Category: Politics

Private power.

The power of corporations must never be permitted to override democratic choice.

The main thrust in yesterday’s post was a plea by , Lecturer on Anthropology, University of Colorado, Denver for our natural lands to be given the legal status of a person. Here’s how Prof. Colwell concluded his essay (my emphasis):

In New Zealand, the Te Urewera Act offers a higher level of protection, empowering a board to be the land’s guardian. The Te Urewera Act, though, does not remove its connection to humans. With a permit, people can hunt, fish, farm and more. The public still has access to the forest. One section of the law even allows Te Urewera to be mined.

Te Urewera teaches us that acknowledging cultural views of places as living does not mean ending the relationship between humans and nature, but reordering it – recognizing nature’s intrinsic worth and respecting indigenous philosophies.

In the U.S. and elsewhere, I believe we can do better to align our legal system with the cultural expressions of the people it serves. For instance, the U.S. Congress could amend the NHPA or the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to acknowledge the deep cultural connection between tribes and natural places, and afford better protections for sacred landscapes like New Mexico’s Mount Taylor.

Until then, it says much about us when companies are considered people before nature is.

Chip Colwell was alerting us, as in humanity, that our natural resources are way, way too important for them to be considered corporate assets.

The days between a Christmas Day and a New Year’s Day are frequently a time for introspection; well they are for me! A few days to reflect on what did or did not work in the year just coming to an end and to find some clarity about the important issues for the new year.

That mood of introspection, of reflection, seems to be creeping into my blog posts this last week of 2016. For following Chip Colwell comes George Monbiot and an essay he published on the 6th December, 2016, that is republished here with Mr. Monbiot’s very kind permission.

Regarding the power of corporations there are strong echoes between Prof. Colwell and Mr. Monbiot.

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The Golden Arches Theory of Decline

Why is there a worldwide revolt against politics as usual? Because corporate globalisation has crushed democratic choice.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 6th December 2016

A wave of revulsion rolls around the world. Approval ratings for incumbent leaders are everywhere collapsing. Symbols, slogans and sensation trump facts and nuanced argument. One in six Americans now believes that military rule would be a good idea. From all this I draw the following, peculiar conclusion: no country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy.

Twenty years ago, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proposed his “golden arches theory of conflict prevention”. This holds that “no two countries that both have McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other since they each got their McDonald’s”.

Friedman’s was one of several end-of-history narratives suggesting that global capitalism would lead to permanent peace. He claimed that it might create “a tip-over point at which a country, by integrating with the global economy, opening itself up to foreign investment and empowering its consumers, permanently restricts its capacity for troublemaking and promotes gradual democratization and widening peace.” He didn’t mean that McDonald’s ends war, but that its arrival in a nation symbolised the transition.

In using McDonalds as shorthand for the forces tearing democracy apart, I am, like him, writing figuratively. I do not mean that the presence of the burger chain itself is the cause of the decline of open, democratic societies (though it has played its part in Britain, using our defamation laws against its critics). Nor do I mean that countries hosting McDonald’s will necessarily mutate into dictatorships.

What I mean is that, under the onslaught of the placeless, transnational capital McDonald’s exemplifies, democracy as a living system withers and dies. The old forms and forums still exist – parliaments and congresses remain standing – but the power they once contained seeps away, re-emerging where we can no longer reach it.

The political power that should belong to us has flitted into confidential meetings with the lobbyists and donors who establish the limits of debate and action. It has slipped into the dictats of the IMF and the European Central Bank, which respond not to the people but to the financial sector. It has been transported, under armed guard, into the icy fastness of Davos, where Mr Friedman finds himself so warmly welcomed (even when he’s talking cobblers).

Above all, the power that should belong to the people is being crushed by international treaty. Contracts such as NAFTA, CETA, the proposed TransPacific Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement and the failed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are crafted behind closed doors in discussions dominated by corporate lobbyists. They are able to slip in clauses that no informed electorate would ever approve, such as the establishment of opaque offshore tribunals, through which corporations can bypass national courts, challenge national laws and demand compensation for the results of democratic decisions.

These treaties limit the scope of politics, prevent states from changing social outcomes and drive down labour rights, consumer protection, financial regulation and the quality of neighbourhoods. They make a mockery of sovereignty. Anyone who forgets that striking them down was one of Donald Trump’s main promises will fail to understand why people were prepared to risk so much in electing him.

At the national level too, the McDonalds model destroys meaningful democracy. Democracy depends on a reciprocal sense of belief, trust and belonging: the conviction that you belong to the nation and the nation belongs to you. The McDonalds model, by rooting out attachment, could not have been better designed to erase that perception.

As Tom Wolfe observes in his novel A Man in Full, “the only way you could tell you were leaving one community and entering another was when the franchise chains started repeating and you spotted another 7-Eleven, another Wendy’s, another Costco, another Home Depot.” The alienation and anomie this destruction of place promotes are enhanced by the casualisation of labour and a spirit-crushing regime of monitoring, quantification and assessment (at which McDonald’s happens to excel). Public health disasters contribute to the sense of rupture. After falling for decades, for example, death rates among middle-aged white Americans are now rising. Among the likely causes are obesity and diabetes, opioid addiction and liver failure, diseases whose vectors are corporations.

Corporations, released from democratic constraints, drive us towards climate breakdown, an urgent threat to global peace. McDonald’s has done more than its fair share: beef production is among the most powerful causes of climate change.

In his book The Globalisation Paradox, the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik describes a political trilemma. Democracy, national sovereignty and hyperglobalisation, he argues, are mutually incompatible. You cannot have all three at once. McDonalisation crowds out domestic politics. Incoherent and dangerous as it often is, the global backlash against mainstream politicians is, at heart, an attempt to reassert national sovereignty against the forces of undemocratic globalisation.

An article about the history of the Democratic party by Matt Stoller in The Atlantic reminds us that a similar choice was articulated by the great American jurist Louis Brandeis. “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” In 1936, the congressman Wright Patman managed to pass a bill against the concentration of corporate power. Among his targets was A&P, the giant chainstore of his day, that was hollowing out towns, destroying local retailers and turning “independent tradesmen into clerks”.

In 1938, President Roosevelt warned that “the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.” The Democrats saw concentrated corporate power as a form of dictatorship. They broke up giant banks and businesses and chained the chainstores. What Roosevelt, Brandeis and Patman knew has been forgotten by those in power, including powerful journalists. But not by the victims of this system.

One of the answers to Trump, Putin, Orban, Erdogan, Salvini, Duterte, Le Pen, Farage and the politics they represent is to rescue democracy from transnational corporations. It is to defend the crucial political unit that’s under assault by banks, monopolies and chainstores: community. It is to recognise that there is no greater hazard to peace between nations than a corporate model which crushes democratic choice.

http://www.monbiot.com

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It’s very easy to pick out from Mr. Monbiot’s essay what the theme should be for 2017, and beyond. What each and every one of us who cares about the future and understands the huge changes that have to take place if our grandchildren are to have a viable future.

It was that compelling quotation by Louis Brandeis:

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.

It’s as simple as that!

Dreams of hope

My wish for 2017, and for evermore.

One of the many things that we adore about living here in Merlin, Southern Oregon is the closeness of nature. Not just the nature of the slopes and mountains but the nature of the trees, creeks, grasses and wild plants.

Plus the awareness over the 4+ years that we have been here of how easy it is to gain the trust of wild animals. I will go to my grave holding on to the sweet sensation of a wild deer trusting me and Jean to the point where we could stroke the deer’s neck when we were feeding her.

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean's hand.
The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean’s hand.
Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer's ear.
Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer’s ear.

(Both photographs taken in October, 2014 in the area of grassland near to our stables.)

The measure of how we, as in humanity, really feel about the only home we have, as in Planet Earth, is how we regard our planet.

The pain that we feel when we read, as I did yesterday, about another animal species possibly heading towards extinction. In this case, an item on the BBC News website about Cheetahs.

Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

Protected parks and reserves for cheetahs are not sufficient as the animal ranges far beyond these areas.

 The sleek, speedy cheetah is rapidly heading towards extinction according to a new study into declining numbers.

The report estimates that there are just 7,100 of the world’s fastest mammals now left in the wild.

Cheetahs are in trouble because they range far beyond protected areas and are coming increasingly into conflict with humans.

The authors are calling for an urgent re-categorisation of the species from vulnerable to endangered.

(Read the full article here.)

It’s no good tut-tutting; something different has to be done. For otherwise nature will have the last word to say about the future of vast numbers of species especially homo sapiens!

All of which leads me to the main theme of today’s post: holding nature in higher esteem as in higher legal esteem.

Read the following that was published on The Conversation blogsite on October 10th, 2016 and is republished here within their terms. The author is , Lecturer on Anthropology, University of Colorado, Denver.

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What if nature, like corporations, had the rights and protections of a person?

October 10, 2016 8.16am EDT

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The forest around Lake Waikaremoana in New Zealand has been given legal status of a person because of its cultural significance. Paul Nelhams/flickr, CC BY-SA

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has solidified the concept of corporate personhood. Following rulings in such cases as Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, U.S. law has established that companies are, like people, entitled to certain rights and protections.

But that’s not the only instance of extending legal rights to nonhuman entities. New Zealand took a radically different approach in 2014 with the Te Urewera Act which granted an 821-square-mile forest the legal status of a person. The forest is sacred to the Tūhoe people, an indigenous group of the Maori. For them Te Urewera is an ancient and ancestral homeland that breathes life into their culture. The forest is also a living ancestor. The Te Urewera Act concludes that “Te Urewera has an identity in and of itself,” and thus must be its own entity with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.” Te Urewera holds title to itself.

Although this legal approach is unique to New Zealand, the underlying reason for it is not. Over the last 15 years I have documented similar cultural expressions by Native Americans about their traditional, sacred places. As an anthropologist, this research has often pushed me to search for an answer to the profound question: What does it mean for nature to be a person?

The snow-capped mountain

A majestic mountain sits not far northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like a low triangle, with long gentle slopes, Mount Taylor is clothed in rich forests that appear a velvety charcoal-blue from the distance. Its bald summit, more than 11,000 feet high, is often blanketed in snow – a reminder of the blessing of water, when seen from the blazing desert below.

The Zuni tribe lives about 40 miles west of Mount Taylor. In 2012, I worked with a team to interview 24 tribal members about the values they hold for Dewankwin K’yaba:chu Yalanne (“In the East Snow-capped Mountain”), as Mount Taylor is called in the Zuni language. We were told that their most ancient ancestors began an epic migration in the Grand Canyon.

 Mount Taylor in New Mexico, a sacred site to the Zuni who believe it is a living being. Chip Colwell, Author provided.
Mount Taylor in New Mexico, a sacred site to the Zuni who believe it is a living being. Chip Colwell, Author provided.

Over millennia they migrated across the Southwest, with important medicine societies and clans living around Mount Taylor. After settling in their current pueblo homes, Zunis returned to this sacred mountain to hunt animals like deer and bear, harvest wild plants like acorns and cattails, and gather minerals used in sacrosanct rituals that keep the universe in order. Across the generations Dewankwin Kyaba:chu Yalanne has come to shape Zuni history, life, and identity no less than the Vatican has for Catholics.

But unlike holy places in the Western world, Zunis believe Mount Taylor is a living being. Zuni elders told me that the mountain was created within the Earth’s womb. As a mountain formed by volcanic activity, it has always grown and aged. The mountain can give life as people do. The mountain’s snow melts in spring and nourishes plants and wildlife for miles. Water is the mountain’s blood; buried minerals are the mountain’s meat. Because it lives, deep below is its beating heart. Zunis consider Mount Taylor to be their kin.

There is a stereotype that Native American peoples have a singular connection to nature. And yet in my experience, they do see the world in a fundamentally different way from most people I know. Whether it is mountains, rivers, rocks, animals, plants, stars or weather, they see the natural world as living and breathing, deeply relational, even at times all-knowing and transcendent.

In my work with Arizona’s Hopi tribe, I have traveled with cultural leaders to study sacred places. They often stop to listen to the wind, or search the sky for an eagle, or smile when it begins to rain, which they believe is a blessing the ancestors bestow upon them.

During one project with the Hopi tribe, we came across a rattlesnake coiled near an ancient fallen pueblo. “Long ago, one of them ancestors lived here and turned into a rattlesnake,” the elder Raleigh H. Puhuyaoma Sr. shared with me, pointing to the nearby archaeological site. “It’s now protecting the place.” The elders left an offering of corn meal to the snake. An elder later told me that it soon rained on his cornfield, a result from this spiritual exchange.

Violent disputes

Understanding these cultural worldviews matters greatly in discussions over protecting places in nature. The American West has a long history of battles over the control of land. We’ve seen this recently from the Bundy family’s takeover of the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon to the current fight over turning Bears Ears – 1.9 million acres of wilderness – into a national monument in Utah.

Yet often these battles are less about the struggle between private and public interests, and more about basic questions of nature’s purpose. Do wild places have intrinsic worth? Or is the land a mere tool for human uses?

 A Hopi elder making an offering to a snake to protect a sacred space. Chip Colwell, Author provided.
A Hopi elder making an offering to a snake to protect a sacred space. Chip Colwell, Author provided.

Much of my research has involved documenting sacred places because they are being threatened by development projects on public land. The Zuni’s sacred Mount Taylor, much of it managed by the U.S. National Forest Service, has been extensively mined for uranium, and is the cause of violent disputes over whether it should be developed or protected.

Even though the U.S. does not legally recognize natural places as people, some legal protections exist for sacred places. Under the National Historic Preservation Act, for example, the U.S. government must take into consideration the potential impacts of certain development projects on “traditional cultural properties.”

This and other federal heritage laws, however, provide tribes a small voice in the process, little power, and rarely lead to preservation. More to the point, these laws reduce what tribes see as living places to “properties,” obscuring their inherent spiritual value.

In New Zealand, the Te Urewera Act offers a higher level of protection, empowering a board to be the land’s guardian. The Te Urewera Act, though, does not remove its connection to humans. With a permit, people can hunt, fish, farm and more. The public still has access to the forest. One section of the law even allows Te Urewera to be mined.

Te Urewera teaches us that acknowledging cultural views of places as living does not mean ending the relationship between humans and nature, but reordering it – recognizing nature’s intrinsic worth and respecting indigenous philosophies.

In the U.S. and elsewhere, I believe we can do better to align our legal system with the cultural expressions of the people it serves. For instance, the U.S. Congress could amend the NHPA or the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to acknowledge the deep cultural connection between tribes and natural places, and afford better protections for sacred landscapes like New Mexico’s Mount Taylor.

Until then, it says much about us when companies are considered people before nature is.

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 emilysquotes-com-look-deep-nature-understand-wisdom-inspirational-life-albert-einsteinMy dreams of hope!

What to say to the kids.

Reflections on what we leave behind.

I included in yesterday’s post the interview with Bill Kotke and his concern that humanity’s greed, and that’s the correct term in my view, focusing on each generation having more, howsoever one defines ‘more’, was utterly at odds with a sustainable future on the only home we have: Planet Earth.  A finite planet in a finite solar system.

On Monday I was chatting with Roger D. back in the old country. It was Roger who introduced me to gliding back in the late 70s. Later we were in business together in Colchester, Essex and we still keep in touch.

Anyway, Roger was bemoaning the current state of affairs in the UK regarding Brexit and went on to say that every economic strategy offered by this or that UK Government was about growth. Whether we are talking economic growth, improvement in living standards or population growth why are there no leading figures in any leading government standing up and saying this can’t go on! Because it can’t!

world_population_1050_to_2050We are presently a global population of 7.5 billion. This year alone, as of today, there have been 56,000,000 deaths. But also, as of today, there have been 133,000,000 births. (I rounded the figures but what difference does it make!) That’s a growth of 77 million persons in this one year. It cannot go on!

Bill Kotke also spoke of soil loss. Just last Sunday there was a Care2 item about soil loss. From which I extract:

Could soil ever actually run out?

Yes. If we continue to harm and degrade topsoil at the current rate, it’s estimated that the world could lose all its topsoil within 60 years.

Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil on the surface of the earth. It’s the most fertile type of soil that typically contains lots of nutrient-rich organic matter from broken down plants and other organisms. Topsoil is also alive with beneficial microbes, fungi and critters like earth worms, which feed on the organic matter.

The deeper layers of soil beneath the topsoil are not nearly as rich. They are primarily made up of decomposing rock that provides the raw material for future topsoil as well as a substrate for deeply rooted plants to anchor in.

If the delicate ecosystem within topsoil is disrupted, it will essentially die. Plants can’t grow in topsoil that doesn’t have abundant organic matter and thriving populations of microbes.

Yes, there are street protests about this political action or that political action but why aren’t we seeing tens of thousands on the streets protesting about the loss of our topsoil!!

Moving on.

There was a recent essay from Patrice Ayme in which he wrote about the Australian Asthma Thunderstorm. Just read this long extract from that essay:

(November 29th, 2016 Italics are from the story as presented in the New York Times)

Mr. McGann was one of thousands of people in Melbourne having an attack of thunderstorm asthma. About 8,500 people went to hospitals. Eight have died, and one remains in intensive care more than a week after a thunderstorm surged across Melbourne, carrying pollen that strong winds and rain broke into tiny fragments.

Perennial ryegrass seeds were swept up in whorls of wind and carried from four million hectares of pasturelands (about 9.9 million acres) that lie to Melbourne’s north and west. If broken into fragments, they are so fine that they can be inhaled.” 

Actually what also lie north and west of Melbourne are giant fields of canola. Consider the following propaganda picture:

Mr. McGann did not end up in the hospital.  “Every breath I took made the next breath harder,” he said, adding that he had no family history of asthma. “I just didn’t realize it could have the effect it had.”

Grass pollen is the primary source of allergies in southern Australia, and tracking the data allowed scientists to forecast high levels of grass seeds in the atmosphere on Nov. 21. Still, Ms. Hennessy said, the government was taken by surprise.”

Surprise, indeed, this did not happen before, by two orders of magnitude. How come so much more severity?

My lawyer’s theory is different.  It evolved from my own observations and theories of why asthma and allergies, let alone weird cancers, have been augmenting spectacularly. There are around 150,000 artificial, man-made chemical products in use. By medical drug standards, they are untested (in earlier essays, I mentioned 80,000, which is the number brandished in the USA; however, French specialists talk about 150,000 untested chemicals.).

Canola (or rapeseed), Brassica napus, is an oilseed crop which is cultivated for its high quality edible oil used in many foods (eg. margarines and cooking oil) and seed meal (the fibrous material left after the oil pressing process), which has a high protein content. That makes it highly desirable as a stock feed.

In 2010-11, the Australian state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located,  produced 476 thousand tonnes of canola with a gross value of $293 million.

Control of weeds, particularly weeds from the Brassicaceae family (broadleaf), through herbicide application during the canola-growing season, significantly improves the quantity of the grain produced. Weeds compete for space, nutrients and sunlight. (African countries have dismissed that the quality of GMO seed is higher, in contradistinction with US propaganda; quite the opposite, they say)

Two genetically modified (GM) canola varieties have been developed in Australia, Roundup Ready® (by Monsanto Australia Ltd) and InVigor® (by Bayer CropSciences Pty Ltd). For maximum effect, each GM variety has been developed to be tolerant to and hence used with, a specific herbicide. The result is the mass poisoning of the planet, horizon to horizon.

The same poisoning trick is used for insecticides. To boot, the poison resistance spreads, demanding even higher doses of poison to be used in the grand outdoors..

In other words, massive quantities of poisons are put in the soil, and from there, are kicked up, in the air.

Exposed to this life destroying poisons, the body reacts by shutting down all pores. Asthma.

It cannot go on!

It is time for you and me and millions of others to be the change we want to see. Whether it’s the little things like recycling, or car sharing, or the bigger things like moving to an eco village we have to make a difference.

We have to learn from those communities that for thousands of years lived harmonious and sustainable lives on the planet. Doing so many thousands of years before farming man came on to the scene

In 1969 I spent a year in the outback of Australia as a correspondent for KotiPosti; a Finnish magazine. While I was out in the wilderness looking for Finns to write about it was impossible not to be drawn into the history of the aboriginal Australian.

ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS ARE descendents of the first people to leave Africa up to 75,000 years ago, a genetic study has found, confirming they may have the oldest continuous culture on the planet.
Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, who led the study, says Aboriginal Australians were the first modern humans to traverse unknown territory in Asia and Australia. “It was a truly amazing journey that must have demanded exceptional survival skills and bravery,” he says.
A century-old lock of hair, given by a West Australian indigenous man to an anthropologist, has led to the discovery that ancestors of Aboriginal Australians reached Asia at least 24,000 years before another wave of migration that populated Europe and Asia.

It was back then that I truly understood the relationship that those early Australians had with the earth; with their planet. Forget religions and churches, the Aborigines had a spiritual relationship with the planet that sustained them.

I will never forget exploring quietly, just me and my wife of those days, the caves and darker recesses around the base of Ayers Rock, better called Uluru, the most amazing monolith right out there in the middle of the desert. The unmistakable signs of so many of those quiet recesses being spiritual places for those ancient people.
home-1Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid “Red Centre”. The nearest large town is Alice Springs, 450km away. Uluru is sacred to indigenous Australians and is thought to have started forming around 550 million years ago. It’s within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also includes the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta (colloquially “The Olgas”) formation.

It is just he same for the North American Indians. They have a spiritual relationship with the land.

Back to Bill Kotke’s talk. He spoke of how when each of us was the product of the fertilisation of the egg by the sperm in utero we grow first as a fish, then as a mammal and, finally, emerge as a human: “We are connected to the earth!

As you all know I am a secular humanist. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have deep, as in spiritual, feelings for the lands and the oceans and for the wildlife of this planet

So let me close by repeating what I said at that meeting where Bill was presenting. For Bill spoke of being connected, in a heartfelt manner, with the planet. For if one is so connected then it is natural for one to want to love and protect the planet.

This is what I said:

Bill,

In 1991 I departed Gibraltar Harbour solo on my yacht Songbird of Kent heading West out across the Atlantic.

After I had settled in to the routine of being at sea, better described as settling in to being connected to the ocean, I loved watching the dolphins come up to the boat, give it the once over, raise their heads and offer me a brief eye contact and then slip away.

Then I became aware that when I was laying down on my bunk in the cabin I could sense when the dolphins were close to my hull. Each time I had that sense I would come up to the deck, briefly pausing to clip on my safety harness lest I truly joined the dolphins, and one or two of those dolphins were always by my boat.

I called this post What To Say To The Kids. Not just my son and daughter, now both mature adults, but my grandson Morten son to my daughter and her husband.

Because I feel so strongly that waiting for our leaders and politicians to lead humanity in protecting our planet is pointless. They are driven by other values.

It cannot go on!

I want to be measured by my son and my daughter, and by my grandson in due time, as a person who made a difference; even just a small one.

For I truly believe that showing love for our planet will make a difference and that is what I want to say to my kids.

We have to return to community living;  a twenty-first century version of such living. Even in the giant populations of big cities we have to reach out and form local communities. Groups of people who are driven by the imperative to curtail population growth, eager to share in as many ways as possible and totally committed to taking no more from the planet than they put in.

Because It cannot go on!

This is what I want to say to my kids.

 

 

Decisions; decisions.

Things do not change; we change.

That saying from the lips of Henry David Thoreau, the American essayist, poet and philosopher, reminds us that we must be that change before that change comes along.

Thus whatever you or I, or anyone else, thinks is wrong with these times, so eloquently expressed by George Monbiot in his essay republished in this place yesterday, bringing about the changes that you or I, or anyone else, want has to start with the individual.

That, inevitably, requires many to chose which path to follow.

Last Saturday, Sue Dreamwalker of the blog Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary, published a post that truly couldn’t have been better written in terms of following on to yesterday’s post.

Here it is republished with Sue’s kind permission.

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Crossroads~ Which path do you choose?

I felt the need to post something deeper again today, and I could find no better words to write than I have already written as my thoughts go out to the many places around our globe in conflict right now.

I know there are many new subscribers here to Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary this year who may not have read this post.. I thank all in advance for their contributions..

If I am slow getting back to you, it’s because I want some time to paint this weekend and walk out in nature..
So look after each other and choose your Pathway well..
Love and Blessings
Sue❤

Image Source Here
Image Source Here

Much is happening with our Earth Plane at this time of transformation, the Mayans called it

“ A crossroads of time of Great External Changes and Major Internal Upheavals”.

We have seen around the globe how many nations are starting to change, we are also changing ourselves internally through our awareness and intuition and I see many withdrawing into themselves as they seek peace as they set about clearing the debris of our emotional bodies, myself included as we adjust to the vibrations around us.

At times all that is thrown our way is too disturbing to cope with, so we withdraw within our inner sanctuaries finding solace within Nature and our meditations..

I have to remind myself daily of the GOOD in this world as we get constantly bombarded with the BAD… So many things which are UGLY in this world which led me to revisit a post first posted in 2012.. The Good Bad and Ugly.. in which I used the Mayan quote above..

Everything in this world mirrors everything else, and everything is part of everything else, as difficult as that is to comprehend. So while we react with outrage, our rage is joining the tide of Anger already out there which is foaming back and forth in the sea of discontent.

It seems as if our very Earth Mother feels that anger as she too is rumbling ever louder in the bowels of our planet as we have seen how devastating her energies can be in Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions which are now becoming more active again around our globe..

We have to be careful not to be taken down the road of Fear.. Lest it trap us into engaging in giving out more fear by our failure to see how we are all quick to judge and use our own prejudices in labelling that which we are not in alignment with.  Whether that be in our politics, beliefs, or idealisms. None of us is perfect.

We are now ‘Shifting’ from duality to Unity Consciousness, this was brought home again to me on how many of us are thinking similar thoughts even here on WP we see similar themes as we link into the Mass Consciousness as we join together our thoughts as we link subconsciously to the Cosmic web of thoughts..

We need to be aware of the Power of our thoughts and how we can assist in raising our planets vibration and our own collective Consciousness..

Much has been spoken upon Ascension, but first we need to ascend through our own layers as we climb ever higher, leaving behind the things that no longer serve us.

We do that by not getting swept up in conflict.. by being more loving and tolerant and being compassionate rather than  being judgmental holding hate and anger.

We need to put the Care back in the world and if we embrace and choose Love over fear  and we stop looking who to blame, but start to set examples of living in harmony and unity, then the true magnificence of who we really are can begin to manifest that ‘Golden Age’ which was once prophesied to bring about Peace..

But it’s up to us to pledge to change our own lives,and when we each start bringing back that peace within our own Lives, It’s up to each of us which road we want to take. And what dominant energy we want to prevail.. I choose Love.

Blessings

Sue.

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You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

So said Jim Rohn, the American businessman who died in 2009.

Oh, I Wish …..

…. that animal cruelty just never ever happens!

Yes, I know that’s a naive wish.

But it doesn’t alter my sincere wish!

So thank goodness for the many wonderful people and organisations around the world that do their utmost to help animals.

Take, for example, Animals Asia. This is what they do:

Founded in 1998, Animals Asia promotes compassion and respect for all animals and works to bring about long-term change. We work to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees over 10,000 bears kept on bile farms in China, and, according to official figures, about 1,200 suffering the same fate in Vietnam.

Animals Asia has rescued over 500 bears, caring for them at its award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

Animals Asia also works to end the trade in dogs and cats for food in China and Vietnam, and lobbies to improve the welfare of companion animals, promote humane population management and prevent the cross border export of “meat dogs” in Asia.

In addition, Animals Asia campaigns for an end to abusive animal practices in zoos and safari parks in Asia, and works closely with governing authorities to improve animal management and increase awareness of the welfare needs of captive animals.

Take this wonderful account of what they did for one bear.

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Freed from a bile farm – is this the happiest bear ever?

Watch Tuffy jump for joy in his first days outside – after being rescued from a bear bile farm where he’d spent years of torture in a tiny cage.

Rescued in September last year on the same day as six other bears, Tuffy’s paws have hardly hit the ground since arriving at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary.

tuffycagedThe vet team has been working hard to rehabilitate him after years of having his bile extracted. In fact his gall bladder was so damaged it had to be removed. Examinations had found numerous gallstones, meaning he’d lived in pain for years.

That wasn’t the only surgery Tuffy faced. In addition he had three fractured teeth removed. He also had painful, dry, cracked paws.

tuffyinacageAnimals Asia Bear Manager Louise Ellis said:

“The cracked paws are common to bile farm bears as they only walk on bars, not grass. Dehydration is likely to have contributed to this too. So for his carers to see him take to the pool so quickly after he first became ready to face the outdoors was an amazing moment.

“Coming from years of little or no water, for Tuffy this must feel like a true oasis after being parched and in pain for so long. It must have felt like such a relief to have the freedom to splash around in the water after only being able to stand on the hard metal bars of the bile farm cage.”

tuffyrescuedIn fact Tuffy loved being outdoors so much he decided not to return to his den in the evening – choosing instead to sleep under the stars.

There are still around 1,200 bears in bile farms in Vietnam and over 10,000 more in China. Animals Asia has rescued nearly 600 bears from the bile industry and continues to care for almost 400.

Bear bile is used in traditional medicine.

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Dearest Tuffy! One of the lucky ones.
But that doesn’t diminish the anger and the disgust I feel at the way too many so called human beings can have such disregard for our beautiful animals!

Standing up for the future.

This is no sinecure – the future of mankind is at risk.

Very often I find a topic for Saturday that is easy on the mind. But I make no apologies for republishing, with Jennifer’s permission, a post that she published over on Transition Times yesterday. When you read it you will see clearly that promoting this today is right. For many readers may well be able to join thousands of others in showing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

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World War III Has Begun: Which Side Are You On?

Although you wouldn’t know it from scanning the front pages of the mainstream media, a major battle in what Bill McKibben has called World War Three, the war to save the planet from human destruction, has been going down in Indian Country for the past six months.

Thousands of Native Americans, members of a whole host of tribes, have gathered at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL), which was sited by the Army Corps of Engineers to run dangerously close to the Missouri River and the Standing Rock Reservation.

But as the protesters say, they are not just defending Indian country, they are defending everyone who relies on the Missouri for water—and not just humans but all life.

If there is anyone to look back at this turbulent period in human history on Earth—now coming to be known as the Anthropocene—they will surely wonder at the suicidal tendency of human civilization in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Why, they will ask, would such an intelligent species willingly—even enthusiastically—engage in the poisoning of its waterways and underground water resources; the destruction of its forests; the chemical contamination of its soils and oceans; the overheating of its precious atmosphere by relentless burning of fossil fuels? Why would humans put so much of their intelligence and technological prowess into developing ever more lethal weapons of mass destruction, used to bludgeon each other? Why would they preside blithely over the extinction of millions of other species, the vicious ripping of the great ecological web of life on Earth?

Why indeed?

I know it’s hard for any of us to escape the clutter of our everyday lives, with the constant pressures and worries that beset us on the personal level. But this is precisely what is being asked of us now.

The courageous defenders out at Standing Rock dropped their ordinary lives to be part of the historic encampment protesting the stranglehold of the oil companies on our waterways and our lands. They are fighting in the courts, through the media, and most importantly with their physical presence, standing up to the bulldozers, the attack dogs and the pepper spray.

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Image source: Democracy Now!

This is what McKibben’s World War Three looks like—it’s already begun. It will be fought locally, as communities and individuals wake up to the implications of the destruction and decide that hell no, they won’t take it any more.

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Oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. Image source: https://projects.propublica.org/pipelines/

In my own corner of the world, we are under assault from General Electric, wanting to create toxic waste dumps right in the middle of our small rural towns. We have a gas pipeline being constructed, despite vehement protests, through a pristine old-growth state forest. We have oil tanker trains running constantly right through our communities. Despite a thriving organic and biodynamic farm renaissance, we still have far too many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides being used locally, and too many trees being cut down.

I have been thinking and writing for some time now about how important it is to align the personal, political and planetary in our own lives and in the way we relate to the world around us. On all three of these levels, 21st century American life is way out of balance.

It is time to focus, each one of us, on using our brief lifetimes to create balance and harmony on Earth. Sometimes the way to harmony leads through protest and discord, as is happening now in Standing Rock. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to support local, low-impact agriculture rather than industrial agriculture. Leaning on our political representatives to move faster on policy that will shift our society to renewable energy is key.

Wind farm in Ireland. Source: http://www.iwea.com/_wind_information
Wind farm in Ireland. Source: http://www.iwea.com/_wind_information

There are so many ways to get involved in this War for the Planet, many of them quite peaceful. The important thing is to get off the sidelines. Get involved. Feel the potential of this moment—it’s literally a make or break period for the future of humanity on Earth, and many other living beings too.

The brave defenders at Standing Rock are reminding us that we are all “natives” of this Earth, and we all have a stake in protecting her. Which side are you on?

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Yes, we are all natives of this world and that includes our dear animals and our wonderful animal companions.

Make a promise to yourself to make a difference; even one small difference. With that in mind, if you want to find an event close to you then the Sierra Club have a page where you can look up which event you would like to attend.

Make a difference!

In praise of beautiful prose.

None better than Alistair Cooke.

In 1968 I went out to live in Sydney, Australia.

By chance a work colleague in my workplace in Sydney introduced me to an organization called Rostrum. They still exist today and as their ‘About’ page on their website explains:

The History of Rostrum

Rostrum Australia is an association of public speaking clubs, founded on 21 July 1930. The original Rostrum club (“The Rostrum”) was founded in Manchester, England, on 21 July 1923 and its first meeting was held under a yew tree at Greendale Farm near Manchester. The first meeting in Australia was held under an Angophora tree in 1930.

This makes Rostrum the longest-running public speaking organisation in the world.

General Information

Rostrum clubs aim to help their members improve their speaking and meeting skills. They do this primarily through regular club meetings and less frequent competitions. The main national competition for members is the Sidney Wicks Speaking Competition, held about every 6 years. State and territory competitions are held throughout the year.

It was a marvelous connection for me for later on in life I was required to give many public speeches.

Anyway, back to those days in Sydney. I still recall how one meeting was devoted to listening to and understanding one of the most eloquent and masterful speakers ever: Alistair Cooke. Listening to Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America on BBC radio was a passion for me until the day he died.

Alistair Cooke
Alistair Cooke

Here’s how Wikipedia describes this wonderful man.

Alistair Cooke, KBE (20 November 1908 – 30 March 2004) was a British journalist, television personality and broadcaster.[1] Outside his journalistic output, which included Letter from America and Alistair Cooke’s America, he was well known in the United States as the host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to 1992. After holding the job for 22 years, and having worked in television for 42 years, Cooke retired in 1992, although he continued to present Letter from America until shortly before his death. He was the father of author and folk singer John Byrne Cooke.

It was a great pleasure to discover that the BBC still holds archives of many of the broadcasts of Letter from America but, in addition, some of Alistair Cooke’s broadcasts are on YouTube.

Please settle down for 15 minutes and listen to one of best writers and speakers to have graced this world.

Broadcast on Fri 12 Dec 1980, BBC Radio

The shooting of John Lennon on the 8th December 1980 sparks a debate over the need for national gun control law in America.

Some issues never go out of date!

A political diversion.

This essay from George Monbiot just has to be read as widely as possible.

Dear followers of this blog know that from time to time I dip into politics. I do so because something I read strikes me with such force that I want others to read the article or essay. Not infrequently, my ‘dip’ is in the form of republishing an essay from George Monbiot who, long ago, gave me blanket permission to republish his essays. That is the case today.

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Buy The Book

I was inspired to write my book, subsequently self-published last December, because I truly believe that the values that we see in our longest animal companions are values that we, as in our societies, from top to bottom, have to embrace if we are to stand any chance of surviving as a species.

Reflect on the fact that dogs do not lie, they do not set out to deceive or influence others for their own personal gain and they are utterly creatures of integrity.

OK, I can hear some of you thinking that dogs are dogs and humans are humans and it’s just plain daft to link the two in this fashion. My only answer to that is to read the book or, at the very least, download and read the first twenty-five pages (for free). Better still purchase the book and have 50% of my net income donated to the Rogue Valley Humane Society.

On the 28th July, George Monbiot published an essay entitled So Much For Sovereignty. I read the essay and, frankly, was apalled at what George was describing: the background of the UK’s new international trade secretary, Liam Fox, recently appointed by Theresa May.

Read it for yourself and see if you react the same way that I did!

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So Much For Sovereignty

All change at 10 Downing Street!

Well, perhaps not completely all change!

There will be few who can’t have heard of the enormous changes going on in my old country, with Teresa May now Britain’s second female Prime Minister. Talk about out with the old and in with the new!

But as this lovely story recently published over on the Smithsonian Magazine website illustrates, it’s not total change.

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10 Downing Street’s “Chief Mouser” Is Keeping His Job Despite Brexit

Larry the Cat will outlast David Cameron at the Prime Minister’s residence
Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (Her Majesty's Government)
Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (Her Majesty’s Government)
By Danny Lewis  smithsonian.com
July 14, 2016

In the weeks since British citizens voted to leave the European Union in a national referendum, the government of the United Kingdom has seen its share of political turmoil. Following the results of the vote, then-Prime Minister and “Remain” supporter David Cameron announced that he would be stepping down, and has now been replaced by his successor, Theresa May. But while Cameron has officially left the Prime Minister’s residence and offices at 10 Downing Street in London, at least one of his appointees will remain in May’s service: a brown and white tabby cat named Larry.

“It’s a civil servant’s cat and does not belong to the Camerons—he will be staying,” a government official tells the BBC.

Larry first came to 10 Downing Street in 2011, when Cameron adopted him from a rescue home in hopes that the feline would help handle a mouse infestation plaguing the Prime Minister’s residence. As the first cat to hold the title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, Larry has become a familiar face in and around the building over the years.

“Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses and testing antique furniture for napping quality,” an official government website detailing the history of 10 Downing Street writes. “His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Larry says this is still ‘in tactical planning stage.’”

However, despite being touted as a “good ratter” with “a high chase-drive and hunting instinct,” some reports suggest that Larry is not as good at his job as official statements might lead one to believe. Indeed, Larry has faced harsh scrutiny for slacking on the job, as his love of long naps often gets in the way of his hunting duties, Jack Goodman reports for Atlas Obscura. In one incident, Cameron reportedly was forced to throw a silver fork at a mouse to shoo it away during a meeting with other government officials, even after Larry was brought on board to handle the problem. However, despite his lack of progress on the mouse problem, Larry has managed to continue to retain his position.

While Larry may be the first cat to hold this particular title, he isn’t the first cat to make his home at 10 Downing Street. During the 1920s, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald brought along his cat, Rufus of England, and, in the 1930s and ’40s, the so-called “Munich Mouser” ran rampant throughout the residence, the BBC reports. In the 1970s, a cat named Wilberforce took up guard. Upon retirement, he was replaced by a stray who wandered into the offices during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership (he was called Humphrey). The last cat before Larry to hold court at 10 Downing Street was Sybil, who belonged to former Chancellor Alastair Darling. However, she reportedly did not care for city life, and later retired with Darling to his home in the Scottish countryside.

Whatever other effects the decision to leave the European Union will have on the United Kingdom’s government in the coming weeks, Larry’s position as “top cat,” at least, remains assured.

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 Well done, Larry!

Brexit – now what happens?

Here’s what is going to happen.

In the run-up to the EU referendum by the UK this Brit was tempted several times to offer an opinion on what I thought was the best decision. But I resisted. (I was qualified to vote as an overseas voter and had voted for Remain.)

My resistance was because it seemed inappropriate to pass any form of opinion before the die had been cast, so to speak. I hadn’t been living in the country for over eight years and, inevitably, was out of touch with feelings.

The Conversation blogsite yesterday had a series of articles on the aftermath of the Brexit decision but the one that seemed most useful to share with you all was an article by Gavin Barrett,  a Professor of European Constitutional and Economic Law at University College in Dublin. For many readers, including me, both within and without the UK this seemed a valuable primer.

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Britain votes to leave the EU, Cameron quits – here’s what happens next

June 23, 2016 11.41pm EDT

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Leave ahead. Anthony Devlin / PA Wire

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