the Great Mother

The repression of the goddess, the Great Mother, and the sexual face of life. The common light of the world she had many names down through history, Astarte-Phoenica in Pales-Cannan, Ishtar in Babylon, Kali in India, Demeter in Greece, Ostara in Saxon, Freyain Nordica, Isis was her Egyptian moniker, Ashtoreth to the Hebrews. She was mysterious, changable, and playful. The resentful priests of the Yahweh cult, a tribe of nomadic Hebrews, led a coup against her about 4,000 years ago, most of what we know as western civilization is the result.

Self deluded humans don’t have dominion over plants, animals or minerals, we’re all equal partners and any arrogant destruction by us of the 'others' is suicide. In the big picture politics persides only in the realm of control of property and the decisions of others, it is the opposite of freedom which is an internal condition that can’t be granted or controlled but rather evolves out of a 'right view' of the interconnectedness of all.

Our problems are philosophical, until they’re solved the political ones will keep reappearing over and over. Religions who claim to be the only one able to hear the 'true' word of god [as most do] are a denial of all that is devine. The devine is eternally in flux, relegion is an attempt to nail it down. The devine is unknowable, it’s creation divided by destruction. You can’t hang a face on it.

The illusion of an afterlife, where a person throws away the only life he/she has to bet on wishful thinking, to concentrate on heaven is to create hell, to sacrafice the present for an unknowable future is ridiculous and part of the Pirsig-Livingstone culturally pre-conditioned veil. The illusion of dominion over creation. The illusion that certain humans have a 'special' relationship with the divine. The illusion that all of creation was created as a resource for the true believers of some anthropogenic creed are at the heart of our abandonment the The Great Mother and the wanton destruction of our environment.

"The Goddess in all her manifestations was a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hill, trees, and flowers." - Marija Gimbutas


Holly’s Packin’

Meet Holly, a much loved member of our ‘homeland security’ team. She’s a perfect 30, 8lbs, 8ins. tall, and 14 years old. Holly is basically retired now and serves mostly an emotionally supportive role.

Security is a tricky business, 1st ya gotta figure out who/what you’re insecure about. Tucked, as we were on the farm, into a rainforest without a neighbor in site, down the longest potholed driveway i could find, our security depended a lot more on controlling rodents than terrorists. The dogs were, and still are, in charge of controlling any religious fundamentalists that might wander in trying to save me, they’re the only terrorists here-abouts.

But back to today’s heroine, Holly The Rodentslayer. She eats, she sleeps, she does her beauty treatments, of course, and she still occasionally delivers warm dead things to the door, in an almost sacrificial manner. She earns her crunchies, always has. But far more than that, Holly is a full time partner in the bigger picture, an important member of the menagerie who we share this our lives with here in the mud.

One favorite game the 4 legged sect used to play back on the farm was dog-llama-kitty. It was a kinda like rock-paper-scissors with the twist that if Holly ever really felt threatened she'd turn on her dog-llama persueres and be declared instant winner. There was a huge old hollow stump that Holly could duck in and out of while the dog and yearling llama chased each other and her. The funniest thing was when Holly turned on them and you saw these the 60lb. dog and the 6ft tall 250lb llama stopping on dime and going backwards instantly in the opposite direction, they’d both seen Holly's lightening quick reflexes and felt the sting of her razor like claws. She’s a beautiful girl our Holly, she was a great mom when she had kittens years ago, and as my friend Mike says “she’s packin”.


Hello Google,

I am optimistic (and hopeful) that one of the key tenets of scientific investigation, "evidenced-based decision making" will be extended to all aspects of modern society. J . Craig Venter

Climategate was a powerful distraction at Copenhagen but willful denial in the face of science was worse: the primary example being the now scientifically out-dated and indefensible 2C - 450 ppm precautionary ceiling on our actions which was to be the basis for agreement instead of the more scientifically precautionary 1.5C - 350 ppm. But evidence-based decision making was trumped by the political art of the possible - hence 2C - 450 - and then in the hard negotiating it wasn't possible to agree to effective mitigation for even 2C - 450 and so we're headed instead for 3.5C - 550 or more and we all lose.

We have to do better. I think that the science and enviro community can use digital tech to speed up and focus the peer review process in a competition that could get both specialists and publics much more on the same page about climate change dangers and mitigation paths.

"We need to push harder for an education system that teaches evidence-based decision making while we hold our public leaders to a higher standard and less partisan behavior as we attempt to tackle some of the historically most difficult challenges facing the future of humanity." J. Craig Venter

Here's my (optimistic) first week of the New Year letter to the appropriate Google executive:

Hello Google,

I have an idea for a relatively cheap and easy techno leap that could greatly benefit mankind and I can describe it for you in a paragraph:

You should design/build/operate a website/portal/wiki: Is Climate Change An Emergency? soliciting and posting dueling science and perspectives to use the globe's expertise to determine if climate change is an emergency. Not so much a yes it is an emergency - no it isn't shouting match, but the innovation and wisdom of the globe's best and brightest detailing how we can know if it is an emergency or not and, maybe, providing probabilities that we can all understand and accept as the best informed analysis of the dangers. (With provision to evolve into the site leading in exploring the best path(s) or policies to take urgently if the answer proves to be yes.)

I hope you will play with that idea and consider possibilities. For only one design approach, if you see merit, consider approaching the AAAS or the National Academy of Sciences or Britain's Royal Society (for English) to co-design and be responsible for a controlled access wiki peer review procedure which would ensure scientific accuracy while still allowing open access for diverse opinions - if they are falsifyable or built upon credible science.

We can get better fast at getting all on the same page about climate change. (Better plan for a site in Chinese too.) Thanks, Bill

by: Bill Henderson of Pacific Fringe


Wood Heat, Yum

Winter's cold brings the woodstove back into the forfront of attention. The rainforest we live in the middle of here on the Sunshine Coast produces tons of stored carbon ready for use. In fact if we don’t cut it down it over grows us, might as well use it, eh. We used to burn 6-7 cords of wood a year back in the big farm house. For decades i tried to cut it all myself, but as time marched on and my body started wearing out it evolved into buying most of it from young local hardworkin’, beater owning, x-loggers. It was about $1000 a year to have the shed full if i bought every stick of it as of three years ago.

Firewood employs local people, keeps the money in your community, and costs a lot less than natural gas, oil, or electricity. Plus, we had a coil built into the woodstove that preheated the domestic hot water so the cost of hot water was near zero from Oct.. to May. Then, most important of all, comes the fact that wood is carbon stored by the trees using solar energy and absorbing atmospheric carbon to grow. Carbon dioxide is the major ingredient a fire gives off, so woodheat and the forests feed each other in a big circle unlike fossil fuels which release hydrocarbons sequestered long ago. It takes a bit of work each day, but the benefits were many for myself and the planet. The radiant heat gave the place a glow, the smoke gave the forest a new breath and added aroma.

Who knows how much natural gas or oil could cost in the future because of peak oil and/or the collapse of the vast infrstructure needed to deliver it to your door, but the price is only going up. In the long term, wood smoke will rise again in your neighborhood not just here in the rainforest.


Here's a little something from Tom Robbins' first book, Another Roadside Attraction. We need a little rain to make the mud and here's what he had to say about that:
And then the rains came.

They came down from the hills and up from the Sound.

And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odour. And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast.

Rain fell on the towns and the fields. It fell on the tractor sheds and the labyrinth of sloughs. Rain fell on toadstools and ferns and bridges. It fell on the head of our hero.

Rain poured for days, unceasing. Flooding occurred. The wells filled with reptiles. The basements filled with fossils. Mossy-haired lunatics roamed the dripping peninsulas. Moisture gleamed on the beak of the Raven. Ancient shamans, rained from their homes in dead tree trunks, clacked their clamshell teeth in the drowned doorways of forests. Rain hissed on the Freeway. It hissed at the prows of fishing boats. It ate the old warpaths, spilled huckleberries, ran in the ditches. Soaking. Spreading. Penetrating.

And it rained an omen. And it rained a poison. And it rained a pigment. And it rained a seizure.

Rain fell on the Chinese islands. It fell on the skull where the crickets live. It fell on the frogs and snails in the gutters. It fell on the giant improbable pacifying vulnerable sausage. It fell against the windows of the hospital where ......

The above is from Tom Robbins’ Another Roadside Attraction. Page 108 of the Ballantine Books paperback copy.
submitted by: JohnJohn Morris


Olympic Mittens - Canada's IT present this year

Yesterday, all accross Canada, hundreds of thousands of people found Canada's IT present under their tree. Olympic Mittens have gone virul in fair Canuckistan. Evert night of the CBC or CTV news there will be video of the Olympic torch relay wending its way around the country. One thing stays the same in every shot, from every area of this far flung nation, those red mittens. The torch bearers are wearing them, the spectators, and probably the TV news crew behind the cameras too.

It's an unusal sight up here in a country most often divided along geographic, linguistic, racial, and political lines. There's the Quebecois, the Maritimers, Alberta, the vast prarie shield, BC, the north, and hated southern Ontario. Each has it's issues, each seems amenable to seperatism from time to time. But this winter, from coast to coast to coast those damn red mittens are uniting canadians like never before in my 40 years up here.

Sure, it's parly to do with the coming 2010 Olymic games during Feburary in the Vancouver area, it's partly that they cost only $10 with half of that going to the 'Own the Podium' program that supports Canada's olympic athletes, but mostly it's an inner desire to be connected, one to each other, one to all, accross the usual divides.

Canadians aren't an overtly patriotic bunch, especially compared to our flag waving southern neighbors, but, snoring quietly in the canadian pschye like a hibernating bear lies a powerful unity. This unity is most often expressed as what we are not. Most commonly you'll hear "we're not Americans" as how Canadians define themselves. But this winter, billionaire Olympic shanagians notwithstanding, the Olympic Mittens have united this huge nation.


The Ancient Roots of Christmas

Since at least the begining of history our ancestors celebrated the winter solstice and the return of the sun. Having none of our modern astronomical gear it often took them a few days to see the change of the sun's rising point on the horizon therefore most all of them had their celebrations on or around Dec. 25th.

Many of our modern Christmas traditions began hundreds of years before Christ was born. Some of these traditions date back more than 4000 years. The addition of Christ to the celebration of the winter solstice did not occur until 300 years after Christ died and as late as 1800, some devout Christian sects, like the Puritans, forbade their members from celebrating Christmas because it was considered a pagan holiday. So what is the history behind these traditions?

The Christmas tree is derived from several solstice traditions. The Romans decked their halls with garlands of laurel and placed candles in live trees to decorate for the celebration of Saturnalia. In Scandinavia, they hung apples from evergreen trees at the winter solstice to remind themselves that spring and summer will come again. The evergreen tree was the special plant of their sun god, Baldor.

The practice of exchanging gifts at a winter celebration is also pre-Christian and is from the Roman Saturnalia. They would exchange good-luck gifts called Stenae (lucky fruits). They also would have a big feast just like we do today.

Mistletoe is from an ancient Druid custom at the winter solstice. Mistletoe was considered a divine plant and it symbolized love and peace. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is Druid in origin.

The Scandinavian solstice traditions had a lot of influences on our celebration besides the hanging of ornaments on evergreen trees. Their ancient festival was called Yuletide and celebrated the return of the sun. One of their traditions was the Yule log. The log was the center of the trunk of a tree that was dragged to a large fireplace where it was supposed to burn for twelve days. From this comes the twelve days of Christmas.

Even the date of Christmas, December 25, was borrowed from another religion. At the time Christmas was created in AD 320, Mithraism was very popular. The early Christian church had gotten tired of their futile efforts to stop people celebrating the solstice and the birthday of Mithras, the Persian sun god. Mithras’ birthday was December 25. So the pope at the time decided to make Jesus’ official birthday coincide with Mithras’ birthday. No one knows what time of year Jesus was actually born but there is evidence to suggest that it was in midsummer.


Deeprok Chopra Interview on CNN

The Mud Report offers special thanks to CNN for both running this interview and for graciously sending the transcript below. It's very cool that a huge mainstream media outlet like CNN would run such an unabashed anti-consumer interview at the hieght of the mindless consumption season.


ROMANS: You teach a course about management and you speak to CEOs about how they can blend making money, but also conscience capitalism, as you call it. Did we lose track -- do we lose track of our conscience in how we did business that led up to this calamity that we face today?

CHOPRA: I think the first principle that's taught in business school, I teach at Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University, and the first thing I tell them is that the first principle of business is wrong. When you go to a business school, the first thing you are told is the purpose of a business is to improve shareholder value. Right there you are off track. The purpose of a business is to improve the quality of life on this planet and to improve the stakeholder value, but the stakeholder is everyone from the community, the consumer, and our ecology, and the poor people in the world. They're stakeholders.

ROMANS: What about consumers? You know, many of us watching this program are not going to be the CEO who try to make a more sustainable product or could try to do better for their employees or their country. Well, what about the consumer, should the consumer spend, invest and make money based on values not on greed?

CHOPRA: First thing the consumer should learn to do is to stop spending money that they haven't earned to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like. OK, we start off on the wrong track, we are buying stuff that we don't need with money that we still haven't earned just so we can keep up with the Joness.

ROMANS: Were Americans filling something in their soul over the 20 or 30 years by buying things on borrowed money, a hangover after the holidays because they have to pay for something that maybe was just a sugar rush in their life. Is there a way to fix or change that mentality?

CHOPRA: Slowly and we all have to participate in it. Money reflects -- the way we spend money reflects our values. So we've spent money with only one inner dialogue, me, me, me, me. Now spend money with the inner dialogue we. Turn me around and make it we.

ROMANS: Do you believe that with faith comes the responsibility to give?

CHOPRA: I think all faith is based on giving. The biggest message of Jesus Christ is to go and serve and help the rest of humanity. If you do that, then yes, there is the flow of abundance, but by faith means I'm going to pray to God and somehow money is going to start flowing in. That is not real faith. That is greed.

ROMANS: Let me ask you one last question, you have one piece of advice for the American consumer watching this who feels frustrated about all of the things that have happened and now may be playing defense with their finances. What do you say to them?

CHOPRA: I think first of all, don't be scared. It is a hard time for a lot of people. A lot of people are suffering. We must have compassion and understanding for this suffering but, you know, in a sense we allowed Wall Street to governor our lives and now Wall Street itself is paying its karmic debt. As Wall Street recovers, we should right now think of spending money in a way that helps everyone and let's focus on relationships instead of consumption. It is an ugly word we have to describe ourselves in America. We call ourselves consumers. Just think of the images that conjure up in your imagination when you just say the word consumer. We are a conference of relationships so focus on love, kindness, compassion and giving. The universe is abundant, it will flow.

ROMANS: All right,Deepak Chopra, thank you so much for joining us.

CHOPRA: Thank you.

ROMANS: Congratulations on your most recent book.


Wendell Berry - muddite hero

Wendall Berry doesn't just talk the talk he walks the walk and always has. He's not afraid to take on the most powerful agribusiness interests nor is he afraid of getting his hands muddy. Berry has spent his entire adult life writing about and working as a small organic farmer. After nearly 30 years of hard work on my own small organic farm nobody has earned my respect more than Berry has.

Wendell Berry is the author of more than forty books of essays, poetry and novels. He has worked a farm in Henry County, Kentucky since 1965. He is a former professor of English at the University of Kentucky and a past fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has received numerous awards for his work, including an award from the National Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters in 1971, and most recently, the T.S. Eliot Award.

"It is hard to say whether I like this writer better as a poet, an essayist, or a novelist. He is all three, at a high level." - Wallace Stegner

"A Kentucky farmer and writer, and perhaps the great moral essayist of our day." - New York Review of Books

"Berry is the prophetic American voice of our day." - Christian Science Monitor

"My work has been motivated by a desire to make myself responsibly at home in this world and in my native and chosen place." - Wendell Berry

Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky - Internet Resources
"leadership from the bottom"- Wendell Berry


Carbon Offsets and Copenhagen Crap

How unsual, every news organization around the globe, left wing-right wing-middle wing, north-south-east-west, agrees The Copenhagen Accord is total crap. No binding commitments, no...no nothing. The only happy face coming out of the fiasco was Canada's Prime Minister Stevey Harper, he got exactly the accord he wanted, no accord. Harper is, as always, a tool of Big Oil and especially the Tar Sands Billionaires. His, and his government's, climate goal is to get every joule outta the tar sands as fast as possible.

Why? Who benefits? Harper's billionaire benfactors get richer. The Conservative Party gets more dirty donations. The Amerikans get to keep driving their SUVs 80 mph down the Interstates. A win-win-win situation eh. Unless of course you happen to be any one of the other trillions of stakeholders living down here in the mud on mother earth.

So, millions of new tons of climate killing carbon were blown into our common atmosphere in order to transport the bishops of Mammon [and the unwashed, the protestors] to and around Copenhagen for more crap. Oh, for sure, the bishops say they've traded for Carbon Offsets equal to this new quantity of squalor they emitted. Carbon Offsets are just another lie designed to keep the consumer paradigm steamrolling, to assauge the guilt of the consumers. Carbon Offsets are just like the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption.When looked at closely Carbon Offsets are just more, you guesed it, crap.

Leaders of the Rich World Are Enacting a Giant Fraud - by Johann Hari
The Elephants of Doom in Copenhagen - By Michael M'Gonigle


Winter Solstice

No one's really sure how long ago humans recognized the winter solstice and began heralding it as a turning point, the day that marks the return of the sun. The Mesopotamians were first perhaps, with a 12-day festival of renewal, designed to help the god Marduk tame the monsters of chaos for one more year. Almost every ancient culture built their greatest architectures - tombs, temples, cairns and sacred observatories - so that they aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Many of us know that Stonehenge is a perfect marker of both solstices.

In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for Aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would be troubled as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold. After the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they took heart that the return of the warm season was inevitable. The concept of birth and or death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice.

The rising of the sun
The running of the deer,
The playing of the drum,
Sweet music to the ear.

December celebrations in many faiths and locations - ancient and modern


BC Fossil of the Decade Awards

We (BC activists who recognize that climate change is an emergency requiring urgent systemic change) are proud to announce the winners of the coveted fossil of the decade award.
In the great Canadian tradition of climate change denial, obfuscation and inaction few organizations have done so much to keep British Columbians mis-educated about climate change.

As BC's use of fossil fuels and resulting greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise even as the emerging science paints an ever clearer picture of how tragically serious and humanity threatening climate change will be for our kids and their families, we'd like to honor BC's BIG ENGOs: David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina, BC Sustainable Energy Association, Sierra Club of BC, POWER UP/ FOREST ETHICS for:

helping to keep the BC public profoundly mis-educated by supporting the BC Liberal government's 'showbag of dinky policy actions'* like the puny $10 carbon tax (instead of an effective triple digit carbon tax), the promise of supposed carbon neutrality through offset indulgence, and what increasingly looks like a leaky, corrupted cap and trade;

helping to keep the BC public mis-educated and in denial by stressing individual green shopping 'smart choices' instead of insisting upon systemic change like public transit instead of continuing planning and infrastructure for cars and sprawl (for only one example), and for supporting the BC government illusion of renewable energy instead of insisting upon real policies to keep BC fossil fuels in the ground until they can be used properly;

and, for being so politically naive and unprogessive and totally in climate change denial as to support Premier Campbell, the very epitome of the skilled politician stickhandling climate change instead of taking meaningful action, the very epitome of the skilled politicians who descended upon what might have been our last chance at Copenhagen to ensure that climate change mitigation continued to be confined, ineffectually and profoundly unethically, within BAU.

Premier Campbell to whom a couple of the Big ENGOs we are honoring tonight gave a Climate Excellence award at Copenhagen; Premier Campbell who does know the climate change science and does understand the humanity threatening consequences of continuing to just obfuscate needed change, who could have shown leadership in advocating for agreement on keeping fossil fuels in the ground and global economic systemic change (contraction-convergence, relocalization, a steady state economy, massive cuts to fossil fuel subsidies and military use of fossil fuels, etc) but who instead smiled as a salesman for a carbon trading system that will just waste another decade while directing big bucks to the undeserving.

With you guys helping him, applauding him, while his kind of myopic, business-agenda serving, small minded, territory protecting politicos wasted the opportunity of Copenhagen.

It's great that you guys are inside with influence. Imagine how much more our emissions might soar without your influence in CAT and with the Premier. Imagine how apathetic and confused, how ignorant of the serious tipping point to runaway warming danger, how stuck in a BAU with no future, the public, the Premier and his government would be without your leadership, guts and strong voices.

Ian, Matt, Tzeporah, Guy, Merran - all you guys and, of course, yes, Dr. Weaver too - come up to the stage for your award. And we have a special end of decade present for you all donated by a philanthropist who shall remain anonymous - A TWO MONTH SPECIAL CARBON ADDICT ENFORCED RESTFUL DETOX STAY AT HOLLYHOCK PUT ON BY THE SPECIALISTS FROM THE BETTY FORD CENTER!!! LET'S HEAR IT EVERYBODY!!!

*"(A) systemic political under-estimation of the seriousness of the problem … Because governments are not honest with themselves about the size and urgency of the problem, they necessarily transmit a shallow view of the problem to the electorate, who follow suit in seeing climate as an incremental problem. Voters are sold a show-bag of dinky policy actions on climate as 'solving the problem', and they reasonably conclude the problem can't be all that serious. Much of the climate advocacy lobby is guilty of the same incapacity."  David Spratt

by Bill Henderson of Pacific Fringe


The Free Lunch Delusion

The Copenhagen Summit has been another example of how easy it is to control people by promising them something for nothing. It happens every day, it’s the definition of the flim flam. Almost all humans believe in the Free Lunch Delusion, not just about climate change but about anything. Our brethern will blindly believe in the wonders of industrial agriculture, in endless economic growth [the mother of oxymorons], in consumer credit and a million other self-deceptions. Humans seem capable of believing any arguement that says some miraculous set of circumstances are going to deliver the goods without they themselves having to do the work it really takes to get them.

It always turns out the same, the promises are bogus, what benefits do accrue go to those who were promoting the flim flam. People just shrug, learn nothing and go on to believe the next con man. P.T. Barnum said of the sucker mentality "there’s a new one born every day", but he far underestimated the math.

In the climate change debate the free lunch the folks in the industrialized world want to believe in is that they can keep shitting in their nest without nesting in their shit. The roots of this Free Lunch Delusion go deep, but there are no climate miracles. The only solution to overconsumption is to consume less.

Our species is in big trouble, the modern world is powered by a selfish greed paradigm. Materialistic blinders block any thought of wanting less or of consuming less in the present to attain some elusive goal far into the future. The worldwide shopping culture won't remedy any problem unless the results are quick and easy to see. Consumers feel entitled to their goodies, want stuff and want it now. So, big trouble is our future. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud.

#1 quote from Copenhagen on Twitter: "If the climate was a bank, the United States would already have saved it," -Hugo Chavez


From the garden

A few years ago, when our last daughter left for university, things started to feel different around the farm. For 25 years we all had worked hard to clear the land, build a good sized greenhouse, collect and haul the fertilizer provided mainly by the chickens and llamas. The chickens free ranged in the garden area and all around the property during winter scratching and pooping as they went. During the summer months the chickens lived in their coop and house otherwise they'd fly over the fences and feast on the garden. The llamas doubled as lawnmowers and fortunately have the innate habit of pooping in only one area making collection easy.

Of course we always had at least one dog and often more than one cat. The cats jobs were rodent control and snuggly companionship. The dogs were our best friends. They graciously accepted us into their pack, they chased away bears, raccons, and prowlers with unequaled pride. We never could have had the life we loved without our animal friends helping us.

Fortunately, as the place started to feel to big and the chores started to feel like work, along came a young family whose energy and good vibes made me realize that the old farm needed new blood, needed the sound of children's laughter, needed new ideas and directions. So now my dog Pancho, old kitty Holly and i are living a new adventure and the farm sings a new song.

Our climate and growing season set limits on certain things but overall we produced an wide variety of organic food and medicinal plants for ourselves and our neighbors.

Food crop wise there were:

  • Tomatoes - both cherry for munching and larger types for salsa and sandwiches
  • Peppers - 4 varieties, sweet reds and greens, slightly hot yellows and real hot little red tepines
  • Potatoes - open pollinated Equadorian finger type, super producers in our climate
  • Corn - Hopi yellow, we brought it here nearly 20 years ago from high/dry Arizona, and successfully re-planted here since then
  • Beans - both our bush and pole varitiess have been grown, saved and re-grown here on the coast for decades
  • Garlic - a stiff necked type brought to BC by the Doukabors from their native Russia
  • Sunflowers - this year ours come from an Amsterdam flower market
  • Basil - our #1 [non-medicinal] barter crop, the pesto lovers line up for this one
  • Lettuce - usually a romaine variety grown all year round except in the mid-summer
  • Kale - red Russian provides an excellent cooking green most of the year
  • Rhubarb - the first sweet shoots mark the beginning of spring
  • Chives - 2 varities, a regular purple flower and a garlicy white flower type
  • Leeks - another crop that provides an excellant fresh green all year round
  • Zucchini - super abundant soft skinned summer squash that can achieve Godzilla size almost overnight if missed during picking when they are hidden under a huge leaf.
Then there’s the berries:

  • Blueberries and Strawberries - that we do some stuff to help along
  • Raspberries -  22 rows, 80 feet long, producing about 1,500 lbs. per year on average. mostly these were bought up by u-pickers who came every other day through the season providing a small cash income that allowed me to stay home and work around the place during that month or so.
  • Blackberries, Salmonberries, Huckleberries, and Thimbleberries - that we don’t do anything about except enjoy
Finally there’s the medicinals:
  • Comfrey - grows abundantly here without any help works miracles on all kinds of skin ailments
  • Lemon Verbena - an instant cure for depression, like listening to the banjo, ya can’t smell it without smiling
  • Opium Poppies - easy to save and store plus its tea can make even the most worn out hip a little less painful and a lot more fun
  • Mota - like opium, another cure for what ails ya, both have been in use for thousands of years
  • Purple Sage - very strong tasting but also a very strong cleansing smudge comes from burning the dried flowers


The Malaysian Concentric Bird

Edward Abbey’s quote below from The Monkey Wrench Gang was meant to describe clear cut logging and the ‘tree farms’ that followed, though decades old, could just as easily be applied today to consumer credit devotees, currency speculators, aquifer depleters, etc. In each and every case the lure of the free lunch ends the same.

"In clear cutting", Abbey said, "you clear away the natural forest, or what the industrial forester calls 'weed trees', and plant all one species of tree in neat straight functional rows like corn, sorghum, sugar beets or any other practical farm crop. Then you dump on chemical fertilizers to replace the washed away humas, inject the seedlings with growth forcing hormones, surround your plot with deer repellents and raise a uniform crop of trees all identical. When the trees reach a certain prespecified height [not maturity; that would take too long] you send in a fleet of tree harvesting machines and cut the fuckers down. All of them. Then burn the slash, and harrow, seed, fertilize all over again, round and round and round again, faster and faster and tighter and tighter until, like the fabled Malaysian Concentric Bird which flies in ever-smaller circles, you disappear up your own asshole."


Canada's Governments are polluted by Big Money

In July 2009, Canada was ranked last in an assessment of G8 countries' action on climate change. A wider evaluation of major countries placed Canada's action on global warming 59th out of 60 countries, better only than Saudi Arabia's. It appears the Canadian Government's goal is to over take Saudia Arabia in this race for the bottom spot.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on his way to Copenhagen to represent his constituency, the Alberta Tar Sands billionaires. Harper and his Conservative Government have never met a polluter they didn't love. From Big Oil to the asbestos mines, from the petrochemical industry to GMOs, billionaire bankers, automakers, steel smelters, you name it, the Conservatives love 'em all.

Despite the fact that decades of polls show the Canadian population firmly in favor of strict anti-pollution standards and regulations both the current Conservative Government and the previous 9 years of Liberal Governments refuse to enact the kind of laws the population or their comitments to the Koyoto Protocal demands. Wonder why? Money talks in a pollutocracy, that's why.

The corporations, banks, and billionaires contribute massive sums to both of Canada's leading political party's, the rich own the parties, politicians and the government no matter who wins the elections. The rich sing the tune, the politicians do the dance. So this coming week in Copenhagen most Canadians, and the rest of the enlightened world, will watch in horror as Canada's 'leaders' do whatever their masters in Big Oil want of them.

One day our children and grandchildren will ask "How could Canada have fallen so far, so fast?" "Why did pollution and corruption take over our country so easily?" The answer, our answer, to them, "Money honey."

Ottawa funding group that promotes work of climate-change skeptics -The federal government has been funding an asbestos lobby group that promotes the work of prominent climate-change skeptics. The revelation comes as Canada's delegation struggles to avoid being cast as the villain at the Copenhagen climate conference, and environmentalists are urging the government to stop financing the group.

Ottawa eyes breaks for oil sands - The Harper government says special breaks in store for Alberta's oil sands.

Alberta's Tar Sands Make Canada a Climate Criminal - Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling - by George Monbiot


Pancho Villa's Ride

Pancho Villa, so the saying goes, was "hated by thousands and loved by millions." He was a Robin Hood to many and a hero of the Mexican Revolution. Doroteo Arango, Pancho Villa’s real name, was born in the state of Durango in 1878, a share-cropper peasant on a hacienda. According to the legend, one day when he was sixteen, he returned home from the fields to find that his sister had been raped by the owner of the hacienda, Don Agustin. Doroteo took up his revolver, shot Don Agustin, and escaped into the mountains on a horse and assumed an alias.

Why did Pancho ride? Because there was no other hope of justice for his sister’s attacker. In the years to come millions followed because there was no hope for them either. Under Porfirio Diaz, the dictator who ruled Mexico from 1884-1911,[this may sound familiar] large landowning ricos, the church, and American industrial corporations enjoyed unfettered access to Mexico's wealth of natural resources. By 1910, American corporations had invested over $10 billion in Mexico's mining and other extractive industries. Very little of this wealth ‘trickled down’ to the landless peasants.

In 1910, when the Mexican Revolution broke out, Villa put together an army of armed cowboys and ruffians and became the revolutionary general who led the war in the northern part of Mexico. His charisma and victories made him an idol of the masses.

Unfortunately, their victories were short lived, the landowners quickly regrouped and re-took control in the choas that followed. That same battle for access to resources is at the roots of the dirty little war Mexico is waging against the Zapatistas in Chiapas to this very day. The Zapatistas, are led by a 21st century Robin Hood role model, Sub-Commandante Marcos. Together with Hugo Chavez of Venezula, Evo Morelais in Bolivia, our old friend Fidel, and others the light still shines in Latin America. 'The good fight' against the ricos for land reform, enviormental regulations and access to recources continues.

"Drink, but never get drunk. And steal, but only from the rich." Francisco 'Pancho' Villa.

by Bob Wiley


Premier Campbell, Hansen, Schellenhuber and Copenhagen

What can we do as the politicos seal a bad deal at Copenhagen? Make an example of one of them, punish one of them either at Copenhagen or after to help clear the way to the real deal we urgently need. My example is a minor Canadian premier but as Monbiot pointed out Canuck politicos (but not our activists) are big problems at Copenhagen.

Premier Campbell was on CBC Radio's The House talking climate change before he leaves for Copenhagen. The host didn't ask any hard questions - How about some hard questions for our Premier at Copenhagen?

Why? Because Campbell is a delayer limiting emission reduction to only what is possible within the present economics and politics, the epitome of the political leaders that will 'negotiate' a bad deal at Copenhagen even though they know the science and should know better. "The latest scientific research on climate change is extremely disturbing. We have a real emergency. Yet the gap between science and policy keeps widening, as does the gap between the negotiations and the urgency of the issue.

"Science indicates that the global temperature increase should be limited to 1 or 2 degrees Celsius. World leaders endorsed this view at the G-8 meeting in Italy in July. Even with that limit, major destruction, including the disappearance of most of the world’s coral reefs, is likely. "Yet policy compromises agreed to by negotiators involved in the Copenhagen talks virtually guarantee a temperature increase of around 4 degrees Celsius ­ well into the catastrophic risk range." GORBACHEV

Consider this emission reduction graph: The graph is from Schellnhuber's worth-your-time slide show here:

We (Canada, US, Aus, global 'middle class') need to reduce our emissions by nearly 100% by before 2020 in order to have only a good probability (67%) of not exceeding 2C.

You can read the full WBGU report explaining the math it's basically in agreement with all of the research papers that have come out in the past year on a carbon budget needed to escape dangerous climate change, most notably: Meinshausen et al and Allen et al.

Over the past two years since the introduction of BC's emission reduction policies the cutting edge science also includes James Hansen's melting Arctic as tipping point to dangerous climate change hypothesis [pdf] with his call for new targets based not on 2C - 450 ppm but less than 1C 0 350 ppm.

Has Premier Campbell changed, deepened the emission reduction targets in line with the new science? No. In fact the Climate Secretariat and mitigation policy and implementation have been shuffled out of the priority level in Campbell's government. Has Campbell lead in making the public and other leaders aware of this new science and the need for deeper targets? Resoundingly no - in fact, it looks suspiciously like he has lost interest in climate change.

What happened? "(H)ow do you assess a premier who defines climate change as an enormous threat to mankind, then loses interest within 24 months?" Paul Willcocks

Some would paint Premier Campbell as a serial enthusiast for issues that interest him who then moves on, but I think the more reasonable portrait is of a skilled politician who recognizes potential politically dangerous issues and then proactively acts to neutralize the possible political danger by embracing the issue with effective containment. Campbell is an example of politicians stick handling climate change, and now he is an example of our supposed leaders heading for Copenhagen to get in the way of needed change.

David Spratt, an Australian climate activist and co-author of Climate Code Red, blames apathy on "a systemic political under-estimation of the seriousness of the problem … Because governments are not honest with themselves about the size and urgency of the problem, they necessarily transmit a shallow view of the problem to the electorate, who follow suit in seeing climate as an incremental problem. Voters are sold a show-bag of dinky policy actions on climate as 'solving the problem', and they reasonably conclude the problem can't be all that serious. Much of the climate advocacy lobby is guilty of the same incapacity."
This is our Premier Campbell and since climate change is so deadly serious yet so marginalized by our business controlled governments most Canadians remain profoundly mis-educated and we do less than nothing at great expense to future generations.

Check out my take on Campbell (Climate Change and the 21010 Olympics) and then you tell me I'm wrong and then consider what we can do about it.

by Bill Henderson at Pacific Fringe


Organic Gardening and Carbon Sequestration

After reading an article at the Common Dreams website yesterday about La Via Campesina i googled the words 'organic gardening and carbon sequestration' The results were amazing even for a person who had a small organic farm for nearly 30 years. Of course my reason for creating and re-creating that garden was to feed a growing family healthy, inexpensive, very local foods. It worked, we have healthy happy hard working sucessful kids and now grandkids.

But the topic dejour is climate change and the greenhouse gases we're loading into our commons. Why did we drift away from growing our food organically over the past half century. Why do folks fall so easily for the free lunch, get rich quick, something for nothing delusion? Partly, i think, because of the advertising industry's constant drumbeat that we can have our cake and eat it too. Partly because of the Western mindset that says we are above and apart from the mud between our toes. But mostly because industrial agriculture makes the rich richer while at the same time making us, our kids and our enviorment sicker.

Please, read up on organic gardening, organic foods in general, local foods and eating/shopping sustainably. Micheal Pollan's books are a first step, a great read and probably at your local library. The internet is another huge information resource. The links below lead to the science behind agricultural carbon sequestration and the people who live their lives touching our mother earth. Learn about green manures, about heritage seeds and seed saving. Grow your own organic produce, become part of the solution to our shared climate abuse. Turn on, Tune in, Drop out of the industrial agriculture paradigm that's such a big part of the destruction of our biosphere, if not for your own sake then for the sake of our kids and their kids and their kids...

La Via Campesina, the International Peasant Movement states that industrial agriculture is by far the biggest source of carbon emissions is based on a recent study that looked at all emissions from the global food system. Surprisingly, one-third of the emissions come from food processing and transport. The bulk of emissions come from land use changes - conversions of forest and grasslands - and from direct agricultural production like fuel use, fertilizers and tillage.

The Rodale Institute is a not-for-profit educational and research organization committed to sharing information globally about successful  agricultural solutions to health and environmental problems.

Organic Farming Sequesters Atmospheric Carbon and Nutrients in Soils "The extent of carbon sequestration found and the impressive ability of organic systems to capture carbon are important results that should be used by policy makers when planning future agriculture development." Paul Hepperly, The Rodale Institute's research manager.


Steve Nash, Clearly Canadian

Steve Nash, aka Captain Canada, is the face behind Clearly Canadian Beverage bottled water. The British Columbia-based company has entered into a worldwide endorsement agreement with the Suns point guard and two-time NBA MVP.

"I have been very selective about the companies I have had relationships with over the years," said Nash. "The Clearly Canadian relationship is a natural fit for me. Not only are we both from British Columbia, but I was also drawn to Clearly Canadian because it is a company that understands its responsibility to give back to those less fortunate". Steve is playing a role in supporting Clearly Canadian's global water initiative. The company is directly involved in building safe drinking water systems in Central and South American villages. A match made in Canada, eh.

After winning the NBA's MVP award the first time kids all over the globe started wanting to be like Steve. They made more passes, completed more assists, didn't consentrate on their 'city game' and the 1 on 1 slam dunks, but become better team players. On the court and off Steve spends his energy serving others. No wonder the Suns have a lot of supporters down here in the mud.

Clearly Canadian and the Global Water Initiative

Water ... worth more than gold and necessary for survival above all other resources on earth.


Backyard Magic

Often solutions to what appear as huge, intractable problems come easily after taking the first step. The solution to problems like GMO foods, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, aquafer depletion etc. evolve from taking direct action toward the control of your own food as the first step. Then acting locally, in your backyard, deck or balcony is the second.

Start with something simple, maybe a good sized bucket of chives if you're tight for space. They don't need all day sun by any means and a shallow bucket about one foot in diameter can produce enough vitamin rich fresh chives and flowers in one season to change your whole summer menu. In mid-summer snip out the flowers and dry them as a bouquet. Once dried they'll release copious tiny black seeds to give away or to expand your production next spring. If you've got any land at all plant garlic in September [northern hemisphere], choose some large stiff necked bulbs, plant the individual cloves 4 inches apart. By the following July you'll have an amazing crop of the healthiest food on the planet. Beans and peas are magic too, they produce their own nitrogen fertilizer out of the air. When you plant them together with corn and squash the legumes [like beans and peas] feed the others, the corn provides a trellis for the beans and peas and and the squash provides cooling, water retaining ground cover for the others. Each separately do less well than when planted together.

It doesn't really matter what step you take first , the magic is everywhere, you'll find it as soon as you start to look. The circle of life gets completed when you learn how easy it is to dry and save a portion of your magic beans for next year. Garlic too is easily replanted each fall with a few of the best bulbs from July's harvest. Chives die back in the winter, if there is one where you live, only to come back stronger each year. Just add a bit of compost to the chive's tub early each spring and weed occasionally. Soon corn, potatoes, strawberries, and peas will all follow along. Once your eyes are open to the wonders of creation happening in your garden or on your deck, becoming a conscious consumer comes naturally. So does supporting local people who are taking direct control of their food and environment at your local Farmer's Market. All this from a little tub of chives or a hill of magic beans. Guaranteed.

by Bob Wiley


Democracy and Human Rights vs. The Pagan Paradigm

Consider first that there's an unspoken assumption in the Western mind that humans and only humans have 'rights'. Then, having accepted this filtering by our cultural blinders, it's effortless to accept species chauvinism, once we've deluded ourselves into believing in the unique and elevated position of our species, we automatically accept a complete division between ourselves and the rest of 'Nature'.

The same blindered reasoning answers the question of what 'Democracy' really is. By this reasoning the defination of Democracy squarely stands on the shifting sands of who has 'rights' and who gets to vote. Remembering that not long ago we white guys were able to delude ourselves into believing in the argument that women and blacks weren't deserving of rights, or of a vote, now we're saying only humans have rights, only humans are stakeholders . That uniquely human mental ability of ours to draw artificial lines between ourselves and 'others' is what has allowed us to perform countless acts of butchery down through the ages. Whether between the 'us and them' of religious beliefs, or pigmentation, or plumbing, we've been able to deceive ourselves before, and we are again.

When we have the next election or the next big conference of the stakeholders convenes, who's going to speak for the flora, fauna, minerals, microbes, forces, fairies or for Gaia herself without all of whom none of us deluded humans could exist.

Leaving the more deluded path of dominion over the countless 'others' we arrive at the Pagan Paradigm. Through many eons The Goddess reined. Today we have Aboriginal Spirtualism and Buddhist ideology as examples of Paganism and Animism that are still going strong. As opposed to the Muslim/Hebrew/Christian ideologies where the supremacy of man is total and unquestioned, Buddhists and Aboriginals believe that every thing has a soul, that every thing has an equal place. Certainly the worldview of the Buddhists and Aboriginals would demand that every thing be considered a stakeholder, that in a real Democracy, every thing gets a vote.

So now, in this time when almost every political party in almost every Democracy is owned lock-stock and barrel by the corporations that support them, the time has arrived for the re-ascendancy of Paganism. Only through immersion in the Pagan Paradigm, only through living and knowing 'our-selves' as one undivided from other selves, can all the stakeholders ever form a perfect union.

by Bob Wiley