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Honduran Caravan, Climate Displacement and NVCD

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 02:27

How do you get from those walking en masse from poverty and repression in Honduras to the US border to the effects of climate change in Bangladesh and back again? What do these two seeming unrelated situations mean for acts of non-violent, civil disobedience? For us?

Well, let’s start with this little observation; “With the rise of Sea-level up to one meter only, Bangladesh could lose up to 15% of its land area under the Sea water and around 30 million people living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh could become refugees because of climate change impacts.”[1] As recently as last year over 800,000 Rohingya were forcibly expelled from Myanmar into squalid camps along the coast of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal. These camps are places they are now going to have to call home for a very long time.

Now turn to Honduras where the US president has used the mid-term elections to vilify the approaching 7,200 person strong caravan as a threat to national security. The idea of the caravan was developed as a direct action response by activists working on migration issues seeking ways to delegitimise the current right oriented government.[2] The organisers are probably overwhelmed at what the caravan has become, possibly even shaking their heads in disbelief. Those walking the 2446 kilometre route[3] are fleeing poverty and violence at home and dreaming of better, safer lives for their families in the US. The response from the US has been a threat to cut international aid to Honduras, as well as reinforcing military units at the US border.[4]

The EU experienced its own wave of irregular migration in 2015 and almost fell apart at the seams trying to stem the flow of one million plus asylum seekers and migrants to its shores. The EU and its constituent countries have tried multiple methods to keep people away, for example by attempting to introduce a quota system[5] to ‘manage the burden’, by doing suspected bilateral deals with Libyan militias[6] to retain migrants in countries leaving them open to risks of abuse, kidnapping, torture and being sold into slavery,[7] and through the much-vaunted but ethically dubious EU Turkey deal, which ships back one Syrian refugee who entered Greece irregularly for one who has legally entered the asylum process in Turkey.[8]

All these people have faced repeated hardship and exposure to violence and abuse at all stages of their journey. They are marching because the range of options facing them at home span from limited opportunities to generate an income to fear, torture and war. If we add the effects of climate change into this toxic mix, we can rest assured that the numbers on the move will only grow. There is already a body of thought directly linking climate change to the migration flows into Europe. Time Magazine quotes the Centre for Climate and Security as saying the “drought (in Syria between 2006 and 2011), in addition to its mismanagement by the Assad regime, contributed to the displacement of two million in Syria. That internal displacement may have contributed to the social unrest that precipitated the civil war. Which generated the refugee flows into Europe.”[9] Having worked in humanitarian aid, I have seen that agencies are already planning for this contingency and have been doing so for a number of years now. The humanitarian analysis is not alone. The US Defence Department in 2014 labelled climate change a “threat multiplier” saying, “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”[10]

The Honduran caravan is a great example of non-violent, civil disobedience in action. Just 7000 people who moved collectively garnered (a) sustained media coverage of their plight (b) a number of  governments scrambling to manage and contain public opinion, including the Honduran State, and (c) public sympathy to a greater or lesser extent depending on which country you are sitting in but either way they have polarized the issue in people’s minds. That’s a lot of power granted to very few people, who are often travelling with little more than the shirts on their backs. The caravan is disruptive and testing the ability of opponents to function, this we can clearly see in governmental responses. The large scale migration flow into Greece and Italy severely tested the supranational EU’s ability to function and still does. That said, these movements are very high risk and can fail, in many cases ending lethally for the participants, but activists can draw significant lessons from witnessing how the actions of a few people, who in this case are the so-called dispossessed, can shake the systems of the mighty.

Marches like this can work to shift public opinion on the thorniest of issues if those involved remain committed to the principles of non-violence. Those working to support all refugees and migrants on the move would do well to start building the case for the impact climate change is having on their reasons for leaving home in the first place. They should also seek to build alliances at all stages along their route with the broadest range of actors possible, not just the usual suspects like civil society organisations, legal groups and religious leaders but also municipalities, local business owners and small to medium enterprises, even taxi and truck drivers who often know smuggling routes and the dangers within them better than most. A broad coalition of support can protect activists from harm, motivate others to join and counter negative and alarmist arguments by those who seek to control a situation through division and fear. A broad coalition of support will legitimise civil disobedience. Some have equated the caravan with the spirit of the 1930 salt march in India[11] and though this may be a stretch it is a comparison that is not without merit.

One of the key principles of non-violent direct action is unity. Successful campaigns require the participation of a diversity of political, social and economic and groups and sectors of society, because by definition a movement’s legitimacy and strength lies in its mobilization of large numbers of civilians, this usually requires a coalition of groups and organizations.[12] That is the unity of people. The Hondurans are marching because they also have a unity of purpose that allows them to make sacrifices for goals that are meaningful to their daily lives.

Climate change will push more people to collective actions of civil disobedience in order to provide what they believe is best for themselves and their families. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that in the 6 years between 2008 and 2014, an annual average of at least 22.5 million people were displaced by the direct threat or impact of floods, landslides, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures.[13] If the sea levels rise as is being predicted in Bangladesh, the Rohingya, unwanted, stateless and unloved in their former and current homes, have little to lose in getting on the road and marching too. I, for one, hope it does not come to that and that through the actions of Extinction Rebellion, others are marching for them so they may never have to.

[1] http://www.ncdo.nl/artikel/climate-change-its-impacts-bangladesh

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/world/americas/migrant-caravan-trump.html

[3] https://www.newsweek.com/migrant-caravan-map-where-mexico-are-they-when-will-they-reach-us-border-1183582

[4] https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/10/20/migrant-caravan-honduras-migrants-mexico-border/1709896002/

[5] https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/many-eu-countries-say-no-to-immigration-quotas/

[6] https://apnews.com/9e808574a4d04eb38fa8c688d110a23d

[7] https://edition.cnn.com/specials/africa/libya-slave-auctions

[8] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/paradox-eu-turkey-refugee-deal

[9] http://time.com/4024210/climate-change-migrants/

[10] https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/603440/

[11] https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/2018/10/22/migrants-process-in-caravan-in-spirit-of-salt-march-march-on-washington/

[12] http://canvasopedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CANVAS-Core-Curriculum_EN.pdf

[13] https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/bulletin/disaster-related-displacement-changing-climate

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Call to Action For Honouring What Dies

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 01:50
By April Griefsong Today (Saturday) has been all about water.  I have spent time walking the earth between camp and car, to prepare for some students visiting from the local University.  The sun was shining when they left home, so they were sadly unprepared for the crazy weather that caught them between the dogs trust car park and camp.  Unfortunately, it was so wet we couldn’t even keep the fire lit – the Gods were throwing buckets out the sky.  With typical forethought, Sarah had filled flasks before the downpour, so we could at least warm them with a hot cuppa.  Susanna, Omar and Zac were really insightful and quick to pick up on Sarah’s fascinating depth of knowledge of how HS2 are repeatedly ignoring directives and breaking EU law in their destruction of ecosystems.

I got a chance to introduce them to Extinction Rebellion and we are all keen for them to begin filming soon – conversations between me, Sarah and Niki, as well as any visitors who may join us.

An hour later, still water logged, we were joined by Nick’s wildlife walkers, who instead took shelter with us, and I used all my valley-aquired fire wisdom to court a warming blaze.  It became a village building day and fed the inspiration for this action I am calling to.

The security rushed to the fence with cameras – watching us watching them – while a kestrel watched us all from above…….

 A Plea to all you folks – wise , old, young and bold

You are needed.  The tree people need you.  After a day of human-centred road tethering – bring your hearts and bodies to the waters and life sustaining London.  Bear witness to yourself and each other – to your NEEDEDNESS of one another.

 

SUNDAY 18TH NOV 10am

at COLNE VALLEY WILDLIFE PROTECTION CAMP  UB9 6JW

 

My dear friends,  sisters,  brothers,  mycelium roots of my hearts

As the head hearts of these Lands

Court the media minded moguls

In a language they may recognize,

I call those of us

Who have studied with the crystal core heart

In song, dance and worship –

Walkers; healers; singers; deep feelers;

Story tellers; sweatlodgers; shape changers, all.

 

And….a prostrate plea to those distant in place

Connected in ancestry, aching in consequences

Grief talkers; nonviolence walkers; spell breakers; system thinking shakers

Already deep down and in –

Elder us into village.

 

Rock, stone, feather and bone

Hear me call

Let’s bring us home.

 

All of us who have woven ourselves

Into the myth of these Lands

All Characters in Search of A Better Catastrophe

 

Join me in a day of Beauty Making

With great care and respect

Honouring and giving gratitude

For the wetlands on the veldt

The wastelands between bright London lights

And someplace wilder

The shadowlands;  out of sight.

A place on the edge of extinction.

 

Bring tools and voices for collaborating with trees.

Vegan food to feast together.

Bring your neurodiverse gifts and griefs

To unite hearts and inspire courage.

Bring water from where you lay.

Build an altar to Lords and Ladies of Decay.

 

Rock, stone, feather and bone

Hear me call

Let’s bring us home.

 

Sunday 18th November from 10am till we need to depart

Colne Valley Wildlife Protection Camp, Harvil Road, Uxbridge UB9 6JW             

Prepare for the waters to bless us back.  (Wellies and waterproofs.)

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

A Growers diary from 2018

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 08:54

My 2018 season on the farm began with rain and lots of it. I had vivid dreams about the irrigation pond at the back of my caravan slowly filling my home while I slept.

The rain and the cold delayed the planting of crops and meant our two acres of asparagus lay dormant. We took advantage of the heavily sodden ground to dig docks out of the first acre of asparagus. We hoped to see spring soon.

Spring came with the first two swallows. It was a very short spring. The trees all blossomed and then greened in unison; the different shades of fresh greens were really beautiful. The asparagus responded with a bumper harvest over a month and a half. Some days we took 100-200 kg a day from the two fields. Spring flipped to summer very quickly.

We loved summer’s first month. We could plant whenever we wanted, not having to worry about sodden ground anymore. The seedlings responded well to the damp earth and constant sun. Then we started to miss the rains. I threw up while weeding the parsnip field. We began to really notice how hot it was. We missed breezes. We became obsessed with weather reports. The rains always seemed to miss us. The ground hardened. The irrigation ponds shrank.

A tame jackdaw named Morgana became part of the team. Driven into someone’s kitchen by hunger and thirst. We fed her by hand and she’d dosed with me in the hotbox that was my caravan during lunch. Sometimes we had 2-hour siestas to get through the hottest part of the day. We’d never needed siestas the 2 previous years I’d worked on the farm.

The summer continued. The grass browned. The crops suffered. We planted cabbages, kale and broccoli into sand. The soil blew off the fields into our eyes. I had to wear glasses to protect mine, which became red and itchy, my eyesight so blurred I couldn’t see properly. We drained both ponds. That had never happened in my time there or during the grower’s 16 years producing crops. We prayed for rain. It didn’t come.

The crops started wilted. Some started dying. We became desperate. We started taking water from the river. Bringing it back up to the farm in a water tanker. We fed our wilting crops sparingly through 120-metre-long irrigation pipes. We realised the true value of water. We we’re thankful then for that wet cold spring, which filled our rivers so they still ran during the drought. The rains that had kept local reservoirs full enough, so we could still water tunnel crops with mains water.

The river kept our crops alive. We heard other farms weren’t so lucky, losing whole plantings of crops twice over.

Rain finally came. We drank the 50 ml caught in the rain gauge with champagne I had saved for a special occasion. The rain had some effect, most of all on our morale, which had been waning as the summer continued. But we still needed to take from the river to truly feed the crops.

The news spoke of UK crops failing and lettuce was sailed across the Atlantic. Brexit talks continued with no definite or security.

The crops managed to survive through our sheer force of will and luck. Luck that someone had leant us that tanker; luck that the rivers and reservoirs still had enough water for us to feed our crops with. We were tired from the effort. I thought about it all and what it meant if that luck ran out.

My 6 month season ended. I felt emotionally and physically battered. I’d thought we’d had time. I thought we’d change it before it all happened; before the climate truly broke down. Then I, a Western, got a taste of how the other half of the planet lives, the half that truly knows what climate change means. Food insecurity. I saw what that looked and felt like. It was terrifying to contemplate what happens when the luck run out. I thanked whatever’s up there for the March rains which filled our pond, reservoir and rivers. Do we hope to based our food security on the luck of the weather? Because we can’t be certain about how the weather behaves anymore. 2018 was a year of ice and fire, neither of which we were ready for; I know I wasn’t.

I have a sadness in me I didn’t have before this year and before this season. It’s the sadness that comes from dead hope. From truly feeling what dying, sterilised earth feels like and that we are heading for big, uncomfortable changes.

From my comfortable position as a Westerner I’ve cared about the environment almost in the way you care for a pet. I got upset about it, signed petitions about plastic in the oceans and the extinction of species, tried to champion the natural world through my art and chose to work in organic farming. But it was only this year that I realised that I’M in danger. My little taste of food insecurity, which must be laughably small in comparison to what African or Middle Eastern farmers experience, made me realise how little we are ready for the dramatic breakdowns in the status quo of our weather. Which are going to happen. This was a year of ice and fire; the Beast from the East to The Grapes of Wrath.

I still carry this sadness in me. It pops up regularly; snatches away happy moments; the pointed end of the stick bursting my optimistic bubble. I guess that’s why I wanted to write this for Extinction Rebellion, because they acknowledge this sadness, this dire experience that we are apathetically allowing to happen, but they are showing such energy in response to it. They speak common sense and they speak it loudly so we can all hear and maybe have enough time to change. They call up the utter nonsense and self-interest that has infested out politics and our systems and they inspire me to continue.

Next year I will still be growing crops; my partner and I will be renting a market garden from the start of 2019 and we plan to incorporate all kinds of plants and habitats to benefit the wildlife which shares the land, but I now know that these actions also benefit me, that protecting nature isn’t an act of sacrifice or parenthood, but one that means I too can keep living on this earth.

Written by Rebecca Mackay

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Extinction Rebellion – Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 06:40

On the 31st October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. The awareness of this action’s long-term significance may have escaped him at the time. With swathes of people turning against the Catholic Church, which had been the most powerful force in Europe for countless years, any doubts about its effect cannot have lasted long.

On the 31st of December 2018, Extinction Rebellion issued a “Declaration of Rebellion” against the British Government. The event was passionate and inspiring. One hopes it will have a similarly galvanising effect as Luther’s hammers had upon the Church. Indeed, it will need to if we are to survive the ecocide standing before us.

This time of year has a feeling of rebellion. The haze of Summer, which somehow seeps well into September, starts to lift. Suddenly we are plunged into darkness and our clocks go back. An extra hour’s sleep never feels quite enough. Halloween is a time for Trick or Treat – far more of an American tradition than a British one. There’s something anarchic about the whole idea that I find appealing – the act of sanctioned, carnivalesque begging. Is giving sweets to strangers paying homage to that sense of hospitality we fear losing, or are we symbolically paying tribute to monsters we have no way of controlling?

Imagine if this practice happened constantly throughout the year? The Trick aspect of Trick or Treat is presented as a last resort if children do not get the treats they want. But really Trick is more of a word for the whole masquerade of Halloween, and its anti-authoritarian semblances, for dressing up as ghouls and ghosts. Halloween is about joyful anonymity through masquerade. It feels in some sense like an age-old protest. Or at least an exorcism of bad spirits.  

Costume parties run into November. And in Britain unlike the US we have Guy Fawkes Night. When I was a child, it always struck me as unpleasant to celebrate someone’s execution with bonfires and burning effigies. It took an imagination like Alan Moore’s to reinvent the Guy Fawkes imagery as an act of rebellion against a future British fascist state in his comic V for Vendetta to symbolically spin something out of Guy Fawkes’ vengeance at years of smouldering mannequins. On the night of the 3rd November, I sat in a plush London cinema watching the film version; a tear ran down my cheek at the inhumanity and the cruelty the film portrays. The message is very much that a certain ruthlessness, based on revenge, is if not necessary then at least inevitable for a mass popular uprising. The lead characters “V” and “Evie Hammond” delight in gleeful destruction – art as political violence.

In some senses, the Extinction Rebellion is similar – more subtle and much more forgiving than the swashbuckling anarchist of the aforementioned tale. Rather than taking pleasure in chaos, Extinction Rebellion presupposes that worldwide chaos is already occurring. Waking people up to their fate involves not blaming or taking out our anger on those who stand against us: the government and big business. Their resistance involves presenting us with half measures to global warming: they cannot face up to destruction, they will waver until the last minute to Midnight. It is only through grieving the extinction that is presently happening that we can hope to change the status quo. People do not know what they have until it is gone. Sadness is powerful and also political. Meanwhile, we have to be creative and artistic against a backdrop of violence and destruction. We have to speak truth to the emotions that lay in the realm beyond a climate apocalypse: both a collective mourning for what we are losing and a collective joy in what we are building anew.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

To those willing to look into the abyss

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 13:00

By Justine Huxley of stethelburgas.org

It seems we have entered a new phase in our journey of self-destruction, and the ecological and social collapse we have suspected to be on the horizon is now coming to meet us.

Protecting ourselves from hopelessness no longer serves us.  As many enlightened activists have told us (such as Scilla Elworthy, nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize), only if we walk towards the  darkness and not away from it, can we be transformed and be of real service to others or the world.

I cannot shake off the image of an individual facing a life-threatening illness.  Confronted with a potentially terminal diagnosis, making rapid outer changes in lifestyle is immediate, driven by the determination to live.  But surrendering to the real possibility of death is behind the deeper change – change which could be viewed through the lens of reconciliation.  Reconciliation with our own mortality and with how our individual life has been lived often leads to reconciliation with our family, to making peace with our enemies, and to decisions – made with a sharply awakened consciousness – about which values to live by if time might be limited.

I’ve seen awe-inspiring change made by people in these situations.  I’ve seen people drop grudges and let go of fixed patterns overnight, in a way that seemed almost unbelievable to those around them.  I’ve seen people give up long-held defences and open to the beauty and spontaneity of life. It’s as if a secret reveals itself about what it means to be human.  The seriousness also catapults us beyond the limits of the physical body and into the journey of the soul. Something much bigger than our own individual life makes its presence felt – whether we call that God, or experience it through the power of human love and our existence in a web of  relationship with others.

All this happens when we are brave enough to go beyond denial, to embrace despair and be changed by it.  And miracles are possible in this space.

Sitting with this theme of reconciliation, I feel a call to reach inward – to ask my own heart how I can love more fearlessly – not just those close to me, but our whole human family and those around the world whose lives are already being torn apart.  How can I allow my heart to be broken by it all – by the beauty of what we are destroying, by the melody of a solitary blackbird, or by those pregnant moments before first light, as a dark winter night awakens into day. How can I live the knowledge that mystery is present even in the midst of what is falling apart?

I also feel a call to reach outwards –  to colleagues, activists and spiritual companions – to make space for retreat and discernment.  Not to give up on outer action which is critical, but to explore in parallel this inner work of reconciliation and see if we can source the resilience that comes only from being in touch with the depths.  How can we prepare honestly for what is coming? How can we act with integrity, and keep acting from that place, even on the days when it all seems futile?  How can we meet this with the full depth of our spirituality – with both the ferocious passion and the ruthless inner detachment that real service demands?

To those willing to look into the abyss – may our love and connection with each other and with Earth make this a time of meaning –  and sustain us in the times to come.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

The truth behind Antarctica’s fast-melting ice

Sun, 11/11/2018 - 02:30

By Kate Goldstone

Resources:

 

Introduction

Antarctica, which has long been thought to be relatively safe from vast ice melts, has proved us wrong. It’s actually in just as much trouble as the Arctic.

Plenty of people believed the ice on Antarctica wouldn’t melt as fast as the Arctic. Then, in April 2017, scientists claimed Antarctica’s ice might actually be melting a lot faster than anyone predicted. It matters because Antarctica is home to 90% of the world’s ice. If it keeps melting this quickly, and the continent’s massive ice sheets go, we’re looking at profound worldwide effects including mass flooding.

What’s going on, and is the trend continuing? Here’s what you need to know.

 

How Arctic and Antarctic sea ice differ

Because the Arctic and Antarctics’ geography is different, so is their ice. The Arctic ocean is partly enclosed, mostly surrounded by land. Its ice is less mobile and floes tend to clump together into thick ridges. Ridge ice has a longer life cycle and stays frozen for longer. The region is home to 5.8 million square miles of sea ice in winter, reducing to roughly 2.7 million square miles by the end of the summer.

The Antarctic is totally different. Made up of land surrounded by ocean, the sea ice there moves freely and drifts faster. There are fewer ice ridges as a result, and the lack of a land boundary to the north means the ice naturally floats northwards into warmer waters before melting. Winter sees about 6.9 million square miles of Antarctic ocean covered in sea ice, but by the end of the summer there are only around 1.1 million square miles of it left.

 

Clear warnings in 2017

April 2017 saw the first reports of Antarctica’s ice melting faster than previously predicted, thanks to the discovery of a network of lakes and streams under the continent’s ice shelves which created a destabilising influence on the ice above. The study was published in the journal Nature and revealed the process is taking place in areas where scientists didn’t think there was any liquid water. As global temperatures keep rising, the speed of the damage can only increase. The team examined satellite images dating as far back as 1973 as well as aerial images snapped by military aircraft way back in the 1940s. And the results were a shocker – some of the streams flowed for 75 miles, and some of the lakes were several miles across.

A few months later in November 2017 a study examined the east Antarctic Totten ice shelf, finding it unexpectedly vulnerable to warming waters. And still governments failed to react, never mind act. March 2018 saw scientists announce more of the Totten Ice Shelf was floating than they’d predicted. Multiple different types of supporting evidence proved the point. Now it looks a lot like a certainty. If Larsen C and Totten melt, the world’s sea levels will rise as much as 5 metres. Totten could easily contribute a 3m sea level rise all on its own.

 

Another equally clear warning in 2018

In August 2018, more headline news surfaced about Antarctica’s ice. It appeared a couple of enormous glaciers to the east of the region had lost ice mass disturbingly quickly in the years since the millennium. The results hinted that forecasts for sea level rise this century will have to be revised upwards, but nobody knows exactly how much. While it’s obvious the ice in Antarctica is melting frighteningly quickly, the complex dependencies and inter-dependencies that make it happen aren’t at all clear.

So far most molten Antarctic ice has come from the west of the continent. The Antarctic Peninsula is under particular threat, reaching out into the ocean and exposed to warmer waters, and the Larsen C ice sheet, which famously cracked in 2017, is also to the west. East Antarctica has long been thought to be more stable, cut off from the planet’s weather systems by powerful spinning gales that stop the warmth getting anywhere near. On the other hand it’s so remote that scientists have spent decades guestimating what might happen instead of actually measuring. But they keep getting it wrong. In 2015 one piece of research hinted the region was putting on extra ice, not losing it, but closer examination revealed it was simply not true.

Even if Totten disappears, we probably won’t see a 5m rise by 2100. There’s such a lot we don’t know about the behaviour of Antarctic ice and the many factors a big melt depends on. It apparently takes hundreds of gigatonnes of ice to raise sea levels by just one millimetre, and Totten isn’t anywhere near that level… yet. But it might speed up, and we have no idea how fast the melting could ultimately become once we pass a tipping point, also unknown.

There are more unknowns around the effect of the geology underneath the continent, the shape of the bedrock itself. And the channels running from underneath the Totten link it to the ocean give warmer water the access it needs to potentially kick off a runaway melt.

Only one thing is clear. The original consensus was far too cautious. Now we know for sure Antarctica is losing ice mass hand over fist. It has been losing ice for years. And nobody knows where the tipping point is.

 

The effects of runaway sea level rises

The cities under the most threat from rising sea levels also happen to be amongst the biggest on the planet, the most financially, socially and culturally important. Alexandria in Africa, The Hague in Europe, Miami in North America and Rio de janiero in South America are all at risk, home to a total of 10 million people, almost all of whom would be displaced. Ten million migrants from just four cities… that’s hard to deal with. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg, if you’ll forgive the pun. On every continent, in every sea-facing country, we’d have to build vast amounts of new housing stock for migrants.

Cities don’t operate in isolation, either. Every drowned city means drowned transport networks, communications networks, power, utilities and food networks, all left under water permanently. Wildlife will suffer just as badly, forced out of natural habitats. It actually doesn’t bear thinking about… but it’s happening all the same. As UN environment chief Erik Solheim said before last year’s Bon conference, “[We] still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future.”

 

What are governments doing about Antarctic ice loss?

Antarctic ice melt is driven by climate change. Governments are not doing enough about climate change. All over the world those in power are still prevaricating, delaying, discussing and disagreeing while Rome burns. It’s our job to force them to act. Will you join us?

 

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Greed trumps Need

Sat, 11/10/2018 - 07:31

The mindset of the Donald
is known to none but he,
allowing close around him 
only those who do agree,
that such ranting counts as wisdom
where the POTUS is concerned
where nothing now must stop him
from denying all we’ve learned.

That the climate is no longer
our kind supportive friend,
and the planet has a fever
in the blight of humankind,
where our atmosphere is warming 
with our growing fevered heat
and is likely to get rid of us
by the storms that we create.

Instead he treads a different path
where fascist seeds are sown,
by consorting so with despots
where brutality is the norm,
and all must heed the ruler’s word
or find themselves in cages,
with the protests of the people
that echo down the ages.

Where oil can have no limit
and coal must be fast burned
to create the wealth entitlement
we are told is ours to earn,
so we must extract and use it all
to make the stuff we need
which must go on forever
for this is the leader’s creed.

And the force that powers nature
must be to man entailed
lending truth to craze’d doctrines
that higher powers will prevail,
to stop sea levels rising
and the Arctic turning green
where our world goes on forever
supplying all we need.

Nothing may be mentioned
of all that threatens us
by those who stand around him
with smiles obsequious ,
as he signs away our living
uncaring of those who die
as our glorious planet
becomes cash based property.

Now the planet that we live on 
is now mere real estate
where business and trading
have all care displaced,
with debt the lot of many
in want and direst need
being told that shiny objects
will their children’s children feed.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Walk Gently

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 04:37

In response to the beautiful article by April GriefSong —  I would be so glad if this request from the earth might be heard, make music, anywhere it might, for the earth who whispered it tenderly in my ear, many years ago now:

Walk Gently

walk gently

with feet that listen tenderly

it is my body you mark with each step

know yourself by the feel of the air

as it breathes through the pores of your skin

it is my soul you breathe

in your lungs in your blood in your heart

watch the weather well

as you march through the heat that burns water dry

it is the dust of my skin you spit aside

and when the rains fall

take care

my muddy cheeks distort and slide

in between rain and sun

life takes root and grows

with a joy that veers toward ecstasy

come often

lest paths carved out over time disappear

life shoots up any place it can

certain small deaths are necessary

but walk gently

with feet that listen tenderly and give you strength

it is my body you mark with each step

it is my face beneath your feet at the summit

where the wind blows unhindered through your hair

Ann Moradian

April 15, 2009

Ann Moradian www.perspectivesinmotion.org www.shingaia.com
ShinGaia on Facebook
Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Requiem for our planet

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 05:01

The planet that we live on
allowed our lives to be
until we chose to trash it
and call it property

fire was our first mistake
but warming were the flames
not knowing in our cleverness
we burned away our dreams

using fire we forced our land
behind a fence and wall
then fought hard for possession
of what was meant for all

then we created money
our busy’ness to allow
while destroying that very thing
on which our living drew

our population on the planet
was by pestilence unfazed
or wars that culled our numbers
and gods that made us crazed

now our world has had enough
and we must be got rid
we finally messed up our lease
and had eviction served

to be washed away by water
or fried by heated air
and poisoned by the fuels
we burned without a care

our planet has a fever
caused by humankind
and now can only cure itself
by leaving us behind

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Letter From An Apocalyptic Future Pt. 3

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 06:28
(Part 1, Part 2)

But then, at that tortuous point, a peculiar thing happened: something in me awoke.

There arose in me an overwhelming peace and a feeling of love larger than the earth-embracing sky. I found myself thrown open like I’d never been before and began to see the world with new eyes and a heart that could finally allow itself to be completely and entirely broken, utterly riven, and finally revealed to itself in its full tenderness.

For there was no longer anything to resist or to protect.

There was no longer a problem to be solved or a victory to be fought for. There was absolutely no space left for striving or for making anyone wrong. Finally, at the end of the day, at the end of time, all that remains is the crystalline knowledge that all we ever have is this one moment: rich, fragile, all-encompassing, infinitely precious.

And I experienced this moment as pure love.

Love as the ground and inner being of everything. Love as the space within which everything occurs. Love as the silence which contains every sound. Love as the womb of creation. Love as the enfolding void.

I felt love for this Earth as never before and for all beings without exception: insects, animals, plants and humans; viruses, billionaire frackers, terrorists and Trump — all fragile fleeting forms of tender life, vulnerable to all manner of ills, all living bravely beyond themselves into uncertainty and then death, all desiring only life and more and more life, existence infinitely precious and sweet.

I felt love for the sky above, its clouds floating along. I felt love for the birds so light who give us what is left of their song while they can. I felt love for the dawn, which will continue to spread splendour over the eastern horizon after we’re gone though there won’t be eyes to behold it or hearts to rejoice. I felt such love for the children of our world, my own son among them, some of whom will be playing and laughing until the very end takes them into silence. I felt only love for everyone, whatever their active or passive roles in bringing about this tragic end. Yes, it was clear to me that no-one is to blame. All things come to pass through the mysterious agency of ultimately impersonal forces. And yes, I believe these forces boil down only to love.

Over the last three years I have of course descended from this pure state of abiding love, spiralling again and again through grief and confusion, distraction, denial and the rest, but never for very long. I always return to what has become a baseline: the presiding pulse of sublime love and peace. The world increasingly conspires to return me to it. Every joy and every sorrow give way quite quickly to the awareness that all this, every cause of joy and sorrow, will soon be gone. And that makes even the sorrows poignantly beautiful. There is in this a deep relief, considering the multiplying causes of sorrow arising amidst this daily escalating crises.

Soon I will see my son die, or he will me, or we’ll be incinerated together along with millions of others. And soon after that our Earth, our beautiful, poisoned Earth will be without life upon her rocky surface.

Yes, the sun will still set in the West, but there will be none left to weep at its setting.

The worst that could happen is happening. It came slowly, then suddenly. And we brought it on through our own choices, our failures to choose better. And yet, around everything, somehow there is something untroubled, something vast, indestructible and whole. I call it love. Where it is felt, fear is absent.

*******

 

Author’s Note: This piece was written in the shocking summer of 2018, while unprecedented wildfires burned across the Northern hemisphere, the Great Barrier Reef died-off by a third and the Arctic sea-ice further melted and thinned. This year it became clear that previous models predicting climate change to become disruptive by 2050 and catastrophic by the end of the century seriously underestimated the rate of climate collapse due to the non-linear effects of positive feedback loops and tipping points. Increasing numbers of renowned scientists and analysts are now saying that the global climate may already have gone into an abrupt and irreversible breakdown, the effects of which will become catastrophic within the next decade. It may already be too late. But there might still be just a little time left to make radical changes to prevent anthropogenic global climate breakdown from cascading into apocalyptic proportions. But only if we act now and resolutely, individually and as a global civilisation. The future of life on our planet is in our hands. It is time to rise up and demand that our governments take the necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions, invest in clean energy technology, decommission and safely dismantle nuclear weapons stashes and nuclear power stations and legislating against irresponsible consumption while massively promoting and incentivising One-Planet living. They won’t do it unless we make them.

Rise up in the name of life on Earth!

extinctionrebellion.org

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Letter From An Apocalyptic Future Pt. 2

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 04:12
(Part 1)

“If everyone does a little we’ll achieve a lot”, seemed to be the mainstream platitude of the time, promulgated by those seeking to sustain the consumer disaster to those too stuck in it to seriously consider an alternative. The reality is, of course, that if everybody does a little then little gets achieved. And that’s what happened.

It was an excruciating time. While living simply and radically reducing the negative impact of my life on our planet to almost zero, I’d come to realise that not only was this kind of step necessary for ecological survival, but it was also what we needed to do for the sake of our basic wellbeing. Living close to the earth in a small heart-centred community felt greatly more than anything that was going on in modern ‘civilisation’. But very few people could see far enough beyond their own personal dramas, glowing screens, sense of entitlement to luxury convenience, in order to perceive an alternative. Amidst the many sparkly distractions of the consumer circus and the status symbols of power and success, no one had time for the sacrifices of simplicity or its quiet beauty.

I think that most people were just too far gone to explore any remedy.

Opening to the real necessity and possibility of radical change would only have revealed the horrendous depth of the disaster that most people’s lives were embedded in. People just couldn’t look at how monstrous the world they were living in actually was, beneath its face-paint and bling. To do so would have been to see their lives and themselves laid bare in a hideous way. It was too much the collective psyche to bear.

So it was a complex time for us few radical earth-dwellers. On the one hand, we were experiencing deep nourishment from our community and the land, living in a way that wasn’t hurting anyone else or our planet. On the other hand, we were one of a handful of tiny islands in the midst of a great destructive ocean. I went through a lot of anger at the levels of blindness and apathy; contempt for my spineless fellow humans; grief for everything I saw was being lost or thrown away.

Such a priceless thing to exchange for baubles, this Earth.

It was almost too much, witnessing the wanton destruction of our blue-green jewel of a planet. And yet that seemed to be what I was asked to do: to endure this destruction with open eyes and heart unclouded by the opiates of distraction.

In the end, exhausted, I finally dropped through almost endless despair into a state of resignation and complete acceptance. Something in me died. It was all over. We just weren’t going to make the changes. The temperature would continue to rise. Species loss would accelerate. Ecosystems would continue to deteriorate. Natural disasters would become more frequent. Food and water shortages would intensify. Nuclear war would break out. Civilisation was going to kill itself, taking along with it the rest of life on this planet. No amount of positive action from a very minor segment of the population was going to have an impact on the rumbling juggernaut racing towards global destruction. There was no longer any point in hoping for a solution.

Such a strange thing to accept. So vast, the implications. So devastatingly sad. Grief isn’t really big enough to fully let in the scale of this loss.

We weren’t made for this.

I was breaking beyond endurance.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

The price of failed promises in Brazil

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 07:22

When social reformers fail to make good on their promises, it is of little surprise that they get punished. Any legitimate State or ruling body needs to maintain the trust of its citizens in order to function. When trust is lost, the vacuum is created for the “strong man” to walk in.

I find it hard to blame Brazilian citizens for voting Jair Bolsonaro into the presidency. They, like most, want what is best for their families, peace, stability and security.  The sense of deep disappointment in the ruling elite[1], felt as much in Europe nowadays as it is Latin America, has allowed Bolsonaro to reinvent himself in Trumpian style as “not one of them”. Although in reality, he very much is one of them having been actively involved in politics since 1988.

What this means for the conservation of the Amazon, the environment and the preservation of indigenous land rights, on the other hand, is deeply disturbing. Bolsonaro has stated on the campaign trail that he would, like the US, pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement[2], ban public funding to NGOs[3] working on climate and conservation issues, allow for a rise in the rate of logging and thus deforestation in the Amazon, pave the notorious BR-319 highway that runs through the rainforest,[4] expand agribusiness in beef and soy, and possibly go ahead with threats to strip indigenous peoples of their land rights. “There won’t be a square centimetre demarcated as an indigenous reserve”[5], Bolsonaro has thundered on the campaign trail.

In an atmosphere of strong and clear public support for a hard-line figure like Bolsonaro who espouses the use of armed force to crack down on disorder, activists engaging in acts of civil disobedience must tread carefully; monitoring the level of impunity being granted to law enforcement and military units, analysing the level of public approval of government policies, and realising that the risk of being portrayed as the kind of people Bolsonaro was elected to contain and shut down is extremely high. That said, with the reductivist measures being planned that will turn the Amazon from being the world’s carbon sink into a major source of greenhouse gases, emergency and extreme measures must be taken now to resist.

Some lessons from my time in Latin America in human rights activism and non-violent resistance may be relevant here:

  1. Be leaderless. Engage and advocate regularly with the State and its enforcement mechanisms. Get your message across but show a different face each time. Leaders or appointed liaisons will be used to control the activist group through deals and promises.
  2. Stick to the script. Write an FAQ of the most challenging questions you expect to face and make sure everyone repeats them verbatim. Use your message to sell your position and polarise your opponent. Know your rights and the law.
  3. Build networks. With indigenous groups under threat, it is necessary to build national and international emergency response networks that can be activated to raise the political cost of any attempt to strip people of their land rights, intimidate or kill them, or evict them from their lands. Those living on the lands know best[6], allow them to make their own decisions. Having an international network that can reach the ears of those with vested interests in Brazil will be crucial in supporting indigenous people to protect themselves and their lands. Partner with the communities that are willing to have international outreach; map the stakeholders and those with interests and target accordingly. Do not be surprised if the indigenous groups themselves are the ones to emerge first with acts of resistance and civil disobedience, they are at a critical juncture now with the results of this presidential election.
  4. Target multinationals and businesses operating in or planning to operate in the rainforest. Analyse which methods will have the most negative impact on their brand; boycotts, social media campaigns, direct action in their physical locations, or blockades. Do your homework, analyse the context and re-analyse regularly.
  5. If the security crackdown is too severe, consider using forms of resistance that do not involve direct physical confrontation; work slowdowns can be an equally effective tactic in some circumstance and represent a low risk/high impact strategy for activists.

 

These techniques have been used by human rights defenders for decades while attempting to protect their lands and seeking to enjoy their rights under international law. The Guardian and Global witness state that from 2015 to date, “145 land and environmental defenders have died in Brazil: the highest number on Earth”.[7] The dismal scenario that is unfolding with the news of Bolsonaro’s election is that this number will only rise not fall.

A Mongabay forecast of events in Brazil’s upcoming election written at the start of 2018, painted a bleak but accurate prediction of the path Brazil has taken this year. The forecast closes being heartened to see growing indigenous and grassroots resistance continuing to develop. The piece quotes Survival International as saying:

“On the positive side, indigenous organizations at grassroots and regional levels are active and vocal in defending their Amazon homeland and, if anything, they will be more vocal in 2018. In the almost absence of the state, tribes like Guajajara and Ka’apor have formed their own groups of ‘guardians’ to defend their forest and the vulnerable, uncontacted people who live there too. We can expect to see more action from them (in 2018).”[8]

The results of the election are dispiriting for those of us who see the protection of the environment, the Amazon rainforest, and the people that live in it as necessary for the global good of the planet. Acts of civil disobedience against those institutions and corporations that seek to profit monetarily from the deforestation and destruction of the rainforest must be taken now. Strategic acts of civil disobedience that strengthen the hand of indigenous peoples defending their land, rights and heritage, could weaken the citizens’ trust that the ruling class is truly working for their benefit.

Matt Byrne

 

[1] Surveys in August 2017 found disapproval of the government to be at 83 percent, see http://dapp.fgv.br/o-dilema-brasileiro-entre-descrenca-no-presente-e-esperanca-no-futuro/

[2] He subsequently rowed back on this but it is hard to see why he would not go ahead with such a move given the swathe of other anti-conservation, anti-climate measures he plans to introduce.

[3] https://istoe.com.br/bolsonaro-diz-que-ira-acabar-com-demarcacoes-de-terras-e-financiamento-de-ongs/

[4] https://www.dangerousroads.org/south-america/brazil/2067-br-319.html

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/climate/brazil-election-amazon-environment.html

[6] https://c532f75abb9c1c021b8c-e46e473f8aadb72cf2a8ea564b4e6a76.ssl.cf5.rackcdn.com/2018/09/12/8vxkock8bw_Policy_Brief_WCS_CDU_UMD_Indigenous_Lands_and_Intact_Forest_Landscapes_v5.pdf This study has found that at least 35 percent of the world’s remaining intact forest landscapes are managed or owned by Indigenous Peoples

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2018/feb/27/the-defenders-recording-the-deaths-of-environmental-defenders-around-the-world

[8] https://news.mongabay.com/2018/01/brazil-2018-amazon-under-attack-resistance-grows-courts-to-act-elections/

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Hope dies, action begins

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 07:18

(Published in El Espectador of Colombia, South America. Adapted by XR blog)

October 31st, 2018, could be a historic day for future generations. In Parliament Square at the heart of London, a number of people will join the Declaration of Rebellion, an uprising against the extinction of life on the planet.

The British are the spearhead of this potential global revolution because it was on that European island that the Industrial Revolution was born and shaped the West as we see it today. For generations they have watched and withstood the deceptions of an increasingly predatory system, have suffered the neoliberal lies of development and progress, and therefore they precede us in conscience and fatigue, as the old wise people of the tribe. They are fed up and now have the undeniable certainty that if things continue as they are, the extinction of life on the planet could be a reality, terrifying and far too close. This has been stated by scientists, confirmed by the common sense of peasants, and witnessed by the unease of the world’s citizens who are awake, connected and worried.

So in the words of the Declaration, “We will, in accordance with our conscience and a clear duty to our children; our communities; this nation and planet; declare a non-violent rebellion on behalf of life itself and against our criminally negligent government.” These words resonate with the indignation of all peoples right now.

The Extinction Rebellion aspires to be an international movement calling for massive civil disobedience to enter a phase of war-time mobilization in response to the climate change disaster which many of us are already aware of and experiencing. The principles are those of true humanistic revolutions and the spirit is that of moving altruism, both contemporary and ancestral, inclusive and respectful, holding the efficient truth of felt emotions allied with the certainties of science and sound community civil action. Thus they proclaim, “Our hearts break and we rage against this madness. We have a right and duty to rebel in the face of this tyranny of idiocy – in the face of this planned collective suicide  … We cannot stand idly by and allow the ongoing destruction of all we love.”

It is easy to subscribe anywhere on the globe to the principles of this movement. With the exception of the loss of hope, which in my case hangs on the thin thread of a spiritual connection that prevents me from losing it, even if it is overshadowed at times, these principles are the ideals we would like to make real on the planet. I list some that ring true for me: the first is the certainty that extreme capitalism, besides creating inequality, is knowingly destroying the planet; a common vision of change – we need a healthy, resilient and adaptable culture; reflection and learning; welcoming everyone and every part of those individuals; mitigating institutional power in order to break hierarchies and encourage equal participation; creating a nonviolent network … and other idealistic values made real through courage and pragmatism.

And I also sign up to the belief that, “The time for denial is over; we know the truth about climate change and we know the truth about current biological annihilation. It’s time to act like that truth is real. What does living with this truth call us to do? Will you die knowing you did all you were able to?” Good luck to the rebels! We are here.

Ignacio Zuleta

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Letter From An Apocalyptic Future Pt. 1

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 13:56

It’s August 2021.

There’s no longer a question as to what will happen next: Life on Earth is coming to a close.

Global temperatures have risen half a degree in the last three years alone. Last winter there was no sea ice in the Arctic at all. This summer it seems as if half of the Northern hemisphere is ablaze with wildfires. The 250 species which were already exiting stage left each and every day a couple of years ago have now increased in number to over 600 per day, all of whom will soon be followed by the rest of the characters still in the play.

We don’t know if there’ll be some kind of denouement lasting several years or simply an abrupt end counted in weeks and months. What we do know is that the curtain is about to fall. No-one born today will live beyond the age of 10. Many will starve this winter. Many more in the coming summer.

Whatever chance there might have been for us to turn this thing around and evolve beyond the crisis point we reached over the past 30 years or so—we missed it. That window of possibility has firmly closed. Strangely, we knew it was closing. We knew we had to make some radical changes in order to squeeze through. But there simply wasn’t sufficient will to do so, not individually or collectively. The apathy was too strong. The marketing industry was too powerful. The corporate influence on government was too powerful. Forces both personal and systemic simply couldn’t accommodate themselves to the changes required in order to transition into a sustainable way of being. And now there’s no longer any hope of our planet’s biosphere surviving beyond the next decade. It will all soon be over.

Either catastrophic ecological collapse will trigger economic breakdown which will, in turn, trigger the catastrophic wars that our governments are currently poised for to fight over the remaining resources, or economic meltdown brought on by fear and panic at the worsening ecological situation will trigger wars which will then push the dying ecosystems into full demise. Either way, the outcome is the same. The crazy-train is rushing headlong off the cliff-edge. It doesn’t really matter which way we fall into the abyss. Life on this planet is finished.

Many people are still living in denial.

“Everything will be ok. We can still sort this out.”

But the vast majority of climate scientists, ecologists, and economists are in agreement that we have passed the point of no return. Abruptly escalating climate change is upon us. Every day this fact sinks a little bit further into reality. While broadcast media is paralysed, still engaging the mock debate of ‘is it really happening?’, the internet is awash with evidence of the incontrovertible reality.

Many of the super-rich have been preparing for “The Event” for some time now, buying up small islands or swathes of land in New Zealand, Hawaii, Tasmania, preparing bunkers, assembling private armies. What they hope to achieve by extending their time by a few years after the apocalypse I’m not sure even they know. A reflex of habit I guess, an isolationist hangover from lifetimes of sociopathic dissociation from the fate of every man. Not that I blame them for wanting a few extra years. It does feel good to live, and it is very hard to face the prospect of the void.

I remember it was three years ago, in August 2018, that I fully accepted for the first time that the crazy-train wasn’t going to slow down and turn around. I’d been living for two decades in the shadow of the knowledge of the potentially world-destroying activities of human beings, oscillating between desperate hope and bitter despair. For the last five of those years I’d been living very small and light in a conscious community of people focused on healing our connection to the Earth and each other, housed off-grid in mud huts, working the land, cooking on fire, gathering water from the stream, embracing the radical simplicity that some of us believed the whole world needed to adopt if our planet was going to make it. Elsewhere others were doing likewise. Elsewhere others were protesting the disaster, risking prison and in some cases their lives in order to halt some of the destruction. Elsewhere many brave souls were striving to transform their lives in radical ways in line with carbon neutrality and ecological protection.

But really, we were very few.

(To Be Continued)

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

@TomLennard Why Aren’t We Worrying More About Climate Change? Action not Words

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 15:35

This post was originally published here:

https://tomdlondon.blogspot.com/2018/10/guest-blog-tomlennard-why-arent-we.html?spref=tw

In July, Green Party candidate and academic Rupert Read declined to appear on a BBC programme. The tweet in which he justified this, read as follows: BBC Radio wanted to have me on today to debate a climate-denier in the context of the drought/heatwave. I said NO. I told them it was a disgrace that they still give climate-deniers airtime at a time like this. I won’t be part of such charades any longer. Please RT if you agree. @GreenRupertRead

Read’s contention is that giving climate-deniers airtime is a ridiculous move from the BBC, when there are more important debates about climate change; it is here, and is dangerous. This impatience is echoed by other activists, but ones that will not wait for a comfortable discussion around the pros and cons of different strategies. They are unwilling to make polite appeals to our government, when it is clearly in the pocket of big business and major polluters.

On September 25th I chaired a discussion entitled “Why Aren’t We Worrying More About Global Warming?”  where one of Extinction Rebellion’s main activists, Roger Hallam, spoke. At this event he laid out his arguments – arguments for starting a public rebellion against the government over their climate change inaction – and then he left before the Q & A began. 

Action, he explained, not words, are important in the little time we have to do something. We should not get caught in the over-analysis of the information. He painted a picture of activism as a sacrifice of personal freedom, and the importance of rule breaking to achieve ones goals. And knowing Roger a little, I can corroborate that he lives by these ideals. Here is a link to Roger’s speech https://ytcropper.com/cropped/EA5bd4dc118a72b

It is easy to view the non-violent action that Roger proposed as extreme and drastic – it is. It was only a week after the talk, on October 1st, that the IPCC released their damning report: we have only 12 years to keep climate change temperatures under control:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report And this is to put widespread devastation and societal unrest into emotionless facts and figures.

I am no longer convinced that political parties of the Left have enough energy or gumption to turn us toward serious responses and solutions to climate change. Political cycles are short and politicians have even shorter memories.

Roger’s walk away from the discussion, and abandonment of polite convention had a very polarising affect. It generated an emotional response –  and such responses are necessary for going beyond our willingness to rationalise and normalise the impending chaos.

Whilst the positive stories are definitely something that can keep us going in the darker moments outside activism, many people around the globe are engaged in great projects that facilitate us moving to a more ecological way of living. But these are alternatives, and not the mainstream, socio-political reality.

Extinction Rebellion’s method is to shock the system. They plan to do this in the coming months, starting with a big demonstration and direct action in Parliament Square, with the backing of George Monbiot https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/18/governments-no-longer-trusted-climate-change-citizens-revolt

The present moment seems terribly fragile and frightening. Even the climate change deniers seem to be keeping rather quiet. But since the IPCC report the media has returned to its regular coverage of minutiae and gossip. It is a fragile moment that we live in, but fragile moments, are ones in which the status quo is broken. How things will look from the other side of a social revolution is much harder to say. But to be climate extremist in these times is nothing but common sense.

Tom Lennard @TomLennard

Kensal and Kilburn Better 2018 @KKBetter2018

You can become involved in the necessary campaign to force politicians to account over climate change at Extinction Rebellion – https://risingup.org.uk/XR/

For a recent, short analysis of the political strategy of Left Wing politics see Graham Jones’  “The Shock Doctrine of the Left” (published by Polity)

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Distributed Decision-Making Committed to Living Within the Means of the Planet

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 15:25

”What I stand for is what I stand on” Wendell Berry

Since I last wrote, #ExtinctionRebellion has gone boom!   Shared by Mr Monbiot to Mr Sanders who tweeted it to the World –  what we do now on 31st Oct Declaration Day and in the subsequent direct actions,  really matters.   Just like everything we do that has consequence on the future –  though we are so far removed in time and place, we barely need to think about that – only this time, how this plays out will be replayed to us on a very short feedback loop, over and over again, and the consequences will be deeply present.

I look out on a cloudless sunset skyscape, where contrails blaze across the darkening blue like dragons,  beautiful and dangerous.   I have thought a lot about what this rebellion is asking folks to sacrifice.  Holiday flights.  No big deal, surely.  But what about those whose family are in distant lands?  Maybe growing old and dying.  Are they to deny each other a last chance to clasp hands and hearts?  Supermarkets.  I think of the empty shops in high streets and lack of community hubs across our towns.  I think of the vast over cultivated expanses of tree-barren agricultural land no longer growing food for human consumption.   I think of all our concrete gardens.   Pharmaceuticals.  I get real to the fact that many of my dearest friends’ lives rely on a daily dose of drugs.   And those so close to my heart, who have choices about how they live because of Big Pharma.   There is so much more.  Individual car ownership.   Home heating as winter is coming.   Pure Water preservation.

Remorse.  I swim in an ocean of it.

And still, #ExtinctionRebellion  appears utterly necessary to me.   It is not that these privileges will disappear from our plate immediately.  They are the kinds of policy re-evaluations that will be taken to the People’s Assemblies.    Decision-making will be distributed among real people who have to live with them,  with a firm commitment to living within the means of the planet .  A commitment to assuring there are other than human beings still available to sustain those generations, already born, who will be dealing with the exigencies of life on a planet in deep trauma.

And so, Declaration Day approaches and now has a life of her own.  The laughter of gods echoes through the corridors of our plots and plans.   Where my focus goes now is nonviolence and de-escalation.  I have been arrested for civil disobedience –  grabbed from behind and face-planted in the dirt by police protecting a lorry from my oh so slow walk.  It is not pleasant.  It is not nonviolent.

My mind goes to the nonviolent direct action training  Rising Up are rolling out to support volunteers.  I took the role of a police person in role play and felt the frustration and irritation grow as the activist in front of me refused to move, in the face of all my cajoling and persuasion and even my rising ire.  The one next to me cried, and still did not move.  It was hard to keep calm and rational.   I listened to the sharing of experiences  of my affinity group – how they stayed grounded and calm and held their positions –  deep breathing;  rooting to the Earth;  flowing like water;  repetitive statements;  songs.

Ah, songs.  I am resonant to the power of songs – the way these magically manipulative mouths of ours have been gifted capacity to carefully shape sacred sound into words layered with meaning and history.  This is a tactic I used to great effect when I spent 24 hours in a holding cell after the slow walk arrest.   Cells have incredible acoustics and I would sing for an hour – not always songs, sometimes  tones or mantras, til the vibrations were bouncing round the tiny plastic room.  Then, in the silence after the sound, when every cell in my body was resetting itself to the highest vibrations resonating around me, I would lay down and sleep – for hours.  Deep, nourishing , restorative sleep.   When I woke, I began the whole process again,  until hours later, I was released,  calm and wide awake, to the welcoming arms of the wellbeing team who met us with food and tobacco and music to shake to.

Song.  What a powerful tool in the armoury of nonviolence.  We will have songs on Declaration Day.  Songs to bind us together in nonviolence and connectedness.  Songs to raise our energies and songs to help us calm each other.  Songs to voice out loud our commitment to make a stand for where we stand.

So, bring your singing voices, rebellioneers.  Leave behind the system tools of anger and aggression.   However many come, we are a small minority of people who will sing our way back to a world that works for all life on Earth.

by April Griefsong

 

 

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

“What I Stand For Is What I Stand On”

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 15:02

Since I last wrote, #ExtinctionRebellion has gone boom! Shared by Mr Monbiot to Mr Sanders who tweeted it to the World – what we do now on 31st Oct Declaration Day and in the subsequent direct actions, really matters. Just like everything we do that has consequence on the future – though we are so far removed in time and place, we barely need to think about that – only this time, how this plays out will be replayed to us on a very short feedback loop, over and over again, and the consequences will be deeply present.

I look out on a cloudless sunset skyscape, where contrails blaze across the darkening blue like dragons, beautiful and dangerous. I have thought a lot about what this rebellion is asking folks to sacrifice. Holiday flights. No big deal, surely. But what about those whose family are in distant lands? Maybe growing old and dying. Are they to deny each other a last chance to clasp hands and hearts? Supermarkets. I think of the empty shops in high streets and lack of community hubs across our towns. I think of the vast over cultivated expanses of tree-barren agricultural land no longer growing food for human consumption. I think of all our concrete gardens. Pharmaceuticals. I get real to the fact that many of my dearest friends’ lives rely on a daily dose of drugs. And those so close to my heart, who have choices about how they live because of Big Pharma. There is so much more. Individual car ownership. Home heating as winter is coming. Pure Water preservation.

Remorse. I swim in an ocean of it.

And still, #ExtinctionRebellion appears utterly necessary to me. It is not that these privileges will disappear from our plate immediately. They are the kinds of policy re-evaluations that will be taken to the People’s Assemblies. Decision-making will be distributed among real people who have to live with them, with a firm commitment to living within the means of the planet . A commitment to assuring there are other than human beings still available to sustain those generations, already born, who will be dealing with the exigencies of life on a planet in deep trauma.

And so, Declaration Day approaches and now has a life of her own. The laughter of gods echoes through the corridors of our plots and plans. Where my focus goes now is nonviolence and de-escalation. I have been arrested for civil disobedience – grabbed from behind and face-planted in the dirt by police protecting a lorry from my oh so slow walk. It is not pleasant. It is not nonviolent.

My mind goes to the nonviolent direct action training Rising Up are rolling out to support volunteers. I took the role of a police person in role play and felt the frustration and irritation grow as the activist in front of me refused to move, in the face of all my cajoling and persuasion and even my rising ire. The one next to me cried, and still did not move. It was hard to keep calm and rational. I listened to the sharing of experiences of my affinity group – how they stayed grounded and calm and held their positions – deep breathing; rooting to the Earth; flowing like water; repetitive statements; songs.

Ah, songs. I am resonant to the power of songs – the way these magically manipulative mouths of ours have been gifted capacity to carefully shape sacred sound into words layered with meaning and history. This is a tactic I used to great effect when I spent 24 hours in a holding cell after the slow walk arrest. Cells have incredible acoustics and I would sing for an hour – not always songs, sometimes tones or mantras, til the vibrations were bouncing round the tiny plastic room. Then, in the silence after the sound, when every cell in my body was resetting itself to the highest vibrations resonating around me, I would lay down and sleep – for hours. Deep, nourishing , restorative sleep. When I woke, I began the whole process again, until hours later, I was release, calm and wide awake, to the welcoming arms of the wellbeing team who met us with food and tobacco and music to shake to.

Song. What a powerful tool in the armoury of nonviolence. We will have songs on Declaration Day. Songs to bind us together in nonviolence and connectedness. Songs to raise our energies and songs to help us calm each other. Songs to voice out loud our commitment to make a stand for where we stand.

So, bring your singing voices, rebellioneers. Leave behind the system tools of anger and aggression. However many come, we are a small minority of people who will sing our way back to a world that works for all life on Earth.

Written  by April Griefsong

 

 

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

What the f*** are you waiting for?

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 00:30

What the fuck are you waiting for?

More golden arrows shot at Hydra’s heads?

What the fuck are you waiting for?

Trump and Bolsonaro to bring back the fleece?

Don’t let Medusa turn you to stone

Mesmerising spell of greed

The oil slick behind her eyes

With Bolsonaro elected

The Amazon will disappear

Hambach times one thousand

Arise with Kali, Brigid, Morrigan

The heroine quest is Extinction Rebellion

Arise, arise, no conclusion is foregone

The hero quest is Extinction Rebellion

 

by Matthew Tehanu who blogs at http://www.epictomorrows.com

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Now or never – a short story

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 13:00

Louise Williams heard the results of the IPCC report on 1.5 degrees and was inspired to write a short story. It’s the conversation she doesn’t want to have with her grandchildren.

Caris sat cleaning the tools while I knitted. She reminded me a lot of her mum when she was ten. Back then I had always assumed I’d have grandchildren, but in recent decades I wasn’t so sure. Lennon was busy around us, packing things into boxes, unable to sit still as usual.

“Granny,” Caris said, as if asking a question.
“Yes love?”

“We were doing history in school today, and they were talking about the turn of the century. Did you really have computers that were too heavy to carry?”

I grinned. “Well, yes, at first, then as I grew up they got smaller and smaller – more like the pods you get now, except everyone had them.”

“Granny, you don’t talk a lot about the olden days, do you? Our teacher said it was really different, though she’s too young to really know. Can you tell me?”

I sucked in some air.

“Lennon, how’s that packing doing? We’ll be off in two days, before the snow sets in.”

Caris stopped working and looked up at me. I kept knitting but found some words.

“It’s hard to explain, Caris. Truthfully, I guess I feel bad talking about it. When I was your age, my grandparents sometimes talked about the war and how rough things got. More often they didn’t tell you the whole story, but you just knew it was terrible. But for us growing up in the nineties, it was the opposite. We had so much, too much really…”

Just then Rob came in with our son-in-law Ethan.

“Grandpa!” cried Caris, “Can YOU tell me about the olden days? I’ve never heard you say much either.”

Rob grunted as he took off his boots. “Those days are long gone.”

Ethan piled up some of Lennon’s boxes. “He doesn’t like to think about what we lost,” he commented, and half-hummed a line from an old song we used to sing in the car: “If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.”

Rob bristled a little. “There’s some truth there, but you know that’s not why we won’t go over it.”

“Why then, Grandpa?”

Rob and I exchanged looks. We had talked about this before. How could we dazzle them with tales of luxury and secure living beyond their wildest hopes? How could we admit that…except now felt like the time to tell the story, before we moved inland for the winter storms. Perhaps it would be the last time we’d all make it together back to the lodge.

“What else did your history teacher say, Caris?” I asked.

“Um, she said that everything was a lot more connected and organised, and computers led to an age of information. But at the same time, people ignored all the warnings. Is it true, Grandma? Did people really know about the breakdown before it even happened?”

Everyone in the room paused, even Lennon, who was only six but wise enough to grasp the question. I answered.

“Yes, they did. We did. Well, we did and we didn’t. Things were clearly changing, but they also stayed the same and there was a lot of confusion.”

“There were a lot of folks intentionally confusing people too,” said Rob, and I could see his old anger rising up. Well, let him let it out.

“How do you mean?” asked Lennon.

“You can’t believe it, but there were people with a lot of money and power who wanted to carry on just as they were, selling their gas, running their airlines, and to hell with the consequences. So they deliberately confused the public: they’d query the science, skew statistics, put out fake facts…and instead of standing up to them and pointing out their private financial interests, the journalists kept inviting them onto the TV to give their case!”

He was pacing by now.

“Of course, some of these folks were actually in Government! There were politicians with big money in fossil fuels, so they strongly opposed renewable energy and gave the push for fracking.”

Caris’ eyes widened.

“You mean, the GOVERNMENT knew and they covered it up?”

“They didn’t need to cover it up,” I replied. “They just distracted us. Everyone knew. We learned about it at school. Every year there’d be a new report about record temperatures, rising sea levels. People didn’t put two and two together. There they were, rock stars raising money for an Ethiopian famine, not seeing that this was all part of climate breakdown, and one-in-a-hundred-year disasters would become one-in-every-ten, one-in-three…”

I broke off. The news footage started replaying back in my mind. The 2023 drought across East Africa. Images of emaciated mothers choosing which child to feed. The 2026 floods in South Asia. The third European heatwave. A succession of hurricanes battering central America while wildfires swept across Australia. One crisis appeal after another. The fall of Mont Blanc in 2031, which finally made Western governments sit up and take action, but by then the permafrost was melting, releasing vast quantities of methane, and it was too little, too late. The global food shortages, then climate refugees, firstly from Africa, then Spain, Greece, Italy. Boatload upon boatload. The riots, the protests, the collapse…

Lennon had sat on Ethan’s lap. “If everyone knew, why did no one do anything? Couldn’t people have stopped it?”

“It wasn’t that no one did anything,” said Rob. “Some went to prison for speaking up. Some Governments tried hard to change things. They were fighting a huge wave though. It’s not like our leaders now, who take decisions for the good of everyone, even if it’s unpopular. Lots of leaders back then just did what they thought the people – and the media – wanted. They didn’t splash out on public transport or a nationwide insulation programme, because it wouldn’t go down well. They didn’t dare tax our petrol. They could’ve had the balls to change things, and they didn’t.”

“But if everyone had gone on the streets and protested, like the big demo in 2040, they’d have had to listen, wouldn’t they? Why didn’t the people just rise up?”

Ethan chipped in.

“Some did – I remember our friends at school going on a march. But most people didn’t seem that bothered. Politicians would rarely be asked about climate change when they went out canvassing or appeared on TV. It’s as though the threat wasn’t immediate enough, rather like the image of a frog slowly boiling in a pan of water. And the American film was right – it was so inconvenient. It was the age of consumerism and convenience, and most people didn’t want to let go of even a tiny bit of that. I guess, deep down, they hoped it wasn’t as bad as the scientists said.”

Rob nodded. “I used to hear some folks say, ‘There’s no point me changing my life, because the governments can’t sort themselves out and China is building a new power station every month.’ They were right, in a way. We did all feel sort of helpless.”

“It’s crazy”, I said, “when you think about it. We had the highest rate of education in world history, greatest access to information, such a spread of wealth and resources, and the clearest evidence of the coming future possible. I mean, it wasn’t even the future – it was already happening in front of our eyes. And we could have transitioned quite painlessly into a greener way of doing things and probably been happier for it. But we failed. We hoped technology would magically suck all the carbon out without us lifting a finger, or we pointed at China and kept our own feet on the pedal, or we looked at Africa and the Maldives and thought, “it’s OK, I don’t live there.” In one way or another, the world allowed it to happen. It didn’t have to be like this.”

Caris lifted her head from my lap and looked up at us, her eyes sad.

“And what about you, Granny and Grandpa? What did you do?”

Original: https://joyinenough.org/2018/10/16/now-or-never-a-short-story/

 

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Calling all artists, crafts people, singers, movers, makers, movie-makers!

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 11:34

The Rebellion Needs YOU!

We want to post your creative outpourings across our social media channels. Please support us in the run up to the Declaration on the 31st and after by sending us your artwork, photos, decorated XR rebellion cakes, songs, music, films, knitting, cartoons, and memes.

Whatever you are planning: a cheeky local action: like putting an XR sticker on the Churchill statue’s hat or dangling a banner from a bridge or sewing an XR logo onto your kid’s bib – please take a short recording or a still photo and send them to us.

This rebellion is fuelled by your creativity and we want to keep that energy rising.

Send your material to us and the social media team will keep telling the story of our rebellion by posting your art in amongst news stories.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Please send your material to info@risingup.org.uk

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology