September 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Frustration over campaigns’ silence on climate change
READ EVAN LEHMANN’S 9/28/12 ARTICLE IN CLIMATE WIRE
July 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
As much of US continues in the grip of unrelenting, dangerous heat the deniers grow silent
June 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
May 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
* small is beautiful
* marx 2.0
* systems work
* webbish world
* reform, revolt, or evolve
A MUST-READ FOR US ALL, last in alternet’s 5-arcticle series by sara robinson.
May 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Exposing deniers as the dying corp deperados they are
for the rest of us it’s abundantly clear: together’s found our strength & hope
thank you bill & co!
April 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Here reviewed by scot thill of alternet 4/19/12 . . .
Co-executive produced by Martin Scorsese and co-directed by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks, this meditative documentary examines humanity’s currently crucial crossroads between self-wrought runaway consumption, rapacious economics and natural resource exhaustion through the prism of so-called technological progress. Anchored in author Ronald Wright’s 2004 Massey Lectures series A Short History of Progress and fleshed out by theoretical physicist cyborg Stephen Hawking, dystopian sci-fi author Margaret Atwood, famed primatologist Jane Goodall and others, the visually impressive Surviving Progress analyzes what it will take to dodge a global collapse that is priced into the future thanks to short-sighted past and present mistakes.
It’s a poetic analysis, with a spare score that cedes ground to its visionary subjects, and their destabilizing subject matter. But it’s also an optimistic exploration, holding out hope that humanity’s exponential technological development can discover solutions to stave off what Hawking calls the next two centuries of natural and social disasters we’ll have to negotiate to survive as a species. Some answers come from Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics, which is scouring the planet’s oceans for microbes whose genes can help us “write software for life.” Others can be found in the internet, which Surviving Progress posits as our interconnected planetary brain. If you’re looking for a fiery polemic, Surviving Progress, opening in April, is not the film for you. But if you’re looking for a sweeping think piece, welcome to the machine.
the island president
Earlier this February, Mohammed Nasheed — the Mandela of the Maldives, who like his forebear has spent much of his life being tortured in prison — was allegedly forced from his presidency by gunpoint. A month later, The Island President, a documentary exploring Nasheed’s campaign to reverse climate change in order to save the low-lying Maldives from being swallowed by inevitable sea rise, finally debuted in a United States that probably couldn’t even locate his country on a Google map. Even so, The Island President’s award-winning political and environmental intrigue still managed to capture the consciences of its viewers, critics and even his own country.
Although director Jon Shenk’s documentary takes place in a remote corner of climate change’s evolving dystopia, it remains a cautionary tale for any nation that thinks its elections are clean and its political and economic priorities are being properly addressed and administered. And the show goes on with Nasheed’s one-time ally, vice-president and Stanford graduate Mohammed Hassan — whose own brother fingered him for helping oust Nasheed in a coup — now sweating uncomfortably in global warming’s hot seat. He’ll soon be joined by politicians at the center of power webs in places Americans do know, like Miami, New York and others subject to the ravages of sea rise.
After bidding on 14 parcels of pristine Utah public land near national parks and landmarks during a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction, Tim DeChristopher was taken into custody by federal agents and sentenced to two years in prison by judge Dee Benson, a controversial George H.W. Bush appointee.
Award-wininng director team Beth and George Gage’s Bidder 70 tells the compelling, infuriating tale of DeChristopher’s conscientious civil disobedience, and the ludicrous legal ruling that has kept him behind bars for longer than anyone involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill or the global economic recession, tragedies much more deserving of judicial overreach. Despite the fact that his brilliant stunt allowed the incoming Obama administration to invalidate the auction altogether in lieu of adequate environmental review, the uncompromising DeChristopher is still unfairly incarcerated, awaiting his moment of triumphant redemption. One fervently hopes that Bidder 70 brings that moment much closer than his scheduled release date of April 21, 2013, which is perhaps not accidentally a day shy of Earth Day.
( no trailer; linked movie site viewed separately )
You’ll have a hard time finding the sobering Chasing Ice in the malls, as it’s still on the competitive documentary circuit. But one thing is for sure: There’ll be even less ice to find when director Jeff Orlowski’s documentary about climate change and vanishing glaciers finds foreign and domestic theatrical distribution later this year. Chasing Ice is produced by the team that brought you the dolphin horror documentary The Cove, and it’s just as arresting, as it follows acclaimed National Geographic photographer James Balog to the Arctic in search of something that won’t melt away before our eyes.
Balog’s project to photograph the region’s warming climate is not called the Extreme Ice Survey for nothing. For the last five years, it has mounted 30 time-lapse cameras across three continents to chronicle the jaw-dropping loss of Arctic sea ice, drawing a sharp, immediate focus on the ramifications of that nearly unprecedented warming. The EIS has published these results in National Geographic, but the still photographs are nothing compared to the existential terror and environmental beauty of Chasing Ice, one of 2012′s most important documentaries. Watch it by any means necessary.
( linked trailer viewed separately )
Chasing Ice may be a more wide-ranging documentary analysis of the entire Arctic region, but it is To the Arctic’s tale of a mother polar bear and her twin cubs that is getting the 70mm IMAX treatment this April. It’s also boasting narration from Meryl Streep, as well as songs from Paul McCartney, in case you were looking for further pop crossovers. But this is not to say that To the Arctic is a lightweight crowd-pleaser.
Directed by outdoor IMAX filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, To the Arctic is an eye-popping exploration that hangs its environmental message on three live animal leads, hoping their modest story of solitary survival can teach us all a lesson about living in an interdependent system at the mercy of the natural world’s disruptively real-time changes. That it does so in stunning visual fashion doesn’t derail that message, so much as couch it in an empathy perhaps more suitable to a much less cynical era. But if every parent in the world took their kids to see To the Arctic instead of The Lorax, the world might be in a lot less of a mess.
( linked trailer viewed separately )
Being extraordinarily large nomads who like to graze on open land, bison stick out of our light-speed 21st-century technopolis like sore reminders of times long past. For this reason and others, we haven’t been able to stop killing them. Or worse, privileging the unsustainable factory-farming of cattle, consumption of which drastically raises our chances of illness and death, all while hypocritically crying about the tragic loss of the West in the process. This April, Public Broadcasting System’s Independent Lens series airs High Plains Films’ Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison as a timely remainder of this historically problematic human-animal relationship.
It’s an intricate analysis, brought to life by archival imagery, original animation and wildlife photography that will hopefully compel its viewers to get out of their cubicles into open spaces where existence takes on more dimensional meaning. Facing the Storm also examines not just the ages-old battle between cattle ranchers and Native Americans and like-minded conservationists, but also suspicious domestication strategies designed to strip bison of their nomadic instincts altogether, so that we may better contain and eat them.
April 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Robert Kennedy Jr, with a lifetime of environmental protection, takes on Massey Coal in West VA.
here is one powerful, if last-minute, bid for Mother
THE LAST MOUNTAIN
December 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Not alone in investing little hope in durban’s outcome
( save for the blessed, ubiquitous 99 ) . . .
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — Yvo de Boer said he left his job as the U.N.’s top climate official in frustration 18 months ago, believing the process of negotiating a meaningful climate agreement was failing. His opinion hasn’t changed.
“I still have the same view of the process that led me to leave the process,” he told The Associated Press Sunday. “I’m still deeply concerned about where it’s going, or rather where it’s not going, about the lack of progress.”
For three years until 2010, the Dutch civil servant was the leading voice on global warming on the world stage. He appeared constantly in public to advocate green policies, traveled endlessly for private meetings with top leaders and labored with negotiators seeking ways to finesse snags in drafting agreements.
In the end he felt he “wasn’t really able to contribute as I should be to the process,” he said.
Today he can take a long view on his years as a Dutch negotiator in the 1990s and later as a senior U.N. official with access to the highest levels of government, business and civil society. He is able to voice criticisms he was reluctant to air when he was actively shepherding climate diplomacy.
Negotiators live “in a separate universe,” and the ongoing talks are “like a log that’s drifted away,” he said. Then, drawing another metaphor from his rich reservoir, he called the annual 194-nation conferences “a bit of a mouse wheel.”
De Boer spoke to the AP on the sidelines of the latest round of talks in this South African port city, which he is attending as a consultant for the international accounting firm KPMG.
Elsewhere in Durban Sunday, the South African host of the talks called for divine help at a climate change church service organized by the South African Council of Churches.
“We needed to pray for (an) acceptable, balanced outcome, that has a sense of urgency,” said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who as South Africa’s foreign minister is president of the Durban round of negotiations. Priests laid their hands on her head in blessing during the service.
De Boer said world leaders have failed to become deeply engaged in efforts to reach an international accord to control greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming. In recent years, their inattention has been compounded by their preoccupation with the economic and Eurozone crises.
Negotiators have been at the job so long — since the 1992 climate convention — that they have lost touch with the real world, he said. But it wasn’t their fault.
“I completely understand that it is very difficult for a negotiator to move if you haven’t been given a political sense of direction and the political space to move,” he said, chatting on a hilltop terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Rather than act in their own national interests, many leaders look to see what others are willing — or unwilling — to concede.
“You’ve got a bunch of international leaders sitting 85 stories up on the edge of a building saying to each other, you jump first and I’ll follow. And there is understandably a reluctance to be the first one to jump,” he said.
The 2009 Copenhagen summit was a breaking point. Expectations soared that the conference would produce an accord setting firm rules for bringing down global carbon emissions. When delegates fell short, hopes remained high that President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, most of Europe’s heads of government and more than 100 other top leaders would save the day at the last minute.
De Boer said he spent the last 24 hours of the summit in “a very small and very smelly room” with about 20 prime ministers and presidents, but the time was not ripe for the hoped-for international treaty.
Obama still hoped to push domestic legislation through the Senate, and any prior commitment to a U.N. treaty would have killed his chances. The bill died anyway. China and India, too, were not ready in Copenhagen to accept internationally binding limits on their emissions.
Many Americans, he said, have still not bought into the “green story,” he said. In the meantime, the U.S. is losing a competitive edge against China, which is investing heavily to shift the course of its economy — from which it will benefit regardless of the global warming issue, he said.
Despite their failures, De Boer said he thought most leaders sincerely want a deal on climate change.
“I do not see the negotiating process being able to rise to that challenge, being capable of delivering on that,” he said. “I believe the sincerity on the part of world leaders is there, but it’s almost as though they do not have control of the process that’s suppose to take them there.”
November 28, 2011 § Leave a Comment
. . . The most feared half
here’s naomi klein sounding off at a recent occupy wall street rally
and here’s one truly ground-breaking article that goes to the heart of the issue
i urge you to READ IT IN FULL
like paul gilding before her in THE GREAT DISRUPTION
this much gifted activist-journalist
isn’t mincing her sweeping, inevitable conclusions
what’s called for is a total paradigm shift in how we live
-rain on those loaded labels of the past!
the article first appeared on the website of the nation magazine
bit on the lengthy side for a web-read
but so vital and so well written just the same
you & i simply must’n pass it up
it is here EXCERPTED FROM ALTERNET
for shemovesme.com . . .
To Conservatives, Climate Change is Trojan Horse to Abolish Capitalism
. . . Claiming that climate change is a plot to steal American freedom is rather tame by Heartland standards. Over the course of this two-day conference, I will learn that Obama’s campaign promise to support locally owned biofuels refineries was really about “green communitarianism,” akin to the “Maoist” scheme to put “a pig iron furnace in everybody’s backyard” (the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels). That climate change is “a stalking horse for National Socialism” (former Republican senator and retired astronaut Harrison Schmitt). And that environmentalists are like Aztec priests, sacrificing countless people to appease the gods and change the weather (Marc Morano, editor of the denialists’ go-to website, ClimateDepot.com).
Most of all, however, I will hear versions of the opinion expressed by the county commissioner in the fourth row: that climate change is a Trojan horse designed to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism. As conference speaker Larry Bell succinctly puts it in his new book Climate of Corruption, climate change “has little to do with the state of the environment and much to do with shackling capitalism and transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth redistribution.”
. . . This is the true purpose of the gathering: providing a forum for die-hard denialists to collect the rhetorical baseball bats with which they will club environmentalists and climate scientists in the weeks and months to come. The talking points first tested here will jam the comment sections beneath every article and YouTube video that contains the phrase “climate change” or “global warming.” They will also exit the mouths of hundreds of right-wing commentators and politicians—from Republican presidential candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann all the way down to county commissioners like Richard Rothschild. In an interview outside the sessions, Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, proudly takes credit for “thousands of articles and op-eds and speeches…that were informed by or motivated by somebody attending one of these conferences.”
. . . But now there is a significant cohort of Republicans who care passionately, even obsessively, about climate change—though what they care about is exposing it as a “hoax” being perpetrated by liberals to force them to change their light bulbs, live in Soviet-style tenements and surrender their SUVs. For these right-wingers, opposition to climate change has become as central to their worldview as low taxes, gun ownership and opposition to abortion. Many climate scientists report receiving death threats, as do authors of articles on subjects as seemingly innocuous as energy conservation. (As one letter writer put it to Stan Cox, author of a book critical of air-conditioning, “You can pry my thermostat out of my cold dead hands.”)
. . .But the effects of the right-wing climate conspiracies reach far beyond the Republican Party. The Democrats have mostly gone mute on the subject, not wanting to alienate independents. And the media and culture industries have followed suit.
. . . This uneasy silence has persisted through the end of the hottest decade in recorded history and yet another summer of freak natural disasters and record-breaking heat worldwide. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is rushing to make multibillion-dollar investments in new infrastructure to extract oil, natural gas and coal from some of the dirtiest and highest-risk sources on the continent (the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline being only the highest-profile example). In the Alberta tar sands, in the Beaufort Sea, in the gas fields of Pennsylvania and the coalfields of Wyoming and Montana, the industry is betting big that the climate movement is as good as dead.
. . . All of this means that the climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback. For this to happen, the left is going to have to learn from the right. Denialists gained traction by making climate about economics: action will destroy capitalism, they have claimed, killing jobs and sending prices soaring. But at a time when a growing number of people agree with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, many of whom argue that capitalism-as-usual is itself the cause of lost jobs and debt slavery, there is a unique opportunity to seize the economic terrain from the right. This would require making a persuasive case that the real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system—one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power. It would also require a shift away from the notion that climate action is just one issue on a laundry list of worthy causes vying for progressive attention. Just as climate denialism has become a core identity issue on the right, utterly entwined with defending current systems of power and wealth, the scientific reality of climate change must, for progressives, occupy a central place in a coherent narrative about the perils of unrestrained greed and the need for real alternatives.
. . . The deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands. They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their “free market” belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”
Here’s my inconvenient truth: they aren’t wrong. Before I go any further, let me be absolutely clear: as 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists attest, the Heartlanders are completely wrong about the science. The heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels are already causing temperatures to increase. If we are not on a radically different energy path by the end of this decade, we are in for a world of pain.
But when it comes to the real-world consequences of those scientific findings, specifically the kind of deep changes required not just to our energy consumption but to the underlying logic of our economic system, the crowd gathered at the Marriott Hotel may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists, the ones who paint a picture of global warming Armageddon, then assure us that we can avert catastrophe by buying “green” products and creating clever markets in pollution.
. . . The expansionist, extractive mindset, which has so long governed our relationship to nature, is what the climate crisis calls into question so fundamentally. The abundance of scientific research showing we have pushed nature beyond its limits does not just demand green products and market-based solutions; it demands a new civilizational paradigm, one grounded not in dominance over nature but in respect for natural cycles of renewal—and acutely sensitive to natural limits, including the limits of human intelligence.
So in a way, Chris Horner was right when he told his fellow Heartlanders that climate change isn’t “the issue.” In fact, it isn’t an issue at all. Climate change is a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture’s most cherished ideas are no longer viable.
. . . the reality is that Soviet-era state socialism was a disaster for the climate. It devoured resources with as much enthusiasm as capitalism, and spewed waste just as recklessly: before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Czechs and Russians had even higher carbon footprints per capita than their counterparts in Britain, Canada and Australia. And while some point to the dizzying expansion of China’s renewable energy programs to argue that only centrally controlled regimes can get the green job done, China’s command-and-control economy continues to be harnessed to wage an all-out war with nature, through massively disruptive mega-dams, superhighways and extraction-based energy projects, particularly coal.
It is true that responding to the climate threat requires strong government action at all levels. But real climate solutions are ones that steer these interventions to systematically disperse and devolve power and control to the community level, whether through community-controlled renewable energy, local organic agriculture or transit systems genuinely accountable to their users.
Here is where the Heartlanders have good reason to be afraid: arriving at these new systems is going to require shredding the free-market ideology that has dominated the global economy for more than three decades. What follows is a quick-and-dirty look at what a serious climate agenda would mean in the following six arenas: public infrastructure, economic planning, corporate regulation, international trade, consumption and taxation. For hard-right ideologues like those gathered at the Heartland conference, the results are nothing short of intellectually cataclysmic.
( i especially urge you to read these six in the original . . . 1. Reviving & Reinventing the Public Sphere, 2. Remembering How to Plan, 3. Reining in Corporations, 4. Relocalizing Production, 5. Ending the Cult of Shopping, 6. Taxing the Rich & Filthy )
. . . Shifting cultural values is, admittedly, a tall order. It calls for the kind of ambitious vision that movements used to fight for a century ago, before everything was broken into single “issues” to be tackled by the appropriate sector of business-minded NGOs. Climate change is, in the words of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, “the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen.” By all rights, this reality should be filling progressive sails with conviction, breathing new life and urgency into longstanding fights against everything from free trade to financial speculation to industrial agriculture to third-world debt, while elegantly weaving all these struggles into a coherent narrative about how to protect life on earth.
But that isn’t happening, at least not so far. It is a painful irony that while the Heartlanders are busily calling climate change a left-wing plot, most leftists have yet to realize that climate science has handed them the most powerful argument against capitalism since William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” (and, of course, those mills were the beginning of climate change). When demonstrators are cursing out the corruption of their governments and corporate elites in Athens, Madrid, Cairo, Madison and New York, climate change is often little more than a footnote, when it should be the coup de grâce.
Half of the problem is that progressives—their hands full with soaring unemployment and multiple wars—tend to assume that the big green groups have the climate issue covered. The other half is that many of those big green groups have avoided, with phobic precision, any serious debate on the blindingly obvious roots of the climate crisis: globalization, deregulation and contemporary capitalism’s quest for perpetual growth (the same forces that are responsible for the destruction of the rest of the economy). The result is that those taking on the failures of capitalism and those fighting for climate action remain two solitudes, with the small but valiant climate justice movement—drawing the connections between racism, inequality and environmental vulnerability—stringing up a few swaying bridges between them.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). Read more atNaomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter @naomiaklein.
September 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
history too will tell it well
as all watch this planet-girding production over & over
catching up on what we missed