Saving the Planet by Ending Our Fixation with Economic Growth

Normal is Over 1.1: Solutions to Reverse Global Ecological Decline

Directed by Renee Scheltema (2019)

Film Review

What intrigued me most about this documentary, is that it validates claims the economic downturn preceded the WHO declaration of the COVID 19 pandemic in March 2020. I also like the way Scheltema expands on the present ecological crisis to include mass species extinction, the global economic crisis and increasing inequality, as well as catastrophic climate change.

The film uses the 1973 Club of Rome report Limits to Growth as her point of departure. The latter employed MIT mathematical modeling to predict that resource depletion would force global economic growth to end some time between 2000 and 2010. Just as they predicated it ended (everywhere but China) with the 2008 global financial crash. the latter unleashed an epidemic of unemployment, homelessness and poverty (especially among young people and minorities) from which the developed world never fully recovered.

Scheltema follows this introduction with a very elegant explanation by economist Charles Eisenstein linking the present growth imperative to our debt-based monetary system. At present nearly all our money is created by private banks as loans. Because we currently have no other way for money to come into existence, businesses and individuals must continually seek new products and services (including their own labor) to sell to repay ever increasing public and private debt levels. This frenzied drive to produce, in turn, drives ever heavier resource extraction.

The solution? Scheltema uses the bulk of the film to highlight the efforts of high profile sustainability champions:

  • Vandana Shiva – fighting to restore lower cost, less polluting natural organic farming through the Navdanya Institute she founded in India)
  • Beth Terry – founder of My Plastic Free Life)
  • Reverend Billy – founder of the Church of Stop Shopping
  • The “Lord of the Flies” – one of numerous scientists pioneering the use of fly larvae for organic waste treatment
  • African activists fighting to reverse desertification in the sub-Sahara through tree planting
  • Michael Baumgart, co-founder of the Cradle to Cradle upcycling movement
  • Kate Raeworth -British economist campaigning for a new distributive and regenerative economy *
  • Lester Brown – US environmental analyst who calls for 80% reduction in CO2 by 2030
  • Bernard Lietaer – Complementary (local) currency champion

*Raeworth refers to her new economic model as the Donut Economy. See Kate Raworth: A New Economic Model Based on Planetary Boundaries Rather than Continual Growth

Public library members can view the film free at Kanopy. Type Kanopy and the name of your library into your search engine.

 

Parsing the vast, deadly problem of e-waste

In a telling move that could hint of good things to come, a committee of the British Parliament has called for rules that would force tech companies and giant vendors like Amazon and eBay to recycle the electronic gear they sell. In addition, they propose that companies should be responsible and pay for the return and safe recycling of those products.

eats shoots 'n leaves

In a telling move that could hint of good things to come, a committee of the British Parliament has called for rules that would force tech companies and giant vendors like Amazon and eBay to recycle the electronic gear they sell.

In addition, they propose that companies should be responsible and pay for the return and safe recycling of those products.

Also included in their plan are proposals that would guarantee the user’s ability to repair the products themselves, and a reduction in sales taxes on repair services.

From the Guardian:

Global giants such as Amazon and Apple should be made responsible for helping to collect, recycle and repair their products to cut the 155,000 tonnes of electronic waste being thrown away each year in the UK, MPs say.

An investigation by the environmental audit committee found the UK is lagging behind other countries and failing to create a…

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Hiding Nuclear Waste Because It Can’t Be Disposed Of

Federal agencies and nuclear corporations continue to wrestle over what to do with the already tens of thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste (at least 90,000 at last count) generated by America’s commercial nuclear power plants — all casked up with nowhere to go (and a lot of it still in the fuel pools). Because, absent alchemy, that waste is always going to be somewhere, even if we can’t see it.

Beyond Nuclear International

Why we shouldn’t be talking about nuclear waste “disposal”

By Linda Pentz Gunter

(Note: Please join a webinar on nuclear waste hosted by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC, and moderated by Beyond Nuclear, to discuss the World Nuclear Waste Report with its editor, Arne Jungjohann, and US chapter author and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair, Allison Macfarlane, on December 3 from 1pm-2:30pm Eastern US time. Click here to register.)

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat. You don’t “dispose” of nuclear waste.

The ill-suited, now canceled, but never quite dead radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain was not a “disposal” site.

The radioactive mud being dredged from the sea bed at the Hinkley C nuclear site in the UK, is not going to get “disposed of” in Cardiff Grounds (a mile off the Welsh coast).

When Germany dumped radioactive waste in drums into the salt mines of Asse, it…

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Secret Exxon Documents Show the Firm May Never Recover

The new outlook comes amid a wildly awful year for the fossil fuel giant, which has lost more than $1 billion since the pandemic began. Last month, Chevron overtook Exxon as the biggest energy company in the U.S., and soon after, Exxon analysts said it is facing financial losses for the third quarter in a row.

AGR Daily News

The economic fallout of the covid-19 pandemic has hit the oil industry hard, and Exxon in particular is feeling it. Internal documents show the company’s not expecting to make a grand recovery any time soon despite putting on a good face for shareholders.

Exxon is expecting oil prices to fall over most of the next decade. The firm has lowered its projections for future oil prices for each of the next seven years by between 11% and 17%, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a report composed at September financial planning meetings it obtained.

earther.gizmodo Secret Exxon Documents Show the Firm May Never Recover

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US Government’s super-secret Project Paperclip, a sinister venture: Electromagnetics, Laser Tech, MkUltra, Mind Control, Brainwashing

The top secret project, also known as Operation Paperclip, was a nefarious undertaking that allowed Nazi scientists to migrate to the US without prosecution. Some had studied brainwashing and other mind control methods first-hand in the concentration camps; many were rocket scientists who had been directly involved in the development of Germany’s feared V-1 and V-2 rockets. The latter’s contribution would pave the way for NASA and the Moon landings, and also for America’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program.

Lissa's Humane Life

Excerpt from The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy:

As stated in the chapters in the mind control section of this book, America’s mind control programs stemmed from the US Government’s Project Paperclip, but it wasn’t just Nazi brainwashing techniques the Americans inherited. They also seized Nazi scientists whose number included known war criminals.

The top secret project, also known as Operation Paperclip, was a nefarious undertaking that allowed Nazi scientists to migrate to the US without prosecution. Some had studied brainwashing and other mind control methods first-hand in the concentration camps; many were rocket scientists who had been directly involved in the development of Germany’s feared V-1 and V-2 rockets. The latter’s contribution would pave the way for NASA and the Moon landings, and also for America’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program.

Project Paperclip was as much about denying German scientific expertise to the Soviet Union…

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Emergency Urbanism and the Campaign Against Mass Evictions

By  Ananya Roy

Los Angeles is on the brink of one of the largest mass displacements in the history of the region. As eviction courts reopen, nearly half a million renter households, concentrated in Black and Latinx neighborhoods, are at risk of expulsion through unlawful detainers, or eviction filings—UD Day is here. In a deal struck with the landlord and banker lobbies, the California legislature has put forward tenant protections that postpone some evictions, keeping tenants in a state of permanent displaceability. In a cruel hoax, such protections convert unpaid rent into debt, turning the small-claims court into yet another arena of violence against working-class communities of color. Los Angeles is the paradigm, not the exception.

Writing from Los Angeles, I interpret the present conjuncture as emergency urbanism—the suturing of the ongoing “state of emergency” that is global racial capitalism with the declaration of emergency by the postcolonial state under the sign of public health. The most obvious manifestation of a public-health emergency is the COVID-19 pandemic and its racialized maps of infection and death that make visible the disposability of Black, Brown, and Indigenous life. But COVID-19 is conjoined with other takings of life. Patrisse Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter, explains the state of emergency thus: “That black folks across the country and the globe are systematically targeted, and that our lives are on the line on a daily basis, and, that, ultimately, this is a life and death issue for us.”1

The state of emergency has always been here. In Los Angeles, as well as in other US cities, working-class communities of color are subject to what I call “racial banishment,” the enactment of their expulsion and disappearance from urban life.2 It would be a mistake to understand such processes as gentrification or eviction, in other words, as market-driven displacement, for they are part of the through line of the forced removals of people of color. Racial banishment is state-organized violence, instituted through regimes of racialized policing, such as gang injunctions, nuisance abatement, and place-based surveillance.3 Taking place in the name of the state’s police power to protect the “free use of property” and ensure the “comfortable enjoyment of life and property,” such forms of policing secure dispossession and enable formations of settler urbanism.

The Black Lives Matter uprising seeks to make such racialized policing and the dispossession of life untenable. Alongside such uprising in the streets, a reconfiguration of the social and spatial arrangements that make up urban life is also underway. In particular, property has become the insurgent ground of emergency urbanism, a site of rebellion against global racial capitalism and its protocols of rent and debt. The question at hand is whether such emergency presents the opportunity for a radical reconfiguration of the relationships among sovereignty, life, and property that are so central to American liberal democracy.

[…]

Via https://www.publicbooks.org/emergency-urbanism/

Hunting Hitler: Reality TV as Psyops

 
Reality TV Masquerading as History.
 
I recently came across the 2015 History Channel series Hunting Hitler. Season 1 starts off plausibly enough. Seizing on 700 pages of FBI files declassified in 2104, former CIA officer Bob Baer leads a team of former Seals and special operations officers in amassing physical evidence to verify dozens of recorded witness sightings of Hitler in South American  in 1945-48. The series makes no pretense of presenting an accurate historical record. In fact, it appears the History Channel’s main objective (helped by dramatic voice overs and atmospheric music) is to glorify the hyper macho physical and technological supremacy of US (semi-legal) special operations activities.
 
Baer draws the tentative conclusion that Nazis supporters most likely faked Hitler’s suicide, while he himself escaped from his underground Fuhrerbunker. The hypothesis Baer offers is that the former dictator used a series of underground tunnels to evade invading Russian troops and took one of ten flights that left the former Tempelhof Airport on April 21, 1945  carrying Nazi war criminals abroad.*
 
Both the FBI files and the Baer’s physical evidence make a superficially plausible case that Hitler’s plane could flown to fascist Spain (under Franco), continuing to Argentina via U-boat (submarine).
 
Baer maintains the evidence supporting Hitler’s escape is much stronger than that supporting his suicide. Because loyal Nazis burned his corpse, the only physical remains invading Soviets found were a partial skull (which remains in Russia) and a partial jawbone and teeth (which remain in the Ukraine). In 2009, the Russians allowed a Connecticut archeologist to perform DNA testing on the skull fragments, which revealed its former owner to be a female.
 
Unfortunately, the Hunting Hitler series makes no mention whatsoever of the jaw and teeth, which, verified as Hitler’s in 1945 by his dentist, his dental hygienist and his dental x-rays. This information was in the public domain in 2015 when the History Channel aired Season 1 of Hunting Hitler.** See https://historian-at-large.blogspot.com/2015/03/on-hitlers-teeth-or-death-of-dictator.html
 
A recent DW documentary entitled The Death of Adolf Hitler: History of a State Secret tells the sad story of the hygienist, who the Soviets arrested and sent to a labor camp for ten years. Yet even this strongly anti-Soviet DW documentary neglects to explain why the dental work was so easy to identify: namely the special gold bridge his dentist had made for the dictator.
 
It does, however, delve deeply into Stalin’s repeated claims that Hitler was still alive and had escaped to Argentina via Spain. The latter would trigger massive investigations by US, UK and French intelligence, as well as hundreds of reports from all over the world related to Hitler sightings in South America.
 
To its credit, Hunting Hitler does make reference to the “Rat Line,” a scheme whereby the Catholic Church and Red Cross assisted hundreds of Nazi war criminals to escape from Germany to Argentina and other South American countries. The tunnels Baer’s team uncovered leading to Templehof Airport, the Spanish monasteries that hid Nazi war criminals, the 46 missing U-boats and the elaborate secret Argentinian hideouts filled with Nazi paraphernalia all provide important insight into the Rat Line’s actual operation.
 
I find it really interesting that former CIA operative Baer (and the History Channel) choose to focus on an individual (Hitler) with no known historical role in post war fascist regimes in South America. Especially given the prominent role other Nazi war criminals played in South American cocaine networks and death squads. For example Klaus Barbie in Colombia (see Klaus Barbie: America’s CIA Cold War Cocaine and Death Squads) and Otto Skorzeny in Bolivia (see Mae Brussell: The Nazi Connection to the JFK Assassination)
 

*The Russians would capture central Berlin on May 1, 1945.
 
** Hunting Hitler Season 2 focused on additional from CIA, MI6 and Russian, German and Argentinian government authorities. Season 3, which premiered in December 2017, investigated Nazi weapons of mass destruction. Season 4, scheduled to air in 2018, was canceled.
 
 
The Death of Adolf Hitler: History of a State Secret can be viewed free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QSXKDCFh7o&bpctr=1606277048

Why We Need to Look to Indigenous Communities

Guest post by Tuhi-Ao Bailey

In 2004 I was privileged to travel overseas as a small back-packing, hitch-hiking, dumpster-diving doco-making group, with whanau and friends back home and overseas guiding and supporting us. We crossed 33 countries on 5 continents looking at the best, the worst and the most inspiring of humanity at the time. We were after paths forwards out of the mess ‘humanity’ has created.

In the north of Thailand we interviewed a friend’s uncle, philosopher Mr Wangwinyoo. He spoke about how old philosophers in searching for the meaning of life came to a point of splitting the atom. While that lead to terrible nuclear bombs and energy, another discovery was also made that I don’t think is well known. They realised that while there is physical matter which make up the building blocks of life, it only exists within relationship. The relationship between electrons, neutrons and protons, the relationship between atoms and molecules and all things is what creates life. Mr Wangwinyoo had hence become a strong advocate of teaching communities how to dialogue. Not standing on opposing sides and talking at each other but actually speaking uneasy truths and hearing each other and seeking agreeable paths forward.

Unfortunately when our group returned home many of us tried for years to finish the doco but life and activism got in the way. (We only got it 90% finished and saved the blog [1]). It also led me to delve into my Māoritanga after realising that indigenous communities know how to live ‘sustainably’ but have been systematically crushed, across the globe.

Two weeks ago I found myself by accident in a workshop by Veronica Tāwhai in Wellington. That one hour on settler colonialism blew our minds. To summarise… a Doctrine of Discovery papal bull from the Catholic Church in 1493 basically ordered European christian nations to go out and slaughter non-Christians and take their resources as they had no souls and were therefore not human [2].

(The Christian faith was then corrupted by the Roman Empire which needed a tool like the New Testament Bible to control the Jews. The Roman Empire being perhaps the beginning of white supremacy.)

Anyway, this led to British navy Captain Cook ‘discovering’ Aotearoa and then the flood of boats here from Europe and elsewhere. The working poor and prisoners of hunger came first but they were without real community and tikanga which caused problems for Māori, who in turn asked Britain to do something about it. Eventually this led to Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a means of the British looking after their own and leaving Maori to continue doing their thing. (It was very clear that only kawanatanga over British subjects was signed off because the Bible was the most translated book in Māori at the time and everyone knew Pontius Pilate’s limited role as a governor.)

Māori far outnumbered others at that time but decades of unquarantined ships of sick people later and the tides turned dramatically. This is when England did the dirty in1858 and imported all their laws into Aotearoa, over the top of Maori who had never ceded their sovereignty, lands or taonga. (Darwin’s racist ‘survival of the fittest’ ideas were published the next year.) Te Tiriti was put in a basement and left to rot.

Jump several generations into the future, through years of setting up of governments, war, land confiscation, imprisonment, structural racism, protests, law changes, dismal settlements and colonised minds, and where do we find ourselves? Massive inequality and a planet on the brink of being uninhabitable very soon. It’s hard to see paths forward sometimes…

So here’s my ever optimistic ideas for paths out of the mess again. There are two major parts I see now:
1. transitioning our extraction economy to a regenerative economy (the infographic says it all really), and
2. reinstating indigenous people’s mana motuhake – sovereignty and kaitiakitanga.

The first has begun but more people need to get onboard and fast, like ten years fast, according to many indigenous and ecological experts who are monitoring the planet’s decline and what chances we have at turning things around.<

The second means the moral fight of getting Pakeha to hand over half or all power and trust Māori iwi and hapū to look after our communities and Taiao despite still being a minority population. Easier said than done you may say but it’s really quite simple I think, based on the partnership idea originally set out in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In central and local government there are now several joint management entities, formal agreements or ward arrangements etc that can do this [3]. New legislation like Te Mana o Te Wai and Te Mana Whakahono a Rohe for example, states it quite clearly: let Māori decide their role in the care of wai and resource them to do it – which to be honest I can’t believe the government actually agreed to. Protecting mauri and requirements for cultural expertise are also now required.

So while there are paths forward there are also rocks in the way that need traversing. This is just one current that I’d like to highlight from my iwi rep role in regional council. The brand new freshwater planning process aims to speed up and strengthen protection of wai. We had the Chief Commissioner speak to us yesterday about it and it all seemed okay-ish until it was clear our region’s freshwater policy was to be delayed now by another 2-4 yrs (on top of an already 10yr delay). And that once again the decision-making panel was to have 1 tāngata whenua representative and 2-6 council and government representatives. Yup ONE.

The commissioner said he just followed orders. Hence, we now have Ngai Tahu in court arguing for rangatiratanga over all wai in their rohe [4]. They have good grounds to win. More iwi and hapū need to join them.

[1] https://kotahiteao.wordpress.com/test/

[2] https://thespinoff.co.nz/…/the-right-to-conquer-and…/

[3] https://www.lgnz.co.nz/…/44335-LGNZ-Council-Maori…

[4] https://www.rnz.co.nz/…/ngai-tahu-takes-the-government…

Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Will Get A Congressional Vote Next Week, Leader Announces

The legislation would also create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for marijuana offenses.

LibertyCat’s Scratchings

Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Will Get A Congressional Vote Next Week, Leader Announces

As currently written, the MORE Act, whose lead sponsor is Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would federally deschedule cannabis, expunge the records of those with prior marijuana convictions and impose a federal five percent tax on sales, revenue from which would be reinvested in communities most impacted by the drug war.

The legislation would also create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, as well as protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances due to its use.

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BIG PHARMA: What the Covid Vaccine Hype Fails to Mention – By Gilbert Berdine MD

There is no evidence, yet, that the vaccine prevented any hospitalizations or any deaths. The Moderna announcement claimed that eleven cases in the control group were “severe” disease, but “severe” was not defined. If there were any hospitalizations or deaths in either group, the public has not been told. When the risks of an event are small, odds ratios can be misleading about absolute risk. A more meaningful measure of efficacy would be the number to vaccinate to prevent one hospitalization or one death. Those numbers are not available. An estimate of the number to treat from the Moderna trial to prevent a single “case” would be fifteen thousand vaccinations to prevent ninety “cases” or 167 vaccinations per “case” prevented which does not sound nearly as good as 94.5 percent effective.

RIELPOLITIK

Source – mises.org

  • “…Publicists working for pharmaceutical companies are very smart people. If there were a reduction in mortality from these vaccines, that information would be in the first paragraph of the announcement…There is no evidence, yet, that the vaccine prevented any hospitalizations or any deaths”

What The COVID Vaccine Hype Fails To Mention

By Gilbert Berdine, MD

Pfizer recently announced that its covid vaccine wasmore than 90 percent“effective”at preventing covid-19. Shortly after this announcement, Moderna announced that its covid vaccine was94.5 percent “effective”at preventing covid-19. Unlike the flu vaccine, which is one shot, both covid vaccines requiretwoshots given three to four weeks apart.Hidden towardthe end of both announcements, were the definitions of “effective.”

Both trials have a treatment group that received the vaccine and a control group that did not. All the trial subjects were covid negative prior to the start of the…

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