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  1. Anthropocentric Blinders Can’t Be Shed By the Pope

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    July 20, 2017 by John Crapper

    I recently looked at a document that got buried in my in-box put out by the Vatican a while back.  It got me thinking once again about a prior encyclical Pope Frances released concerning climate change.  This most recent document provides continuing proof of the perception blinders hindering the Pope with regard to climate change.
    Vatican document, Ad Resurgendum cum Christo,  dated 15 August, 2016 and says Pope Francis approved it in March. The instructions were released before All Souls’ Day on 2 November, 2016, when the faithful remember and pray for the dead.
    It states:

    Ashes must be kept “in a holy place, that is a cemetery or a church or in a place that has been specifically dedicated to this purpose. The conservation of ashes in the home is not allowed,” he said.

    “Furthermore, in order to avoid any form of pantheistic or naturalistic or nihilistic misunderstanding, the dispersion of ashes in the air, on the ground, on water or in some other way as well as the conversion of cremated ashes into commemorative objects is not allowed.”

    This is pretty anthropocentric.

    Now I’m going to take the liberty to repost an article I wrote in September 2015 analyzing in detail the Pope’s climate change encyclical because I feel it’s still extremely relevant to our current situation.


    encyclical

    1. a letter addressed by the pope to all the bishops of the church.

    2. (of a letter) intended for a wide or general circulation; general.

    3. a letter from the Pope to the Roman Catholic clergy on matters of doctrine or other concerns of the Churcht to be read from the pulpit.

    anthropocentric:

    1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.

    2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience.

    You don’t get much more anthropocentrically centered than the Judeo-Christian belief that God created the entire world to serve man’s every need. There are plenty of passages found in the Bible that lend support and rationalization for this belief. Take for example the following verses.

    First Genesis 1:26 –

    Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ (from the New International Version (NIV)

    Then there is Genesis 1:28 (from the New International Version (NIV)

    God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    Genesis 9:1-29 (from the English Standard Version)

    And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. …

    All of these versus lend credence to the notion that God intended man to be in control of the environment around him.

    It is not at all uncommon for ecologists to challenge anthropocentrism. Here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we steadfastly and routinely do just that.

    But it’s something else for the pontiff of the Catholic Church to do it. But that is what Pope Francis did in his latest Encyclical Letter – Laudato SI’. The significance of this letter cannot be overstated.

    And the Pope has plenty of biblical references to bolster his own argument challenging anthropocentrism. Here are a few examples:

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

    “You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

    “The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.” (Isaiah 24:4-6)

    “You have polluted the land with your whoring and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come.” (Jeremiah 3:2-3)

    I recently took the time to read this encyclical in its entirety. I wanted to know first-hand what the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics had to say about climate change and man’s obligations to resolve this man-made problem.

    +++ Note: All quotes of the encyclical letter are taken from the official transcript. It is quite a lengthy document but well worth the time to read. This diary, although lengthy itself, contains only a small portion of the territory covered in the encyclical. +++

    Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his recent encyclical when he says:

    We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.

    And as you might guess the Pope couches this egocentric mindset in terms of sin.

    “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.

    And he accurately goes on to say:

    If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

    And he admirably identifies the importance of addressing the needs of the poor as it relates to climate change.

    Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever.

    He goes on accurately to list the problems of fresh clean water, the loss of biodiversity, the decline in the quality of human life and the increase in global inequality. He points out the breakdown of society and the weak response to date of addressing all these problems.

    He makes special mention of the increasing rate of change taking place in our societies.

    The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”.

    And he does a good job of pointing out this rapidification is coupled with super-consumerism.

    But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

    And finally, he points out the fallacy of blaming over-population exclusively for the problem.

    To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.

    No one can fault the Pope for analyzing the problem of climate change through the eyes of the position he holds; that of being the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. As I read the encyclical I kept this in mind as I traveled down the path of his logic. His insights and analysis of the problem of anthropogenic climate change is groundbreaking and a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and the community of faith as a whole.

    But that spiritual perspective must be recognized for what it is. A fundamental orientation of perception that filters all thought through the lens of faith. And this lens of faith limits and blinds the pontiff from clearly analyzing certain human aspects of this human caused problem.

    Reflections of Poop John the First, Church of the Holy Shitters

     

    The problems in perception I identified while reading the encyclical fell into the following two broad categories.

    1. The difficulty religion poses of reconciling the belief in the divine nature of mankind with man’s animal connections distorting man’s correct placement in the “natural grand scheme of things”.

    2. The divine nature of man orientation tends to blind a person’s perception inhibiting the close examination of man’s bodily functions and needs as they relate to the environment.

    The starting point for the Pope is that he believes in the wisdom of the Bible.

    The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26).

    The Pope argues from the perspective that the earth was “given to man”.

    “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but, man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed”.

    He analyzes from a perspective of man being above nature.

    Human beings, even if we postulate a process of evolution, also possess a uniqueness which cannot be fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has his or her own personal identity and is capable of entering into dialogue with others and with God himself. Our capacity to reason, to develop arguments, to be inventive, to interpret reality and to create art, along with other not yet discovered capacities, are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology.

    And above other creatures.

    Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others.

    And this elevation of human life leads to the elevation of our role in the grand scheme of things in the eyes of believers.

    Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

    His religion insists that each human being is an image of God but this should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. But as he states, other creatures are not at the same level as humans. Because of our elevated, in the image of God nature, we have a special responsibility.

    This is not to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails. Nor does it imply a divinization of the earth which would prevent us from working on it and protecting it in its fragility.

    And it puts the value of human life in a special category as indicated by the Church’s stand on abortion (and although not mentioned here birth control too.)

    Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”.

    And finally he analyzes from the perspective of everlasting eternal life promising a new and better existence.

    At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God (cf. 1 Cor 13:12), and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude. Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.

    In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

    So, although Pope Francis acknowledges the problem of anthropocentricity in just the second paragraph of his encyclical, he does not come to the conclusion that humans are not the central element of the universe. He therefore continues to interpret largely in terms of human values and experience. In his mind, the problem lies not in us realizing we are not all that special in the grand scheme of things but in us not acting as God wants us to act and being sinners and not living up to God’s expectations. We need to be more aware of God within ourselves and in the universe.

    The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face.[159] The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves”.

    The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures.

    So, although the Pope does an admirable job attempting to put the anthropocentric orientation his religion demands in a different light he still has to maintain its anthropocentric elements. Consequently, he spent very little time delving into the issues most closely related to our “animal connections”.

    I found it also blinded him to certain aspects of the problem closely associated with certain bodily functions and needs. The most well-known of these is man’s sexuality. I don’t want to dive into this aspect of our “animal connectedness” but it is well known the Church’s stand on such things as birth control, pre-marital sex, a woman’s right to choose and the acceptance of the LGBT orientations. The Catholic Church basically struggles with all things sexually as evidenced by the belief in the Immaculate Conception and the requirement for both priests and nuns to be celibate.

    Much more under the radar of most people’s awareness was his ignoring of fecal matters. Although the needs of the poor was a main theme of his encyclical, sanitation was only mentioned cursorily stating simply that the poor need access to it.

    But it is a huge issue for the poor and it matters.

    It matters because 2.6 billion people don’t have sanitation. “Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box.” “Diarrhea—nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water—kills a child every fifteen seconds.” “The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.” “The 1.8 million child deaths each year related to clean water and sanitation dwarf the casualties associated with violent conflict. No act of terrorism generates economic devastation on the scale of the crisis in water and sanitation. Yet this issue barely registered in this encyclical.

    To take this brief look at sanitation one step further let’s look at the predominant modern sanitation system used in the world today. Each of us pays good money to have purified water pour into our toilets. We then do our business and flush it into the sewer system. We also pay hard-earned money to carry our excrement away to a sewage treatment plant. Along the way it is mixed in with all kinds of foreign substances including chemicals, solvents and medical waste. At our sewage treatment plants varying energy intensive expensive processes are utilized to separate out the contamination from the water to return it to its pure state to be recycled. The remaining sludge’s value, as a result of human excrement being mixed with other sources of contamination, is diminished. It must be further sterilized, with questionable results, before it can be used as a fertilizer. This never-ending expensive cycle of mishandled waste indicates just how out of touch we are with our true nature. It also points out to what lengths we will go to deny our bodily functions and ignore our relationship and dependence on nature.

    The final point I want to bring up in this regard was the lack of mention of Ecological Sanitation.

    Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San)

     

    Ecological sanitation (Ecosan) offers a new philosophy of dealing with what is presently regarded as waste and wastewater. Ecosan systems enable the recovery of nutrients from human feces and urine for the benefit of agriculture, thus helping to preserve soil fertility, assure food security for future generations, minimize water pollution and recover bio-energy. They ensure that water is used economically and is recycled in a safe way for purposes such as irrigation or groundwater recharge.

    The main objectives of ecological sanitation are:

    * To reduce the health risks related to sanitation, contaminated water and waste

    * To prevent the pollution of surface and ground water

    * To prevent the degradation of soil fertility

    * To optimize the management of nutrients and water resources.

    Again, Pope Francis deserves all the accolades he has received for stepping up and publishing this encyclical on climate change. It was a huge step forward for the Catholic Church and all faith-based communities.

    But, as head of the secular environmental religion Church of the Holy Shitters, I am obligated to point out its shortcomings from our perspective.

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  2. Fish and Chips Will Be Replaced by Squid and Chips Soon!

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    July 13, 2017 by John Crapper

     

    Everyone knows that fish and chips are a big deal in Britain.  The dish is part of the very fabric of the culture.  So when this news broke a while back it sent shock waves throughout the countryside reminiscent of the results of the Brexit vote.

    The headline in the Telegraph 12 December 2016 read:

    Squid and chips to replace cod and chips on dinner tables because of warming sea temperatures, scientists say

    Government scientists have predicted that the traditional national favourite of fish and chips will soon take on a distinctly Mediterranean flavour.

    With warming sea temperatures hampering already badly damaged cod and haddock populations, fishermen will increasingly have to chase the once abundant white fish into colder, more northerly waters.

    At the same time warm water fish such as squid, mackerel, sardines and red mullet are being increasingly spotted in Britain’s fishing waters.

    “They will probably represent a greater share of UK fisheries catches in 10 years’ time.”

     

    A recent poll conducted by Yougov published in late September , 2016 indicated the British public were not particularly worried about global warming.

    A minority of 39 per cent responded that they believed climate change posed a serious problem affecting the world as a whole, compared to 61 per cent for poverty and 77 per cent for terrorism. When asked which issue they believed presented the gravest global threat, only 6 per cent of those polled selected climate change.

    Forget rising seas, more powerful storms and warmer temperatures.  I  predict with  this news striking at the heart, soul, and palate of Britain this poll result will change!

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  3. Being Vigilant, War on Terror, Oil and Connecting the Dots

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    July 6, 2017 by John Crapper

    Not that long ago,I had a conversation with a young man who had just finished serving a tour of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I asked him what, in his opinion, was the reason we had become militarily involved in those countries. Without hesitation he immediately said, “oil”.

    Connecting the dots!

    I am told to be vigilant yet the war on terror drags endlessly on.  I’m told we’re making progress but I’m also told it will be a long and sustained fight.

    I would like to posit a new approach in our war on terror.  What if the United States, along with our Western allies, made a concerted and sustained effort to unplug from the Middle East?

    Why are we so  involved with this area anyway? Is it because we consider Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq our natural allies as we do Great Britain? I think not. I think it is because of oil just like the soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan said to me.

    There is an ebb and flow to the sources of terrorist funding depending on the circumstances they find themselves dealing with. It is a complex system but individuals and charities continue to play a significant role. How does it work? Here is a Saudi Arabian example provided by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security

    This Gulf monarchy is a rentier state in which no taxes are imposed on the population. Instead, Saudis have a religious tax, the zakat, requiring all Muslims to give at least 2.5 percent of their income to charities. Many of the charities are truly dedicated to good causes, but others merely serve as money laundering and terrorist financing apparatuses. While many Saudis contribute to those charities in good faith believing their money goes toward good causes, others know full well the terrorist purposes to which their money will be funneled. What makes penetration and control of money transactions in the Arab world especially difficult is the Hawala system–the unofficial method of transferring money and one of the key elements in the financing of global terrorism. The system has been going for generations and is deeply embedded in the Arab culture. Hawala transactions are based on trust; they are carried out verbally leaving no paper trail.

    It is not a coincidence that much of the cash falling into terrorists hands comes from the oil monarchies in the Persian Gulf. Oil and terrorism are entangled. Most of their wealth comes from oil. Once again take Saudi Arabia.

    Oil revenues make up around 90-95% of total Saudi export earnings, 70%-80% of state revenues, and around 40% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)….Most wealthy Saudis who sponsor charities and educational foundations that preach religious intolerance and hate toward the Western values have made their money from the petroleum industry or its subsidiaries.

    According to a report by GlobalSecurity.org dated October 4, 2016:

    There are numerous credible reports that the Saudi government and members of the royal family directly and indirectly fund the global propagation of an exclusivist religious ideology, Wahhabism, which allegedly promotes hatred, intolerance, and other abuses of human rights, including violence. The concern is not about the propagation of Islam per se, but about allegations that the Saudi government’s version of Islam promotes abuses of human rights, including violent acts, against non-Muslims and disfavored Muslims.

    If Saudi Arabia has been largely the financial engine behind radical Sunni Islam,  Iran has been the powerhouse behind the terrorism associated with radical Shiite Islam.

    Iran, OPEC’s second largest oil producer, is holder of 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and has the world’s second largest natural gas reserve. With oil and gas revenues constituting over 80 percent of its total export earning and 50 percent of its gross domestic product, Iran is heavily dependent on petrodollars. It is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and supporter of some of the world’s most radical Islamic movements…

    The line between oil and terrorism is clear. Oil money is being systematically used to keep semi-feudal royal families in power, propagate hostility against the West, modernity, non-Musslims, and women. If the United States and it’s Western allies made a concerted effort to reduce and eventually eliminate their dependence on Middle Eastern oil, funding for terrorism would be dramatically reduced and we might actually begin to eliminate the threat posed by terrorism around the world.

    And that’s not all. There is a line between the effects of climate change and unrest in a country due to it. Take for instance the upheaval we’re witnessing in Syria.

    The conflict that has torn Syria apart can be traced, in part, to a record drought worsened by global warming, a new study claims.

    In what scientists say is one of the most detailed and strongest connections between violence and human-caused climate change, researchers from Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara trace the effects of Syria’s drought from the collapse of farming, to the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities, and then to poverty and civil unrest.

    But don’t take my word for it. Once again, take the word of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security.

    Hence, America’s best weapon against terrorism is to decrease its dependency on foreign oil by increasing its fuel efficiency and introducing next-generation fuels. If the U.S. bought less oil, the global oil market would shrink and price per-barrel would decline. This would invalidate the social contract between the leaders and their people and stem the flow of resources to the religious establishment. It will likely increase popular pressure for political participation, modernity and reformed political and social institutions. Reducing demand for Middle East oil would force the petroleum-rich regimes to invest their funds domestically, seek ways to diversify their economies and rethink their support for America’s enemies. Only then financial support for terrorism could radically diminish.

    Figuring this out and coming to this conclusion is not rocket science. A cursory analysis of the situation and it becomes readily apparent, yet we seldom if ever here our leaders from the president on down mentioning it.

    Instead we continue to hear of the need to increase military budgets, beef up homeland security, monitor our every word and give our support to covert special operations and drone attacks.

    And of course we are told to be vigilant.   I still can’t figure out exactly what that means  or exactly what actions being vigilant instructs me to take.  It’s just not something that speaks to me in terms of doing something/anything to assist. This call to be vigilant leaves me with a deep sense of helplessness.

    I would like my government to ask me to do something new? How about asking me to really take some everyday actions to directly assist in the effort? What if the government declared war on our fossil fuel dependency and waged a WWII type effort to wean all of us off of its use and transform our economy to a non-polluting , renewable energy based one? What if they set a goal of us being totally free of our need to import foreign oil in 10 years. Impossible you say? If you said yes I would have to say you are very wrong.  What if they asked me, no better yet, incentivized me to take concrete steps in my life to conserve and make a personal transition away from fossil fuel use?

    The New Deal: Leadership can make it happen again.

    There are many good reasons to justify the declaration of this war on fossil fuel; for the President to declare a state of national emergency and invoke the special powers afforded to the office during times of war. Let me just name a few.

    1.Fossil fuel is compromising our national security, altering our foreign policy priorities and ensnarling us in conflicts around the world.

    2.It is polluting our air, water and land.

    3.It is damaging our health and raising our health care costs.

    4.It is altering our weather patterns and disrupting ecosystems around the globe.

    5.It is inhibiting our economic growth.

    6.It is seriously deteriorating our overall quality of life.

    Isn’t this list enough proof that a state of war is justified? When a nation’s way of life is threatened isn’t it proper to declare war on the cause of that threat?

    To date the energy issue has been a sideshow. It needs to be the issue that is woven into every facet of American public opinion. The American people need to be sold on an “Energy New Deal” to fight our “War on Terror”. The American people need to be sold on an “Energy New Deal” to tackle climate change. The American people need to be sold on an “Energy New Deal” to retool our economy for a green energy future. The American people need to be sold on an “Energy New Deal” for a healthier, cleaner environment.

    The ideas are endless. It’s the focus that is needed.

    And with Trump sitting in the White House it is a very distant dream that this “Energy New Deal” I envision will happen anytime soon.

    Maybe that is what is really meant by asking us to be vigilant.

    Vigilant

    keenly watchful to detect danger; wary:
    a vigilant sentry.

    ever awake and alert; sleeplessly watchful.

    screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-1-55-05-pm

    Egomainiac

    Egomainiac

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I must be vigilant and keep a close eye on Trump’s every action in this regard.  My personal safety and this country’s war on terror demands nothing less.

     

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  4. Silver Bullet Thinking and My False Sense of Security

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    June 15, 2017 by John Crapper

     

    Silver bullet solutions to climate change give me hope for a quick easy fix.  They give me reason to believe that we can avoid the worst.  They play to my ego and that man’s ingenuity and technology will be able to save the day.

    Silver bullet solutions also fool me into thinking I don’t have to change my way of living.  They give me hope for a painless fix.  They give me license to ignore and continue on as if all will be fine.  They give me a subliminal way of denying environmental reality.

    I must admit that technology has served us well.  It has brought the Industrial Revolution, Green Revolution and Information Revolution.  I live life better because of science and technology. I couldn’t do what I’m doing right now on this computer if it wasn’t for technology.

    Because of these past marvelous accomplishments I’ve been conditioned to have tremendous confidence in science and technology.

    But silver bullet proponents give fuel to the mime that deniers argue – that science can’t be trusted.  After all, if a promising new technology doesn’t manifest itself as expected then why should scientists be believed with regard to the existence of climate change?

    But I still like to keep track of what might be possible in our future.  With the reality of our current carbon path looking so bleak it’s nice once in a while to dream the silver bullet dream.

    Here are a few silver bullets  I’m watching.

    Fusion Nuclear Power  

    A few years back it was the silver bullet that was going to solve our energy needs and climate change at the same time.  Well I’m still waiting.

    The problem with fusion has always been that to get the fusion reaction it takes more energy to produce it than it puts out, which is the exact opposite of what you want from a power plant.

    Well scientists are telling us it’s within reach now.  I checked up on the latest.

    The first and largest machine of its kind is currently under construction at the French scientific research centre Cadarache, which specialises in nuclear power research.

    It’s called ITER, Latin for “The Way”, and is expected to usher in a new era of nuclear fusion-powered electricity – something scientists and engineers have been working toward for over 40 years.

    By fusing two forms of hydrogen – called deuterium and tritium – together, the machine would generate 500 megawatts of power. That’s 10 times more energy than it would require to operate.

    Once completed, ITER would measure 100 feet (30 metres) in diameter and height, representing a new breed of nuclear fusion device. If it reaches its energy output goals, it will be the first machine of its kind to bridge the gap from fusion research in the lab to readily available fusion power for cities.

    As of June 2015, construction costs for the machine exceeded US$14 billion.

    I hope it turns out to be true.

    Carbon sequestration/carbon capture and storage (CCS)

    What is carbon sequestration?
    Carbon sequestration is capturing the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels and storing it safely away from the atmosphere.

    In November, 2016 Science Daily Reported:

    Lab studies on basalt have shown that the rock, which formed from lava millions of years ago and is found throughout the world, can rapidly convert CO2 into stable carbonate minerals. This evidence suggests that if CO2 could be locked into this solid form, it would be stowed away for good, unable to escape into the atmosphere. But what happens in the lab doesn’t always reflect what happens in the field. One field project in Iceland injected CO2 pre-dissolved in water into a basalt formation, where it was successfully stored. And starting in 2009, researchers with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Montana-based Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership undertook a pilot project in eastern Washington to inject 1,000 tons of pressurized liquid CO2 into a basalt formation.

    After drilling a well in the Columbia River Basalt formation and testing its properties, the team injected CO2 into it in 2013. Core samples were extracted from the well two years later, and Pete McGrail and colleagues confirmed that the CO2 had indeed converted into the carbonate mineral ankerite, as the lab experiments had predicted. And because basalts are widely found in North America and throughout the world, the researchers suggest that the formations could help permanently sequester carbon on a large scale.

    Clean Coal

    What is the biggest obstacle?

    Cost. The technology works. The economics don’t. Power plants with C.C.S. cost about 75 percent more than regular coal plants, and the infrastructure required to transport and store CO2 is enormous. It’s also essentially still free for plants to emit carbon dioxide into the air. Until there is a real cost to companies for emitting carbon unchecked, the financial case for C.C.S. will come up short.

     

    The promise of Biochar

    Biochar Is a Valuable Soil Amendment

    This 2,000 year-old practice converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and increase soil biodiversity, and discourage deforestation. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.

    Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil management practices. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta), has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.

    Biochar can be an important tool to increase food security and cropland diversity in areas with severely depleted soils, scarce organic resources, and inadequate water and chemical fertilizer supplies.

    Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater and causing pollution.

    How Can Biochar Be Carbon Negative?

    Fossil fuels are carbon positive; they add more carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses to the air and thus exacerbate global warming. Ordinary biomass fuels are carbon neutral; the carbon captured in the biomass by photosynthesis would have eventually returned to the atmosphere through natural processes like decomposition. Sustainable biochar systems can be carbon negative by transforming the carbon in biomass into stable carbon structures in biochar which can remain sequestered in soils for hundreds and even thousands of years. The result is a net reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere, as illustrated in the diagram.

    How can biochar mitigate climate change?

    Large amounts of forestry and agricultural residues and other biomass are currently burned or left to decompose thereby releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or methane (CH4)—two main greenhouse gases (GHGs)—into the atmosphere. Under biochar conversion scenarios, easily mineralized carbon compounds in biomass are converted into fused carbon ring structures in biochar and placed in soils where they persist for hundreds or thousands of years. When deployed on a global scale through the conversion of gigatonnes of biomass into biochar, studies have shown that biochar has the potential to mitigate global climate change by drawing down atmospheric GHG concentrations (Woolf et al, 2010).

    There are many other ideas out there such as  brightening the clouds; stirring the seas to change their temperature and cool the Earth; turning the ocean into a gigantic bubble bath to reflect the sun; covering the deserts in mirrors and sending parasols into space; mimicking the cooling effects of volcanic eruptions like Mount Pinatubo.

    I can really fool myself into believing that our science and technology has a handle on the climate change issue. That a silver bullet solution is just around the corner.

    But, in reality, if I count on any of these silver bullets I sort of look like this.

     

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  5. Dreaming Big In Memory of John F. Kennedy on His 100th Birthday

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    May 28, 2017 by John Crapper

    “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” JFK

    John F. Kennedy was a dreamer and a visionary.  As we reflect on his legacy at the juncture of what would have been his 100th birthday I’d like to dream and suggest a vision I believe he would have suggested and encouraged us to adopt if he were sitting in the oval office today.

    Recall one of John F. Kennedy’s most famous statements during his presidential inauguration.

     

    I think with the challenges this country faces it is time to honor JFK and seriously consider what we can do to fulfill his request.

    I spend a lot of time researching the problems and challenges associated with climate change.  If there were ever one single problem we must address collectively in a big way it is this one irrespective of the opinion our current sitting president holds on this issue.

    Somehow our entire country needs to come together and embark on a massive effort to reduce our fossil fuel consumption to bring down the level of CO2 we are putting into our atmosphere. And it needs to start happening very quickly.

    Up until 2007 the United States was the largest emitter of CO2 in our world.  Since then China has held the top position.  As such we have an obligation to the rest of the world to lead the way in our carbon reduction efforts.

    According to the EPA here is our recent record of US CO2 reduction up until 2014 (the latest I could find).

    In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons (15.1 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide equivalents. This total represents a 7 percent increase since 1990 but a 7 percent decrease since 2005

    It has now been determined by the NSA a critical task for us to embark on serious CO2 reductions in the interest of our own national security.

    Even though we are already seeing and feeling the effects of climate change just by the nature of the problem, it will negatively impact the younger amongst us to a greater extent than those older.  The young consequently have a greater stake in having the issue prioritized.

    Research I’ve done indicates that around the year 2030 major impacts will start being seen and felt around the world. Around 2050 our world order starts to unravel if we continue doing what we’re currently doing.  And from what I’m seeing this timeframe is speeding up at present.  Just to put that in a visually more vivid way for you to  plug yourself into I offer the following.

    A person with a birthdate of

    2017 will be 13 years old in 2030 and 43 in 2050

    2007 will be 23 years old in 2030 and 53 in 2050

    1997 will be 33 years old in 2030 and 63 in 2050

    1987 will be 43 years old in 2030 and 73 in 2050

    1977 will be 53 years old in 2030 and 83 in 2050

    1967 will be 63 years old in 2030 and 93 in 2050

    1957 will be 73 years old in 2030 and 103 in 2050

    1947 will be 83 years old in 2030

    1937 will be 93 years old in 2030

    1927 will be 103 years old in 2030

    Just as JFK set a goal of putting a man on the moon in 10 years which we achieved, we can and should set an ambitious goal of major CO2 reduction in the next decade to tackle the problem of climate change.

    The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan aims to detail how a fully mobilized United States government could drive our economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions within a decade, restore a safe climate, end the sixth mass extinction, reverse ecological overshoot — and revitalize America, with 100% employment for all who want work.

    That plan outlines a myriad of steps that can and should be taken to help change our CO2 emission trajectory.  I invite you to read it.  It’s well worth the time!

    But in this article I’d like to focus on one specific idea on this 100th birthday remembrance of JFK not mentioned in the Victory Plan.

    I think it’s time this country considers a compulsory national public service program designed specifically to tackle climate change. Asking our youth to devote two years of their life to help secure the livability of their future environment seems reasonable to me. Asking them to do something for their country while concurrently their government does its part for them by embarking on such things mentioned in the Victory Plan referenced above seems reasonable to me.

    I know what you’re thinking.  This has a fat chance of happening any time soon under our current political situation.  But I ask you.  Have we lost our ability to think big?  Have we lost our willingness to pursue long-term goals?  Have we, as a country, as a people, as parents, thrown in the towel of our children’s future and resigned ourselves that their life will be much worse than the one we have had the good fortune to live?  Have we as a people given up on accepting and taking on the challenges of our day?

    I must continue to believe that that is not the case.  Otherwise the Trump-like thinkers amongst us will have won.

    So I’m going to keep dreaming because dreams can come true as well as nightmares.  Let me remind all that most of us never dreamed Trump had a chance of winning but the other side’s dream came true.

     It’s time for one of ours to come true next!

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  6. Children Deserve to Breathe Easy – Can’t Deny That

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    May 25, 2017 by John Crapper

    screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-1-40-13-pm

    Our children deserve to breathe easy.

     None of us can deny that!

    None of us have a right to deny them that!

    screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-9-53-00-pm

    Our current president is a climate change denier but he has children.

    “I am not a believer,” Trump said on a radio show in September 2015. “Unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there’s weather.”

    He’s not alone holding this opinion either.

    Climate change denial hit a six-year high in 2014, with 23 percent of Americans saying they do not believe in global warming, and 53 percent saying they do not believe global warming is human-caused.

    I don’t believe it very likely these deniers are persuadable to the fact of anthropogenic climate change.  I think it prudent to skirt the issue and hit them on another indisputable fact.

    CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels results in air pollution.  The climate change deniers can’t argue with that because pictures prove its existence.

    screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-4-50-43-pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume most of these climate change deniers do care about their children.  That seems to be a rather universal trait across all peoples around the world no matter how ill informed.  So a better line of reasoning to use with a denier revolves around the dangerous level of air pollution we’re seeing around the world and the harm it is causing our children.  That seems like a no-brainer approach to me.

    A fresh report is alarming.

    Counting 2 billion children breathing unhealthy air — out of a total 2.26 billion world population of children — means the vast majority are being exposed to levels of pollution considered by the WHO to be unsafe.

    Out of that 2 billion breathing toxic air, the report puts 620 million of them in South Asia — mostly northern India. Another 520 million children are breathing toxic air in Africa, and 450 million in East Asia, mainly China, according to the report, which combined satellite images of pollution and ground data with demographic patterns to determine which populations fell into the highest risk areas.

    Children around the world are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of air pollution.  This is because they breathe faster than adults and as a result take in more air.  Since their minds and bodies are not fully developed along with their immune systems high levels of pollution cause more damage relative to adults exposed to the same levels of pollution.

    The impact is commensurately shocking,” with 600,000 children younger than 5 across the world dying every year from air pollution-related diseases, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said…

    Millions more suffer from respiratory diseases that diminish their resilience and affect their physical and cognitive development.

    According to the new 2016 report from the American Lung Association air quality in the U.S is improving but we still have a long way to go.

    The annual, national air quality “report card” found that 166 million Americans live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, putting them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects like lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

    Top 10 U.S. Cities Most Polluted by Year-Round Particle Pollution (Annual PM2.5):

    Bakersfield, Calif.
    Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.
    Fresno-Madera, Calif.
    Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
    El Centro, Calif.
    (tied) Modesto-Merced, Calif.
    (tied) San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
    Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-W. Va.
    Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, Pa.
    Louisville-Jefferson
    County-Elizabethtown-Madison, KY-IN

     

     

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  7. National Security Says Climate Has Been a Risk Since 2003

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    May 18, 2017 by John Crapper

    screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-8-30-58-am

    Now that the Donald is receiving regular national security briefings one can only hope that some of this history listed below penetrates his fascist brain.  I’m not optimistic.

    In September, 2016 OBAMA ORDERED THE PENTAGON TO PLAN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

    “Climate change poses a significant and growing threat to national security, both at home and abroad,” declared a memorandum from the White House to the heads of executive departments and agencies.”

    This is nothing new.  The Pentagon has been dong this planning since 2003.

    “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security,” warned of new wars fought over dwindling resources as the climate changed. The study, commissioned by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, foreshadows a lot of the fears contained in the recent policy memorandum.”

    Here is an excerpt from the report.

    “As global and local carrying capacities are reduced, tensions could mount around the world, leading to two fundamental strategies: defensive and offensive. Nations with the resources to do so may build virtual fortresses around their countries, preserving resources for themselves. Less fortunate nations especially those with ancient enmities with their neighbors, may initiate in struggles for access to food, clean water, or energy. Unlikely alliances could be formed as defense priorities shift and the goal is resources for survival rather than religion, ideology, or national honor.”

    Climate change can cause the spread of invasive species of pests and plant species.  It can cause the spread of infectious plant, animal, and human disease as a result.  It can undermine economic growth and livelihoods.  All these effects can lead to mass population migration across international borders.
    The Center For Climate and Security has a full timeline of military interest with climate change.  Here are a few highlights from that timeline of particular interest to the United States.

    “These risks will require managing the divergent needs of massively increasing energy demand to maintain economic development and the need to tackle climate change,” read the 2008 National Defense Strategy of the United States.

    A roadmap on climate change in 2010. From that roadmap:

    Climate change is a national security challenge with strategic implications for the Navy. Climate change will lead to increased tensions in nations with weak economies and political institutions. While climate change alone is not likely to lead to future conflict, it may be a contributing factor. Climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect, U.S. military installations and access to natural resources worldwide. It will affect the type, scope, and location of future Navy missions.

    In 2012, Homeland Security released a report on climate change. So did the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, with a a report on Global Water Security for the State Department, noting that

    “During the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems—shortages, poor water quality, or floods—that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important U.S. policy objectives.” The study looked out as far ahead as 2040, and said simply, “Climate change will cause water shortages in many areas of the world.”

    And that’s just the reports from the first term of George W. Bush’s through to the end of Barack Obama’s first term. There have been 12 additional reports.
    The latest memorandum from the White House coordinates a lot of this previous work, and puts greater emphasis on climate security.

    I’ve put together my own timeline projecting the effects of climate change on our world out to the year 2100 in connection with a book I’m writing.  It’s not a pretty picture.

    One can only hope that some of this good council from our top national security advisors is taken to heart by our new commander-in-chief.  Hope springs eternal.

     

     

     

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  8. People’s Climate March – The Day After

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    April 30, 2017 by John Crapper

     

    On April 30th, the day after the People’s Climate March, Climate Hawks Vote is hosting a training for leaders of the climate movement who are considering running for office!

    We need bold progressives to run for office who will lead on climate, and stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s climate denial and the fossil-fuel industry agenda.

    At the training we’ll hear from grassroots leaders who have gotten elected themselves and made major progress by stopping fossil fuel projects, advancing renewable energy, and helping their communities deal with climate disasters. And we’ll be joined by some of the top progressive political strategists and trainers in the country.

    This training is for you if:
    – you are considering running for office yourself in the next one to three years,
    – you want to help a friend run for office,
    – or you want to learn how a local electoral strategy could help your campaign.

    Engaging in local politics is a critical part of the climate movement, whether we’re fighting for divestment, no new fossil fuels, or solutions like community solar and green building policies.

    Organized by: Climate Hawks Vote and Lead Locally, with

    350 Action
    AllofUs
    Blue America
    ClimateTruth.org Action
    Communities for a Better Environment Action
    Democracy for AmericaFood & Water Action Fund
    Friends of the Earth Action
    Netroots Nation
    Oil Change USA
    Progressive Change Campaign Committee
    Progressive Democrats of America
    #VOTEPROCHOICE
    Working Families Party
    Food & Water Action Fund
    United We Dream Action

    Note:  This training is available for RSVP both in DC and online. See climatehawksvote.com/training for more details.


    Screen_Shot_2016-10-27_at_12.33.00_PM.png

    Climate Hawks Vote

    WE ARE CLIMATE HAWKS

    We’re seeking to elect leaders willing to take on the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Too many Democratic politicians consider climate to be just another issue bubbling below the surface of top priorities, and too many advocates are willing to excuse Democratic politicians who tout their states’ coal and oil resources. We need aggressive, progressive champions of climate justice—climate hawks.

    The Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in denying the existence of climate change and protecting the fossil-fuel industry that if a Republican climate hawk were to emerge, we would look hard at a Republican’s willingness to buck leadership as well as the Republican’s position on climate.

    We work to engage and educate voters, advocate on climate change in general election contests, and back climate hawks in Democratic primaries. We engage and train younger climate hawks interested in running for office. And we work on campaigns to mobilize the American people and our elected officials to act aggressively to end greenhouse pollution and build a renewably powered, just society that is resilient to the threats of a changing climate.

     

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  9. A Vision of Trump Accepting Climate Change – Eko Atlantic

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    April 27, 2017 by John Crapper

    With Donald Trump as our sitting president and his penchant for shifting his stance on various issues, I started to reflect on what might happen if he suddenly saw the light and accepted the fact that climate change is happening.  One might think that would be a good thing but upon reflection of the way the Donald’s mind processes information I experienced a profound Holy Shit moment!

    Please note:   I’ve written about Eko Atlantic before.

    Here is the link to my past article which provides more background.

    Eko Atlantic is being built just off Lagos along Nigeria’s Coast and designed to house 250,000. Its whole purpose, developers say, is to “arrest the ocean’s encroachment”. Like many low-lying coastal African countries, Nigeria is being hit hard by a rising sea-level, which has been regularly washing away thousands of peoples’ homes. To defend against this coastal erosion and flooding, Eko Atlantic is being built surrounded by the “Great Wall of Lagos”, a sea defense barrier made of 100,000 five-ton concrete blocks. Eko Atlantic is billed as a “sustainable city, clean and energy efficient with minimal carbon emissions,” offering jobs, prosperity and new land for Nigerians, and designed to serve as a bulwark in the fight against the impacts of climate change. A city of souring buildings, with a central boulevard to match New York’s Fifth Avenue.

    But here is the flip side.

    In congested Lagos, Africa’s largest city, there is little employment and millions work scavenging in a vast, desperate informal economy. Sixty percent of Nigeria’s population – almost 100 of 170 million people – live on less than a dollar a day. Preventable diseases are widespread; electricity and clean water hard to come by. A few kilometers down the Lagos shoreline, Nigerians eke out an existence in the aquatic slum of Makoko, built precariously on stilts over the ocean. Casting them as crime-ridden, the government regularly dismantles such slums, bulldozing homes and evicting thousands. These are hardly the people that will scoop up square footage in Eko Atlantic’s pricy new high-rises.

    The inspiration for Eko Atlantic is coming from the dreamworlds of rampant capitalism, stoked by a successful, thirty year global campaign to claw back gains in social security and unchain corporations from regulation – what has become known as neoliberalism.

    In Nigeria, oil wealth plundered by a military elite spawned extreme inequalities and upended the economy. Under the IMF’s neoliberal dictates, the situation has worsened: education and healthcare have been gutted, industries privatized, and farmers ruined by western products dumped on their markets. While the World Bank celebrated Nigeria; extreme poverty doubled. The most notorious application of the power of the Nigerian state for the interest of the rich came in 1990: an entire district of Lagos – 300,000 homes – was razed to clear the way for high-end real-estate development.

    Eko Atlantic is exactly the kind of plan that would be extremely attractive to Trump the real estate developer.

    You see, I believe the wealthy and powerful do take climate change seriously;  not as a demand to modify their behavior or question the fossil-fuel driven global economy that makes it possible, but as the biggest opportunity yet to realize their dreams of unfettered accumulation of wealth and consumption. The disaster capitalists behind Eko Atlantic are seizing on climate change to push through pro-corporate plans to build cities of their dreams, architectural insults to the daily circumstances of ordinary people.

    Privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population outside the walls scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms. Cities protected by guards, guns, and an insurmountable gully – real estate prices – allowing the rich to shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising. A world in which the rich and powerful exploit the global ecological crisis to widen and entrench already extreme inequalities and seal themselves off from its impacts.

    Will this practice, starting with the elites in Nigeria, and now with Trump in the White House be quickly embraced? Will the result be some of the most severe forms of colonial segregation and gated leisure being re-established? To get their way, will the rich, backed by industry and politicians, trample over environmental assessment processes in country after country?

    Will Eko Atlantic start a trend in the world contrary to anything one would want to do if one took seriously climate change and resource depletion? Will the elite, like never before, use climate change to transform neighborhoods, cities, even entire nations into heavily fortified islands? Around the world, from Afghanistan to Arizona, China to Cairo, and in mushrooming mega-cities much like Lagos, will those able move to areas where they could live better and often more greenly – with better transport and renewable technologies, green buildings and ecological services?

    Does Eko Atlantic start a moral and social secession of the rich from those in their respective countries?

    This essentially utopian drive – to consume rapaciously and endlessly and to reject any semblance of collective impulse and concern – is simply incompatible with human survival but resonates with people who think like Trump.

    At the very moment when the world needs to confront an economy and ideology pushing the planet’s life-support systems to the breaking point is this what our future looks like – grotesque monuments being built to assist the ultra-rich’s flight from responsibility.

    April 29, 2017 – People’s Climate March

    I’m going too!

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  10. Will YOU be Marching on Saturday 4/29/17?

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    April 26, 2017 by John Crapper


    I’m participating in the blogathon.  Stop by if you have the time.

    Support the Daily Kos SciCli blogathon during the April 22-28 week of action promoting the April 29 People’s Climate March with stories on how science and climate change are affecting our lives and our planet.

    For background on the SciCli Blogathon and the Week of action visit boatsie’s diary from 4/17, Besame’s from 4/20, and onomastic’s from 4/21.

    Sign up for the Washington, D.C. march or find a march near you.

    On April 29, let’s march for jobs, justice, and the climate

    • Saturday, April 22 all times are PDT

    2:30 pm: Cracks in Greenland ice-sheet may link up and break off DarkSyde

    5:00 pm: Peoples Climate March just one piece of the resistance against lethal eco-policies. Meteor Blades

    • Sunday, April 23

    9:00 am:  People’s Climate March next Saturday. Run on Sunday. RLMiller

    2:30 pm: SciCli Blogathon: “I can’t believe we’re marching for facts” Edition (#ScienceMarchSF Photo Essay) citisven

    5:00 pm: Climate change: Be Positive. It’s Important.  John Crapper

    • Monday, April 24

    2:30 pm: I Resist in Miami Because We Provide the 1st Glimpse Into Future Climate Mayhem Pakalolo

    5:00 pm: Resist,Rebel, and Revolt for Earth, Wind, Water: Climate March on Sat., 4/29 2thanks

    • Tuesday, April 25

    10:45 am: Toosdai Critters Speak Out Samanthab

    5:00 pm:  Had We But World Enough And Time . . .  Besame

    • Wednesday, April 26

    2:30 pm: Dartagnan (Climate Change is Making the World Friendlier for Mosquitoes, Diseases, and Death)

    5:00 pm: peregrine kate

    • Thursday, April 27

    2:30 pm: Bill McKibben

    5:00 pm: WarrenS

    • Friday, April 28

    2:30 pm: Tamar

    5:00 pm: annieli

    Climate Hawks Vote is hosting a training for leaders of the climate movement who are considering running for office on April 30, the day after the People’s Climate March. Read more about the training at People’s Climate March next Saturday. Run on Sunday.

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  11. A Positive Message With Climate Change Is Important

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    April 23, 2017 by John Crapper

    A positive message when talking about climate change is important.

    A recent Gallop poll shows concern about climate change ebbs and flows in the minds of the American public.  Recently, that concern has spiked because of a winter that most described as being unusually warm. Sixty-three percent said they experienced an unusually warm winter, and the majority of the group ascribed the warm weather pattern to human-caused climate change. In other words current events influenced their views on the issue.

    Most of the time, when I bring up the issue of climate change, my friends and acquaintances will remain largely silent and often switch the subject as quickly as possible.  It begs the question. Are humans psychologically incapable of facing up to the horrific likely consequences of global warming as described by scientists?

    This question has fascinated me for quite some time.  It’s one of the reasons here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we try to focus on the psychological aspects of climate change.  Just as climate change is a complex problem defying simplistic resolution, so to is the psychology surrounding the issue.

    As George Marshall, author of Don’t Even Think About It.  Why our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, states:

    ‘It’s not so much that we’re wired to ignore climate change… The problem with climate change is that because it does not have immediacy, it’s not something that readily works with our inbuilt threat detectors,’

    When a child is spotted in the window of a burning building without hesitation firemen rush to their rescue.  When we see someone drowning we immediately act to help save. When an active terrorist shooter is storming a local campus the swat teams and local police force spring into action.  There is immediacy to the threat and it elicits an immediate response.

    But risks associated with climate change lack this immediacy.  They are possible events to occur sometime into the future to people living in the future.

    Few climate activists were surprised when a Yougov poll published in late September confirmed what many had already suspected: the British public are not particularly worried about global warming.

    A minority of 39 per cent responded that they believed climate change posed a serious problem affecting the world as a whole, compared to 61 per cent for poverty and 77 per cent for terrorism. When asked which issue they believed presented the gravest global threat, only 6 per cent of those polled selected climate change.

    Marshall found that victims of floods and hurricanes were more intent on restoring their lives to the way they were before the storm than willing to consider making changes to their lifestyle to avoid similar disasters in the future.

    Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, of the University of Bristol has conducted extensive research into the psychology of climate change says:

    ‘I can ask people four questions about the free market and if they tell me in their responses that they really care about the free market as the best way to distribute goods in a society, then I can be almost certain that they will also say climate change isn’t happening and is nothing to worry about.’

    ‘The tricky thing is that you have to ask people in a way that doesn’t trigger their political identification,’ explains Lewandowsky.

    ‘When you do that, you find that 70-80 per cent of people know exactly that climate change is occurring, that it’s a real risk and that it’s going to get worse.’

    According to CRED – the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions – a growing body of scientific evidence shows that attempts to scare people into action with fear-based appeals actually result in increased climate scepticism. It is important to couple the fear message with viable solutions

    ‘Anybody who runs a fear campaign will always combine that appeal to fear with a presumed solution to the problem,’ says Lewandowsky. ‘Fear campaigns are very effective if they offer you the solutions.’

    For example a terrorist fear campaign will swiftly be followed by a proposal to send troops or implement a bombing campaign.  The appeal of a simple solution coupled with quick action usually results in public support for the proposal irrespective of the morality or effectiveness of the proposal.  In the case of climate change solutions are complex and nuanced.

    It is very important for all of us involved in the effort to get people to focus on solving climate change to portray a positive solutions better quality of life message constantly especially when informing individuals of the perils to that quality of life climate change poses.

    We will continue to explore this here at the Church of the Holy Shitters on an ongoing basis in future posts.  Your ideas are certainly appreciated in comments below.

    I have found doing something about it goes a long way in maintaining a positive attitude!

    I currently suggest people channel their concern and efforts by involving themselves in one of three different organizations depending on their personal preference.  I offer them here for your consideration.

    ***

    1.  For a U.S. political focus working to elect candidates willing to prioritize climate change.

    Screen_Shot_2016-10-27_at_12.33.00_PM.png

    Climate Hawks Vote

    WE ARE CLIMATE HAWKS

    We’re seeking to elect leaders willing to take on the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Too many Democratic politicians consider climate to be just another issue bubbling below the surface of top priorities, and too many advocates are willing to excuse Democratic politicians who tout their states’ coal and oil resources. We need aggressive, progressive champions of climate justice—climate hawks.

    The Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in denying the existence of climate change and protecting the fossil-fuel industry that if a Republican climate hawk were to emerge, we would look hard at a Republican’s willingness to buck leadership as well as the Republican’s position on climate.

    We work to engage and educate voters, advocate on climate change in general election contests, and back climate hawks in Democratic primaries. We engage and train younger climate hawks interested in running for office. And we work on campaigns to mobilize the American people and our elected officials to act aggressively to end greenhouse pollution and build a renewably powered, just society that is resilient to the threats of a changing climate.

    RSVP_Banner.jpg

    On April 30th, the day after the People’s Climate March, Climate Hawks Vote is hosting a training for leaders of the climate movement who are considering running for office!

    We need bold progressives to run for office who will lead on climate, and stand in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s climate denial and the fossil-fuel industry agenda.

    At the training we’ll hear from grassroots leaders who have gotten elected themselves and made major progress by stopping fossil fuel projects, advancing renewable energy, and helping their communities deal with climate disasters. And we’ll be joined by some of the top progressive political strategists and trainers in the country.

    This training is for you if:
    – you are considering running for office yourself in the next one to three years,
    – you want to help a friend run for office,
    – or you want to learn how a local electoral strategy could help your campaign.

    Engaging in local politics is a critical part of the climate movement, whether we’re fighting for divestment, no new fossil fuels, or solutions like community solar and green building policies.

    Organized by: Climate Hawks Vote and Lead Locally, with

    350 Action
    AllofUs
    Blue America
    ClimateTruth.org Action
    Communities for a Better Environment Action
    Democracy for AmericaFood & Water Action Fund
    Friends of the Earth Action
    Netroots Nation
    Oil Change USA
    Progressive Change Campaign Committee
    Progressive Democrats of America
    #VOTEPROCHOICE
    Working Families Party
    Food & Water Action Fund
    United We Dream Action

    Note:  This training is available for RSVP both in DC and online. See climatehawksvote.com/training for more details.

    2.  For a global yet local focus with an emphasis on social justice aspects.

    Screen_Shot_2016-10-27_at_12.38.51_PM.png

    350.org

    350 is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice.

    That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions bring together a global network active in over 188 countries.

    3.  And for a US political focus with a more bi-bartisan approach trying to influence those already in political office.

    Screen_Shot_2016-10-27_at_12.45.59_PM.png

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

    Our consistently respectful, non-partisan approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations. By building upon shared values rather than partisan divides, and empowering our supporters to work in keeping with the concerns of their local communities, we work towards the adoption of fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions.

    In order to generate the political will necessary for passage of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal we train and support volunteers to build relationships with elected officials, the media and their local community.

    “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.
    climate_march.jpg

    I regularly post on Daily Kos, the largest progressive blogging site in the country.  They are having a

    SciCli Blogathon: April 22-28, 2017 (all times are Pacific)

    C9EHZxXW0AExcFY.jpg

    Support the Daily Kos SciCli blogathon during the April 22-28 week of action which is promoting the April 29 People’s Climate March with stories on how science and climate change are affecting our lives and our planet.

    For background on the blogathon and the Week of action visit boatsie’s diary.

    Sign up for the Washington, D.C. march or find a march near you.

    On April 29, let’s march for jobs, justice, and the climate!

    Posting Schedule:

    Please note I’m posting in this blogathon later today at 5:00 pm PST.

    2:30 pm: Darksyde

    5:00 pm: Meteor Blades

    • Sunday, April 23

    2:30 pm: citisven

    5:00 pm: John Crapper

    • Monday, April 24

    2:30 pm: Pakalolo

    5:00 pm: 2thanks

    • Tuesday, April 25

    1:45 pm: Samanthab

    5:00 pm: Besame

    • Wednesday, April 26

    2:30 pm: Dartagnan

    5:00 pm: peregrine kate

    • Thursday, April 27

    2:30 pm: Bill McKibben

    5:00 pm: WarrenS

    • Friday, April 28

    2:30 pm: Tamar

    5:00 pm: Annieli

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and caring about climate change!

     



     

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  12. People’s Climate March – FYI

    0

    April 22, 2017 by John Crapper

    I spend a lot of time blogging on the Daily Kos site.

    I am proud to announce I’m part of this program posting tomorrow at 5:00pm PST.

    Below are the details.  Only my article will appear on this site.

    Joining Daily Kos is easy and you are able to start participating the minute you join.

    I can certainly say it’s a great place to give a megaphone to a person’s voice!

    SciCli Blogathon: April 22-28, 2017 (all times are Pacific)

    C9EHZxXW0AExcFY.jpg

    Support the Daily Kos SciCli blogathon during the April 22-28 week of action promoting the April 29 People’s Climate March with stories on how science and climate change are affecting our lives and our planet.

    For background on the SciCli Blogathon and the Week of action visit boatsie’s diary from 4/17, Besame’s from 4/20, and onomastic’s from 4/21.

    Sign up for the Washington, D.C. march or find a march near you.

    On April 29, let’s march for jobs, justice, and the climate!

    • Saturday, April 22

    2:30 pm: Cracks in Greenland ice-sheet may link up and break off

    5:00 pm: Meteor Blades

    • Sunday, April 23

    2:30 pm: citisven

    5:00 pm: John Crapper

    • Monday, April 24

    2:30 pm: Pakalolo

    5:00 pm: 2thanks

    • Tuesday, April 25

    1:45 pm: samanthab

    5:00 pm: Besame

    • Wednesday, April 26

    2:30 pm: Dartagnan

    5:00 pm: peregrine kate

    • Thursday, April 27

    2:30 pm: Bill McKibben

    5:00 pm: WarrenS

    • Friday, April 28

    2:30 pm: Tamar

    5:00 pm: annieli

     

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  13. Canadian River Vanished Due to Climate Change

    0

    April 18, 2017 by John Crapper

    Time Magazine Canada 4-18-17

    Scientists said a river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers was rerouted — a process that normally takes thousands of years — in just a few months, due to climate change.

    Meltwater that usually flows north from the Kaskawulsh Glacier into the Bering Sea through the Slims and Yukon Rivers was diverted south in 2016 in what researchers dubbed “river piracy,” or when one river hijacks the water flow of another. The water now goes into the Pacific Ocean.

    Glacier National Park:  If you haven’t been you better visit soon to see any glaciers.

    And it’s happening all over the world.

    Week of Action

    The April 22 March on Science launches a week of action focusing on jobs, justice, and the climate.

    Join millions of people around the world to chart a path away from Trump’s agenda and protect our climate, our health, and our communities.

    Sign up for the historic Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C. or for a ‘sister march’ near you.

    Follow the hashtag  #ClimateMarch .

    Sample Tweet:

    I’m marching on 4/29. To build the world we want we must stand up for jobs, justice, and the climate. #ClimateMarch peoplesclimate.org.

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  14. Climate Mobilization – Now is the time.

    0

    April 14, 2017 by John Crapper

    Climate mobilization needs to happen now!  This is a post written for the site Daily Kos on which I regularly blog.  It is the largest progressive Democratic blogging site in the United States.  Markos founded the site and I’m writing an open letter to him to consider making some changes to the site’s overall mission.

     

    There is a crisis afoot in the world that needs our focus and attention. It is not incompatible with the current goal of this site. That crisis is climate change. With the election results we just had in 2016 it is more imperative than ever to give this issue the attention it deserves.

    I’m going to argue in this post it is time to adjust the Daily Kos overall mission to that of electing more and better Democratic Climate Hawks.  Personally I’d prefer removing the Democratic label and just say Daily Kos is about electing more and better Climate Hawks, after all climate change is a bipartisan issue, but that is probably asking too much.

    The 2016 Democratic platform called for a World War II type national effort to tackle the global climate emergency. Hillary Clinton’s planners even agreed to make plans for an urgent summit of climate scientists, engineers, policy experts, indigenous communities and activists to chart a course for this effort within the first 100 days from taking office.

    As Bill McKibben quoted in his article appearing in the New Republic in August, 2016:

    “It would be a grave mistake for the United States to wait for another nation to take the lead in combating the global climate emergency,” the Democratic platform asserts. “We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II.”

    Well, as we know, Hillary Clinton is not sitting in the White House and those plans were not made. Instead we’ve got a climate change denier in the Oval Office with numerous fellow climate deniers serving in his cabinet.  That translates, at best, into more time-wasting delay.

    And it is clear that time is of the absolute essence.  Scientists tell us there is only a small window of opportunity to mobilize before our basic social and economic systems start collapsing.

    As Naomi Klein stated in her latest book, This Changes Everything:

    “the ‘this’ in This Changes Everything is climate change. … And what we mean by that is that climate change, if we don’t change course, if we don’t change our political and economic system, is going to change everything about our physical world. …That’s the road we are on. We can get off that road, but we’re now so far along it, we’ve put off the crucial policies for so long, that now we can’t do it gradually. … (It)requires such a radical departure from the kind of political and economic system we have right now that we pretty much have to change everything.” (emphasis mine)

    Regardless of the fact that this nation saw fit to elect a climate change denier, it does not change the fact that climate change is waging war against us. We may have a President that believe that climate change is a hoax conjured up by the Chinese but the fact is the burning of fossil fuel is as lethal to us as the mushroom cloud war we’ve feared for many decades. Climate change is a force capable of impoverishing our entire civilization.

    Just to refresh memories let me list some of the changes to our world currently being caused by climate change:

    • Mega-droughts
    • Heat waves
    • Super-storms
    • Intensified flooding
    • Migration of diseases
    • Melting of Glaciers
    • Polar ice sheet collapse
    • Coral bleaching
    • Ocean acidification and oxygen loss

    We are also dangerously close to triggering positive feedback loops such as the thawing of Arctic permafrost which contains twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere currently contains.

    The question we need to answer is not, are we in a world war? The question is what will we do to fight it?

    The last time the United States focused on a single, all-consuming goal was in WWII. For four years, we focused on the global threat posed by the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. It was a clash of humans with different societal and political goals that had human villains like Hitler and Mussolini. And we had our Peal Harbor moment to jolt us into taking action and focus our attention and resolve.

    Our WWII mobilization required enormous sacrifice of human life, economic costs and quality of life. Ironically, if we were to mount a similar effort to fight climate change, it could in contrast result in enormous reductions in the loss of life, huge economic benefits such as massive job creation and leave us with a much better quality of life after we’ve defeated the threat.

    To launch this effort common purpose is key.  People who lived through WWII are referred to as the “Greatest Generation” and they deserve that label.   They are rightfully proud of what they accomplished and speak fondly of that time period referencing the unity of purpose, the working together to overcome an external threat and the shift in self-focus to collective focus.  We now need to pursue our own “unity of purpose” and “collective focus”.

    But chances our we’re never going to have our “Climate Pearl Harbor”? CO2 doesn’t care about our politics. It is completely indifferent to the winds of change in our human world. It doesn’t care how much CO2 we put into the atmosphere. It doesn’t care about issues like civil rights, LGBT rights, a woman’s right to choose, repealing Citizens United or what justices are sitting on our Supreme Court.  Its attacks on us are insidious and stealth like. But our lack of a galvanizing event such as a Pearl Harbor does not negate the urgent need  for us to act in similar fashion.

    Climate Mobilization has written a Victory Plan that outlines what a national program to tackle climate change might look like.  It draws heavily on the history and lessons learned during WWII.  I encourage all to read.  It offers a good starting point blueprint to follow.

    Personally, I spend almost all my activist energy trying to make the issue of climate change go viral. Through my Church of the Holy Shitters efforts I’m attempting to create a platform for this to happen.  But Markos, you already have that platform.  I’m asking you to consider using it.

    Markos, I know you care about the environment.  Your postings outlining the myriad of steps you’ve taken in your personal life attest to that fact.

    But taking personal steps is not enough. You’ve got a unique opportunity to take the issue of climate change to a higher level.

    I know what you’re thinking.  Climate change is a buzz kill and people don’t get excited or inspired with the issue.  It’s not good for site clicks and traffic.  I get that.  But that does not negate the fact that the issue needs attention and focus.  And you being the owner of your site puts you in a unique position to effect change.  You have the power and the sway here to literally “change the climate” at Daily Kos.  And I believe, handled properly projecting the right message of optimism and positive outcomes instead of a doom and gloom mime so often posited by the environmental group people could be sold on participating in solving this crises similar to what happened in WWII.

    What is the best reason for you to consider doing this?  In one word –  children.  Last time I checked you have them.  I’m not sure exactly what that feels like because I don’t have my own but taking a wild guess I’m pretty sure you want the best for them.

    So, for your children’s sake, I’d ask you to consider making a few changes at Daily Kos.  With the right tweaks, proper packaging of message and viable options for people to take effective action, I think Daily Kos could serve as a catalyst for the “change” we so desperately need.

    I offer the following suggestions.

    a.  Feature climate change on the front page main menu bar. I would personally like to see the group Climate Hawks elevated with the mission of the Climate Hawks Vote Super Pac, founded by our very own RL Miller, promoted.

    b.  Initiate a series, minimally posting weekly, discussing the efficacy of a WWII like Climate Mobilization effort.

    d.  Initiate front-page blogathons with VIP postings revolving around the climate change issue.

    e.  sponsor petition drives to advocate for WWII type climate mobilization.

    These changes would not eliminate all the other wonderful causes promoted on this site but it could serve as a unifying issue all could rally around in common purpose for a better future for us all.

    I respectfully ask you to think about it.

    Thank you.

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  15. Social Dominance Orientation and Self-defense

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    April 13, 2017 by John Crapper

     

    Self-defense classes are taught every day to teach us the tools we can use to help us protect ourselves physically.  But we also have an arsenal of psychological self-defense tools we use to protect our mental state.  They serve us well but with certain issues like climate change can also get in the way of acceptance of an issue and taking action.

    When the Black Plague broke out in Europe, the Lord Mayor of London ignored those who observed that homes and neighborhoods stricken by the plague were overrun with rats. In fact, the holdouts kept insisting nothing was wrong until entire populations began to die. Why did it have to go that far?

    We are wired to resort to various psychological self-defense mechanisms .  One is rationalization or self-deception.  We convince ourselves that everything isn’t as bad as it seems.

    For example, a while back a friend of mine was diagnosed with diabetes and told he had to make changes to his diet and lifestyle.  He didn’t want to accept the gravity of his new diagnosis and instead convinced himself he would be fine because it really wasn’t that serious.  It wasn’t until he became seriously ill that he began to change his lifestyle.

    Another is cognitive dissonance.

     The theory of cognitive dissonance describes the unease which comes when reality conflicts with our beliefs, and how we often go to extreme lengths try to ignore or distort evidence, so that we can maintain our beliefs.

    Still other self-defense mechanisms serve to deflect and distract us from bad news such as

    … manic defenses (trying to cheer oneself up and “think positively”), scapegoating the bearer of bad news, self-distraction, paranoia (“It’s all a hoax”), splitting (keeping the bad news off to one side), parent projections (mother Earth can’t be sick, father God won’t permit it).

    In all defense, the primary goal is to hold the mind together against an onslaught of overwhelming, destabilizing emotions until the defender has a safe place and opportunity to work through overwhelm and move from helplessness into action.

    Furthermore, the mind, has reinforcing feedback loops that self-perpetuate.  It can create a reaction when hearing bad news that goes something like this –“It can’t be that bad.”  These feedback loops have significant implications when trying to wake up someone to impending danger.

    From Science Daily October, 2016

    The results show that climate change denial correlates with political orientation, authoritarian attitudes and endorsement of the status quo. It also correlates with a tough-minded personality (low empathy and high dominance), closed-mindedness (low openness to experience), predisposition to avoid experiencing negative emotions, and with the male sex. Importantly, one variable, named social dominance orientation (SDO), helped explain all these correlations, either entirely or partially.

    Social dominance orientation is a measure of the acceptance and advocating of hierarchical and dominant relations between social groups. This acceptance of hierarchies also extends to accepting human dominance over nature. The correlation between SDO and climate change denial can perhaps be explained by considering the many injustices of climate change. Our current wealthy lifestyles are the primary cause of climate change, but the most serious consequences are affecting mainly poor countries and people, as well as animals and future generations of humans.

    The question then is how the issue of climate change can best be presented to people with a high SDO to convince them of the need for action.

    “The arguments used in the climate debate often revolve around giving up conveniences in life to help the environment or the poor or weak. But that is maybe not a convincing argument to someone who sees the world from a hierarchical viewpoint. It would perhaps be better to talk in other terms and describe how everyone will benefit from the measures instead of being affected by the consequences and that the measures don’t have to be a threat to the current societal structure,” says Kirsti Jylhä. (emphssis mine)

    The more I delve into the reasons behind climate denial and delay the more convinced I am that a positive “let’s work together to create a more prosperous, livable  and fulfilling future for us all” message rather than a “gloom and doom” one is the key.

    So I ask you to drop that “gloom and doom” feeling and join us.

    PCMwebblank01.jpg

     

    PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH

    Participate in our April 22-29 Week of Action and help chart a path away from Trump’s agenda and towards a clean energy economy!

    On April 29, let’s march for jobs, justice, and the climate.

    Sign up for the historic Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C. or for a ‘sister march’ near you.

    To change everything, we need to stand together to protect our climate, our health, and our communities.

    Follow the hashtag  #ClimateMarch — and share your own content .

    Sample Tweet:

    I’m marching on 4/29. To build the world we want we must stand up for jobs, justice, and the climate. #ClimateMarch peoplesclimate.org

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  16. Greensburg, Kansas – A Green Wonderland!

    0

    April 6, 2017 by John Crapper

    Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore but Greensburg is and it’s green energy wonderland!  I wish Alice was here to click her slippers and transport all of America to follow the Greensburg developmental yellow brick road.

    Greensburg, Kansas (photo credit EcoWatch)

    Greensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kiowa County, Kansas, United States.[6] As of the 2010 census, the city population was 777….

    In the evening of May 4, 2007, Greensburg was devastated by an EF5 tornado that traveled rapidly through the area, leveling at least 95 percent of the city and killing eleven people between the ages of 46 and 84…

    After the tornado, the city council passed a resolution stating that all city buildings would be built to LEED – platinum standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so.

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide.[7] Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods[8] that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

    Background: 

    For three years after the disaster the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) worked with the city to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the town’s rebuilding efforts.

    Greensburg built a 12.5 megawatt wind facility which generates enough energy to power 4,000 homes.  Financing was provided by the Rural Development Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    The town achieved many firsts for the country and the state of Kansas, including:

    • The first LEED Platinum municipal building in Kansas (SunChips® Business Incubator)
    • The first LEED Platinum critical access hospital in the United States (Kiowa County Memorial Hospital)
    • The first residential LEED Platinum building in Kansas (Prairie Pointe Townhomes).

    Now this is the kind of disaster capitalism we need in our world!

    I highly recommend this book!

    But instead we have the kind described in Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine “The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” where with the assistance of the IMF and World Bank governments are “saved” from financial ruin but only if private business interests get access to valuable resources and institutions. This disaster capitalism we see being practiced on a broad based scale around the world can be summed up as follows:

    1.  Wait for a major crisis (Hurricane Katrina, Greece) or invent one (Iraq)
    2.  As a price for assistance sell off pieces of the state or extract lucrative contracts to private players while citizens are still reeling from the shock of the disaster.
    3. Finally, quickly make the “reforms” permanent.

    And that is really SHOCKing and AWEful because now we have a President who is a proponent of this kind of capitalism.

    Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for Greensburg fairytales!

     

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  17. Temperature Records Continued to be Set in 2016

    0

    March 30, 2017 by John Crapper

    Temperature records continue to be set as Donald Trump continues to have his head here on climate change.

    During February, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 41.2°F, 7.3°F above the 20th century average. This ranked as the second warmest February in the 123-year period of record. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. was record warm in February. Only February 1954 was warmer for the nation at 41.4°F. Between December 2016 and February 2017, the average temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 35.9°F, 3.7°F above average, the sixth warmest winter on record.

    According to NOAA

    August, 2016 marked a not-so-sweet 16 months of record warmth for the globe, the longest such streak in 137 years.

    The globally averaged sea surface temperature was second warmest on record for August and warmest on record for both the season (June–August) and the year to date (January–August).

    The globally averaged land surface temperature was record high for August, the season (June–August) and the year to date (January–August).

    Record-warm continents: Africa and Asia had their warmest August; South America had its second; North America its sixth; Europe its 10th; and Oceania its 19th.

    The average Arctic sea ice extent for August was 23.1 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth smallest August extent since records began in 1979.

    The average Antarctic sea ice extent for August was 0.2 percent above the 1981–2010 average, the 19th largest on record for the month.

    So while the Donald keeps an “open mind” while pursuing a policy of expanding the exploration and drilling of fossil fuels throughout the country and beyond while ignoring the consensus that climate change exists by 97% of the scientific community the facts keep mounting up.

    So we must all continue to turn up the heat on our business and political leaders to confront this building nemesis to our security and way of life despite the President’s “head up his ass” stance.

    At present the Church of the Holy Shitters recommends 3 avenues an individual can take to contribute in a more effective collective way.  They are (in no particular order of priority).

    1.  For a global yet local focus with an emphasis on social justice aspects.

    screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-38-51-pm

    350.org

    350 is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice.

    That movement is rising from the bottom up all over the world, and is uniting to create the solutions that will ensure a better future for all. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions bring together a global network active in over 188 countries.

    2.  For a U.S. political focus working to elect candidates willing to prioritize climate change.

    screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-33-00-pm

    Climate Hawks Vote

     

    WE ARE CLIMATE HAWKS

    We’re seeking to elect leaders willing to take on the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Too many Democratic politicians consider climate to be just another issue bubbling below the surface of top priorities, and too many advocates are willing to excuse Democratic politicians who tout their states’ coal and oil resources. We need aggressive, progressive champions of climate justice—climate hawks.

    The Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in denying the existence of climate change and protecting the fossil-fuel industry that if a Republican climate hawk were to emerge, we would look hard at a Republican’s willingness to buck leadership as well as the Republican’s position on climate.

    We work to engage and educate voters, advocate on climate change in general election contests, and back climate hawks in Democratic primaries. We engage and train younger climate hawks interested in running for office. And we work on campaigns to mobilize the American people and our elected officials to act aggressively to end greenhouse pollution and build a renewably powered, just society that is resilient to the threats of a changing climate.

    3.  And for a US political focus with a more bi-bartisan approach trying to influence those already in political office.

    screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-45-59-pm

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby 

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

    Our consistently respectful, non-partisan approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations. By building upon shared values rather than partisan divides, and empowering our supporters to work in keeping with the concerns of their local communities, we work towards the adoption of fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions.

    In order to generate the political will necessary for passage of our Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal we train and support volunteers to build relationships with elected officials, the media and their local community.

    “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
    Martin Luther King Jr.
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  18. Time Waits for No One and Time Has Come Today

    0

    March 23, 2017 by John Crapper

    Time waits for no  one.  I was born in 1951.  Read on to see why I bring this up.

     

    “Time”

    Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

    Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

    Home, home again
    I like to be here when I can
    When I come home cold and tired
    It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
    Far away, across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spell

    Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, …

    According to a timeline I’ve been working on the effects of climate change really start to cause us major problems around the year 2030 and really start falling apart during the 2040 to 2050 decade.

    A person with a birthdate of

    2017 will be 13 years old in 2030 and 43 in 2050

    2007 will be 23 years old in 2030 and 53 in 2050

    1997 will be 33 years old in 2030 and 63 in 2050

    1987 will be 43 years old in 2030 and 73 in 2050

    1977 will be 53 years old in 2030 and 83 in 2050

    1967 will be 63 years old in 2030 and 93 in 2050

    1957 will be 73 years old in 2030 and 103 in 2050

    1947 will be 83 years old in 2030

    1937 will be 93 years old in 2030

    1927 will be 103 years old in 2030

    It is extremely difficult for scientist to make a firm causal relationship with any individual event but there is general agreement that climate change is amplifying the following.

    • Droughts
    • Heat waves
    • Storms
    • Flooding
    • Migration of diseases
    • Glacier melt
    • Polar ice sheet collapse
    • Coral bleaching
    • Ocean oxygen loss, acidification and suffocation
    • Accelerating sea level rise

    In researching a book I’m writing I’ve been collecting prognostications about climate change. These have been gathered over time from numerous sources and I’m constantly updating it.   But they are projections and hence a best guess as to what is in our collective future.

    I must confess that during the time I have been compiling these predictions the timeframe has been trending towards an acceleration of events rather than an elongation of them.

    I challenge you to plug yourself into it and contemplate just what priority you should assign the issue.

    It starts out in our recent past then projects out all the way until the year 2200.

    The Timeframe

     

    2008

    In 2008 Arctic sea ice hit its second lowest summer ice extent on record (the lowest extent was in 2007).

    A massive chunk of ice breaks away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.

    Several breakups of ice shelves in Antarctica are observed. (NSIDC; Jason Box, Ohio State University; ESA, NSIDC)

    The Bush Administration enacts changes to the Endangered Species Act that affect reviews of government projects.

    Polar bears and beluga whales are placed on the Endangered Species List.

    2009

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declares carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

    An ice bridge connected to the Wilkins Ice Sheet of Antarctica breaks apart.

    Many of the world’s major rivers are found to be losing water. (Aiguo Dai, NCAR, Journal of Climate)

    2010

    China becomes the largest energy consumer in the world, overtaking the USA.  China added 15,000 cars to its roads every day and a new power plant every week.

    2012

    The first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, an international environmental treaty created to limit the production of greenhouse gases, expires. Nations will have to draw up and enact a successor treaty to further limit emissions, should they choose to do so.

    2013

    The amount of carbon pollution has already locked in more than 4 feet of sea level rise past 2013 levels. That is enough, at high tide, to submerge more than half of 2013’s population in 316 coastal cities.

    2015

    Pope Francis releases his192 page encyclical on combating human climate change in June.

    Paris Climate Agreement negotiated by representatives of 195 countries adopted in December.

    2016

    Paris Climate Agreement opened for signature by agreeing countries in April.

    In October 2016 there were enough signatures for it to go into force.

    During the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump the Republican nominee vows to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.

    Donald Trump is elected President in November.

    Projections

    2020

    Flash floods increase across all parts of Europe. Less rainfall reduces agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world.

    World population reaches 7.7 billion people.

    Hubbert’s Peak or peak oil level is reached. Global oil production begins an irreversible decline, triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflict between nations over dwindling oil supplies.

    Manokwari, the largest and capital city of the West Papua, Indonesia is the first city in the world to hit climate departure.*

    *A city hits “climate departure” when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. For example, let’s say the climate departure point for D.C. is 2047 (which it is). After 2047, even D.C.’s coldest year will still be hotter than any year from before 2005. Put another way, every single year after 2047 will be hotter than D.C.’s hottest year on record from 1860 to 2005. It’s the moment when the old “normal” is really gone.

    2023 – Kingston the capital and largest city of Jamaica and Ngerulmud the capital of Palau become the next two cities to hit climate departure.*

    2028 – Singapore hits climate departure*

    2029 – Jakarta, Georgetown and Lagos hit climate departure.*

    2030

    Diarrhea-related diseases increase by up to 5 percent in low-income parts of the world.

    Up to 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs are lost as a result of climate change and other environmental stresses.

    In Asian coastal waters, the coral loss reaches 30 percent.

    World population reaches 8.4 billion people.

    Warming temperatures causes temperate glaciers on equatorial mountains in Africa to disappear.

    In developing countries, the urban population more than doubles to about 4 billion people, packing more people onto a given city’s land area. The urban populations of developed countries increase by 20 percent.

    The Arctic Sea is ice-free in the summer.

    In China lung disease kills over 80 million people due to the long term effects of pollution.

    2031 – Mexico City hits climate departure.*

    2033 – Bogota hits climate departure.*

    2034 – Mumbai hits climate departure*

    2036 – Cairo and Nairobi hit climate departure.*

    2037 – Alpine glaciers disappear completely.

    2038 – Sydney, Lima and Cape Town hit climate departure.*

    2040 – World Population hits over 9 billion.

    2042 – Taipei and Seoul hit climate departure.*

    2043 – Phoenix, Santiago. Pretoria and Honolulu hit climate departure.*

    2044 – Rome hits climate departure.*

    2045 – Kabul hits climate departure.*

    2046 – Beijing and Bangkok hit climate departure.*

    2047 – D.C. and New York hit climate departure.*

    2048 – Los Angeles hits climate departure.*

    2050

    The Amazon rainforest is threatened not only by illegal deforestation, but also the effects of drought and climate change. Under a “business as usual” scenario, nearly half of the jungle is be destroyed. and it could be almost entirely gone by 2100.

    More than 2,000 native tree species face extinction.

    World population reaches 9.5 billion people.

    Some 70% of polar bears disappear due to the shrinking of Arctic ice caused by global warming.

    Large glaciers shrink by 30 to 70 percent.

    Ocean acidification kills off most coral reefs.

    One of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef disappears .

    At least 400 bird species become extinct due to deforestation and climate change.

    In Australia, there is an additional 3,200 to 5,200 heat-related deaths per year. Hardest hit are people over the age of 65.

    An extra 500 to 1,000 people die of heat-related deaths in New York City per year.

    In the United Kingdom, the opposite occurs, and cold-related deaths outpace heat-related ones.

    All amphibians in Europe are extinct.

    Crop yields shift increasing by up to 20 percent in East and Southeast Asia, while decreasing by up to 30 percent in Central and South Asia. Similar shifts in crop yields occur on other continents.

    As biodiversity hotspots are more threatened, a quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species face extinction.

    Rio de Janeiro hits climate departure.*

    2052 – Chicago hits climate departure.*

    2054 – Ulan Bator hits climate departure.*

    2055 – Seattle hits climate departure.*

    2056 – London hits climate departure.*

    2060 – By 2060 the following cities were listed as being severely devastated by rising seas.

    Miami, USA

    Guangzhou, P.R. of China

    New York-Newark, USA

    Kolkata, India

    Shanghai, P.R. of China

    Mumbai, India

    Tianjin, P.R. of China

    Tokyo, Japan

    Hong Kong, P.R. of China

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Ningbo, P.R. of China

    New Orleans, USA

    Osaka-Kobe, Japan

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Nagoya, Japan

    Qingdao, China

    Virginia Beach, USA

    Alexandria, Egypt

    Rangoon, Myanmar

    Hai Phòng, Vietnam

    Khulna, Bangladesh

    Lagos, Nigeria

    Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire

    Chittagong, Bangladesh

    Jakarta, Indonesia

    Extinctions peak with 0.5% of the world’s animal and plant species disappearing every year.

    World population reaches 9.9 billion

    2063 – Moscow hits climate departure.*

    2064 – St. Petersburg hits climate departure.*

    2066 – Reykjavik hits climate departure.*

    2070

    World population reaches 10.2 billion

    As glaciers disappear and areas affected by drought increase, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations decrease.

    Hardest hit is Europe, where hydropower potential declines on average by 6 percent; around the Mediterranean, the decrease is up to 50 percent.

    Warmer, drier conditions lead to more frequent and longer droughts, as well as longer fire-seasons, increased fire risks, and more frequent heat waves, especially in Mediterranean regions.

    2071 – Anchorage hits climate departure.*

    2080

    World population reaches 10.5 billion

    While some parts of the world dry out, others get inundated.

    Up to 20 percent of the world’s populations live in river basins and are affected by increased flood hazards.

    Up to 100 million people experience coastal flooding each year. Most at risk are densely populated and low-lying areas that are less able to adapt to rising sea levels and areas which already face other challenges such as tropical storms.

    Coastal populations balloon to 5 billion people, up from 1.2 billion in 1990.

    Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people experience water shortages and up to 600 million go hungry.

    Sea levels rise around New York City by more than three feet, flooding the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

    2085 – The risk of dengue fever from climate change increases to 3.5 billion people.

    2090 – World population reaches 10.7 billion

    2100

    World population reaches 10.8 billion

    Global average temperature rises to 6°C (10°F) by 2100.

    Carbon dioxide concentrations reach 1000 parts per million (ppm).

    By the start of the century, global climate emissions increased, to lock in 23 feet of sea level rise, threatening 1,429 municipalities in the U.S. alone.

    A combination of global warming and other factors push many ecosystems to the limit, forcing them to exceed their natural ability to adapt to climate change.

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are much higher than anytime during the past 650,000 years.

    Ocean pH levels decrease by 0.5 pH units, the lowest it’s been in the last 20 million years.

    The ability of marine organisms such as corals, crabs and oysters to form shells or exoskeletons is impaired.

    Thawing permafrost and other factors make Earth’s land a net source of carbon emissions, meaning it emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it absorbs.

    Roughly 20 to 30 percent of species assessed as of 2007 are extinct by 2100.

    New climate zones appear on up to 39 percent of the world’s land surface, radically transforming the planet.

    A quarter of all species of plants and land animals—more than a million total— are driven to extinction.

    Due to climate change and food scarcity, up to 30% of bird species go extinct.

    Polar bears go extinct.

    Increased droughts significantly reduce moisture levels in the American Southwest, northern Mexico and parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, effectively recreating the “Dust Bowl” environments of the 1930s in the United States.

    The Amazon rain forrest is almost entirely gone. More than 2,000 native tree species face extinction.

    2200 – Scientific projection An Earth day is now 0.12 milliseconds shorter, as rising temperatures cause oceans to expand away from the equator and toward the poles. Water in the oceans shift toward the poles so the poles are closer to the Earth’s axis of rotation, which causes them to speed up the planet’s rotation.

     

    Time has Come Today

    I have to roam
    I’ve got no home
    My mind is blown
    The truth is unknown!
    Time has come
    Time has come today
    Time has come
    Time has come today
    I have no place to stay
    Thinking about the subway
    The rules have changed today
    This world is blown away!
    Time has come
    Time has come today
    Time has come
    Time has come today
    I have no home
    I have no home
    I have no home!
    No place to run
    I’m staring at the sun
    Thinking about the subway
    This world is blown away!
    Time has come
    Time has come today
    Time has come

     

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  19. Naive Cynicism, the Optimism of Youth and the Power of One

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    March 2, 2017 by John Crapper

    Being surrounded, it seems, by so many naive people it’s easy to become cynical.  That is especially true when one ponders if and when we will ever do what is needed to effectively tackle the problem of climate change.

    In the Manifesto of the Church of the Holy Shitters I talk about three main groups of opposition to taking action on climate change.  They are gatekeepers, silver-bullet types and cynics.

    Gatekeepers

    A gatekeeper’s purpose is always the same: to control information, block change and hold on to their power and vested interests. They act as status quo security guards, blocking outsiders from infiltrating their ranks or changing the system.
    Their job is

    a) telling you what to think,

    b) telling you what to do and

    c) telling you which choices you have.

     

    Silver-Bullet Types

    Silver-bullet technocratic scientific types are “we’ll solve climate change so “don’t worry about it” people. There is always a new innovation on the horizon promising inexhaustible cheap energy. There is no reason to worry. We are at the cusp of climate change’s resolution.

    Cynics

    Cynics are expert pessimists. Their argument can be boiled down to one succinct sentence: Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

    They stand ready to give all kinds of reasons why it won’t work. They tell you everything they think is wrong with your ideas.

    Well,  I just read an article appearing in Harper’s Magazine written by Rebecca Solnit entitled The Habits of Highly Cynical People.  In that article she stated the following:

    We live in a time when the news media and other purveyors of conventional wisdom like to report on the future more than the past. They draw on polls and false analogies to announce what is going to happen next, and their frequent errors — about the unelectability of Barack Obama, say, or the inevitability of the Keystone XL pipeline — don’t seem to impede their habit of prophecy or our willingness to abide them. “We don’t actually know” is their least favorite thing to report.

    Non-pundits, too, use bad data and worse analysis to pronounce with great certainty on future inevitabilities, present impossibilities, and past failures. The mind-set behind these statements is what I call naïve cynicism. It bleeds the sense of possibility and maybe the sense of responsibility out of people. (emphasis mine)

    Her concept of naive cynicism gave me a new way to look at the cynics amongst us and personally gave me a healthier perspective as I get ready to do battle against the war posed by the Trump administration against our environment.

    After reading the article I realized that spending time researching and writing about climate change and attempting to get people focused on the issue, just how easy it is for me to get discouraged, depressed and fall into the trap of naive cynicism.  It got me thinking about a couple of instances  in my past where, now that I have the clarity of hindsight, I feel I actually did make a difference.

    The differences I made were not immediately realized nor were they exactly as I had envisioned or planned but upon reflection I feel they still made a significant impact just the same.   I’m going to take you back to my Vietnam War days.  That was another time when I was determined to get people focused on an issue. It was also a time when I had the optimism of youth.

    ***

    After graduating from high school in 1969, while the draft was still in effect, I joined the Army.  Thirty days after graduation I was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky going through the rigors of basic training. Four months later, after a brief fourteen-day leave, my army boots were on the soil of Vietnam. There I was an all American, patriotic true believer.

    Because I had enlisted for three years I was guaranteed the military occupational specialty (MOS) of my choice. Since I was only a high school graduate I had limited choices, so I chose clerk typist not wanting to be a Rambo-style war hero.  It was a good choice because it resulted in me never being in direct combat.

    When I was close to the end of my twelve month stint, I applied for a six month extension of duty contingent on getting one of my preferred locations: Saigon, Vinh Long or Nah Trang.  I got Nha Trang, a coastal city in the central highlands and was assigned to a Military Assistance Command Vietnam Advisory Team.

    Official MACV uniform patch.

    My particular team had responsibility over all of the Central Highlands. The advisory function of the team was to spearhead, coordinate, and implement a program known as the Vietnamization Program or the American effort to turn combat operations over to the South Vietnamese Army allowing American troops to withdraw.  I worked in intelligence and had access to and intimate knowledge of this program as it pertained to essentially one-fourth of the country.

    The Vietnamization Program never functioned as it was billed. Being there for such a long time, (27 months in all)  and being intimately in the “know” of how things were really progressing, I became disgruntled with the war effort, the hypocrisy of the “sales job back home”  and the business interests profiting from it day in and day out.

    Vietnam Veterans Against the War uniform patch.

    This compelled me to dive into the history of America’s involvement in Southeast Asia and gradually turned me against the war.   Ultimately, I joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while still stationed in Nha Trang. ( As a funny quirky aside, there were so many soldiers joining VVAW that the Army was actually selling VVAW patches in the Post Exchange (PX) on Nha Trang Airbase.  Never pass up the chance to make a buck!)

    On one of my 30-day leaves home,  I made contact with the writers of the Veterans Voice, the monthly publication put out by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.  I informed them of my position in MACV and said I would write to them about what was happening in my unit.   I gave them permission to print whatever I wrote.  The information I provided consisted of evidence of our team providing inflated South Vietnamese Army readiness numbers in order to show higher ups progress in connection with the Vietnamization program.

    This resulted in an investigation into the activities of my MACV Advisory Team and threatened the career of the commender in charge.  When he found out he  knew who had caused the investigation.

    That evening, in front of witnesses, he pointed a 45 pistol at me saying, “I know it was you and I’m going to kill you.”, then immediately stormed out of the bunker. He was later found by the First Sergeant, along with 3 other  non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) with his jeep filled with hookers stuck in the ocean with a cache of loaded weapons.  He was quietly shuttled off the next day for stated rest and recuperation (R&R) but the real reason was  for psychological evaluation.

    Before his return, thanks to a First Sergeant that really liked me, I was transferred to work in the next higher command.

    I’m convinced what I did helped expose the hypocrisy of the war and hastened its end.

    Another time when I think I made a difference was shortly after being discharged from the Army.   Returning home for me was returning to live in Independence, Missouri.  Once back home I quickly joined the VVAW chapter based in Kansas City.

    Shortly after joining, I was involved with planning a covert operation to take over the observation deck of Kansas City City Hall located directly across the street from the main police station.  Four of us, with equipment to secure the deck and food for three days succeeded in our mission.  Within minutes of our success a helicopter was circling our position with guns pointed at us and minutes later the story broke over the airwaves.  It hit the top of the news in K.C. and received substantial national coverage.

    As a result, the city council agreed to give us a forum in their chambers to present our case against the war and further agreed to take a vote on whether to formally come out against the Vietnam War.   We agreed to the terms of the deal, a date was set for the forum and we vacated the observation deck.

    At that forum I gave the keynote speech. Afterwards the city council voted as promised and the motion to put Kansas City on record opposing  the Vietnam War was voted down.  The event was covered live in Kansas City, was the front page story in the Kansas City Star and received mention in national news coverage.

    Once again, looking back, I’m convinced my actions helped expose the hypocrisy of the war and hastened its end.

    The Harpers article mentioned above is well worth the time to read.  The lengthy article concluded:

    What is the alternative to naïve cynicism? An active response to what arises, a recognition that we often don’t know what is going to happen ahead of time, and an acceptance that whatever takes place will usually be a mixture of blessings and curses. Such an attitude is bolstered by historical memory, by accounts of indirect consequences, unanticipated cataclysms and victories, cumulative effects, and long timelines. Naïve cynicism loves itself more than the world; it defends itself in lieu of the world. I’m interested in the people who love the world more, and in what they have to tell us, which varies from day to day, subject to subject. Because what we do begins with what we believe we can do. It begins with being open to the possibilities and interested in the complexities.

    Now that I’m in my mid-sixties I can’t lean on my “optimism of youth”  to keep my spirits lifted and my drive intact.  But thanks to this excellent article I now have the concept of naive cynicism to be aware of, watchful for and guarded against in my personal attitudes.

    I’ll be damned if I’ll let naive cynicism bleed the sense of possibility and responsibility out of me.  I’ll continue to believe in the “power of one” and continue to give a shit. I’ll continue to believe that we can take the steps necessary to solve climate change because I know

     

    How about you? 

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  20. The Heat is On But Trump Still Dominates the News

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    February 23, 2017 by John Crapper

    It might feel good in February in large parts of the country but it’s really a worrisome trend.  Just check out the latest.

    Meteorologists expect to see dozens of heat records broken this week, as an extended stretch of uncommonly warm weather continues across much of the United States.

    Also this week, Scott Pruitt took the helm at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt, who has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, has described climate science as a “religious belief” and said he expects to scrap the Clean Power Plan, an EPA initiative to limit carbon pollution from power plants.

    And around the country:

    • 21 people died in an outbreak of tornadoes in the South,
    • 16 in Georgia
    • Seven tornadoes ripped through the New Orleans region
    • Two people died in a fierce Northeast blizzard a day after 60-degree weather
    • Wildfires fed by 99-degree weather swept across Oklahoma
      188,000 people were evacuated downstream of the Oroville Dam in northern California
    • Five people died in torrential rains in southern California

    Meanwhile the nation’s news outlets are focused on every word and move Trump makes.

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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