from the stomachs of dead whales.  Or they might not notice the pollution  — instead unknowingly consuming microplastics in their next Ahi Tuna sandwich.  On the East Coast, one might encounter them in a glass of water at the Trump Grill in New York.  There is only one world sink after all.  Tossing poison to the other end of the tub only works for so long – it will inevitably, over time, mix and wash back to your side of the water.  And when one of us is diagnosed with cancer, do we really know the cause?

It is instructive to remember the orca Lulu, a mammal like us, who no longer produces eggs.  And to remember that if sperm counts continue to decline at the present rate, they will soon reach levels where it becomes difficult to have children.  By then, the world’s water supply may be irreversibly contaminated and an enforceable treaty will be too late.

Postponing a legally binding treaty may put us on the path of our fellow mammals the orcas, half of which already face inevitable extinction worldwide.  And we can not forget the tragedy of the orca Tahlequah, who last summer carried her dead calf for a record 17 days and 1,000 miles in mourning.

Eleven years may be too late.

Meena Miriam Yust is an attorney based in Chicago, IL with a special interest in the environment.

This article first appeared in CommonDreams.org.

  Read   Dangerous Plastics Are a Threat to Us and Future Generations: Why a Legally Binding Treaty Cannot Be Postponed
  April 7, 2019
From This Wounded Forest: A Dispatch.
by Suprabha Seshan, in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

I am witness to the murder of forests. To be silent in the face of this is unconscionable.

I am witness to the birth of forests. To be silent in the face of this is unconscionable.

I am witness to… nay… I’m beholden to…. nay…. I’m alive and breathing and who I am because of the work of forests. To be silent in the face of this is unconscionable.

Moreover, I am daily witness to the immense and fecund intelligence of forests, and of every human and nonhuman in my forest home. Above all, to be silent in the sure awareness of this is unconscionable.

I write tonight to add to the growing but still-too-feeble litany of rage, despair and revolt against the continued murder of forests, a litany that is still powerless in any way whatsoever, to counter this greatest of all crimes.

Whatever any of us says or does, and no matter who flags the horror, or attempts to counter the crime, the reality on the ground is nothing short of a holocaust, one that is being perpetuated by the hour, despite every looming sign of planetary doom.

While rulers argue on news-screens and in boardrooms about the action that needs to be taken with respect to deforestation and climate change, the reality on the ground is escalating murder.

While salesmen bombard zombie shoppers with organic, green and climate-friendly solutions, the reality on the ground is burning, burying, conversion, clearance and pollution.

While scientists prevaricate endlessly about the meaning, purpose and value of the living world (and the universe) and economists write copious audits with dollar values assigned to the living world (and the universe), the reality on the ground is rampant species extinction.

While technologists dream up quick fixes by the hour, and fabulous contrivances to manipulate energy and toxic waste, contrivances designed to aid and abet this insane and unsupportable way of living called modern industrial civilisation, the reality on the ground is omnicide i.e. the death of all life, including humans.

While spiritualists con the masses into mind games of transcendent truths in outer or inner space, games that ignore the indigenous, the animate, the sensuous, the embodied, and the interdependent, the reality on the ground is traumatised psyches, of traumatised peoples in traumatised ecologies.

We know all this, of course. The lies are being ferreted out, exposed and denounced.

Revolt is afoot on all continents, in every ocean and in the air, revolt by humans and nonhumans, wherever anyone not yet co-opted, or shut down, or freaked out with grief and despair, is witness to the savage dismemberment of the body of the biosphere.

The elephants in my forest are revolting, as are fungi, and insects, and the great planetary winds, and everyone else still wild and free, as are the indigenous people in the forests of central India, adivasis.

Anyone with half a brain, who is half alive, can hear the unmistakable roar of life, including the cells in our own bodies.

But there is a glaring hole in the discourse, however it takes place. This rests on notions of human supremacy, and of intelligence as a feature primarily of the modern human brain.

Before we all die in this global omnicide, I wish to state in no uncertain terms that this is the biggest lie of all. And that this lie makes all the other lies possible, and makes holocaust possible. It operates on the same logic and rationale that Hitler did with his slogans about the Aryan race. It is about human supremacy, mostly white, mostly male, and the rest of us who are brown, yellow, black or red, have been whitewashed or coerced into following this, and now too many of us believe in the white dream.

Except, we call it happiness, the good life, and the economy.

The longer I live in a forest, the more and more I see of this whitewash. I see how every other form of human and nonhuman life is now subject to this lie and therefore doomed.

The whitewash is tantamount to total control: of body, mind, woman, other, all life, and the universe.

By now it’s clear that I live in a forest.

There are numerous others here, other intelligences: they speak to me every day.

In this daily living with a million other awarenesses, it is absurd and heinous that I don’t say what I know about them, from them and with them.

In fact, I write this in collaboration with all these others I live with. Every day, every hour and every second, they show me what intelligence is, all the many ways it can express itself, and how, above all, intelligence nourishes diversity.

So, I wish to do more than negate the white dream, I seek simultaneously to honour the old peoples of this world who knew and still know otherwise, and what the forests themselves know, and what those of us half-crazed humans (ignored and silenced by the materialist, so-called rationalist cabal that rules the world) have slowly and too belatedly woken up to, about the non-locality of intelligence, which is, paradoxically, deeply personal.

It is personal, and yet it cannot be contained.

It is of course yours, but it is not only yours, or mine, or hers, or his, or its, or ours, or even human, while it is all that.

It is not only in grey matter (as opposed to haemoglobin or the cells lining the fallopian tube, or amoebae, or chlorophyll or root tips or stem cells, or fern fronds, or water cohesion or sunlight, or air pressure or gravity or magnetic fields).

It is not only a property of the central nervous system. It is not only axon and neuron-driven. It is not only of the amygdala or the pituitary gland or the left hemisphere or the right, or the neo cortex or the myelin sheath, or the synapse, or the neurotransmitter or the hippocampus, i.e. the three -pound organ, the human brain.

It is definitely not only human, nor mammal, nor bird, nor reptile, nor amphibian, nor fish, nor echinoderm.

It is not only here on this planet, nor somewhere else in the far reaches of this or other galaxies.

It simply is, everywhere, of the whole in all its parts, at every level of coherence, communion and experience. It is a quality of existence, it is the way of life: individual and collective, atomic, organic, ecologic, biospheric, galactic, cosmic.

Animals and plants in my forest home offer the sweetest response to questions of: where and what is intelligence?  They insist, yes the whole, of course the collective, but always experienced through the personal, the intimate, and the embodied.

The paradox, they say, cannot be understood by exiting the personal to embrace a collective, for this makes the collective a pure abstraction, leading to a profound and dangerous disconnect, allowing for every delusion from nation-states, to egos, to the caste system, to private property to industrial capitalism to factory farming, to empire, to machine worlds, to patriarchy, to planetary scale toxicities.

Intelligence, they say, flows from the personal to the personal, it is known, experienced and lived through the personal, and enacted through the personal. It goes from this elephant, to that tree, to that bird, to that valley, to that river, to this land, to this sea. It is deeply personal to each of my white blood cells, to each of the trillions of bacteria in every gut, to every vein in every body, every enzyme in every gut, every tree in every forest, and every star in every galaxy.

Intelligence, they say, in fact, requires the personal, the beloved, and the rooted. It requires you and me.

The last thing we need to do, in this last hour, is prove or measure or debate it or put dollar values on it, or bottle it up for posterity. Just listen to your body.

What then of the machine, the greatest achievement of modern man, a globalised artifice that now runsthe show?

Is this not a part of that same intelligence? One of myriad intelligences?

Do you wonder what supports the machine? Where do its fuel and form come from? What is its body made of? Who died so this computer could come into being (and what abuse of language, to call this, a body, a being!)?

And what of the living world does this machine support? Does it support my life, or yours, my actual body, my flesh, my people, my land base; does this give rise to more intelligence? More life, more diversity? More possibilities for every member of this universe?

What do you eat? Food, or reconstituted petroleum? What do you breathe? Air, or toxic waste in a gaseous sewer? Whom do you love? A human, or a product? Where do you live? In the real world, or a digital world?

Living beings know that failure to support others, and failure to adapt or change equals death, and because this machine way is now so widespread and pervasive, it, for sure, is hell-bound to implode, or explode, and most likely take everybody down with it.

Is a machine aware? Is a machine intelligent? Does a machine have will? Does a machine reproduce? Does a machine care? Does a machine attend to your life? Does your iPad love you?

Does this petroleum guzzling non-sentient, non-aware, non-reproducing, non-supportive toxic product of modern industrial civilisation, in its multifarious forms, qualify as intelligent?

Or is it a one-way system?  Life goes in, and death by decimation, processing and packaging comes out. Thus, is it your agent in holocaust, destruction by proxy?

Or is it just stupid? Without you or me, what is this machine?

And, worse than stupid, is it just utterly mechanical, in the way machines are, and thus in the known history of the universe, rather unique?

While sceptics of nonhuman intelligence work that out, and devote billions of dollars to researching artificial intelligence, I’m preparing myself to dismantle it (the machine), and the system that supports it, before it devours the planet, my home.

While religious scholars and priests ponder  this, eyes closed, senses shut down, negating life to worship manmade gods and manmade thoughts and manmade artifacts, men who organise the living world by stacking or hacking the rest of us to support their material and spiritual conquest of reality, I’m taking lessons from animals and plants I live with, to use every strategy to end insanity.

While scientists, armed by their technocratic henchmen, probe the secrets of the universe, and of every cell, through telescoping, magnification, extension, dissection, dislocation and isolation, and explain it all through mystifying equations (incomprehensible mantras of the dominant culture), actions that further devour the body of the world, I’m growing allegiances with non-humans and humans in my own community.

I write this for the rest of us, for those who are still alive, yet enslaved to the emperors who command the machine, to those of us dimly aware there is something missing in the insane logic we are bound by.

We know that the death of the living world (and this includes humans) goes hand in hand with the proliferation of the machine, systemic, and particulate, a construct, both psychological and material, worshipped by modern man, who in the most tragic and macabre of ironies is now enthralled by the very monster he pieces together out of the body and flesh of the living world.

Why do we support this monster? Why do we succumb to its power? Is there not another way? Can we not ally with the rest of the living world, and halt the machine?

This does not necessarily mean death, nor killing anybody. On the contrary, it means, life. For everybody.

Picture a world where trees, plants, frogs, tigers, humans, rivers, mountains, winds, waters, soils, communities coexist, each supporting the other, each in relation to the other, each conspiring to add beauty to the world, each giving life, so all may live in beauty.

Before I die, and more important, before the forests are vanquished, I believe we are required to engage directly with the truly intelligent members of the universe, those who have figured out how life supports life, and how death supports life, how death doesn’t lead to immiserated oceans, and toxified air, and collapsed forests, and extirpated tigers, and devastated humans; and how intelligence and life are to each other how the wave is to a particle, or a river to water molecules, or blood to every cell and love to community.

Suprabha Seshan is a conservationist. She lives and works at the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, a forest garden in the Western Ghat mountains of Kerala. She is currently working on her book, Rainforest Etiquette in a World Gone Mad, forthcoming from Context, Westland Publishers.

This article was first published by Hard News in Febraury 2014

Photo credits GBS Archives

What a beautiful, impassioned prayer. So true, so terribly true.
The evolution from ape to human is an irony of nature that happened because it can. And, because of the ‘brilliance’ of the human brain, this evolutionary dead-end called humanity is destroying everything nature has created, including itself.
Yes, the forests are beautiful. Yes, life is beautiful. But the brilliance of the human brain CRAVES for more than it needs, CRAVES to know, to understand, and to EXPLOIT. Not accept, but EXPLOIT.
Science has enabled this, and now technology – the application of science – has taken us into this cul-de-sac, this dead-end, and we are without the will to reverse. In destroying ignorance, we are destroying ourselves AND this beautiful world of which we are tenants. Happily, or sadly, the end to our tenancy is rapidly approaching.

A Homage to Trees
On the Internet I read an interesting article about trees.
It spoke of many things about trees that few of us ever think about.
The article was called “Gratitude to Trees” and the author was hoping to make people more conscious of nature, the world around, and our place in it.
He talked about the other-than-human world, that is, the world that does NOT involve humans.
Most of us find it very difficult to see things other than from our own viewpoint, so it is useful to try to see things in a different way, a non-human way.

I read the article with a great deal of sympathy because it embodied many of my own views about trees, which we seldom hear about. The author suggested that we should try to ‘think like a tree’.   How does it relate to its surroundings? What is its relationship with the soil, the rain, the sun, and the wind? How does it respond to other forms of non-human life? What is its relationship to humans? How does it stand up to changing weather conditions? How does it react when sick? What happens when it dies, is attacked, or is killed?

Each tree has its own way of life, its own energy, and its own way of searching for food.
Trees transform space. They provide shade and shelter, as well as colour, food, and wood.
In groups, they form what humans might call ‘villages’. They are a community, with a multiplicity of life forms sharing their collective space.
They provide homes and food for many other forms of life, visible and not-so-visible.
Their leaves, when fallen, put nourishment back into the earth.
When the trees are bare, I can see the distant hills.
Each kind of tree is distinctive and each tree is different to others of its own kind. No two are alike. Stand under the trees and listen to their messages. What do they tell you? How do you feel because of them? Do they fill you with anger, or with peace? Walk silently though the woods, listening to the sounds they make, look at their shapes and sizes, smell their different aromas, and note the colours, patterns, and textures of their bark as well as their leaves.
Their appearances change. They change with the sunlight. They change with the time of day. They change with the time of year. They change with their surroundings. Touch gently some trees and their leaves will immediately close. The leaves of others open and close with the passing light. Some open their leaves at sunrise and close them again at sunset. They are called ‘prayer plants’.
And how does OUR lives depend on trees? How many trees do we ‘consume’ each year as fuel, as wood, as furniture, as paper, as shelter? And how many trees have we planted in our lifetime?
And how do trees affect the rainfall, or hold the land together, or affect the rest of life?
Do we know? Do we care?
Can you imagine a world without trees?
Trees are so hardy, yet like all life they are all so fragile.

In the Amazon Basin, in South America, is the world’s largest rainforest. It is the lungs of the world.
It contains trillions (1,000,000,000,000) of tons of carbon. It absorbs huge quantities of carbon from the atmosphere and gives out, for all breathing creatures, life-giving oxygen. Without this, there would be NO animals.
Humans are destroying the forests of the Amazon Basin. They are felling the trees to make room for cattle to provide beefburgers for overweight Americans.
The same is happening all around the tropics: in Malaysia, in Indonesia, in Central America.
Without rain, trees die. Have you ever seen a sick forest?
The patterns of weather dictate the patterns of rainfall. Living in a monsoon climate, one knows this very well. But weather patterns are changing. So are the pattens of rainfall. Some places with little rainfall are now being flooded. Other places are suffering from extreme drought. The rainfall of the Amazon basin is changing. Trees are dying.

Here in Britain a few years ago, all of the elm trees began to die. Trees that were hundreds of years old, part of almost all of Britain’s woodlands, all slowly and unstoppably dying. It was due to a small beetle, imported from abroad, that was causing the damage. Every single elm tree had to be felled in order to eradicate the disease. The hope was to replant elms a few years later when the beetle was no more. In killing the elms, it kills itself.
Don’t laugh! That is what we humans are doing. We are slowly destroying the conditions essential for life on earth. We are no better than the elm tree beetle.

Tell me, dear friends, what is your favourite trees? And why?
I had names for almost all of my trees. Each carried a memory, of a loved one, or of an auspicious event. I loved their strength, their endurance, their solidity. I loved their variety – sizes, shapes colours, characters. I loved the white-blossomed cherry, because as a child I would sit and gaze at the blue sky through the haze of white blossoms. I loved the pink prunus because it reminded me of Japan and my dream of visiting Mount Fuji someday. It has remained a dream. I never did visit it, and I never shall. I think, most of all, I loved the lilacs, purple, rose and white, with the most delicate and beautiful of smells. Why? Because it took me back to my childhood, to a farm holiday shortly after the death of my sister who was the closest of my siblings. She died from rheumatic fever when only eleven years old. I was seven. My mother was devastated. We went on holiday to help her recover. The lilacs were in bloom. Their blossoms scented the air. The memory has stayed with me ever since. The memory of my beautiful sister who died so young.

The bark of some prunus trees are beautifully marked. The bark is shiny. The outer skin peels off leaving a colourful marbled bark beneath. The bark of the giant redwood is like soft rubber. You can punch your clenched fist into it as hard as you can without any damage at all, either to the tree or to your fist. Make a small cut into the bark of some trees and they will bleed out a resin from which rubber is made. Others give out pitch, used in the building of wooden ships to make them watertight. Some resins are used as disinfectants, others as fragrances (frankincense and myrrh). They can also be the sources of mastics and gums.
Another thing that trees teach us – if we give heed to them – there is much more there than what you can see. All that you see is NOT all that is there. What, dear friends, lies below the surface, unseen and yet so important? Of course, the roots, and just as elaborate and extensive as that above ground. There is often much more to things than that which is visible.
Let us never forget how much we owe, and how much we depend, on trees. Let us be grateful for their great bounty in bringing us life and in sustaining this life over millions of years.
Trees are beautiful. They don’t wage war. They live in harmony with the rest of nature.
They are strong, resilient and non-aggressive.
They serve as a magnificent example for humans, but we are too stupid to appreciate this.
Let us give thanks for trees.

  Read From This Wounded Forest: A Dispatch
  April 10, 2019
Greens Say ‘No to NATO’ While War Parties Give Standing Ovations to NATO.
by Kevin Zeese,in Imperialism, countercurrents.org.

Greens are political activists and can be found in every movement for economic, racial andenvironmental justice as well as peace. They do not organize as Greens but as people who are part of the popular movement. The article below about the week of protests against NATO highlights Greens who participated, often as organizers with other peace and justice activists. There were many more Greens at these events than are mentioned. I apologize to those who are omitted. 

Last week was one of contrast over the issue of war and militarism as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) came to Washington, DC. “No to NATO” protests began on March 30 and continued until the meeting of NATO foreign ministers on April 4. While people were opposing NATO’s aggressive militarism, the two Wall Street and war parties were giving the NATO General Secretary standing ovations.

Many Greens, working with other peace and anti-imperialist activists, helped to organize the week of actions and many other Greens participated. The Green Party showed itself to be the alternative to the two-winged War Party of the Democrats and Republicans, a party that stands for an end to militarism and imperialism.

The protests began on March 30, 2019, with a mass rally and march across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. The event was organized by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) whose national co-coordinator is Joe Lombardo, a Green Party member from Albany, NY. Lombardo, an antiwar organizer since the Vietnam War era, immediately announced a response to NATO when their meeting was made public. Lombardo framed the protest as stopping wars abroad and at home emphasizing the wars at home when the April 4 date was chosen by NATO. It was important to highlight militarized police and police abuse in communities of color, especially on the anniversary the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being killed by the government in 1968 and his important speech, Beyond Vietnam, which called for an end to war given one year before his murder.

Ajamu Baraka (center) and the Black Alliance or Peace (BAP) at No to NATO protest on March 30, 2019, in Washington, DC. On left Paul Pumphrey of the Maryland Green Party and Freinds of the Congo, to the right of, Ajamu Baraka, YahNé Ndgo formerly of the Pennsylvania Greens currently a traveling Green and Asantewaa Mawusi Nkrumah-Ture of the Pennsylvania Greens active in BAP and the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign Campaign.

Ajamu Baraka, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate who is the national organizer of Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), was also involved in organizing the week of events. BAP had a large presence at the events and on the evening of April 4 held a commemoration of BAPs founding two years ago. Baraka emphasized that the working class, black and white, should not be risking their lives to defend western capitalism. Baraka called for an end to US imperialism around the world with a special emphasis on Venezuela, which is now being threatened by the United States that is conducting an economic war against it.

The 2012 vice presidential nominee also participated in the events. Cheri Honkala (pictured in the featured image holding the banner) leads the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC). She decried the mass spending on militarism when there are many unmet human needs including poverty, homelessness, and economic insecurity. At the NATO protests, PPEHRC announced the Poor People’s Army that will advocate for a shift in spending from weapons and war to housing, healthcare, ending poverty and free education from pre-K through college.

These views were consistent with those expressed by Howie Hawkins, who just announced an exploratory committee for the Green presidential nomination. He scheduled his announcement so he could be in Washington, DC to be part of the NATO protests. Hawkins joined in calling for the end of NATO and at least a 50% cut in federal spending on the military. At a rally at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Hawkins called for an Economic Bill of Rights that would confront the triple evils identified by King — racism, militarism, and capitalism — in the context of an ecosocialist Green New Deal. Hawkins was the first person to run a campaign calling for a Green New Deal when he ran for governor of New York in 2010.

Video by Tony Ndege of the North Carolina Green Party and a co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Pat Elder, a Green from Maryland who ran against Steny Hoyer in 2018 and a leader  with World Beyond War, helped to organize a Peace Festival on April 3 and the protests at the State Department and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the 4th. Pat’s work with Civilian Exposure focuses on how the military poisons the environment. He described how NATO poisons the Earth by using chemicals at military bases that cause genetic mutations.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese along with Jan Weinberg take the street outside the State Department by sitting-in when ordered to move by the police. On the right is Tighe Barry of the Statehood-Green Party, on the left is Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK who is Green-friendly. Also photographed Ariel Gold of CODE PINK.

Popular Resistance, which I co-direct with Margaret Flowers, MD, also helped to organize the week of events through the newly organized Peace Congress, which formed out of the successful campaign to stop the Trump military parade. The Peace Congress worked for unity around the NATO protests to ensure the multiple peace groups involved in the planning worked together to form a cohesive peace force against NATO.

Flowers, a 2016 Green Party US Senate candidate and co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, said, “We need a strong unified peace movement at this time of never-ending war and record-setting military budgets. The United States is a fading empire that continues to cause chaos and destruction around the world. It is time for the transformation of US foreign policy from war and domination to diplomacy and cooperation with other countries.”

Tom Violett and Diane Moxley, Greens from New Jersey along with independent Jan Weinberg were also at the week of actions. They are all members of the Peace Congress and are organizing a New Jersey Peace Congress meeting this June.

The Green Party has long been an anti-militarist party whose platform calls for peace and disarmament. This includes the abolishment of nuclear and chemical weapons, a no-first-strike policy and a major reduction in military spending as well as a prohibition on arms sales to foreign governments. Peace is one of the four pillars on which the Green Party is built.

Greens who were involved in organizing the ‘No To NATO’ protests are one example of many that demonstrate that Greens are leading organizers of political movements for economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace. Greens who run for office bring those views into elections and impact the priorities of the nation. The Green Party strives to be the political party of the popular movement for transformational change.

Kevin Zeese co-directs Popular Resistance and is on the coordinating council for the Maryland Green Party.

  Read Greens Say ‘No to NATO’ While War Parties Give Standing Ovations to NATO
  April 10, 2019
The true feasibility of moving away from fossil fuels.
by Gail Tverberg, in Resource Crisis, countercurrents.org.

One of the great misconceptions of our time is the belief that we can move away from fossil fuels if we make suitable choices on fuels. In one view, we can make the transition to a low-energy economy powered by wind, water, and solar. In other versions, we might include some other energy sources, such as biofuels or nuclear, but the story is not very different.

The problem is the same regardless of what lower bound a person chooses: our economy is way too dependent on consuming an amount of energy that grows with each added human participant in the economy. This added energy is necessary because each person needs food, transportation, housing, and clothing, all of which are dependent upon energy consumption. The economy operates under the laws of physics, and history shows disturbing outcomes if energy consumption per capita declines.

There are a number of issues:

  • The impact of alternative energy sources is smaller than commonly believed.
  • When countries have reduced their energy consumption per capita by significant amounts, the results have been very unsatisfactory.
  • Energy consumption plays a bigger role in our lives than most of us imagine.
  • It seems likely that fossil fuels will leave us before we can leave them.
  • The timing of when fossil fuels will leave us seems to depend on when central banks lose their ability to stimulate the economy through lower interest rates.
  • If fossil fuels leave us, the result could be the collapse of financial systems and governments.

[1] Wind, water and solar provide only a small share of energy consumption today; any transition to the use of renewables alone would have huge repercussions.

According to BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data, wind, water and solar only accounted for 9.4% 0f total energy consumption in 2017.

Figure 1. Wind, Water and Solar as a percentage of total energy consumption, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Even if we make the assumption that these types of energy consumption will continue to achieve the same percentage increases as they have achieved in the last 10 years, it will still take 20 more years for wind, water, and solar to reach 20% of total energy consumption.

Thus, even in 20 years, the world would need to reduce energy consumption by 80% in order to operate the economy on wind, water and solar alone. To get down to today’s level of energy production provided by wind, water and solar, we would need to reduce energy consumption by 90%.

[2] Venezuela’s example (Figure 1, above) illustrates that even if a country has an above average contribution of renewables, plus significant oil reserves, it can still have major problems.

One point people miss is that having a large share of renewables doesn’t necessarily mean that the lights will stay on. A major issue is the need for long distance transmission lines to transport the renewable electricity from where it is generated to where it is to be used. These lines must constantly be maintained. Maintenance of electrical transmission lines has been an issue in both Venezuela’s electrical outages and in California’s recent fires attributed to the utility PG&E.

There is also the issue of variability of wind, water and solar energy. (Note the year-to-year variability indicated in the Venezuela line in Figure 1.) A country cannot really depend on its full amount of wind, water, and solar unless it has a truly huge amount of electrical storage: enough to last from season-to-season and year-to-year. Alternatively, an extraordinarily large quantity of long-distance transmission lines, plus the ability to maintain these lines for the long term, would seem to be required.

[3] When individual countries have experienced cutbacks in their energy consumption per capita, the effects have generally been extremely disruptive, even with cutbacks far more modest than the target level of 80% to 90% that we would need to get off fossil fuels. 

Notice that in these analyses, we are looking at “energy consumption per capita.” This calculation takes the total consumption of all kinds of energy (including oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, and renewables) and divides it by the population.

Energy consumption per capita depends to a significant extent on what citizens within a given economy can afford. It also depends on the extent of industrialization of an economy. If a major portion of industrial jobs are sent to China and India and only service jobs are retained, energy consumption per capita can be expected to fall. This happens partly because local companies no longer need to use as many energy products. Additionally, workers find mostly service jobs available; these jobs pay enough less that workers must cut back on buying goods such as homes and cars, reducing their energy consumption.

Example 1. Spain and Greece Between 2007-2014

Figure 2. Greece and Spain energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates.

The period between 2007 and 2014 was a period when oil prices tended to be very high. Both Greece and Spain are very dependent on oil because of their sizable tourist industries. Higher oil prices made the tourism services these countries sold more expensive for their consumers. In both countries, energy consumption per capita started falling in 2008 and continued to fall until 2014, when oil prices began falling. Spain’s energy consumption per capita fell by 18% between 2007 and 2014; Greece’s fell by 24% over the same period.

Both Greece and Spain experienced high unemployment rates, and both have needed debt bailouts to keep their financial systems operating. Austerity measures were forced on Greece. The effects on the economies of these countries were severe. Regarding Spain, Wikipedia has a section called, “2008 to 2014 Spanish financial crisis,” suggesting that the loss of energy consumption per capita was highly correlated with the country’s financial crisis.

Example 2: France and the UK, 2004 – 2017

Both France and the UK have experienced falling energy consumption per capita since 2004, as oil production dropped (UK) and as industrialization was shifted to countries with a cheaper total cost of labor and fuel. Immigrant labor was added, as well, to better compete with the cost structures of the countries that France and the UK were competing against. With the new mix of workers and jobs, the quantity of goods and services that these workers could afford (per capita) has been falling.

Figure 3. France and UK energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates.

Comparing 2017 to 2004, energy consumption per capita is down 16% for France and 25% in the UK. Many UK citizens have been very unhappy, wanting to leave the European Union.

France recently has been experiencing “Yellow Vest” protests, at least partly related to an increase in carbon taxes. Higher carbon taxes would make energy-based goods and services less affordable. This would likely reduce France’s energy consumption per capita even further. French citizens with their protests are clearly not happy about how they are being affected by these changes.

Example 3: Syria (2006-2016) and Yemen (2009-2016)

Both Syria and Yemen are examples of formerly oil-exporting countries that are far past their peak production. Declining energy consumption per capita has been forced on both countries because, with their oil exports falling, the countries can no longer afford to use as much energy as they did in the past for previous uses, such as irrigation. If less irrigation is used, food production and jobs are lost. (Syria and Yemen)

Figure 4. Syria and Yemen energy consumption per capita. Energy consumption data from US Energy Information Administration; population estimates are UN 2017 estimates.

Between Yemen’s peak year in energy consumption per capita (2009) and the last year shown (2016), its energy consumption per capita dropped by 66%. Yemen has been named by the United Nations as the country with the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Yemen cannot provide adequate food and water for its citizens. Yemen is involved in a civil war that others have entered into as well. I would describe the war as being at least partly a resource war.

The situation with Syria similar. Syria’s energy consumption per capita declined 55% between its peak year (2006) and the last year available (2016). Syria is also involved in a civil war that has been entered into by others. Here again, the issue seems to be inadequate resources per capita; war participants are to some extent fighting over the limited resources that are available.

Example 4: Venezuela (2008-2017)

Figure 5. Energy consumption per capita for Venezuela, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates.

Between 2008 and 2017, energy consumption per capita in Venezuela declined by 23%. This is a little less than the decreases experienced by the UK and Greece during their periods of decline.

Even with this level of decline, Venezuela has been having difficulty providing adequate services to its citizens. There have been reports of empty supermarket shelves. Venezuela has not been able to maintain its electrical system properly, leading to many outages.

[4] Most people are surprised to learn that energy is required for every part of the economy. When adequate energy is not available, an economy is likely to first shrink back in recession; eventually, it may collapse entirely.

Physics tells us that energy consumption in a thermodynamically open system enables all kinds of “complexity.” Energy consumption enables specialization and hierarchical organizations. For example, growing energy consumption enables the organizations and supply lines needed to manufacture computers and other high-tech goods. Of course, energy consumption also enables what we think of as typical energy uses: the transportation of goods, the smelting of metals, the heating and air-conditioning of buildings, and the construction of roads. Energy is even required to allow pixels to appear on a computer screen.

Pre-humans learned to control fire over one million years ago. The burning of biomass was a tool that could be used for many purposes, including keeping warm in colder climates, frightening away predators, and creating better tools. Perhaps its most important use was to permit food to be cooked, because cooking increases food’s nutritional availability. Cooked food seems to have been important in allowing the brains of humans to grow bigger at the same time that teeth, jaws and guts could shrink compared to those of ancestors. Humans today need to be able to continue to cook part of their food to have a reasonable chance of survival.

Any kind of governmental organization requires energy. Having a single leader takes the least energy, especially if the leader can continue to perform his non-leadership duties. Any kind of added governmental service (such as roads or schools) requires energy. Having elected leaders who vote on decisions takes more energy than having a king with a few high-level aides. Having multiple layers of government takes energy. Each new intergovernmental organization requires energy to fly its officials around and implement its programs.

International trade clearly requires energy consumption. In fact, pretty much every activity of businesses requires energy consumption.

Needless to say, the study of science or of medicine requires energy consumption, because without significant energy consumption to leverage human energy, nearly every person must be a subsistence level farmer, with little time to study or to take time off from farming to write (or even read) books. Of course, manufacturing medicines and test tubes requires energy, as does creating sterile environments.

We think of the many parts of the economy as requiring money, but it is really the physical goods and services that money can buy, and the energy that makes these goods and services possible, that are important. These goods and services depend to a very large extent on the supply of energy being consumed at a given point in time–for example, the amount of electricity being delivered to customers and the amount of gasoline and diesel being sold. Supply chains are very dependent on each part of the system being available when needed. If one part is missing, long delays and eventually collapse can occur.

[5] If the supply of energy to an economy is reduced for any reason, the result tends to be very disruptive, as shown in the examples given in Section [3], above.

When an economy doesn’t have enough energy, its self-organizing feature starts eliminating pieces of the economic system that it cannot support. The financial system tends to be very vulnerable because without adequate economic growth, it becomes very difficult for borrowers to repay debt with interest. This was part of the problem that Greece and Spain had in the period when their energy consumption per capita declined. A person wonders what would have happened to these countries without bailouts from the European Union and others.

Another part that is very vulnerable is governmental organizations, especially the higher layers of government that were added last. In 1991, the Soviet Union’s central government was lost, leaving the governments of the 15 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. As energy consumption per capita declines, the European Union would seem to be very vulnerable. Other international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, would seem to be vulnerable, as well.

The electrical system is very complex. It seems to be easily disrupted if there is a material decrease in energy consumption per capita because maintenance of the system becomes difficult.

If energy consumption per capita falls dramatically, many changes that don’t seem directly energy-related can be expected. For example, the roles of men and women are likely to change. Without modern medical care, women will likely need to become of the mothers of several children in order that an average of two can survive long enough to raise their own children. Men will be valued for the heavy manual labor that they can perform. Today’s view of the equality of the sexes is likely to disappear because sex differences will become much more important in a low-energy world.

Needless to say, other aspects of a low-energy economy might be very different as well. For example, one very low-energy type of economic system is a “gift economy.” In such an economy, the status of each individual is determined by the amount that that person can give away. Anything a person obtains must automatically be shared with the local group or the individual will be expelled from the group. In an economy with very low complexity, this kind of economy seems to work. A gift economy doesn’t require money or debt!

[6] Most people assume that moving away from fossil fuels is something we can choose to do with whatever timing we would like. I would argue that we are not in charge of the process. Instead, fossil fuels will leave us when we lose the ability to reduce interest rates sufficiently to keep oil and other fossil fuel prices high enough for energy producers.

Something that may seem strange to those who do not follow the issue is the fact that oil (and other energy prices) seem to be very much influenced by interest rates and the level of debt. In general, the lower the interest rate, the more affordable high-priced goods such as factories, homes, and automobiles become, and the higher commodity prices of all kinds can be. “Demand” increases with falling interest rates, causing energy prices of all types to rise.

Figure 6.

The cost of extracting oil is less important in determining oil prices than a person might expect. Instead, prices seem to be determined by what end products consumers (in the aggregate) can afford. In general, the more debt that individual citizens, businesses and governments can obtain, the higher that oil and other energy prices can rise. Of course, if interest rates start rising (instead of falling), there is a significant chance of a debt bubble popping, as defaults rise and asset prices decline.

Interest rates have been generally falling since 1981 (Figure 7). This is the direction needed to support ever-higher energy prices.

Figure 7. Chart of 3-month and 10-year interest rates, prepared by the FRED, using data through March 27, 2019.

The danger now is that interest rates are approaching the lowest level that they can possibly reach. We need lower interest rates to support the higher prices that oil producers require, as their costs rise because of depletion. In fact, if we compare Figures 7 and 8, the Federal Reserve has been supporting higher oil and other energy prices with falling interest rates practically the whole time since oil prices rose above the inflation adjusted level of $20 per barrel!

Figure 8. Historical inflation adjusted prices oil, based on data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, with the low price period for oil highlighted.

Once the Federal Reserve and other central banks lose their ability to cut interest rates further to support the need for ever-rising oil prices, the danger is that oil and other commodity prices will fall too low for producers. The situation is likely to look like the second half of 2008 in Figure 6. The difference, as we reach limits on how low interest rates can fall, is that it will no longer be possible to stimulate the economy to get energy and other commodity prices back up to an acceptable level for producers.

[7] Once we hit the “no more stimulus impasse,” fossil fuels will begin leaving us because prices will fall too low for companies extracting these fuels. They will be forced to leave because they cannot make an adequate profit.

One example of an oil producer whose production was affected by an extended period of low prices is the Soviet Union (or USSR).

Figure 9. Oil production of the former Soviet Union together with oil prices in 2017 US$. All amounts from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

The US substantially raised interest rates in 1980-1981 (Figure 7). This led to sharp reduction in oil prices, as the higher interest rates cut back investment of many kinds, around the world. Given the low price of oil, the Soviet Union reduced new investment in new fields. This slowdown in investment first reduced the rate of growth in oil production, and eventually led to a decline in production in 1988 (Figure 9). When oil prices rose again, production did also.

Figure 10. Energy consumption per capita for the former Soviet Union, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates.

The Soviet Union’s energy consumption per capita reached its highest level in 1988 and began declining in 1989. The central government of the Soviet Union did not collapse until late 1991, as the economy was increasingly affected by falling oil export revenue.

Some of the changes that occurred as the economy simplified itself were the loss of the central government, the loss of a large share of industry, and a great deal of job loss. Energy consumption per capita dropped by 36% between 1988 and 1998. It has never regained its former level.

Venezuela is another example of an oil exporter that, in theory, could export more oil, if oil prices were higher. It is interesting to note that Venezuela’s highest energy consumption per capita occurred in 2008, when oil prices were high.

We are now getting a chance to observe what the collapse in Venezuela looks like on a day- by-day basis. Figure 5, above, shows Venezuela’s energy consumption per capita pattern through 2017. Low oil prices since 2014 have particularly adversely affected the country.

[8] Conclusion: We can’t know exactly what is ahead, but it is clear that moving away from fossil fuels will be far more destructive of our current economy than nearly everyone expects. 

It is very easy to make optimistic forecasts about the future if a person doesn’t carefully examine what the data and the science seem to be telling us. Most researchers come from narrow academic backgrounds that do not seek out insights from other fields, so they tend not to understand the background story.

A second issue is the desire for a “happy ever after” ending to our current energy predicament. If a researcher is creating an economic model without understanding the underlying principles, why not offer an outcome that citizens will like? Such a solution can help politicians get re-elected and can help researchers get grants for more research.

We should be examining the situation more closely than most people have considered. The fact that interest rates cannot drop much further is particularly concerning.

Gail E. Tverberg graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1968 with a B.S. in Mathematics. She received a M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1970. Ms. Tverberg is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Ms. Tverberg began writing articles on finite world issues in early 2006. Since March 1, 2007, Ms. Tverberg has been working for Tverberg Actuarial Services on finite world issues. Her blog is http://ourfiniteworld.com

  Read The true feasibility of moving away from fossil fuels
  April 11, 2019
Political Manifestos Neglect Out Environment
by Pratap Antony, in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

None of the political party manifesto’s mention the most important factor on which we are dependent for our existence. Our environment!

The environment,unquestionably, is the most important factor of our lives. Our lives really do depend on our environment. Yet our political parties do not mention anything about how to sustain and preserve our bio-diversity, or, even how to create and maintain a circular economy. i.e. “an economic system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production”


It just shows how out of touch with reality, politics and politicians are.Our political parties have no interest in conservation of our air, water and forests, or, sustainability.

Our politicians, obviously believe that – promises and pelf,politicking and pettiness, getting power and holding on to power, are more important than conservation of the Earth.

They have no knowledge of our co-dependence on our environment, or, the right to life of our biodiversity. They only know how to manufacture fiction, build illusions and trivialise life into two-or three-word banalities.

It is obvious that our politicians have not heard of the ‘Mother Earth’ law, even though the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth was adopted internationally in Cochabamba, Bolivia,in 2010, and, on which,environmental programmescould have been built and included in their manifesto’s.

The Bolivian,”Mother Earth” law, accords nature the legal rights to life.Its statutes require the people to “uphold and respect the rights of Mother Earth”.

The ‘Law of Mother Earth’ defines these rights as “the right to life, the diversity of life, water, clean air, equilibrium, restoration and pollution-free living. Among the guiding principles of this law are harmony, collective good, guarantee of the regeneration of Mother Earth and no commercialism.”

But Politicians do not give priority to our collapsing and exhausted ecosystems. In fact, docks, mines, SEZ’s, nuclear plants, arms and ammunition plants are authorised and are being built; land is being exploited in ecologically sensitive areas by corporations and government affiliated organisations, with political connivance.

Environmental collapse and climate crises are affecting us. Climate is changing. Patterns of seasonality are changing. Food, agriculture, and water systems are worsening, forests are declining, prices are rising. But politicians ignore the fact of our co-dependence on nature.

An economic system based upon infinite growth in a finite world can only spectacularly collapse“. Glen Barry

Biodiversity simply means “the variety of life on earth”. It is the whole lot of organisms and ecosystems – over 10 million different species – animals, plants, fungi, micro-organisms, their genes and their habitats which represent the world’s biological diversity, or biodiversity. And all species and ecosystems are connected like interlocking pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Everything is interdependent. There is no key piece. All the pieces have to be in their place to complete the puzzle. All animals, fish, plants and organismsare part of this jigsaw puzzle – and everything is mutually supporting. Biodiversity is essential to maintain our lives and our life-support systems.

Politicians do not seem to know or care about sustainability and equitable sustainable development. Therefore, commercialisation is given precedence over preservation. Exploitation of natural resources is given precedence over regeneration. Manipulation takes precedence over restoration. And wasteful consumerism takes precedence over conservation.

Corporations, religionists, overbearing politicians, governments and the media have side-tracked us,with the nonsense of economics, religion, and nationalism,to our present state of falling standards and social and economic decline. We are being divertedand distracted from the ecological basis of our beings.

All the Injustice, inequity,conflict, antagonism, divisivenessand diminishing basic rights and environmental decline can be related in some manner to this disregard for long-term ecological sustainability.

Unless we stop damaging our environment and leave natural ecosystems and our biodiversity intact and unharmed, life will come to an end.

Since our politicians do not think that our collapsing environment is a serious matter, we would have to take care of thesustainability of ourplanet and its drained ecologies by ourselves.

We could do this by consuming resources responsibly and by wasting less.

By encouraging people to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment.

By educatingwhoever we can about preserving habitats, preventing pollution, and being heedful of global warming. 

By making it a point to remember that our road to recovery could be based on a few ‘R’ words – Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recover. Reform. Regenerate.

   Save our forests from government economic policy – where monetary valuation and economics becomes the criteria for decision making and policy, and seek alternatives to the perverse economic valuation of nature and its extractive policy.

Empathise, support and stand-with the forest dwelling people -our ancestral people,who depend on forests for theirlivelihoods and yet regenerate and protect forests and their biodiversity.

Lean towards economics that is humane, people-oriented, equitable and fair, especially to the less privileged.

Halt the destruction of our environment.Support afforestation and reforestation with varied plant species. Generally, encourage the growth of trees and discourage the chopping of trees.

Support ethical companies that operate in ways that minimise damage to the environment.

Despite political neglect, we must rise above our own indifference and passiveness towards authorityand do everything we can to preserve our environment.

Protest whenever and wherever we can, by joining like-minded pressure groups against corrupt, misguided state sanctioned development projects and their nexus with dishonest corporations.

   Persuade corporationsand our politicians to save our forests from being destroyed for mining, dams, buildingprojects, SEZs and STZs, and other resource-exploiting and polluting industries.

Ecology is the ultimate truth. Without intact natural ecosystems there can be no life. Humanity is destroying natural life for fleeting comfort for some.Glen Barry

References: Dr. Glen Barry Ph.D. ‘Earth Meanders’ series.

Pratap Antony is a Passive activist. Active pacifist freelance thinker and writer on ecology and environment, social justice and pluralism, management ideas and issues and jazz and western classical music and Indian classical dance.

  April 12, 2019
New Species of Deep-Sea Corals Discovered in US Atlantic Marine Monument.
by Dr Marianne de Nazareth, in Environmental Protection, countercurrents.org.

A bubblegum coral (Paragorgia spp.) similar to, but distinct from, the new species identified in Lydonia Canyon. (Photo by Ivan Agerton, OceanX)

All we have been reading about of late are that coral reefs are dying around the world. Damaging activities by man include coral mining, pollution (organic and non-organic), overfishing, blast fishing, the digging of canals and access into islands and bays. Other dangers include disease, destructive fishing practices and warming oceans due to climate change.

Infact in 2016 and 2017, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, famed for it’s coral reefs, experienced back-to-back “marine heat waves”—periods of elevated sea temperatures that resulted in the death of almost a third of all the reef’s corals.

According to scientists, for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear, coral polyps respond to elevated heat by expelling the symbiotic, photosynthesizing algae that nourish them; the loss of colorful algae “bleaches” corals and can ultimately lead to their death. Coral cover in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches over 2,300 km,is now at its lowest point on record.Infact there was talk about going to see it before it disappears altogether.

Deep-sea corals like these in Lydonia Canyon are the foundation for diverse ecosystems that thrive far beneath the ocean surface. (Photo by Luis Lamar, National Geographic)

However there is good news from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and their collaborators at OceanX, the University of Connecticut (UConn), and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). They have discovered two new species of deep-sea corals during a September 2018 expedition in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, located about 100 miles from the Northeast U.S. coast. This finding adds to the diversity of the only U.S. marine monument in Atlantic.

WHOI deep-sea biologist Tim Shank in the OceanX submersible Nadir diving in Lydonia Canyon. (Photo by Luis Lamar, National Geographic)

The research team was led by deep-sea biologist Tim Shank of WHOI and included co-PIs Taylor Heyl (WHOI), Rachel O’Neill (UConn), and John Leichty (JPL). Utilizing OceanX’s research and exploration vessel Alucia, the team explored and surveyed several of the unique deep-sea habitats in the monument, which includes three underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The OceanX research vessel Alucia and submersible Nadir. (Photo by Luis Lamar, National Geographic)

During the two-week expedition, the scientists collected a total of 29 coral samples in Lydonia Canyon at depths between 1,211 feet and 2,963 feet, using the submarine Nadir. These were the first human-occupied submersible dives in this canyon since 1982 and only the third deep-submergence mission to Lydonia Canyon.

“Through ongoing genetic barcoding, we have identified at least two corals so far that represent genetically different species,” Shank said. “They don’t show sufficient genetic similarity to be any species that is currently known in the world’s repository for DNA sequences.”

According to Heyl, the two likely new species found in Lydonia Canyon are bubblegum corals, which she described as soft, deep-water corals, “with bundles of polyps that resemble wads of bubblegum along their branches.”

“We didn’t expect to find bubblegum corals there at all, since they haven’t been found in any of the neighboring canyons,” Shank said. “We found pink, red, and white bubblegum corals thriving there.”

“We observed a high diversity of other corals, at least 24 species, on the seafloor and are discovering more through genetic analyses,” he added.

Shank noted that coral species deep in the canyon at more than 2,953 feet below the surface were very different from those found in shallower waters. In total, the team collected some 200 samples of corals, sponges, and other marine life during the expedition’s three submersible dives.

“We’re still analyzing the data,” he noted. “But we found surprising patterns of species diversity at different depths and among the different canyons in the monument.”

Corals found at these depths grow at an extremely slow pace: One that is a foot tall could be as much as 500 years old. Deep-water corals around the world also provide the framework to support entire ecosystems that contain more than 2,500 species living on and around them, including brittle stars, squat lobster crabs, and sea lily crinoids.

In addition, the team tested a new universal barcode for invertebrates during the expedition. Barcoding is a technique that uses a specific segment of an organism’s DNA to identify different species at the genetic level, rather than by analyzing an organisms physical characteristics. UConn’s O’Neill and her team were able to validate the effectiveness of the new barcode by distinguishing all of the different salp species present in a single, commingled sample. Salps are a gelatinous, free-swimming animal common to the open ocean that may play an important role in Earth’s climate system by consuming carbon near the surface and excreting it in pellets that sink into the deep ocean.

The monument was created by President Barack Obama in 2016 and is the first and only national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. However, it is currently under threat of losing its protected status.

“The Northeast Canyons represent some of the most unique and biodiverse habitats in the Atlantic Ocean, and exploring and understanding these canyons is critical to creating awareness for and protecting them,” said Vincent Pieribone, Vice Chairman, OceanX. “We are thrilled to learn with our partners at WHOI, JPL, UConn and Bloomberg Philanthropies that this mission uncovered new species of coral. These discoveries will help move us toward a better understanding of our oceans, our planet’s most important and most under-examined natural

The expedition was made possible through the Bloomberg-OceanX partnership and pledge of a combined $185 million over the next four years to facilitate ocean exploration and conservation around the world. Through the partnership, Bloomberg Philanthropies and OceanX aim to create a critical platform to increase the world’s collective understanding of and engagement in our oceans.

OceanX is a mission to support scientists to explore the ocean and to bring it back to the world through captivating media. Uniting leading media, science, and philanthropy partners, OceanX utilizes next-gen technology, fearless science, compelling storytelling, and immersive experiences to educate, inspire, and connect the world with the ocean and build a global community deeply engaged with understanding, enjoying, and protecting our oceans. OceanX is an initiative of Dalio Philanthropies, which furthers the diverse philanthropic interests of Dalio family members. For more information, visit www.oceanx.org

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment.

Marianne Furtado de Nazareth– Former Assistant Editor, The Deccan Herald, freelance Science and Environment Journalist and adjunct faculty, St. Joseph’s College of Mass Communication, Bangalore)

  Read New Species of Deep-Sea Corals Discovered in US Atlantic Marine Monument
  April 12, 2019
Climate crisis poses a major political challenge to imperialism: John Smith on imperialism.
by Farooque Chowdhury, in Imperialism, countercurrents.org.

John Smith, former oil rig worker, bus driver, telecommunications engineer, longtime activist in the anti-war and Latin American solidarity movements, and author of Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis (Monthly Review Press, January 2016), discusses the question of imperialism in the following interview taken by Farooque Chowdhury during July 2018-February 2019. The interview, in slightly abridged form, originally appeared on MR Online on March 19, 22, and 23, 2019.

Following is the concluding part of the four-part interview.

Climate crisis and imperialism

Q 14: How is climate crisis impacting imperialism?

JS: “Climate crisis” is a euphemism for the capitalist destruction of nature, and is an extremely dramatic and terrifying manifestation of capitalism’s destructive and imperialistic nature. So, imperialism is certainly impacting the climate crisis! How, and in what sense, is the climate crisis impacting upon imperialism? Capitalism/imperialism is extremely proficient at externalizing the costs of its destructiveness, making other peoples and future generations suffer the consequences of its marauding nature, as the people of Bangladesh know only too well. Yet it is not immune from “blow-back” effects, such as when overfishing and run-off from intensive farming causes blooms of jellyfish that destroyed tourism and clog the water-cooling inlets of power stations, or the droughts and heat waves causing forest fires and the collapse of farming in large tracts of Australia and the United States. The climate crisis also poses a major political challenge to imperialism — they are working very hard to prevent public opinion and the world’s scientific community from coming to the conclusion that system change is necessary if we are to avert climate change.

Benefits and resource flow

Q 15: Is there any benefit from imperialism?

JS: Yes – to the imperialists. And yes – to the middle class and the elites of the subject nations, who are given a place for their snouts in the trough that is filled by the world’s workers and farmers. And yes – to the workers in the imperialist countries, whose rulers divert some of the proceeds of imperialist exploitation to bribe privileged layers and purchase social peace. But these benefits are temporary and the price that workers in the imperialist countries are paying for being led into an alliance with the enemies of humanity is already high and will grow without limit. Which imperialist country will be the first to see a fascist movement come to power – France, the UK, Italy, USA…?

Q 16: Has there been any change in the direction of flow of resources and benefits in imperialist system?

JS: No.

Q 17: How do you define the claim that claims resources flow to neo-colonies/countries being exploited by imperialism from imperialism?

JS: I define it as complete and utter nonsense. (The following is drawn from my response to claims by David Harvey that the flow of resources from imperialist to developing countries has changed direction.)

In 2015, researchers based in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Norway and the USA published Financial flows and tax havens: combining to limit the lives of billions of people, which they fairly claim to be “the most comprehensive analysis of global financial flows impacting developing countries compiled to date.” Their report calculates “net resource transfers” (NRT) between developed and developing countries, combining licit and illicit inflows and outflows — from development aid and remittances of wages to net trade receipts, debt servicing, new loans, FDI and portfolio investment and repatriated profits, along with capital flight and other forms of financial chicanery and outright theft. They found that in 2012, the most recent year for which they could obtain data, what they call “developing and emerging countries” (which of course includes China) lost $2.0 trillion in net transfers to rich countries, equivalent to 8% of emerging nations’ GDP in that year — four times larger than the average of $504 billion in NRT transferred annually from poor to rich countries during the first half of the 2000s. When informed estimates are included of under-invoicing and other forms of rip-off and criminality that leave no statistical trace, NRT from poor countries to imperialist countries in 2012 exceeded $3 trillion, around 12% of poor nations’ GDP.

More generally, they report, “both recorded and unrecorded transfers of licit and illicit funds from developing countries have tended to increase over the period 1980-2011”. As for Sub-Saharan Africa, they report, NRT from this continent to imperialist countries (or tax havens licensed by them) between 1980 to 2012 totalled $792bn, that illicit transfers from Africa to imperialist countries as a proportion of GDP are higher than from any other region, and that capital flight from SSA is growing by more than 20 percent per annum, faster than anywhere else in the world.

In what they called “an ironic twist to the development narrative” the researchers concluded that “since the early 1980s, NRT for all developing countries have been mostly large and negative, indicating sustained and significant outflows from the developing world… resulting in a chronic net drain of resources from the developing world over extended periods of time”.

Where does China fit into this broader picture? Using sophisticated methodologies and on the basis of conservative assumptions, the researchers calculate that China accounts for no less than two-thirds of the total recorded resource transfer deficit of all “emerging nations” between 1980 and 2012, $1.9 trillion in all; the explanation for this high proportion being “China’s large current account surpluses and associated capital and reserve asset outflows,” and it accounted for 21%, or $2.8 trillion, of the total of $13.4 trillion in capital flight drained from all “emerging countries” to rich nations during these three decades.

Progressives and imperialist intervention

Q 18: What are the confusions/misunderstandings among a group of progressives/pro-people forces while they lend support to or invite imperialist intervention as they are to simultaneously face autocratic/despotic/anti-democratic rule? Should the group yet claim that they are pro-people/progressive/revolutionary while they extend their support to imperialist intervention?

JS: No, of course they shouldn’t. But it is easy to make glib denunciations of peoples who are in an extremely painful and difficult situation – I think, for instance, of the Kurdish people, who have no state of their own because of the crimes of British, French and American imperialism, and also because of the chauvinism and extreme brutality of the Arab and Iranian capitalist rulers; and I also think of Jewish people who are confronted by virulent anti-Semitism, which, as history and contemporary politics shows, becomes inflamed at times of systemic capitalist crisis, when gentile capitalists seek to deflect popular resentment onto scapegoats. So, I’d like to avoid making generic statements and consider each specific example individually, and state that before we as socialists, as communists, as workers, criticize other peoples we have to demonstrate in deeds as well as words, that we, not hypocritical imperialists, are their most reliable allies.

For learners

Q20: What are the problems in studying imperialism today?

JS: To study capitalism is to study imperialism, and vice versa. And the only way that can be done, unfortunately, is by starting with the total system and the entire history leading up to it. Whether we like it or not, we cannot form a theoretical concept of any part of the total system of interaction unless we have at least a working concept of this total system. This is what Karl Marx meant when he said there is no “royal road to wisdom”, there are no shortcuts. So, we should not pretend that the task is easier than it actually is — but neither should we underestimate our own capacity to make progress, to stand on the shoulders of others, to rejoice in the fact that the hard work of those who have gone before us enormously amplifies the fruits that we can reap through our own efforts. Most important of all is honesty, integrity and hard work.

Q21: What are the confusions in the study of imperialism today?

JS: The most fundamental confusion is the one discussed in my answer to Q2 and Q8. To repeat this extremely important point, but in a different way, we could say that there are two ways to approach the question “what is imperialism?” One would be to make a list of all of the different types of imperialism that have existed in known history, list the features they have in common, and generalize a theory out of this. The other is to study the actually existing socio-economic system, i.e. capitalism, and ask “what is it about capitalism that caused it to evolve into a new form of imperialism?”

The first approach, which at first glance seems perfectly reasonable, deals exclusively with forms of appearance and can only result in a description rather than a theoretical concept. A theory can only be generated from this approach by the addition of other premises, e.g. something about human nature – or about the nature of men, since the vast majority of emperors and imperialists have been male. This is, in my opinion, a bourgeois, positivist, pseudo-scientific approach that either ends up justifying imperialism (“it’s just human nature”), or denying it, since modern, 21st-century capitalist imperialism does not include one feature that is common to all other forms of imperialism, namely territorial occupation and domination.

The second approach is the one that is recommended by dialectical materialism and followed by Marx and Marxists. Capitalism must be studied both empirically and theoretically, including what makes this social system different from others that have existed in history and that have developed their own forms of imperialism. We then discover that the transition to capitalist imperialism was necessitated by the centralization and concentration of capital (i.e. monopoly capitalism), over-accumulation, or what could be called the hypertrophy of capital (when the mass of capital expands far beyond that which can be valorized solely by surplus value extracted from workers “at home”), and, connected to this, the long-term tendency of the rate of profit to fall that results from the replacement of living labor (the sole source of value) with dead labor, i.e. machinery. Imperialism – or rather, a historically new and very distinctive form of it — is then revealed as an increasingly important way to counter the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, a tendency which distills the very essence of the contradictions of capitalist social relations.

As for the “human nature” which plays such a role in bourgeois pseudo-scientific theories of imperialism, we can say that human nature combines many qualities and potentialities – e.g. for selfishness and for solidarity, for love and for hate – which of these potentialities become realized is profoundly influenced by the socio-economic system you live in and your place within it.

Another major source of confusion results from the artificial separation of economics from politics; imperialism is then seen as a relation of domination and subordination rather than as a relation between exploiters and exploited. This is quite typical of the bourgeois approach, since apologists for capitalism have great difficulty acknowledging exploitation of any type, or that a great part of the wealth currently being accumulated by capitalists in London, Paris and New York was extracted from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Unfortunately (to say the least!), many avowed Marxists resident in imperialist countries deny this reality, I explain in my critique of David Harvey (see https://mronline.org/2018/03/22/imperialist-realities-vs-the-myths-of-david-harvey/). In other words, students of imperialism should cast an extremely critical eye on everything they read on this subject, especially the opinions of people who claim to be Marxists (and I invite you, indeed I urge you, to cast an extremely critical eye on everything I say in this interview!).

Q22: What aspects of imperialism should a learner look into?

JS: Whichever aspects you find most interesting, whichever seem to you to be most important, whichever seem to be most puzzling and in relation to which existing answers seem insufficient. There really are a million different points of departure, but there is only one mountain peak!

Q23: From where should a learner begin study of imperialism?

JS: We should begin with what is happening today, we should begin by opening our eyes to the world around us and formulating questions about everything we see that we don’t understand.

Thank you, John, for helping understand aspects of imperialism.

Thank you, Farooque, for asking such interesting questions. I look forward to hearing opinions of readers on the issues covered in this interview.

  Read  Climate crisis poses a major political challenge to imperialism: John Smith on imperialism
  March 27, 2019

by Prof. John S. Avery as fellow board member of the Eqbal Ahmed Centre for Public Education.
Eqbal Ahmad Centre For Public Education.

Prof. John S. Avery as fellow board member of the Eqbal Ahmed Centre for Public Education.
Download full WORD document by authors. WE NEED AN ECOLOGICAL REVOLUTION.

Our present crisis of civilization is unique

Does history repeat itself? Is it cyclic, or is it unidirectional? Certainly many aspects of history are repetitive – the rise and fall of empires, cycles of war and peace, cycles of construction and destruction. But on the other hand, if we look at the long-term history of human progress, we can see that it is clearly unidirectional. An explosion of knowledge has created the modern world. Never before has the world had a population of 7 billion people, to which a billion are added every decade. Never before have we had the power to destroy human civilization and the biosphere with catastrophic anthropogenic climate change or thermonuclear weapons.  Our situation today is unique. We cannot rely on old habits, old traditions or old institutions. To save the long-term future for our children and grandchildren, and for all the other creatures with which we share the gift of life, we must overcome the inertia of our institutions and our culture.

Harmony between human society and nature must be restored

Among the many global leaders who have pointed to the need for fundamental change are Pope Francis and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

In June, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the climate crisis in an encyclical entitled “Laudato Si'”, in which he said “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principle challenges facing humanity in our day.” In his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, Pope Francis wrote: “Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say thou shalt not to an economy of exclusion and inequality.”

For very many years, Al Gore has struggled to call public attention to the existential dangers of catastrophic climate change. These efforts were recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize, which Al Gore shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The October 2018 report of the IPCC shocked the world. The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C  would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon-dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. Another conclusion of the report was that humanity has only 12 years in which to act if tipping points are to be avoided, beyond which uncontrollable feedback loops would be set in motion.

This situation caused 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, addressing the 2019 Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, to say “Our house is on fire. I am here to say that our house is on fire. According to the IPCC, we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including reductions of our CO2 emissions by at least 50 percent.”
Fundamental changes are neered

Fundamental changes are needed in order to give our economic system both an ecological conscience and a social conscience. In many countries, economics and politics are linked, because excessive inequality in wealth has meant that corporate oligarchs control our political systems. To restore democracy, we must decrease economic inequality. Furthermore, reformed economic systems must prioritize ecological goals, especially the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy, reforestation, and the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Since rapid and fundamental changes are urgently needed to save the future, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to speak of the need for an ecological revolution, but it must be a nonviolent revolution.

Strong reasons for avoiding violence in situations of conflict have been given by Mahatma Gandhi. To the insidious argument that “the end justifies the means”, Gandhi answered firmly: “They say that 'means are after all means'. I would say that 'means are after all everything'. As the means, so the end. Indeed, the Creator has given us limited power over means, none over end... The means may be likened to a seed, and the end to a tree; and there is the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree. Means and end are interconvertable terms in my philosophy of life.”

Trained as a lawyer, Gandhi fought his battles in the court of public opinion. In this court, violent methods fatally weaken one's case, besides being futile if one is opposing overwhelming military strength. Today, our case for the need to make rapid and fundamental changes must be fought in the court of public opinion. This is made difficult by the fact that the mass media are firmly under the control of powerholding oligarchs. However, the Internet is still relatively uncensored, and this gives us the opportunity to create our own media.

We give our children loving care; but it makes no sense to do so unless we also do all that is within our power to give them a future in which they can survive.

None of us asked to be born at a time of crisis, But we have been born at such a time, and history has given us an enormous responsibility. If we do not work with courage and dedication to save our beautiful world for future generations, all of the treasures that past generations have given to us will be lost. You and I, all of us together, can save the future if we work hard enough. Let us join hands and save the earth for our children and grandchildren.

A new book

I would like to announce the publication of a new book entitled “We Need  An Ecological Revolution”. The book can be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:


If printed copies are desired, they are avilable from Lulu.com.

I have included short sketches of the lives of many famous non-violent revolutionaries; and I hope that these “lives of the saints” can give us inspiration. Of course, the choice of whom to include was rather arbitrary, and very many others deserve recognition; but I hope that the few can stand for the many, and I hope that they can inspire us to put our duty to future generations ahead of  present profit or pleasure.

One of the chapters discusses the ideals of the Enlightenment. Those ideals are still valid today.

Other books and articles on serious global problems

I hope that in addition to downloading and spreading the pdf file of “We Need An Ecological Revolution”,  or the link to it, readers will also spread the following link, where my other books and articles on serious global problems are available: http://eacpe.org/about-john-scales-avery/

Note about the author.
John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Avery is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988-1997). In 1995 Pugwash Conferences, as an organization, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with its president, Sir Joseph Rotblat. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He is a Fellow of the Learning Development Institute, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Nuclear Abolition Forum, the Advisory Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is a Member of the Transcend Network for Peace and Development and Associate of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, and is the author of more than 30 books and 200 articles.

  Read We Need  An Ecological  Revolution

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