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Atwood writes: "The future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture. There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up."

Fire near suburban homes. (photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
Fire near suburban homes. (photo: David McNew/Getty Images)


It's Not Climate Change - It's Everything Change

By Margaret Atwood, Medium

30 July 15

 

Oil! Our secret god, our secret sharer, our magic wand, fulfiller of our every desire, our co-conspirator, the sine qua non in all we do! Can’t live with it, can’t — right at this moment — live without it. But it’s on everyone’s mind.

Back in 2009, as fracking and the mining of the oil/tar sands in Alberta ramped up — when people were talking about Peak Oil and the dangers of the supply giving out — I wrote a piece for the German newspaper Die Zeit. In English it was called “The Future Without Oil.” It went like this:


he future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture: let’s call it Picture One. Shall we imagine it?

There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up. Goods from afar come to us by solar-and-sail-driven ship — the sails computerized to catch every whiff of air — or else by new versions of the airship, which can lift and carry a huge amount of freight with minimal pollution and no ear-slitting noise. Trains have made a comeback. So have bicycles, when it isn’t snowing; but maybe there won’t be any more winter.

Due to improved insulation and indoor-climate-enhancing practices, including heatproof blinds and awnings, air-conditioning systems are obsolete, so they no longer suck up huge amounts of power every summer. As for power, in addition to hydro, solar, geothermal, wave, and wind generation, and emissions-free coal plants, we’re using almost foolproof nuclear power. Even when there are accidents it isn’t all bad news, because instant wildlife refuges are created as Nature invades those high-radiation zones where Man now fears to tread. There’s said to be some remarkable wildlife and botany in the area surrounding Chernobyl.

(photos: Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank; Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images; J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
(photos: Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank; Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images; J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

What will we wear? A lot of hemp clothing, I expect: hemp is a hardy fiber source with few pesticide requirements, and cotton will have proven too costly and destructive to grow. We might also be wearing a lot of recycled tinfoil — keeps the heat in — and garments made from the recycled plastic we’ve harvested from the island of it twice the size of Texas currently floating around in the Pacific Ocean. What will we eat, besides our front-lawn vegetables? That may be a problem — we’re coming to the end of cheap fish, and there are other shortages looming. Abundant animal protein in large hunks may have had its day. However, we’re an inventive species, and when push comes to shove we don’t have a lot of fastidiousness: being omnivores, we’ll eat anything as long as there’s ketchup. Looking on the bright side: obesity due to over-eating will no longer be a crisis, and diet plans will not only be free, but mandatory.

That’s Picture One. I like it. It’s comforting. Under certain conditions, it might even come true. Sort of. More or less.

Then there’s Picture Two. Suppose the future without oil arrives very quickly. Suppose a bad fairy waves his wand, and poof! Suddenly there’s no oil, anywhere, at all.

Everything would immediately come to a halt. No cars, no planes; a few trains still running on hydroelectric, and some bicycles, but that wouldn’t take very many people very far. Food would cease to flow into the cities, water would cease to flow out of the taps. Within hours, panic would set in.

The first result would be the disappearance of the word “we”: except in areas with exceptional organization and leadership, the word “I” would replace it, as the war of all against all sets in. There would be a run on the supermarkets, followed immediately by food riots and looting. There would also be a run on the banks — people would want their money out for black market purchasing, although all currencies would quickly lose value, replaced by bartering. In any case the banks would close: their electronic systems would shut down, and they’d run out of cash.

(photo: Feng Li/Getty Images; Tim Pershing/AFP/Getty Images; Wolfgang Simlinger/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
(photos: Feng Li/Getty Images; Tim Pershing/AFP/Getty Images; Wolfgang Simlinger/ASAblanca via Getty Images)

Having looted and hoarded some food and filled their bathtubs with water, people would hunker down in their houses, creeping out into the backyards if they dared because their toilets would no longer flush. The lights would go out. Communication systems would break down. What next? Open a can of dog food, eat it, then eat the dog, then wait for the authorities to restore order. But the authorities — lacking transport — would be unable to do this.

Other authorities would take over. These would at first be known as thugs and street gangs, then as warlords. They’d attack the barricaded houses, raping, pillaging and murdering. But soon even they would run out of stolen food. It wouldn’t take long — given starvation, festering garbage, multiplying rats, and putrefying corpses — for pandemic disease to break out. It will quickly become apparent that the present world population of six and a half billion people is not only dependent on oil, but was created by it: humanity has expanded to fill the space made possible to it by oil, and without that oil it would shrink with astounding rapidity. As for the costs to “the economy,” there won’t be any “economy.” Money will vanish: the only items of exchange will be food, water, and most likely — before everyone topples over — sex.

Picture Two is extreme, and also unlikely, but it exposes the truth: we’re hooked on oil, and without it we can’t do much of anything. And since it’s bound to run out eventually, and since cheap oil is already a thing of the past, we ought to be investing a lot of time, effort, and money in ways to replace it.

Unfortunately, like every other species on the planet, we’re conservative: we don’t change our ways unless necessity forces us. The early lungfish didn’t develop lungs because it wanted to be a land animal, but because it wanted to remain a fish even as the dry season drew down the water around it. We’re also self-interested: unless there are laws mandating conservation of energy, most won’t do it, because why make sacrifices if others don’t? The absence of fair and enforceable energy-use rules penalizes the conscientious while enriching the amoral. In business, the laws of competition mean that most corporations will extract maximum riches from available resources with not much thought to the consequences. Why expect any human being or institution to behave otherwise unless they can see clear benefits?

In addition to Pictures One and Two, there’s Picture Three. In Picture Three, some countries plan for the future of diminished oil, some don’t. Those planning now include — not strangely — those that don’t have any, or don’t need any. Iceland generates over half its power from abundant geothermal sources: it will not suffer much from an oil dearth. Germany is rapidly converting, as are a number of other oil-poor European countries. They are preparing to weather the coming storm.

Then there are the oil-rich countries. Of these, those who were poor in the past, who got rich quick, and who have no resources other than oil are investing the oil wealth they know to be temporary in technologies they hope will work for them when the oil runs out. But in countries that have oil, but that have other resources too, such foresight is lacking. It does exist in one form: as a Pentagon report of 2003 called “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security” put it, “Nations with the resources to do so may build virtual fortresses around their countries, preserving resources for themselves.” That’s already happening: the walls grow higher and stronger every day.

But the long-term government planning needed to deal with diminishing oil within rich, mixed-resource countries is mostly lacking. Biofuel is largely delusional: the amount of oil required to make it is larger than the payout. Some oil companies are exploring the development of other energy sources, but by and large they’re simply lobbying against anything and anyone that might cause a decrease in consumption and thus impact on their profits. It’s gold-rush time, and oil is the gold, and short-term gain outweighs long-term pain, and madness is afoot, and anyone who wants to stop the rush is deemed an enemy.

My own country, Canada, is an oil-rich country. A lot of the oil is in the Athabasca oil sands, where licenses to mine oil are sold to anyone with the cash, and where CO2 is being poured into the atmosphere, not only from the oil used as an end product, but also in the course of its manufacture. Also used in its manufacture is an enormous amount of water. The water mostly comes from the Athabasca River, which is fed by a glacier. But due to global warming, glaciers are melting fast. When they’re gone, no more water, and thus no more oil from oil sands. Maybe we’ll be saved — partially — by our own ineptness. But we’ll leave much destruction in our wake.

The Athabasca oil-sand project has now replaced the pyramids as the must-see manmade colossal sight, although it’s not exactly a monument to hopes of immortality. There has even been a tour to it: the venerable Canadian company Butterfield & Robinson ran one in 2008 as part of its series “Places on the Verge.”

Destinations at risk: first stop, the oil sands. Next stop, the planet. If we don’t start aiming for Picture One, we’ll end up with some version of Picture Two. So hoard some dog food, because you may be needing it.

It’s interesting to look back on what I wrote about oil in 2009, and to reflect on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years. Much of what most people took for granted back then is no longer universally accepted, including the idea that we could just go on and on the way we were living then, with no consequences. There was already some alarm back then, but those voicing it were seen as extreme. Now their concerns have moved to the center of the conversation. Here are some of the main worries.

Planet Earth — the Goldilocks planet we’ve taken for granted, neither too hot or too cold, neither too wet or too dry, with fertile soils that accumulated for millennia before we started to farm them –- that planet is altering. The shift towards the warmer end of the thermometer that was once predicted to happen much later, when the generations now alive had had lots of fun and made lots of money and gobbled up lots of resources and burned lots of fossil fuels and then died, are happening much sooner than anticipated back then. In fact, they’re happening now.

Here are three top warning signs. First, the transformation of the oceans. Not only are these being harmed by the warming of their waters, in itself a huge affector of climate. There is also the increased acidification due to CO2 absorption, the ever-increasing amount of oil-based plastic trash and toxic pollutants that human beings are pouring into the seas, and the overfishing and destruction of marine ecosystems and spawning grounds by bottom-dragging trawlers. Most lethal to us — and affected by warming, acidification, toxins, and dying marine ecosystems — would be the destruction of the bluegreen marine algae that created our present oxygen-rich atmosphere 2.45 billion years ago, and that continue to make the majority of the oxygen we breathe. If the algae die, that would put an end to us, as we would gasp to death like fish out of water.

A second top warning sign is the drought in California, said to be the worst for 1,200 years. This drought is now in its fourth year; it is mirrored by droughts in other western U.S. states, such as Utah and Idaho. The snowpack in the mountains that usually feeds the water supplies in these states was only 3% of the norm this winter. It’s going to be a long, hot, dry summer. The knockon effect of such widespread drought on such things as the price of fruit and vegetables has yet to be calculated, but it will be extensive. As drought conditions spread elsewhere, we may expect water wars as the world’s supply of fresh water is exhausted.

A third warning sign is the rise in ocean levels. There have already been some noteworthy flooding events, the most expensive in North America being Hurricane Katrina, and the inundation of lower Manhattan at the time of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Should the predicted sea-level rise of a foot to two feet take place, the state of Florida stands to lose most of its beaches, and the city of Miami will be wading. Many other lowlying cities around the world will be affected.

(photos: Christos Pathiakis/Getty Images; Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images; DeAgostini/Getty Images)
(photos: Christos Pathiakis/Getty Images; Xurxo Lobato/Cover/Getty Images; DeAgostini/Getty Images)

This result, however, is not accepted by some of the politicians who are supposed to be alert to dangers threatening the welfare of their constituents. The present governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is said to have issued a memo to all government of Florida employees forbidding them to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming,” because he doesn’t believe in them (though Scott has denied this to the press). I myself would like to disbelieve in gravitational forces, because then I could fly, and also in viruses, because then I would never get colds. Makes sense: you can’t see viruses or gravity, and seeing is believing, and when you’ve got your head stuck in the sand you can’t see a thing, right?

The Florida government employees also aren’t allowed to talk about sea-level rise: when things get very wet inside people’s houses, it’s to be called “nuisance flooding.” (If the city of Miami gets soaked, as it will should the level rise the two feet predicted in the foreseeable future, it will indeed be a nuisance, especially in the real-estate sector; so the governor isn’t all wrong.) What a practical idea for solving pesky problems: let’s not talk about it, and maybe it will go away.

The Canadian federal government, not to be outdone in the area of misleading messages, has just issued a new map that shows more Arctic sea ice than the previous map did. Good news! The sea ice is actually increasing! So global warming and climate change doesn’t exist? How reassuring for the population, and how convenient for those invested in carbon fuels!

But there’s some fine print. It seems that this new map shows an average amount of sea ice, and the averaging goes back thirty years. As the Globe and Mail article on this new map puts it:

In reality, climate change has been gnawing away at the planet’s permanent polar ice cap and it is projected to continue doing so.

‘It’s a subtle way, on a map, to change the perspective on the way something is viewed,’ said Christopher Storie, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg and president of the Canadian Cartographic Association.

Whereas the older version of the map showed only that part of the sea ice that permanently covered Arctic waters year round at that time, the new edition uses a 30-year median of September sea-ice extent from 1981 through 2010. September sea ice hit a record low in 2012 and is projected to decline further. The change means there is far more ice shown on the 2015 version of the map than on its predecessor.

‘Both are correct,’ Dr. Storie said. ‘They’ve provided the right notation for the representation, but not many people will read that or understand what it means.’

Cute trick, wouldn’t you say? Not as cute as Florida’s trick, but cute. And both tricks emphasize the need for scientific literacy. Increasingly, the public needs to know how to evaluate the worth of whatever facts they’re being told. Who’s saying it? What’s their source? Do they have a bias? Unfortunately, very few people have the expertise necessary to decode the numbers and statistics that are constantly being flung at us.

Both the Florida cute trick and the Canadian map one originate in worries about the Future, and the bad things that may happen in that future; also the desire to deny these things or sweep them under the carpet so business can go on as usual, leaving the young folks and future generations to deal with the mess and chaos that will result from a changed climate, and then pay the bill. Because there will be a bill: the cost will be high, not only in money but in human lives. The laws of chemistry and physics are unrelenting, and they don’t give second chances. In fact, that bill is already coming due.

There are many other effects, from species extinction to the spread of diseases to a decline in overall food production, but the main point is that these effects are not happening in some dim, distant future. They are happening now.

In response to our growing awareness of these effects, there have been some changes in public and political attitudes, though these changes have not been universal. Some acknowledge the situation, but shrug and go about their daily lives taking a “What can I do?” position. Some merely despair. But only those with their heads stuck so firmly into the sand that they’re talking through their nether ends are still denying that reality has changed.

Even if the deniers can be brought reluctantly to acknowledge the facts on the ground, they display two fallback positions: 1) The changes are natural. They have nothing to do with humankind’s burning of fossil fuels. Therefore we can keep on having our picnic, such as it is, perhaps making a few gestures in the direction of “adaptation” — a seawall here, the building of a desalination plant there — without worrying about our own responsibility. 2) The changes are divine. They are punishments being inflicted on humankind for its sins by supernatural agency. In extreme form, they are part of a divine plan to destroy the world, send most of its inhabitants to a hideous death, and make a new world for those who will be saved. People who believe this kind of thing usually number themselves among the lucky few. It would, however, be a mistake to vote for them, as in a crisis they would doubtless simply head for higher ground or their own specially equipped oxygen shelters, and then cheer while billions die, rather than lifting a finger to save their fellow citizens.

Back in 2009, discussion of the future of energy and thus of civilization as we know it tended to be theoretical. Now, however, action is being taken and statements are being made, some of them coming from the usual suspects — “left-wingers” and “artists” and “radicals,” and other such dubious folks — but others now coming from directions that would once have been unthinkable. Some are even coming — mirabile dictu! — from politicians. Here are some examples of all three kinds:

In September 2014, the international petition site Avaaz (over 41 million members) pulled together a Manhattan climate march of 400,000 people, said to be the largest climate march in history. On April 11, 2015, approximately 25,000 people congregated in Quebec City to serve notice on Canadian politicians that they want them to start taking climate change seriously. Five years ago, that number would probably have been 2,500. Just before that date, Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, announced that it was bringing in a cap-and-trade plan. The chances of that happening five years ago were nil.

In case anyone thinks that it’s only people on the so-called political left that are concerned, there are numerous straws in the wind that’s blowing from what might once have been considered the resistant right. Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush, has just said that there are two threats to our society that are even greater than the 2008 financial meltdown he himself helped the world navigate: environmental damage due to climate change, and the possible failure of China. (Chinese success probably means China can tackle its own carbon emissions and bring them under control; Chinese failure means it probably can’t.)

In Canada, an organization called the Ecofiscal Commission has been formed; it includes representatives from the erstwhile Reform Party (right), the Liberal Party (centrist), and the NDP (left), as well as members from the business community. Its belief is that environmental problems can be solved by business sense and common sense, working together; that a gain for the environment does not have to be a financial loss, but can be a gain. In America, the Tesla story would certainly bear this out: this electric plug-in is doing a booming business among the rich. Meanwhile, there are other changes afoot. Faith-based environmental movements such as A Rocha are gaining ground; others, such as Make Way For Monarchs, engage groups of many vocations and political stripes. The coalition of the well-intentioned and action-oriented from finance, faith, and science could prove to be a very powerful one indeed.

But will all of this, in the aggregate, be enough?

Two writers have recently contributed some theorizing about overall social and energy systems and the way they function that may be helpful to us in our slowly unfolding crisis. One is from art historian and energetic social thinker Barry Lord; it’s called Art and Energy (AAM Press). Briefly, Lord’s thesis is that the kind of art a society makes and values is joined at the hip with the kind of energy that society depends on to keep itself going. He traces the various forms of energy we have known as a species throughout our pre-history — our millennia spent in the Pleistocene — and in our recorded history — sexual energy, without which societies can’t continue; the energy of the body while hunting and foraging; wood for fire; slaves; wind and water; coal; oil; and “renewables” — and makes some cogent observations about their relationship to art and culture. In his Prologue, he says:

Everyone knows that all life requires energy. But we rarely consider how dependent art and culture are on the energy that is needed to produce, practice and sustain them. What we fail to see are the usually invisible sources of energy that make our art and culture(s) possible and bring with them fundamental values that we are all constrained to live with (whether we approve of them or not). Coal brought one set of values to all industrialized countries; oil brought a very different set… I may not approve of the culture of consumption that comes with oil… but I must use [it] if I want to do anything at all.

Those living within an energy system, says Lord, may disapprove of certain features, but they can’t question the system itself. Within the culture of slavery, which lasted at least 5,000 years, nobody wanted to be a slave, but nobody said slavery should be abolished, because what else could keep things going?

Coal, says Lord, produced a culture of production: think about those giant steel mills. Oil and gas, once they were up and running, fostered a culture of consumption. Lord cites “the widespread belief of the 1950s and early ’60s in the possibility of continuing indefinitely with unlimited abundance and economic growth, contrasted with the widespread agreement today that both that assumption and the world it predicts are unsustainable.” We’re in a transition phase, he says: the next culture will be a culture of “stewardship,” the energy driving it will be renewables, and the art it produces will be quite different from the art favored by production and consumption cultures.

What are the implications for the way we view both ourselves and the way we live? In brief: in the coal energy culture — a culture of workers and production — you are your job. “I am what I make.” In an oil and gas energy culture — a culture of consumption — you are your possessions. “I am what I buy.” But in a renewable energy culture, you are what you conserve. “I am what I save and protect.” We aren’t used to thinking like this, because we can’t see where the money will come from. But in a culture of renewables, money will not be the only measure of wealth. Well-being will factor as an economic positive, too.

The second book I’ll mention is by anthropologist, classical scholar, and social thinker Ian Morris, whose book, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, has just appeared from Princeton University Press. Like Barry Lord, Morris is interested in the link between energy-capture systems and the cultural values associated with them, though in his case it’s the moral values, not only the aesthetic ones — supposing these can be separated — that concern him. Roughly, his argument runs that each form of energy capture favors values that maximize the chance of survival for those using both that energy system and that package of moral values. Hunter-gatherers show more social egalitarianism, wealth-sharing, and more gender equality than do farmer societies, which subordinate women — men are favored, as they must do the upper-body-strength heavy lifting — tend to practice some form of slavery, and support social hierarchies, with peasants at the low end and kings, religious leaders, and army commanders at the high end. Fossil fuel societies start leveling out gender inequalities — you don’t need upper body strength to operate keyboards or push machine buttons — and also social distinctions, though they retain differences in wealth.

The second part of his argument is more pertinent to our subject, for he postulates that each form of energy capture must hit a “hard ceiling,” past which expansion is impossible; people must either die out or convert to a new system and a new set of values, often after a “great collapse” that has involved the same five factors: uncontrolled migration, state failure, food shortages, epidemic disease, and “always in the mix, though contributing in unpredictable ways–- climate change.” Thus, for hunting societies, their way of life is over once there are no longer enough large animals to sustain their numbers. For farmers, arable land is a limiting factor. The five factors of doom combine and augment one another, and people in those periods have a thoroughly miserable time of it, until new societies arise that utilize some not yet exhausted form of energy capture.

And for those who use fossil fuels as their main energy source — that would be us, now — is there also a hard ceiling? Morris says there is. We can’t keep pouring carbon into the air — nearly 40 billion tons of CO2 in 2013 alone — without the consequences being somewhere between “terrible and catastrophic.” Past collapses have been grim, he says, but the possibilities for the next big collapse are much grimmer.

We are all joined together globally in ways we have never been joined before, so if we fail, we all fail together: we have “just one chance to get it right.” This is not the way we will inevitably go, says he, though it is the way we will inevitably go unless we choose to invent and follow some less hazardous road.

But even if we sidestep the big collapse and keep on expanding at our present rate, we will become so numerous and ubiquitous and densely packed that we will transform both ourselves and our planet in ways we can’t begin to imagine. “The 21st century, he says, “shows signs of producing shifts in energy capture and social organization that dwarf anything seen since the evolution of modern humans.”

Science fiction? you may say. Or you may say “speculative fiction.” For a final straw in the wind, let’s turn to what the actual writers of these kinds of stories (and films, and television series, and video games, and graphic novels) have been busying themselves with lately.

A British author called Piers Torday has just come out with a Young Adult book called The Wild Beyond. In April, he wrote a piece in The Guardian that summarizes the field, and explains the very recent term, “cli-fi:”

“Cli‐fi” is a term coined by blogger Dan Bloom to describe fiction dealing with the current and projected effects of climate change. … Cli-fi as a new genre has taken off in a big way and is now being studied by universities all over the world. But don’t make the mistake of confusing it with sci-fi. If you think stories showing the effects of climate change are still only futuristic fantasies, think again. For example, I would argue that the only truly fantastical element in my books is that the animals talk. To one boy. Other cli‐fi elements of my story that are often described as fantastical or dystopian, include the death of nearly all the animals in the world. That’s just me painting an extreme picture, right, to make a good story? I wish.

The recent 2014 WWF Living Planet Report revealed that the entire animal population of the planet had in fact halved over the last 40 years. 52% of our wildlife, gone, just like that. Whether through the effects of climate change to the growth in human population to the depredation of natural habitats, the children reading my books now might well find themselves experiencing middle‐age in a world without the biodiversity we once took for granted. A world of humans and just a few pigeons, rats and cockroaches scratching around… So, how about the futuristic vision of a planet where previously inhabited areas become too hot and dry to sustain human life? That’s standard dystopian world-building fare, surely?

Yes, except that right now, as you read this, super developed and technological California — the eighth largest economy in the world, bigger than Russia — is suffering a record breaking drought. The lowest rainfall since 1885 and enforced water restrictions of up to 25%. They can track every mouse click ever made from Palo Alto apparently, but they can’t figure out how to keep the taps running. That’s just California — never mind Africa or Australia.

Every effect of climate change in the books — from the rising sea levels of The Dark Wild to the acidic and jelly‐fish filled oceans in The Wild Beyond, is happening right now, albeit on a lesser level.

(photos: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum; Gadtan Rossier/Getty Images; Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
(photos: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum; Gadtan Rossier/Getty Images; Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)

Could cli-fi be a way of educating young people about the dangers that face them, and helping them to think through the problems and divine solutions? Or will it become just another part of the “entertainment business”? Time will tell. But if Barry Lord is right, the outbreak of such fictions is in part a response to the transition now taking place — from the consumer values of oil to the stewardship values of renewables. The material world should no longer be treated as a bottomless cornucopia of use-and-toss endlessly replaceable mounds of “stuff”: supplies are limited, and must be conserved and treasured.

Can we change our energy system? Can we change it fast enough to avoid being destroyed by it? Are we clever enough to come up with some viable plans? Do we have the political will to carry out such plans? Are we capable of thinking about longer-term issues, or, like the lobster in a pot full of water that’s being brought slowly to the boil, will we fail to realize the danger we’re in until it’s too late?

Not that the lobster can do anything about it, once in the pot. But we might. We’re supposed to be smarter than lobsters. We’ve committed some very stupid acts over the course of our history, but our stupidity isn’t inevitable. Here are three smart things we’ve managed to do:

First, despite all those fallout shelters built in suburban backyards during the Cold War, we haven’t yet blown ourselves up with nuclear bombs. Second, thanks to Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book on pesticides, Silent Spring, not all the birds were killed by DDT in the ’50s and ’60s. And, third, we managed to stop the lethal hole in the protective ozone layer that was being caused by the chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants and spray cans, thus keeping ourselves from being radiated to death. As we head towards the third decade of the 21st century, it’s hopeful to bear in mind that we don’t always act in our own worst interests.

“For everything to stay the same, everything has to change,” says a character in Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s 1963 novel, The Leopard. What do we need to change to keep our world stable? How do we solve for X+Y+Z — X being our civilization’s need for energy, without which it will fall swiftly into anarchy; Y being the finite nature of the earth’s atmosphere, incapable of absorbing infinite amounts of CO2 without destroying us; and Z being our understandable wish to live full and happy lives on a healthy planet, followed by future human generations doing the same. One way of solving this equation is to devise more efficient ways of turning sunlight into electrical energy. Another way is to make oil itself — and the CO2 it emits — part of a cyclical process rather than a linear one. Oil, it seems, does not have to come out of the ground, and it doesn’t have to have pollution as its end product.

There are many smart people applying themselves to these problems, and many new technologies emerging. On my desk right now is a list of 15 of them. Some take carbon directly out of the air and turn it into other materials, such as cement. Others capture carbon by regenerating degraded tropical rainforests — a fast and cheap method — or sequestering carbon in the soil by means of biochar, which has the added benefit of increasing soil fertility. Some use algae, which can also be used to make biofuel. One makes a carbon-sequestering asphalt. Carbon has been recycled ever since plant life emerged on earth; these technologies and enterprises are enhancing that process.

Meanwhile, courage: homo sapiens sapiens sometimes deserves his double plus for intelligence. Let’s hope we are about to start living in one of those times.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

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For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+26 # Billy Bob 2015-07-30 14:48
Climate is everything. If the climate changes (which it is) expect it to change everything.
 
 
+25 # A_Har 2015-07-30 15:55
Quoting Billy Bob:
Climate is everything. If the climate changes (which it is) expect it to change everything.

The climate is ALREADY changing. This year we are seeing the RAINFOREST burn in the PNW on the Olympic Penisula.

The White House was warned of the crisis TWO YEARS AGO:

White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral

National security officials worried by rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice overlook threat of permanent global food shortages

Nafeez Ahmed

Thursday 2 May 2013 09.16 EDT

So let's get real here--they don't give a sh!t except to increase surveillance and militarize the police. They know things are going to get bad. A sh!tstorm is brewing.

Meanwhile:

The Methane Monster Roars
http://environmentalfuture.org/the-methane-monster-roars/

January 23, 2015
Paul Beckwith, a climatology and meteorology professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, is an engineer and physicist who researches abrupt climate change in both the present day and in the paleoclimatolog y records of the deep past.

“It is my view that our climate system is in early stages of abrupt climate change that, unchecked, will lead to a temperature rise of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius within a decade or two,” Beckwith told me."

Guess what, we CAN'T survive that. This is the 6th great extinction on earth which *we will be a part of.*
 
 
+14 # Billy Bob 2015-07-30 16:26
Two thoughts:

1. The rich will survive. They're prepared to deal with the devastation they've caused. That's what all those drones, and Patriot Act stuff are for. They're putting things in place to keep us at bay while we starve.

2. We've been warned about all of this since the late '70s.
 
 
+28 # indian weaver 2015-07-30 16:58
Nah, they won't survive. "They" may live a bit longer hiding out, but we'll all die. The rich are quickly becoming targets for those of us who are already dying, however. And, we outnumber them.
 
 
+17 # Billy Bob 2015-07-30 20:11
Sounds great. I'd like to take them down with the rest of us. I really think they've thought this through though. I think they view the whole thing much like Dr. Strangelove did at the end of that movie.

Regardless of which one of us is right, I think it is pretty obvious that much of the drive behind the new, more restrictive, anti-freedom laws that have been passed in this country over the past 15 years has been to allow them to survive the extinction of the rest of us.

They may not survive, but they think they can, and they're certainly making plans to do that. They'll be more than happy to see the rest of us gone. If they do all die as well, none of us poor schmucks will be around to appreciate the poetic justice.
 
 
-26 # A_Har 2015-07-30 20:56
Quoting Billy Bob:
They may not survive, but they think they can, and they're certainly making plans to do that. They'll be more than happy to see the rest of us gone. If they do all die as well, none of us poor schmucks will be around to appreciate the poetic justice.

And one of the things they want to do, which the left continuously mocks about the right is to take the guns away. They DO want to take the guns away.

Once those are out of the picture, they have TOTAL CONTROL over the population, and then there can be no resistance. The founders understood this quite well. Liberals do not. Governments are not necessarily the friend of the people. But here on RSN, legal gun owners are severely maligned even if they have never harmed anyone and use their weapons for self defence. They are labelled as gun NUTS.

So justice of any kind would be out of the picture--poetic or otherwise. So *be careful what you wish for.*

Yes, they will be happy to see most of humanity gone. Check out the business of the Georgia Guidestones:
http://www.thegeorgiaguidestones.com/Message.htm

Inscription #1:
1. MAINTAIN HUMANITY UNDER 500,000,000 IN PERPETUAL BALANCE WITH NATURE

Now some see this as tinfoil, but do a little research on it and decide for yourself.
 
 
+21 # jimallyn 2015-07-30 23:49
Can you eat a gun? Can you breathe a gun? Can you build seawalls with guns? Can you generate energy with a gun? I think your priorities are a bit off. Your guns aren't going to make a bit of difference to you in the near future.
 
 
-7 # A_Har 2015-07-31 06:59
Quoting jimallyn:
Can you eat a gun? Can you breathe a gun? Can you build seawalls with guns? Can you generate energy with a gun? I think your priorities are a bit off. Your guns aren't going to make a bit of difference to you in the near future.

Can you resist tyranny with a gun? Isn't that what the founding fathers DID with the American revolution? They stood against the power of England with an insurgency and started a new country.

And, Jefferson advocated an armed resistance now and then if things got bad enough.

The government is set to kill people if there is enough of an uprising. The police are already killing unarmed people, and if there is an uprising, it will get worse. They will declare Marshall law, and dissidents will be criminalized and named as terrorists. It has already been floated by Holder that it is theoretically legal to drone American citizens here at home.

They hold the power, and they are not going to just step down because we want them to. Our government is losing or has lost legitimacy, and if you read what I posted, we don't have much time left as the climate crisis is exploding.

Think about it. And, yes, there is another aspect to this situation which Chris Hedges talks about in his interview with Derrick Jenson about *the dangers of any violent revolution*, but I will go into that in my response to tedrey below.
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2015-07-31 10:14
You can't resist tyranny with a gun. Sorry.

But, that's not the point of the gun industry. It's to fuel your fears and help you with the fantasy that you can.

Not to mention the fact that you CAN use your gun to murder your next door neighbor for the contents of his fridge.
 
 
-8 # A_Har 2015-07-31 10:35
Quoting Billy Bob:
You can't resist tyranny with a gun. Sorry.

So from your POV, the founders didn't need guns to win the American Revolution?

And what about this:

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It's Time For A National Conversation
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-for-homeland-security-its-time-for-a-national-conversation/

What does the GOV need all those hollow point bullets for? Who are they going to use them against? They have been banned by international law from use in warfare.

Why does the Dept of Homeland security NEED THEM unless we are the "enemy"?

-1? and then later -3.

I guess for some people here when Marshall law is declared by the powers that be and they come shoot you and/or kick your door in, you will be singing Kumbaya?

Sheesh!

After the Boston Bombing there WAS a lockdown of a whole neighborhood and they did go house to house and point guns at innocent people to try and find the "terrorists." *They get to decide* who the terrorists ARE.
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 09:31
I agree that we shouldn't be putting up with our government engaging in this automatic criminalization of all American citizens. Most conservatives disagree (unless THEY happen to be the current target).

But, you're living in a fantasy world if you think can do something about it with your own personal guns.

-----------

Just outline for me, your plan of action when the shit hits the fan…

You're faced with the force of entire nation's government. They have tanks that will go right through your house if needed. They have drones that can blow you up, personally, from an invisible distance, and you'll never see them coming. They have helicopters to hover over your home while you "hold out".

What's your personal plan of action against that?

--------

You CAN arm yourself with an arsenal fierce enough to murder dozens of innocent people in a movie theater. You CAN commit a terrorist act and blow up a building.

BUT, you can't win a "war" against the U.S., or even your own local police department.

This isn't just playing the odds. This is just coming to terms with reality.

You're living in a fantasy world if you think differently (much like Dylan Roof, or the right-wing asshole who murdered several people in a movie theater a few days ago)
 
 
-5 # A_Har 2015-08-01 10:32
Look, if I had a "personal plan" which involved all you mention, it would be more than stupid for me to go into it on a publicly open internet board. I could have the cops on my front door tomorrow. That would be idiotic.

In any case, I DON'T.

And as to some of the rest. I have no plan. What I am talking about is purely THEORETICAL.

As to this: "This isn't just playing the odds. This is just coming to terms with reality.

You're living in a fantasy world if you think differently (much like Dylan Roof, or the right-wing asshole who murdered several people in a movie theater a few days ago)"

So, do you equate all gun owners with Dylan Roof? That seems to be the meme on this board. It is totally FALSE. People on the left who have no experience with legal gun owners seem to love that characterizatio n. My SO grew up with them, he had a rifle put in his hands when he was an 8yo, and he has never harmed anyone his whole life. People who grow up in the gun culture learn the rules young and those rules are INVIOLATE. They would never even point an unloaded gun at you--it is *against the rules.*

It is not at all what you see on TV!

The shooters like Dylan Roof are *MENTALLY ILL,* and apart from that, most of the gun violence we see is *perpetrated by the government itself.* So if you want to be naked against THAT, you WILL advocate for taking the guns away from legal gun owners--they are NOT Dylan Roof. Repeat: they are NOT DYLAN ROOF.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 10:44
"So, do you equate all gun owners with Dylan Roof?"

I equate ANY gun owner who thinks his gun is going to win a revolution with Dylan Roof. It's a mental illness to think you could cause a revolution in this country through violent means.

Dylan Roof was attempting to do just that. So was the movie theater shooter a few days ago.

If you want to admit that your gun is a toy, fine. But, to try to make me follow your fantasy that it's ensuring your freedom? Sorry, I'm not going to follow you down that road of illogical imagination.

Guess what? Even if you DID have a "personal plan", there are a million other schmucks just like you with a "personal plan" of their own. And, most of them won't agree with you about everything.

Afghanistan is a country where nearly everybody is more armed than you are. And, they STILL couldn't deter an occupying FOREIGN army of only a few hundred thousand at a time. The U.S. ALREADY occupies THIS territory.
 
 
-4 # A_Har 2015-08-01 12:34
Quoting Billy Bob:
Guess what? Even if you DID have a "personal plan", there are a million other schmucks just like you with a "personal plan" of their own. And, most of them won't agree with you about everything.
I told you--I DON'T have a plan and that this is purely THEORETICAL. Get it?? I don't have any guns, so it would be easy to be more armed than I am.

I still feel that the GOV does want to disarm the populace as gun owners are at the very least an inconvenience. If you watched the video of Chris Hedges (which I doubt few did) he did say that some elements on the right have fascist leanings equal to our current regime in Washington, D.C. and I agree with that assessment. I bring this all up because I see so much knee jerk groupthink here on the subject of gun ownership, and a lot of it is ignorant. The way you equate gun owners with Dylan Roof rather illustrates this. Since people like my SO know what they can do with firearms, they certainly know what the LIMITATIONS of them are, and a solo mission of winning a revolution is hardly within their scope.

Quoting Billy Bob:
The U.S. ALREADY occupies THIS territory.
Well then, if you feel that way, I guess we are screwed. However, we are a much bigger country than Afghanistan. It is not looking good overall. I don't see a good outcome.

Ultimately I am just some person posting comments on the web. And these are all simply points of discussion--no more and no less.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 14:51
Your theory is just a waste of time fantasy. Get that through your head. It's not ignorant to admit that gun owners are no threat to our government, but only a potential threat to themselves, their families, and any innocent people who piss them off. I asked you what your plan of action was to use your personal gun to remove our government and you have none. That's ok. It's better that way. That's what elections are for. Yes, elections can be stolen, but we can even do something about that if we get involved. Otherwise, we DO get the government we deserve, and we deserve shit right now, because most Americans are too stupid to even know what's going on.

I don't equate gun owners to Dylan Roof - UNLESS they think they can overthrow our government violently. If you think you could pull that off, you're in the same category as him.

If the government wanted to disarm you, you couldn't stop them. I'm not asking you to try to take over the country with a gun, and I'm also not asking you to curl up in a fetal position in the corner and cry. There's a 3rd option that you don't seem to want to discuss, because you don't like the fact that it doesn't always go your way - VOTING.

If you don't have the right to vote, or the populace is too stupid to vote intelligently, then, yes, we ARE screwed.

Because that's IT. That's ALL we have - PERIOD.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 19:22
Quoting Billy Bob:
There's a 3rd option that you don't seem to want to discuss, because you don't like the fact that it doesn't always go your way - VOTING.

If you don't have the right to vote, or the populace is too stupid to vote intelligently, then, yes, we ARE screwed.

Because that's IT. That's ALL we have - PERIOD.
So, do you think we can vote our way out of extinction? I learned about this crisis two years ago on another internet forum. When we saw the article *White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral.* And as an older woman, I have seen politicians dibble over this for decades--doing utterly nothing. And, in the past two years, nothing else has been done either. And time passes....and passes, and the methane is outgassing up there in greater and greater amounts making it hotter and hotter and guaranteeing that more methane will be released.

Do you think the Arctic methane clathrates care how we vote? Can we order them to stop outgassing with our votes??

We had decades to do something and vote or not, nothing was done, and the politicians just shined it on. Obama has continued this tradition.

And yeah, it is true that guns won't matter either. Obummer has already approved drilling in the Arctic, and the next election cycle will go another two years or so with *no action.* We can count on that.

Methinks the GOV system is in total fail regardless of what we want now. That is what we have in reality. That's IT.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 20:27
Yes. I think we can vote our way out of extinction.

Do you think we can kill our way out of extinction?
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 22:56
Quoting Billy Bob:
Yes. I think we can vote our way out of extinction.

Do you think we can kill our way out of extinction?
Time will tell.

But, we don't have so much time. The Arctic starts to be ice free possibly as soon as this September and that will throw a deep curve to our weather. An ice free Arctic will absorb more heat from the sun and release more methane in increasing amounts in a nasty feedback loop.

And as I said the Scientists were warning it was an emergency as of last December 2014:
http://ameg.me/

You still have faith in politicians. I don't. I guess I have just seen too much BS for too long.

Read the article The Methane Monster Roars:
http://environmentalfuture.org/the-methane-monster-roars/

If you do not read the links I post then you fail to have enough information to know what I am talking about.
 
 
-1 # A_Har 2015-08-01 23:06
As to killing our way to extinction, that is already happening with the death of around 200 species a day. We are already into the sixth great extinction as humans have decided that they are far more important than any other species and have gone on a killing spree for thousands of years. Countless species have gone the way of the Dodo, and I have read that is speeding up too because of humans. We depend on other life forms for our very existance. It seems we forgot that.

The Sixth Great Extinction Is Underway—and We’re to Blame
http://time.com/3035872/sixth-great-extinction/

Jeffrey Kluger

July 25, 2014
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-02 07:24
I only wrote two sentences and you misread one of them, and then, went off on a tangent in response to that misreading.
 
 
0 # A_Har 2015-08-02 10:11
Quoting Billy Bob:
I only wrote two sentences and you misread one of them, and then, went off on a tangent in response to that misreading.
Well, Touché.

OTOH, you might have learned something about the sixth great extinction that HUMANS have engineered if you bother to read the article. As to going off on tangents, you are a master at it!

I need to get off the web; I have spent way too much time on this.
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 11:59
Crazy world, we have scores of legal gun owners who play by the rules and never harm anyone who end up being thought of as Dylan Roof. And we have COPS who aim their guns at unarmed innocent people, shoot them and GET AWAY WITH MURDER.

WTF!
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 12:18
Dylan Roof was a legal gun owner.

The movie theater murderer was a legal gun owner.

They "played by the rules" until one day, when they didn't.

It IS a crazy world, when people know full well what "legal gun owners" are capable of, but still insist we all need just enough of a personal arsenal to murder dozens of innocent people in a movie theater, and THAT'S somehow going to prevent "tyranny".
 
 
0 # A_Har 2015-08-01 15:25
It is a crazy world and it is getting crazier and crazier by the DAY. I can agree with you on that.
 
 
-5 # A_Har 2015-08-01 11:09
Regardless of how you feel about guns, the government is ALSO wary of an armed populace. Guns represent power. AND, regardless of how well armed the cops and the military are there are so many guns in the USA held by the people, it puts a calabash on their total control. The founders understood this quite well, but as I said, liberals DO NOT.

Yes, they have a lot, but they are outnumbered.

And if there was an insurgency, it could be difficult to for them to handle despite all their firepower and resources. A hostile ARMED populace is no cakewalk. Any of the wars the USA has fought in and perpetrated itself have demonstrated that. They were all asymmetrical conflicts. The USA did not win the Vietnam war. They have not won a war since WWII.

And even if they do manage to take the guns away that does not guarantee anything. As H. Rap Brown said. "Violence is as American as cherry pie." There was a gun ban in Australia, but an article I saw showed that Aussies had as many guns now as they did before the ban.

Aussies own as many guns as before 1996 Port Arthur massacre
http://www.news.com.au/national/aussies-own-as-many-guns-as-before-1996/story-fncynjr2-1226553311691

January 14, 2013 9:31AM

People have a right to protect themselves regardless of what the government mandates. This is especially true in rural areas where police (as public servants) are scarce and the critters may be fierce. They will NOT get the guns from rural folks--it won't work.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 12:26
The government is not worried about you and your guns. That's why there are virtually no laws preventing you from committing terrorist acts like the ones we've seen by right-wing gun nuts in the past few weeks alone.

Regardless of what you want to fantasize about you can't overthrow the U.S. government with your guns.

If there was "an insurgency", there wouldn't be "an insurgency". There would be millions of tiny "revolutions", just like the one in the movie theater last week. Each one would be met separately, with overwhelming force.

You assume you can unify 300,000 people to your cause. Charlie Manson made the same mistake. So did Timothy McVeigh. At some point, you need to come to terms with the fact that you're just a little man (or woman) playing with toys and acting out a very dangerous, but still childish, fantasy.

I've already said it's ok for you to keep your little toys to have fun shootin' stuff, and torturing wildlife.

What's not ok, is the moronic notion that that protects you from "tyranny".

What if your next door neighbor is an equally armed to the teeth moron, and he chooses to oppose you? What makes you think you have just one enemy? Your enemy is the sane and rational world. And, it will ALWAYS win over lone terrorist nut-bags with a grudge in the end.

That said, if the government fails to do its duty and just deteriorates, you have the ability to use your guns to become a local war lord, and murder your neighbors for food.
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 14:49
Quoting Billy Bob:
The government is not worried about you and your guns. That's why there are virtually no laws preventing you from committing terrorist acts like the ones we've seen by right-wing gun nuts in the past few weeks alone.
I don't ASSUME anything. And you are creating a STRAW MAN to whip. You are painting ME up as a terrorist due to a discussion on an internet forum for gawd's sake--that is ridiculous!

We have no idea how this will play OUT; we have some clues and overall it does not look good. And as it is, right now the corpo-fascists are winning, with a monster methane burp looming in the background and a populace hypnotised by bread and circuses. And, Shell is now permitted to drill in the Arctic. (eyeroll!)

Hell, this little discussion could be called a distraction in the light of that?

Hedges noted in the video I posted that there is so little community that is it difficult to form any kind of coherent resistance to what is going down now.

He has recently come out with saying we face extinction. Sad to say, it looks like it.
Quoting Billy Bob:
Your enemy is the sane and rational world.
Really? Guess what, we haven't had a "sane and rational" world for eons. If we had all these issues that are looming to kill us all off would have been dealt with instead of being passed over so that some fat cats could ca$h in on them.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 16:54
I DO know that any way this plays out won't involve a successful armed insurrection.
 
 
0 # A_Har 2015-08-01 15:31
There are laws on the books where people buying guns MUST pass a criminal background check before they will be allowed to get one. There are many laws on the books around gun ownership.

The USA is a very VIOLENT culture both internally and the way the external world is dealt with--wars et al.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 16:55
Yes it is. And, part of that is the fact that it's extremely easy to get your hands on a weapon capable of committing mass murder.
 
 
-4 # A_Har 2015-08-01 11:29
Quoting Billy Bob:
I agree that we shouldn't be putting up with our government engaging in this automatic criminalization of all American citizens. Most conservatives disagree (unless THEY happen to be the current target).

Have you even tried to talk to any conservatives lately? Guess what, they are upset too, but perhaps for different reasons. We ALL have issues with how things are going. It would behoove us to find common ground. Divide and conquer has worked so well.

Since they have not been able to go through the front door with gun bans, they are sneaking in the back door. Obama has issued executive orders on limiting access to ammo and to some firearms:

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/executive-action-obama-to-ban-importation-of-ammo-magazines-and-gun-accessories-without-congressional-approval_04232013

You may agree on that or not. Many gun owners see this as executive overreach.

Then there is this:

Op-Ed: Obama will ban gun ownership to some Social Security recipients
http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-obama-will-ban-gun-ownership-to-some-social-security-recipients/article/438873

By Karen Graham Jul 20, 2015 in Politics
Wanting tighter control of gun owners in the country, the Obama administration has taken steps to tie gun ownership with Social Security benefits, expanding background checks for firearms owners.

GOV is afraid of gun owners. This is completely OUTRAGEOUS!
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 12:31
So, there has been a conservative outcry against torture, "rendition", the conservatively written "Patriot Act", and the NSA listening in to all phone calls and reading all emails?

Hilarious. I guess they just don't let THOSE conservatives vote, huh?

Regarding your "right" to all weapons, is there a limit to it?

Should you, as a private citizen, be allowed to have rocket launchers, tanks, nuclear weapons, etc.?

If not, why not? Where do you draw the line? Do you draw a line at all? If you do, WHY? Your entire philosophy seems to demand we all have access to our own nuclear weapons.

----------

See ya in the news!
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 14:34
Quoting Billy Bob:
So, there has been a conservative outcry against torture, "rendition", the conservatively written "Patriot Act", and the NSA listening in to all phone calls and reading all emails?

You assume people on the right love this crap which is a non sequitur. They don't. And there is opposition to it most notably Paul Craig Roberts has written extensively on these issues, but *you don't bother to look.* Like I said--divide and conquer has worked so well. One of my sisters is pretty conservative; she doesn't like it EITHER. But regardless of whether it is a DEM or a Rethugs in office, the surveillance, torture (Obama's extraordinary renditions), dronings, and continuance of shit like the PATRIOT ACT continue: SSDD.

Quoting Billy Bob:
Hilarious. I guess they just don't let THOSE conservatives vote, huh?

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."Emma Goldman

Tell me, did you get what you wanted from Obama? Did it REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? NDAA, TPP, and approving Arctic drilling?? There we go again--that pesky thing that it is ALL the Rethugs fault.

Quoting Billy Bob:
Regarding your "right" to all weapons, is there a limit to it?

GOV has a corner on the market of that action, and they DON'T seem to have any limits or restraint. Ordinary people can't afford all that shit. GOV buys nukes in our name so that we don't need to--or anyway that is what they tell us. I would just as soon do without!
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 14:57
Conservatives just don't vote their conscience then, because they all elect conservative Republicans who WRITE these laws and defend them at every chance they get.

Right now, the Democratic Party also has too many conservatives in office, but the protest against the anti-constituti onal tidal wave started by Bush Jr. is coming from the left, and is being fought tooth and nail by its defenders on the right. What does the right want to replace all of it with?
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 16:03
Quoting Billy Bob:
Conservatives just don't vote their conscience then, because they all elect conservative Republicans who WRITE these laws and defend them at every chance they get.

Right now, the Democratic Party also has too many conservatives in office, but the protest against the anti-constitutional tidal wave started by Bush Jr. is coming from the left, and is being fought tooth and nail by its defenders on the right. What does the right want to replace all of it with?
Like I said, you probably "voted your conscience" for a guy who doesn't HAVE a conscience. What do you call a guy who draws up hit lists of people to kill without due process? and then drones innocent people in other countries who have done NOTHING. Why they are just "collateral damage" *same as in the Bush years.*

Both my "LIBERAL* DEM senators voted FOR the TPP twice. Corporate lobbyists write our laws and have since Tom Delay was in office.

Jack Abramoff went on record about this on 60 minutes, and nothing has changed.
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/jack-abramoff-the-lobbyists-playbook/

We are all being betrayed regardless of being left or right. Conservatives may vote according to what they deem ethical, but their representatives turn around and put in laws that screw them too.

It is all about the money--campaign bribes.

Catherine Austin Fitts--a conservative--c alls this the "financial Coup D'Etat." She was a whistle-blower against fraud and they tried to destroy her.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 16:58
How do conservatives stand on the rights of black people in the "Black Lives Matter" movement? Be honest.

How are conservatives on the rights of immigrants? Be honest.

Speaking of "financial coup d'etat", what do conservatives think about further regulation of the banking industry, or giant corporations in general?

Speaking of whistle blowers, what do conservatives think we need to do about Julian Assange or Edward Snowden?

Be honest.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 15:02
You didn't answer my question about any limits to weapons you'd like to own:

Is it that people should have the right to their own nuclear weapons but "can't afford it"?

Is it because the "government buys nukes in our name so we don't need them"? Doesn't the government also have guns? Couldn't the same argument apply to them as well, then?

It's a very serious question. Do you think you deserve your own nuclear weapon? If not, why not? If we all had our own nuclear weapons, I guess the government couldn't push us around, right? Do you see any flaws in that logic? If so, what are they?
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 15:52
Honey, you are now twisting in the wind *beating your straw men to death.*

I am against nukes and I would love to see the defence budget CUT by 80%. The USA already has more weapons and nukes than all other countries COMBINED. The USA needs to give up its empire.

I have no weapons nukes or otherwise so I am already at my limit, and I don't want any.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 17:00
Why don't you want them? If everyone had a nuclear weapon, wouldn't we all be safer? What about those who use their nuclear weapons responsibly? If we go to war with Russia we need nuclear weapons. The government may need you to have yours ready. If Big Government liberals come for your nuclear weapons, what's next? Your rocket launchers? Your stocks of chemical weapons? Aren't you afraid of just disarming yourself like this?
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2015-07-31 18:30
Quoting A_Har:
Quoting jimallyn:
Can you eat a gun? Can you breathe a gun? Can you build seawalls with guns? Can you generate energy with a gun? I think your priorities are a bit off. Your guns aren't going to make a bit of difference to you in the near future.

Can you resist tyranny with a gun? Isn't that what the founding fathers DID with the American revolution? They stood against the power of England with an insurgency and started a new country.

And, Jefferson advocated an armed resistance now and then if things got bad enough.

The Founders stood against the power of England with the power of France, Spain and the Netherlands, all powerful rivals to England at the time. Without that help, musket-waving Americans would have lost the War of Independence.

And Jefferson went further than advocating "armed resistance." He called for armed revolution more or less once a generation, which was over the top.
 
 
-5 # A_Har 2015-08-01 09:34
Quoting ericlipps:
The Founders stood against the power of England with the power of France, Spain and the Netherlands, all powerful rivals to England at the time. Without that help, musket-waving Americans would have lost the War of Independence.

And Jefferson went further than advocating "armed resistance." He called for armed revolution more or less once a generation, which was over the top.

And they fought the revolution with guns--that is the STARK reality. They did not stand out there against the British expecting that Kumbaya would get them anywhere. They also knew that if they failed they would be DEAD.

"If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately."

Benjamin Franklin

That is a fact many libs on this board fail to grasp.

Was WWII against the fascists won by a Kumbaya?

As to the resistance armed or otherwise (I repeat--I don't like violence), resistance is long long overdue. People here seem ready to roll over to the jack boot. Now people accept protesting in cages called "protest zones" and they put up with all kinds of nonsense. I figure that they just will not grasp it until the cops let loose and start shooting UNARMED white people too. They are already getting away with murder. People forget how violent our own government is. They TOTALLY forget.

Black people have known this for centuries.

See if you might think outside the "liberal" box just a little. GOV certainly does.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 10:46
"And they fought the revolution with guns."

The British didn't have helicopters, drones, tanks, hand grenades, tear gas, automated weapons, missiles, fighter jets, etc.

Do YOU have any of those things?

WWII was won by a military with more force than the military it fought against.

Do you have your own army?

If you want a more apt comparison, try Afghanistan and its insurgents. We call them "terrorists". What do we do to "terrorists"? If you want to set up booby traps and improvised explosives, you'll meet the same fate as Timothy McVeigh (another conservative who lived out his fantasy to its logical conclusion).
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 13:00
Quoting Billy Bob:
"And they fought the revolution with guns."

The British didn't have helicopters, drones, tanks, hand grenades, tear gas, automated weapons, missiles, fighter jets, etc.

Do YOU have any of those things?

WWII was won by a military with more force than the military it fought against.

Do you have your own army?

If you want a more apt comparison, try Afghanistan and its insurgents. We call them "terrorists". What do we do to "terrorists"? If you want to set up booby traps and improvised explosives, you'll meet the same fate as Timothy McVeigh (another conservative who lived out his fantasy to its logical conclusion).
So, you SURRENDER totally. We are just simply screwed. Just lie down and DIE. Sorry I informed you of the hollow point bullets since it seems to have made it even worse for you.

I guess so we are indeed screwed, since the climate crisis will do us all in.

"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."

This is the price we pay for empire. The weapons, propaganda, and tactics used against the rest of the world are now likely to be used against US.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 15:04
You're the one surrendering. Your entire logic seems to be that, unless you can assassinate ELECTED government leaders, you have no recourse but to sit in the corner and cry. I'm trying to point out the stupidity of that logic. John Wilkes Booth didn't understand it. Timothy McVeigh didn't understand it. So, why should you?

OH WELL! SEE YA IN THE NEWS!!!
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 16:35
Quoting Billy Bob:
You're the one surrendering. Your entire logic seems to be that, unless you can assassinate ELECTED government leaders, you have no recourse but to sit in the corner and cry. I'm trying to point out the stupidity of that logic. John Wilkes Booth didn't understand it. Timothy McVeigh didn't understand it. So, why should you?

OH WELL! SEE YA IN THE NEWS!!!
I mentioned ALL THIS in a THEORETICAL context. You are running a completely hysterical meme and you are seriously going off the rails. I have said this repeatedly, and you ignore it creating and beating up a straw man.

You attribute ideas to me I did not mention AT ALL.

And I said the above partially as *a joke.* Oh Well.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 17:04
The fact that you're "theorizing" about this is utterly stupid. You can "theorize" about a flat Earth too, if you want, but it's still not going to be true, no matter how many hours you spend arguing about it on the internet.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 17:28
Quoting Billy Bob:
The fact that you're "theorizing" about this is utterly stupid. You can "theorize" about a flat Earth too, if you want, but it's still not going to be true, no matter how many hours you spend arguing about it on the internet.
So if you think it is that stupid, why have you spent so much time on it??
 
 
-1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 18:21
Because I like you too much to read about you in a future article.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 18:49
Quoting Billy Bob:
Because I like you too much to read about you in a future article.
Actually, I seriously doubt that. If you "liked me too much" you would not characterize me to be a "terrorist" and make me up as a straw men to beat me up with it.

All of these are cheap shots. I have merely discussed the issue with you as an item of disagreement and that is ALL; that is how I find out more. This forbidden topic is obviously never open for discussion with you for any kind of examination.

NEVER.

And now you are running into the spin cycle...but carry on.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 20:30
I never characterized you as a terrorist. I said you're living in a fantasy world. If you act on that fantasy you'll be branded a terrorist and that's the last we'll hear of you (except on the news).
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 13:22
Quoting Billy Bob:
If you want a more apt comparison, try Afghanistan and its insurgents. We call them "terrorists".
They are called terrorists in our media AFTER THE USA INVADED AND BOMBED THEIR COUNTRY. So who is the terrorist here?

Understand I do not like the Taliban, OTOH, the USA invaded the country.

Wordsmithing distorts the perspective.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 15:05
Whatever the wordsmithing is, they cannot really defend themselves against our military and they're a whole fuckin' lot more armed than you are.
 
 
0 # A_Har 2015-08-01 16:31
We ought not to be there AT ALL. I guess you never heard the expression that "Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires"?

Such hubris doesn't really work so well.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 17:09
I agree. We shouldn't be there. If you've read any of my comments since RSN was founded, then you'd know that. But, we DID take over Afghanistan within a few weeks of invading it. Now, it's just an insurgency that will only remove us when we finally get sick and tired of dominating them. That's what our military can do with just a few hundred thousand troops all the way across the world, in a country far more violent and well-armed by people itchin' to kill than the U.S could ever be.

How much of a chance do you have, alone in your house, in a neighborhood where most of your own neighbors probably don't even agree with you?

The cops in your own town could easily take care of you. If not, they have the National Guard. If that doesn't work, here comes the National Guard from another state. If that still doesn't work, here comes federal troops.

If our government really wanted martial law (they already have the puzzle pieces in place to do just that), you're not going to stop them with your own personal arsenal.
 
 
+11 # tedrey 2015-07-31 06:15
Perhaps you might rethink this point, A_Har. Personal weapons aren't going to help much in the coming situation. You'd need at least bombs and military weaponry to oppose the current government.

One thing you might do is to use the present fury at the police to replace the present constabulary with a more people-oriented police. Then down the road, they'd be more likely to side with the people than the oligarchy.

Reducing the bloated military is also needed, not only for economic reasons, but to reduce it to a level where the oligarchs have to listen a bit more to the rest of the world.

Some other things you say make sense to me. Not this.
 
 
-4 # A_Har 2015-07-31 07:22
Quoting tedrey:
Perhaps you might rethink this point, A_Har. Personal weapons aren't going to help much in the coming situation. You'd need at least bombs and military weaponry to oppose the current government.

Some other things you say make sense to me. Not this.

The government uses violence and naked power to push its agenda. Do you think we are immune from the same tactics they used in Iraq? We are not, and indeed those are already happening in some cases. On the other hand, even with all their technology, bombs and hardware, they have not been able to win in an asymmetrical warfare situation. "No one rules if no one obeys."

And yes, I do get your point. Chris Hedges went into these considerations in this interview:

Chris Hedges interview with Derrick Jensen June 21, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCesqoTGvXU

(49 minutes)

Hedges says he opposes violence. I do too. However, they are setting it up that none of the desires of the populace--the rule of the people--are being honored. The rage generated by this leaves few other alternatives. The powers that be do not CARE what we might want relative to our interests. He goes into the dangers of armed revolutions but he also acknowledges how our current milieu would foment such a reaction. He also talks about the Sanders candidacy and how it might be used to sidetrack the needed changes; of course his views on this are not popular here but important to consider. Well worth listening to.
 
 
-4 # A_Har 2015-07-31 07:46
Quoting tedrey:
One thing you might do is to use the present fury at the police to replace the present constabulary with a more people-oriented police. Then down the road, they'd be more likely to side with the people than the oligarchy.

Reducing the bloated military is also needed, not only for economic reasons, but to reduce it to a level where the oligarchs have to listen a bit more to the rest of the world.

The trouble with this is it floats the idea of using the standard political process which has also been used by the powers that be to screw us. These people are very very cunning.

Hedges points out in the interview that our sense of community and a consensus on joining together for the common good has been destroyed, so it is hard to form a viable movement for change. Look what happened to Occupy.

I oppose violence, but I am not against self defence. I think that is the right of anyone in a dangerous situation.

And...we don't have much TIME. The climate crisis pulls us up short. The scientists in the Arctic doing the research are saying we could suffer a huge methane bomb which would bring on catastrophic warming tomorrow--an extinction level event. They used to think it would arise gradually, but in their research they found it hasn't always happened that way in the past.

Read the article The Methane Monster Roars:
http://environmentalfuture.org/the-methane-monster-roars/

(continued)
 
 
-5 # A_Har 2015-07-31 07:52
[The arctic is melting and will soon become ice free.]

From the link.

".......The advent of the “blue Arctic Ocean” Beckwith warns us of is only a matter of time, and will most likely happen before 2020, considering that exponential decline in Arctic summer sea ice volume has already been determined by the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System data and models, which have been corroborated with recent CryoSat measurements, as well as modeling by the Naval Graduate School Regional Climate Models.

Beckwith believes the first of these “blue ocean” events will likely last a few weeks to one month the first time it happens, but then extend to several months just a few years later.

Meanwhile, the IPCC has not addressed Arctic methane releases as a runaway feedback loop, nor has the mainstream media across the political spectrum.

“Then, the greatly increased Arctic warming from albedo collapse would likely result in a year round ‘Arctic blue ocean’ within a decade or two, completing the regime shift to a much warmer climate,” he said.

Thus, Beckwith, like Shakhova, warns of the 50-gigaton methane burst, and fears it is only a matter of time before it occurs."

A 50 gigaton methane burst is game over.

Scientists are saying we may only have 10-20 years (or tomorrow??!!) before such a disaster happens, and it will take out ALL life on earth. I know that sounds extreme, and I heard that two years ago. It is hard to wrap your head around.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-07-31 08:06
Quoting A_Har:
"...Thus, Beckwith, like Shakhova, warns of the 50-gigaton methane burst, and fears it is only a matter of time before it occurs."

A 50 gigaton methane burst is game over.

And as noted, and in spite of being told of the ARCTIC DEATH SPIRAL two years ago, Obama's administration STILL approved drilling in the Arctic. Do you actually expect a reasonable outcome from this through the standard political process?

Make no mistake, these people are completely and totally insane.

I am simply asking people to think about these things. Please do not adopt a standard knee jerk response I see here so often.

We have common interests with conservatives; they want to live too.

With the surveillance and militarising of the police, we are being set up to be an open air prison. Can change for our benefit happen in an open air prison? I don't think so.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-07-31 10:46
-2....there goes the standard knee jerk response.

Is it your policy to oppose gun ownership regardless even when it is legal, and the person has never used them to commit a crime? It seems so.

And this too:

"We have common interests with conservatives; they want to live too."

Did you know that Moveon got together with the head of the Tea Party a couple of years ago to discuss interests they had in common?

MoveOn founder, Tea Party figure meet
POLITICS MoveOn, Tea Party members gather, find common ground
http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/MoveOn-founder-Tea-Party-figure-meet-4204384.php

By Joe Garofoli Updated 10:51 pm, Thursday, January 17, 2013

We need to start acting as AMERICANs and resist the divide and conquer tactics used against us. This division is exactly what corpogov need to disempower all of us. Resistance is the key.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 12:48
"The last thing someone posting as Rusty Houser posted on Facebook was in 2013, when he linked to an article called 'A woman's place in the church and the weak church elder.'

He wrote, 'The bible doesn't ask me to like what it says, only to obey it. Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.'

He only had two things liked on Facebook, among them 'I hate liberals!'

[…]

"In the 1990s, Houser frequently appeared on a local television call-in show, advocating violence against people involved in abortions, Calvin Floyd, who hosted the morning show on WLTZ-TV in Columbus, Georgia, told the AP.

Houser also espoused other radical views, including his opposition to women in the workplace. Floyd described Houser as an 'angry man" who made "wild accusations" about all sorts of topics, and said he put him on to counter a Democratic voice because "he could make the phones ring.' "

[…]

"In addition, a John Russell Houser from Phenix City, Alabama, is listed as a member of a group called the Tea Party Nation"

[…]

"Years later he ran as a Republican for tax commissioner, and was caught stealing an opponent’s yard signs."

---------------

He didn't sound like he'd have a whole lot in common with liberals to me.

Did you notice that he was a Twit Party member?

As a liberal, I can tell you, I don't have much in common with the Twit Party, but he was one of them.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2015-08-01 15:01
Billy Bob,

I don't quite follow you here, as I can't find Houser mentioned anywhere in A_Har's log screed above. But it's just as well, as this thread has become completely ridiculous. You can't have a rational discussion with a person who is not rational, but neither can you have a reasoned discussion with a person who is ONLY rational and whose knowledge is incomplete -- as everyone's knowledge is.
 
 
-2 # A_Har 2015-08-01 16:22
Quoting economagic:
Billy Bob,

I don't quite follow you here, as I can't find Houser mentioned anywhere in A_Har's log screed above. But it's just as well, as this thread has become completely ridiculous. You can't have a rational discussion with a person who is not rational, but neither can you have a reasoned discussion with a person who is ONLY rational and whose knowledge is incomplete -- as everyone's knowledge is.

Yeah, it has gotten all over the place, hasn't it? And yes, everyone's knowledge is incomplete. I learn different things and perspectives when I post. That really is the point of it for me.

And you are correct, the link I posted between the meeting of the Moveon head and the Tea Party rep had utterly nothing to do with the guy, Rusty Houser, that Billy Bob cites. It was between Joan Blade and Mark Meckler. He seems to have a warehouse of straw men to throw at me.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 17:16
The murderer in the movie theater was an active T-Party member. Your comment about finding common ground doesn't really work with crazy gun nuts who think they can use their guns to "end tyranny".
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 17:14
Yep. My knowledge is incomplete, but I do know that every few weeks one of these gun fantasists plans to take over the world by killing a few innocent people. Next, we all get a lecture about what would happen if all the guns suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. It goes something like this: 1. We can't keep guns from crazy people without keeping guns from most people; 2. "Normal" people need those guns to kill government employees in case the need ever arises.
 
 
-3 # A_Har 2015-08-01 17:31
Your post illustrates so very well the hysteria on the left, and the right has its own version.

So that means it will never be resolved.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2015-08-01 18:24
I'm proposing you think logically. Hysteria is being so pissed off that you're willing to try your hand at "second amendment solutions" when elections don't go your way.
 
 
+3 # A_Har 2015-07-30 20:24
Quoting Billy Bob:
Two thoughts:

1. The rich will survive. They're prepared to deal with the devastation they've caused. That's what all those drones, and Patriot Act stuff are for. They're putting things in place to keep us at bay while we starve.

2. We've been warned about all of this since the late '70s.

Billy Bob, the scientists are saying the temperature could rise 5-6C degrees or higher, and stay there for thousands of years. No humans have ever existed at those temperatures and it would destroy the ability to grow food.

So if the rich imagine that they will float above all this, they are crazy. It would destroy habitat for humans. It is suicide for them too. We are large mammals and humans would be unable to thermoregulate at those temperatures.

Thermoregulation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoregulation

"Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different."

A professor named Guy McPherson has been talking about this crisis for a number of years. Here is a LONG essay he wrote about it which contains many many links and references to what he is talking about:

Climate-Change Summary and Update
http://guymcpherson.com/2014/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/

His blog is titled Nature Bats Last.
 
 
+6 # lewagner 2015-07-31 01:39
Gotta get past the upcoming military occupation of America and resulting civil war/world war, first. Yes, that big elephant in the room that the mainstream media including RSN will not address.
Then IF the powers-that-be are defeated, maybe we can do something about climate.
"IF" is the biggest little 2-letter word in the English language.
 
 
-1 # A_Har 2015-07-31 08:20
Yep.

The government is getting ready. They have been buying up huge stores of ammo. There was a story a few years back that they were buying up big lots of hollow point bullets:

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It's Time For A National Conversation
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-for-homeland-security-its-time-for-a-national-conversation/

"The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America."

Who the hell are they buying this to use AGAINST? What do they need HOLLOW POINT BULLETS FOR?

People here need to *think about this just a little!*
 
 
+8 # A_Har 2015-07-30 15:31
"Can we change our energy system? Can we change it fast enough to avoid being destroyed by it? Are we clever enough to come up with some viable plans? Do we have the political will to carry out such plans? Are we capable of thinking about longer-term issues, or, like the lobster in a pot full of water that’s being brought slowly to the boil, will we fail to realize the danger we’re in until it’s too late?"

They had better work FAST as the warming is already outgassing methane from the clathrates in the Arctic and methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. This has the potential to create an UNSTOPPABLE disaster and in rather short order.

The Arctic Methane Emergency Group issued an alert for immediate action LAST WINTER.

Arctic Sea Ice - Methane Release - Planetary Emergency
http://ameg.me/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TIME: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:00-12:30 PM

SUBJECT: Arctic meltdown: a catastrophic threat to our survival
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting

So why the sense of crisis?? Read the article below.

The Dreaded Methane Veil
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/16/the-dreaded-methane-veil/

by Robert Hunziker
January 16, 2015
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-07-30 15:37
(continued)

"A veil of methane originating in the Arctic is heading southward, slowly spreading all across the Northern Hemisphere. As it happens, with 2014 the “hottest year ever,” the Arctic heats up evermore. It is especially vulnerable to the effects of heat-trapping green house gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2). In turn, the warming Arctic is stirring up humanity’s biggest nightmare, methane (CH4). Stuart Scott, Deputy Director General of IESCO and founder of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative offers visualization of the dreaded methane veil in a new video, Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change. The video was presented at COP20 in Lima on December 11, 2014. An image of the methane veil can be seen at the 14:45 minute mark of the 30-minute video. All of the quotes in this article are from the video."

Read the whole article above, and if you really want to go into it, here is the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCkCVFI3934

Now, let's hear it from the "lesser of two evils" crowd. Time ran out on that a very long long time ago.
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-07-30 15:41
Very short video version with links below:

Methane Crisis As Underwater Hydrates Erupt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUaartMu6-I

Published on Aug 26, 2014

Methane levels above the Arctic ocean have recently been elevated and scientists have found over 500 underwater methane vents off the east coast of the United States. These emissions are most likely caused by melting/gasifyi ng methane clathrates AKA hydrates (frozen methane) under the ocean floor due to warmer water temperatures from climate change.

Persistently High Methane Concentrations over Beaufort Sea
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/...

Horrific Methane Eruptions in East Siberian Sea
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/...

SWERUS-C3 scientists begin methane measurements in outer Laptev Sea
http://www.su.se/english/research/lea...

Experts discover methane leaking from 500 underwater vents off East Coast
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/139...
 
 
+18 # indian weaver 2015-07-30 16:15
The paleolithic cultures, for example all Native Americans, knew all of this. Their cultures were far more compassionate and morally pure than what we have now. Those cultures, including Sioux for example, revered giving away their possessions as an act of honor, in their famous "potlatches". They knew to live in harmony, and not to rape to death our Great Mother. They emphasized care of their people, especially children. We have none of this anymore. We have no culture. We have no compassion. We have no understanding of what it takes to live in harmony with our Great Mother. We all knew this, all of this at one time. We've forgotten it in our unbridled greed and arrogance. We had it all once upon a time. ONCE upon a time. That time is gone. We knew how to live sustainably. Now we don't, never will, and cannot. Hence, you guessed it. "Time has come today" - by the Chambers Brothers. "The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley. "After the Deluge", by Jackson Browne. We don't get it. We did, ONCE upon a time. All these issues addressed in this article are ancient history and cannot be recovered. Dream on. Even Incarnation is going to be a problem now! Notably, this author notes land as the critical resource but, the critical resource is water, not land. We can take it apart but can't put it back together anymore. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall .. and all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn't put Humpty together again.
 
 
+9 # A_Har 2015-07-30 20:13
Actually the natives of the PNW used to hold huge parties and give everything away. The party was called a POTLATCH:

Potlatch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potlatch

"A potlatch is a gift-giving feast practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States,[1] among whom it is traditionally the primary economic system.[2] This includes the Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian,[3] Nuu-chah-nulth, [4] Kwakwaka'wakw,[ 2] and Coast Salish cultures.[5] Potlatches are also a common feature of the peoples of the Interior and of the Subarctic adjoining the Northwest Coast, though mostly without the elaborate ritual and gift-giving economy of the coastal peoples (see Athabaskan potlatch)."

Those who had the biggest bash and gave away the most had the most prestige in their communities. Pretty cool, huh.

A great book I read in the late '60s about American Aboriginal cultures is this one:

Man's Rise to Civilization As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State.
http://www.amazon.com/Civilization-Indians-America-Primeval-Industrial/dp/0525152695%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q%26tag%3Dduckduckgo-d-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D0525152695

Not expensive used.

Fantastic book and still available, and I loved it so much I got it again. It changed my whole worldview down to the foundations.
 
 
+12 # economagic 2015-07-30 23:04
No bleepin' bleep, Sherlock. THANK you! And from a source that many of us pointy heads would never have expected.

If not too much breaks locally I will be retiring in a few months at age 70 (from teaching economics: don't trust anything any economist tells you, including me). I have actually dwelt in the "STEM" areas for most of my life, and one of the very few things I would do differently if I had a do-over would be to spend more time studying the humanities, especially the poets, dramatists, and writers of prose, who I now believe to be the people who have really had some grasp on the human condition, which is ultimately all that matters to us humans.

I have now added Margaret Atwood to my list.
 
 
+11 # janie1893 2015-07-31 00:06
The joke really is on us (humanity). We have always thought we are special.
We aren't! Like all life forms, we will have had our kick at the can. We blew it!
Once our species is gone, no one will even notice.
 
 
+8 # A_Har 2015-07-31 07:57
Quoting janie1893:
The joke really is on us (humanity). We have always thought we are special.
We aren't! Like all life forms, we will have had our kick at the can. We blew it!
Once our species is gone, no one will even notice.

Trouble is, we will take out the whole ecosystem with us. It will be a murder/suicide event.

That is how "special" we are: too stupid to live.
 
 
+9 # Peakspecies 2015-07-31 11:37
The only thing that will notice are the tens-of-million s of other species that we leave with a trashed life support system. But that doesn't count in the eyes of most homo sapiens who appear to be quite self-centered.
 
 
0 # chinaski 2015-07-31 00:15
Well by '76 we'll be a-ok.
 
 
+1 # FDRva 2015-07-31 01:32
Everything has changed.

Funny, that Wall Street invented carbon futures trading, about the same time that the corporate media went big--with all things green.

Surely, a coincidence, wink, wink.
 
 
-1 # FDRva 2015-07-31 01:38
Bubble,Bubble, toil and Trouble.

Fire Burn.

And cauldron bubble.

And the Bush/Clinton/Sa nders axis face some trouble.

Bush and Clinton at least, have a Trump card they can buy.
 
 
+2 # Anonymot 2015-07-31 04:18
"Meanwhile, courage: homo sapiens sapiens sometimes deserves his double plus for intelligence. Let’s hope we are about to start living in one of those times."

We won't start living in better times until we deal with this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Qt6a-vaNM
 
 
+2 # irvingwood 2015-07-31 04:47
This is the same Margaret Atwood, who I;m ashamed to call a fellow-Canadian , that goes to Israel to be bought off with half a million dollars. No integrity at all. Smug, conceited as only the 'madam' of Can-Lit can be. It is wise to introduce her as a 'medium'. She channels Zionist propaganda, violence and injustice. She is not a serious author, oral agent or thinker. Anyone who sees with a movement which steals land and ethnically cleanses its legitimate owners does not deserve the respect of serious writes. Unless o course you agree that Palestinians, like Jews to the Nazis, are 'untermensch' and mere cockroaches, a one Zionist luminary proclaimed. Shame on her!
 
 
+2 # economagic 2015-08-01 14:49
Atwood did indeed accept the $1 million Dan David prize, which she shared with Indian author Amitav Ghosh. That's all I know about it, but jeez, doesn't anyone even google (or goodsearch) before they post? According to Wikipedia, probably close enough in this instance, Atwood's somewhat cryptic response to criticism was, "We don't do cultural boycotts."

OK, all together now: How many people on the planet do you have no disagreement with whatsoever, especially those of you who identify as "left" or "liberal"? Have you studied no history of those movements? Have you never even heard the depiction of the Democratic party, which at one time provided modest support to some non-fascist causes, as the "circular firing squad"?

And you, yes you: How "pure" are you really? Have you never done something you did not later regret? Have you never rationalized something you did that you were not proud of by making an excuse that in no way undid the harm?

Ah, I thought so. So does that make you dirt? Or does it mean that you should make amends and move on, learning from your misstep and reminding yourself to watch your steps more carefully in the future?

If we do not relearn civil discourse, even with people with whom we have serious disagreements, and nuanced thinking (as opposed to assuming everything to be either black or white -- oops, things have changed, we need a new metaphor), we surely will soon be living in Picture Two.
 
 
+1 # A_Har 2015-08-02 00:03
Quoting economagic:
If we do not relearn civil discourse, even with people with whom we have serious disagreements, and nuanced thinking (as opposed to assuming everything to be either black or white -- oops, things have changed, we need a new metaphor), we surely will soon be living in Picture Two.
I remember those days in the past of "civil discourse" but in the past 20 years it seems to have gotten more and more vicious. It was expecially bad during the Bush era.

The Brownshirting of America
http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=3798

by Paul Craig Roberts

October 16, 2004
 
 
+7 # tedrey 2015-07-31 05:42
She sure manages to show a lot of serious sense, thoughtful advice, and sourced observation, without a trace of "Zionist propaganda." I fear you're the one with an agenda.
 
 
-1 # A_Har 2015-07-31 09:58
Quoting tedrey:
She sure manages to show a lot of serious sense, thoughtful advice, and sourced observation, without a trace of "Zionist propaganda." I fear you're the one with an agenda.

Actually, you may both just be correct. Jared Diamond who wrote the book *Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed* took a bribe from Chevron and became a shill for them. His book was good and provoked a lot of thought from me, but then he went this route:

The Buying and Selling of Jared Diamond
http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/12/08/the-buying-and-selling-of-jared-diamond/

I no longer respect him, and this was a downer for me. Still that does not wipe out the valid points he made in the book. Too bad he was so easily corrupted.

It happens. And it is reasonable to accept the author on one writing and disregard/call him or her out on another or note how they might be co-opted.
 
 
+6 # Capn Canard 2015-07-31 07:04
Given our current world Atwood is spot on. It is all happening, but such consequences rely on the existing paradigm of monetary influence on the economy. Economic interests are the driver of EVERYTHING. So if you want to change course, you would need to change the economic incentives and especially focus on the long term goal instead of the very short term bottom-line. One thing that could change it all would be a massive shift in energy production. Currently economic incentive pushes us to use depleting resources rather than abundant resources. (Depleting resources are intensely profitable, while abundant resources just don't make profit.)

Without going into the minutia of energy, I will say that everything needs to be natural and sustainable. i.e. for one very quick example: no more water sewage systems. They are foul, dirty, dangerous breeding ground of deadly bacteria. A simple alternative is composting, using natural process to balance good with bad bacteria to avoid the deadly consequences. That is just one of innumerable tactics to avoid destruction, but it will require we change our thinking re socially accepted practices. It is impossibly simple. And how soon would you install that composting toilet with bins of commposting your own waste? Yep, didn't think you would... well then you should start preparing for your own end.
 
 
+9 # Peakspecies 2015-07-31 09:52
Again Margaret Atwood wrote another fine piece. What insight! It’s about time someone reframed the ho-hum term ‘climate change.’

The scientist’s warnings began about a half-century ago but most of the world’s population paid little head and chose to procrastinate. Instead mass denial has become the new norm.

Denial is a natural human coping mechanism that often serves a protective function. If all of one’s dreams and ambitions are threatened it comes into play. It is often manifested in a mired of ways referred to as cognitive dissonance. That includes pointing fingers at other causes and creating various forms of distractions. Of the world’s rapidly expanding 7.24+ billion people, that includes the vast majority of them.

This 6th mass extinction event isn’t just about us. We have such a profound sense of superiority that we will attempt to prevail as we take down much of the Earth’s life support systems with us, dooming most of the rest of this planet’s tens-of-million s of other species. In many people’s minds they can’t comprehend why anything else would want to survive if humans are not around to admire them.

Our current problems are the product of our past solutions. Where has human hubris gotten us?
 
 
+6 # chinaski 2015-07-31 15:25
Climate change denial is the equivalent of turning to "SHUSH" anyone who has the nerve to jump up and yell FIRE in a burning theater. After all, why interrupt a good movie?
 
 
+4 # kgrad 2015-08-01 06:43
Quoting chinaski:
Climate change denial is the equivalent of turning to "SHUSH" anyone who has the nerve to jump up and yell FIRE in a burning theater. After all, why interrupt a good movie?


Apt analogy!
 
 
+5 # Vardoz 2015-07-31 16:29
Humans are dirty creatures who have trashed our planet and use it like a toilet and now it's payback time for our greed and stupidity.
 
 
+5 # A_Har 2015-07-31 17:49
Quoting Vardoz:
Humans are dirty creatures who have trashed our planet and use it like a toilet and now it's payback time for our greed and stupidity.

Unfortunately payback will take down the innocent along with the guilty. It is very tragic.
 
 
+5 # economagic 2015-08-01 15:20
A_Har, you have great knowledge, most of it sound to the best of MY knowledge, and much of what you say makes sense. But ultimately you undermine yourself by failing to acknowledge that your knowledge has gaps, as does everyone's. On that basis you claim to know the future in some detail.

You accuse Billy Bob of surrendering because he suggests that your guns will not save you, but by your own words (LOTS of them) you insist that the end is nigh (unless we manage to shoot our way out). Does not compute. Besides, Billy Bob is right to the extent that small arms are effective only against small marauding bands and only as long as ammo is available. To resist the US military you need a lot of people, well organized, and weapons I don't believe you mentioned.

Stop. Breathe. In your case, breathe again. Then consider what you can do within your community to deal with worsening conditions in your lifetime. You may well need your guns at some point, but you will need to use them with discretion. In the years just ahead, to survive, much less thrive, we will all need to get much closer to the ground.

If your mother told you it would be easy, she lied. But if enough of us work toward reducing our dependence on systems that are even now breaking down by building systems locally, and in particular as you suggest by recognizing our common humanity with people we dislike and with whom we disagree, we just might make it through this bottleneck.

Don't forget to breathe.
 
 
+1 # A_Har 2015-08-01 20:40
Very good advice, economagic, and wise. I surely do not know everything. I studied peak oil since 2006 so the idea of collapse is not new to me, and I have focused on self reliance since then. We even bought land to that end.

However, this climate crisis is very serious, and the system is not dealing with it at all. When the Arctic Methane Emergency Group posts a bulletin calling for immediate action to stop the melting of the Arctic as of last winter and it is ignored by major entities, it does not look good at all. How do you take in that kind of information? And, that seems to be the drift of the articles I am currently reading. If you have the time to read them, you may come to understand why I am not optimistic. I am fine with this discussion with Billy Bob, and few people here seem to agree with certain aspects of it, but I am not too worried about it. I can change my POV with new information. I do not get all that worked up about it as he seems to do. It doesn't raise my blood pressure. It is simply an exploration.

As an older person, I do not expect to survive more than 15-20 years if I am lucky, and looking forward, I am glad I am not young.

In any case, I hope for the best for all and to the extent that is possible.
 
 
0 # economagic 2015-08-29 11:43
This forum is probably no longer drawing comments, but welcome to the circle. I'm an old geezer myself. I grew up in the oil patch and heard of peak oil longer ago than I can recall. I learned of early studies on global warming in 1972,
and have been watching in frustration ever since.

The older I get and the more I learn, the less certain I am of much of what I think I know, and the less inclined to try to persuade others of the same. The bottom line today is that we need as many people as possible pulling together in order for any great number of us to survive, much less prosper.

We are like the six blind men feeling of the elephant, and if each of us grabs a leg and leans back, we will all perish. We are going to have to learn to put aside our differences (I've been a pacifist for 50 years, but even that could still change), and relearn collaboration, the only way humankind survived long enough to reach the Agricultural Revolution, as scientists now realize and as several people above have noted.
 
 
+3 # ronnewmexico 2015-08-01 22:12
…"Can we change our energy system? Can we change it fast enough to avoid being destroyed by it? Are we clever enough to come up with some viable plans? Do we have the political will to carry out such plans? Are we capable of thinking about longer-term issues, or, like the lobster in a pot full of water that’s being brought slowly to the boil, will we fail to realize the danger we’re in until it’s too late?"

No sorry it is already to late. Keep on keeping on I wish you well but this train has left the station. The cycle of warming now has gone a bit to far to be stopped. We are now playing russian roulet hopeing the consequences are the empty chambers. But unfortunately they are not.

So human life ends. So what? The earth, living things will persist. The thought we are special and above all things is exactly the thought that has us here….Intellige nce probably always has this fatal flaw within it. The idea it is exceptional to things not of or by it. Which is why though we theorize life exists elsewhere we find no evidence of advanced intelligent life(they would be trying to find us if they existed)….it is doomed to self destruct. So time wise, they exist for a mere eye blink of time in the life of a hundred year person considered.
Such is human. If we could find ourselves not exceptional, then only we could perhaps solve this thing. But that notion as here exemplifies, persists.
 
 
+1 # A_Har 2015-08-02 10:18
Quoting ronnewmexico:
.So human life ends. So what?
Well, Ron, it is a rather sad business, isn't it?

So much for all the ideas of human greatness when we don't even know how to live on the earth without fucking it up royally. This crisis makes a mockery out of human conceit.
 
 
0 # ronnewmexico 2015-08-02 11:50
It may not only be a probable outcome of human intelligence but the idea of intellgience as a whole.
The idea of differentiation is what it is that allows conceptualzatio n. Intelligence allows that sophisticated form of discrimination called conceptual thought. But the idea of discrimination in this advanced form carries with it the idea of a self, a exceptional self. Then comes a god belief and all the rest to include the worship of word thought, which is prayer….

LOng story short, this may be the predictable outcome of intelligence. It by its exceptionally considered nature, fated to self destruct. The exceptive stance is at heart, its seat from which to discriminate. So discrimination of a intelligent being implies the thought of expression of exceptional status to that same being. So we have the thought of mass mass influxes by us, into things, systems of ecology, with no thought of consequence upon those things by us….as we are exceptional to those thing by virtue of our intelligence.

We are in the midst of likely the largest mass global extinction the earth has ever seen….which is correctly as you state, quite a sad business:)
How vast grand and monumental, is this stupidity. Talk about rearranging the curtains when in a house on fire…..this is that house on fire. Death to specie more than ever known, most probably.
A physist is experiementing to see if life itself is only a predictable outcome of energy continuance. Considered suchly….it lessens the blow
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-08-02 10:23
ANTHROPOCENE.

Crutzen wrote up his idea in a short essay, "Geology of Mankind," that ran in Nature. "It seems appropriate to assign the term 'Anthropocene' to the present, in many ways human-dominated , geological epoch," he observed. Among the many geologic-scale changes people have effected, Crutzen cited the following:

o Human activity has transformed between a
third and a half of the land surface of the planet.

o Most of the world's major rivers have been dammed or diverted

o Fertilizer plants produce more nitrogen than is fixed naturally by all terrestrial ecosystems.

o Fisheries remove more than a third of the primary production of the oceans' waters

o Humans use more than half of the world's readily accessible fresh water runoff.

Most significantly, Crutzen said, people have altered the composition of the atmosphere. Owing to a combination of fossil fuel combustion and deforestation, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air has risen by forty percent over the last two centuries, while the concentration of methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, has more than doubled.

- THE SIXTH EXTINCTION - AN UNNATURAL HISTORY by Elizabeth Kolbert, 2014, page 108

Other authors are saying that we need to learn this new word.

Paradise Burning: Why We All Need To Learn The Word “Anthropogenic”
http://www.countercurrents.org/banerjee310715.htm
 
 
+5 # elkingo 2015-08-02 12:20
When are you guys gonna stop fighting the Revolutionary War and start thinking global survival? That war was a long time ago, and now the appropriate American (and global) revolution is to stop all the terricidal practices and pull together. There's no freedom in mass chaos and starving to death, even if a little later for you if you loot your neighbor's fridge at gunpoint.
 

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