Sunday, September 11, 2016

Declaring Climate Peace in an Age of Ecological Restoration

Make peace with the climate, ecology, and
each other

The global ecological system collapses and dies as human growth overruns natural ecosystems and climate. Our best hope is to declare peace with the natural world – starting with climate and old-growth forests – coming together as peace-makers of the rainbow for truth, love, justice, equity, and ecology.
Only a declaration of climate peace based upon protecting and restoring natural ecosystems including the atmosphere can save us now… Making peace with ecology will allow our descendants to live forever, rather than suffer and die miserably in ecologically apocalyptic wastelands. — Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders deep ecology essays by Dr. Glen Barry


Ending Ecocide and Genocide

Humanity has waged war against the natural world for millennia, intensifying with the industrial revolution, culminating with 9/11 terror and resulting perma-war, and threatening now to collapse the biosphere. Centuries ago an epic wave of ecological terror swept from Northern Europe as the industrial revolution and colonialism put a price on everything, liquidating natural ecosystems for illusory consumption by some, based upon false claims of advancement. Fleeting creature comforts for a few generations for some have come at the expense of apocalyptic war waged upon our ecological habitats and all that is different than ourselves.

In the name of god and country, indigenous cultures ensconced within the loving embrace of natural ecosystems, living materially simple but ecologically rich lives, were labeled savages and brutally murdered in waves of ecocide and genocide. Millions of year old natural ecosystems were systematically dismantled, and their vibrant life forms mercilessly slaughtered, to be used as resources to fuel the fires of industry. Anything that could burn, including timeless carbon stores of ancestral life meant to remain sequestered, were set ablaze to fuel our insatiable urges.

Indigenous people will lead the way to
climate peace
Multi-pronged wars upon nature proclaimed as god’s will, and thus destined to be waged by exceptional nations, have utterly devastated naturally evolved ecosystems, the current climate equilibrium, non-Western cultures, and the sum total of life known as the biosphere. A constant state of conflict with nature and all people with heritages other than that of European settlers has left the world in an overpopulated, biologically tawdry and diminished condition, poised upon utter and complete ecological ruin. The end of being is nigh, yet hope inherent in ecology and peace remains.


Declaring Climate Peace

It is time to declare and make a lasting peace with the natural world – starting with climate and intact ecosystems such as old-growth forests, and encompassing all Earth’s life, including other peoples. Each of us must seek to minimize biological, ecological, and cultural conflict in order to allow Earth to rest, recuperate, and recover.

Only a declaration of climate peace based upon protecting and restoring natural ecosystems including the atmosphere can save us now.

[Finish reading essay at EcoInternet]

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bill McKibben’s Ecology-Free Declaration of War on Climate is Dangerous and Wrong

Old-growth forests must be protected and restored
to limit abrupt climate change

Why does Bill McKibben’s recent sensationalist appeal for a “War on Climate” make no mention, not even one, of ecology or ecosystems? While understanding Mr. McKibben is trying to call for a rapid societal response at a massive scale to an urgent existential threat, perhaps a better analogy would be demobilizing to make climate peace by cutting emissions and reforesting, as declarations of war often only make things worse.

It is irresponsible and contrary to established ecological science for Mr. McKibben to promote a war on climate focused solely upon techno-optimist industrial solutions. First and foremost, climate change is an ecological issue… I, for one, am much less perturbed that Bill occasionally uses plastic bags for his groceries, than that he apparently has little understanding of the ecological systems that maintain a livable Earth. — Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders, Deep ecology essays by Dr. Glen Barry
Climate policies matter. We have very few chances to get it right before abrupt climate change and related environmental and social issues collapse the biosphere. Yet the solutions being put forth by the leading climate activists—including Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Klein, and Michael Brune—are woefully inadequate. In fact, their lack of ecological focus is dangerous and wrong, and virtually ensures failure in limiting global warming to an acceptable level.

In a recent New Republic essay entitled “A World at War”, Mr. McKibben states “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.” The colorful essay correctly notes the urgency of a dramatic, urgent, and large-scale response to the threats posed by climate change. Yet we are led to falsely believe that a war-like industrial retooling to produce massively more solar panels and wind turbines more quickly will prove adequate to solve climate change. At best this is meaningless jingoism, at its worst it dangerously misdiagnoses climate change’s causes,  and does not propose ecologically sufficient climate change solutions.

NOT EVEN ONCE does Bill’s essay calling for a war on climate mention the biological and ecological aspects of our climate change conundrum. In fact, the words ecology, ecosystem, and even environment are not used. How is it that the climate movement’s perceived Martin Luther King type transformational figure has the science and policy behind climate change so dangerously wrong?
Natural ecosystem loss as a cause, and positive-feedback fed result, of abrupt climate change is once again given short shrift, and protecting and enhancing the natural environment is amazingly completely ignored once again by Mr. McKibben as an element of climate solutions. Instead we are left with war metaphors and further industrial development as a dangerously incomplete climate policy prescription.

What the hell Bill? Where is your understanding of ecology, and your embrace of widespread and connected natural ecosystems as a crucial element of any climate change solution?
Mr. McKibben, climate change is not Hitler, and waging war will not solve it. Climate change results not only from billions of pistons burning fossil fuels, it is also caused by billions of conscious decisions to destroy the naturally evolved world – one tree, or patch of ground, at a time – which through vegetation’s cycling of water, energy, and carbon have sustained a habitable Earth for eons. Of course at some level Bill you must realize this, but why not speak, write, and advocate for protecting and restoring natural ecosystems as a keystone climate change response?

Permaculture forest gardens intermixed with
regenerating old-growth key to stabilizing
carbon cycle
Maintaining natural stores of carbon and the natural carbon cycle between these repositories is of primary importance in limiting abrupt climate change and ensuring it doesn’t become run-away. Mr. McKibben’s vision of a war-like industrial mobilization is myopic and entirely ignores the re-greening of land and waters that must occur. We could end fossil fuel emissions rapidly, and still drown in historical emissions, if there are not ways to remove what has already been emitted from the atmosphere (we are at over 400 parts per million of carbon and Bill’s group’s name 350.org acknowledges we have surpassed the safe limit). How else but through natural processes associated with plant growth will global ecological balance be restored?

The simple ecological truth is that natural vegetation holds and cycles carbon in a manner that removes carbon from the atmosphere. We know much carbon is released when natural vegetation is cleared or reduced. And that there is tremendous potential to re-vegetate the vast areas of land that have been cleared of natural ecosystems, as nearly 90% of primary forests have been cleared or dramatically diminished through fragmentation. All remaining old-growth forests must be protected not only as carbon stores, but also for sources of seed and genetic variability for the coming era of ecosystem restoration and climate adaptation, and aided to expand and reconnect. Along with secondary forests undergoing succession into old-growth status, inter-mixed with organic permaculture and forest gardens, expanded natural forest ecosystems have dramatic potential to store carbon and perhaps more importantly keep it cycling.

Given how many natural terrestrial ecosystems have been lost, it is vital to avoiding willful ecocide that we stop logging ancient old-growth forests, allowing them to recover and expand.

[continue reading essay at EcoInternet]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Much Is Enough

Live more simply so that others may simply live
To sustain a livable environment, all basic human needs must be met as sufficient steady state stocks of natural capital are maintained. Guaranteeing a basic income as the greed of the billionaire class is tamed are keys to avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being.
Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance for throw-away consumer crap... This perilous state of global inequity begs the question how much is enough? - Dr. Glen Barry
Despite being more aware than many of the perilous ecological condition of the planet, like most I am drawn by the siren call of affluenza. The variety of consumer goods and their marketing are so pervasive that it is hard to not succumb to the illusion that material items equate with happiness and well-being.

And while I try hard to weigh the impacts of personal expenditures on the planet and its life, and whether the purchase of a particular item is necessary, it is just so damn difficult to resist the desire to meet everyday whims and consume more, and not feel somehow disadvantaged if more stuff cannot be had.

My unmet desires for electronics, a new wardrobe, and travel of course pale in importance to the billions who struggle to meet basic needs. The fact that one billion people live in abject poverty on less than $1.50 a day continues to stun me. Given the networked nature of the world it is very unlikely that a just, sustainable and livable Earth can long persist with such imbalances.

Being married to a Papua New Guinean, and having lived in this Pacific Island’s villages for many years, I understand that exclusion from the money economy does not mean that existence cannot be rich in community, experience, leisure and the wealth found in a well tilled garden. It is important to differentiate between self-sufficiency and dispossession in those that are materially poor.

But the truth remains that billions of people’s basic needs for medicine, food, comfort, and a few select luxuries continue to go unmet; as others slovenly conspicuously over-consume. Jet set celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio warn us climate is real as they gallivant around the world with pals in private yachts and jets spewing emissions for leisure, setting a bad example. Many of us in the developed world’s middle class live lives of consumption beyond the kings and queens of yesteryear, yet rarely is our desire for more satiated.

Conspicuous over-consumption by some as others fester in abject poverty is killing us all as we liquidate our shared biological inheritance  for throw-away consumer crap.

[Continue reading at EcoInternet]

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Environmental Collapse Fuels Resurgent Fascism of the #CreepyDonald Ilk


The biosphere is collapsing and dying as natural ecosystem loss, abrupt climate change, and grotesque inequity have so diminished natural capital that we find our well-being threatened by reduced material expectations, a state of perma-war, and escalating authoritarian fascism. Charlatan madman Donald Trump – aka #CreepyDonald – is a deranged, authoritarian wannabe-tyrant seeking to demagogue environmental collapse; and whose racist xenophobia, militant violence, and anti-science hate threaten America’s and the world’s final demise. It is the duty of every fair, decent, tolerant, freedom loving American to resist the rise of GOP authoritarian fascism and commit to peaceful, equitable, and ecologically sustainable advancement for all. 

It’s really quite simple: diminished economic prospects and social cohesion are the direct result of environmental decline. -- Dr. Glen Barry 

Earth Meanders, Deep Ecology Essay
By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecointernet
July 23, 2016

Donald Trump is creepy
Human industrial growth has dismantled the ecological systems upon which healthy economies and societies are based.  Planetary ecological boundaries required for a habitable Earth have been surpassed as the human family finds itself in a state of ecological overshoot. Loss of natural ecosystems and a stable climate are already causing much conflict, suffering, and reduced opportunity for material advancement. Worsening environmental conditions threaten our liberty too as demagoguery flourishes.

Over the past 130 years the human population has grown from one to seven billion people, many of whom are living highly consumptive lifestyles, as others are mired in numbing abject poverty. This growth has come at the expense of destroying natural ecosystems. Massive economic expansion was easy when based upon liquidating ancient old-growth forests, bottom trawling bountiful oceans, and intensively over-exploiting soil. Now many of these natural resources are nearly exhausted.

Natural capital has perilously declined to such an extent that further widespread growth in material consumption is no longer possible. At least 90% of old growth forests and stocks of large ocean fish have already been harvested, and 50% of topsoil has eroded; as natural ecosystems that sustain life are destroyed for short-term profit. Abrupt climate change already routinely causes severe deprivation and dislocation.

CONVERGING GLOBAL CRISES THREATEN BIOSPHERE COLLAPSE

A number of other threats are converging, greatly diminishing the global condition, and imperiling progress on environmental sustainability. Grotesque inequity – whereby one billion people live on under $1.50 a day as similar numbers live opulent lifestyles – is the norm and worsening. As is often the case during hard times, many are returning to millennia old religious myths that teach that those who believe differently are bad and should be killed. Remote-control christian militarism and radical islamic terrorism are rife, as murder in the name of god is again in vogue.

A state of perma-war has arisen. Eternal tribal conflicts have been exacerbated by a scramble to exploit the last bits of natural capital; which incidentally power the biosphere, providing the ecosystem habitats which make Earth livable. Rather than thinking freely and coming together for global ecological sustainability and lasting human advancement, we seek to murder each other in the name of god and country, as in reality we pursue natural resources at advantageous terms.

These converging global mega-crises are compounded by outright ignorance and anti-intellectualism by those that should know better, but rather seek to enrich themselves based upon the suffering of others.

It’s really quite simple: diminished economic prospects and social cohesion are the direct result of environmental decline. The expectation in much of the world that each generation will be materially better off can no longer be sustained by plundering remaining resource-rich ecosystems. Sadly, such simple and unquestionable truths are opaque to the many people who have lost their ecology ethic, and live vacuous lives in pursuit of more stuff, or scramble daily just to survive.

Our one shared biosphere is threatened with imminent collapse and death, as together we are all faced with nothing less than the end of being. 

THE RISE AND FALL OF #CREEPYDONALD

Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist
Against such a backdrop of ecological, social, and economic decline; innumerable charlatan demagogues are rising, as is often the case when times are hard. Selling various brands of snake oil, they promise to make us safe, rich, and great again; if only they are given absolute power. While tyrannical forms of government are nothing new, and despite immeasurable human suffering during previous bouts of authoritarianism, our present condition of environmental scarcity has created the conditions for fascism’s resurgence.

Madman Donald Trump is the most obvious example of a deranged authoritarian, demagoguing reduced expectations brought about by environmental decline. Trump's scapegoating of the less fortunate, overt nationalism, racism and misogyny, and continuous threats of violence are classic fascism. Trump’s denial of incontrovertible climate change is ignorant and simply unforgivable charlatanism. His entire demeanor and agenda for America will worsen environmental decline and social discord. Mocking the disabled, saying he would date his own daughter, demeaning women and minorities, and Trump's supporters' Nazi salutes are downright creepy. Given Trump’s affection for derisive monikers, I have taken to calling him #CreepyDonald.

#CreepyDonald’s complete cluelessness regarding the root causes of decline indicate that he is really interested in absolute power, which once given, may never be able to be revoked. While concerns over security, jobs, and the deleterious impacts of uncontrolled mass migration are not without merit, the solutions are highly suspect. Trump’s agenda wastes time and diverts resources necessary to protect and restore nature to avoid biosphere collapse. Further division, conflict, and over-development are not the answer.

Mocking those with disabilities is creepy
In the rise of #CreepyDonald we are witnessing the fall of America as a free and great nation (albeit imperfect and always striving for self-improvement). #CreepyDonald’s authoritarian tyranny is neo-fascism and if he seizes power will result in the fall of tolerant and decent liberal democracy in America. Nothing less than centuries of social progress – such as mostly ending slavery and achieving racial and sexual equality – are threatened by fascism’s return.

No matter the threat; dark, violent authoritarian fascism of the sort espoused by #CreepyDonald and the GOP in America, and countless other neo-fascists globally, is never the answer. #CreepyDonald is unfit, unstable, and unacceptable; and his anti-science, anti-intellectualism ensures global unsustainability.  At this critical juncture in history, Donald Trump must not be allowed to seize power.

GREEN LIBERTY IS THE ANSWER

Continuous expectations that each generation will be better off materially are no longer possible unless we replenish natural capital through a sustained program of ecological protection and restoration. Equitable economic advancement depends upon achieving a steady state economy, as we remain free by firmly rejecting authoritarian fascism.

Ecologically sustainable economic advancement requires skill and knowledge, and profound empathy and sharing with the less fortunate. Building a just, verdant, and equitable world depends upon returning to the land to grow products and services of lasting benefit that meet basic needs from creative self-expression with our minds and bodies.

Humanity finds itself hurtling through space on a 3.5 billion year old organism – called Earth by some, Gaia by others – which is collapsing and dying. We will only survive and thrive by coming together in common purpose to sustain natural ecosystems, remain free, and more equitably share nature’s bounty. To start we must #DumpTrump and firmly destroy all other threats to our liberty and ecology.