Govts. Refuse to Test N. Pacific Fishery Catch for Radioactivity Despite Growing Fukushima Disaster

Projections from the paper show the concentration of Cesium-137 in the top 200 meters of the Pacific as it moves east. Figure A is for April 2012, B is April 2014, C is April 2016, and D is April 2021.

The radioactive isotopes have been pumping and spilling out of the Fukushima Daiichi plant 24 hrs a day since the nuclear melt-through that occurred in March of 2011 and continue to form an ever-growing radioactive plume in the Pacific Ocean. As numerous scientists have said for decades [see video below by Dr. Helen Caldicott], the most dangerous of them, like radioactive cesium [Cs-137 and 134], doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through them and ingest them through their gills and by eating organisms that have already ingested them the radioactive isotopes bio-accumulate up the food chain.

A couple of days ago i read an article in the Terrace Daily titled 'North Pacific Food Chain Inedible Though No One Admits It'. The article contains many informative links that lead to other links. i love Merv Ritchie, the site's editor, in large part because he hates and distrusts capitalists and the corporate media even more than i do.

This one paragraph from Merv's article that should cause Geiger Counter sales to skyrocket all around the northern Pacific basin: "Here is the truth, like it or not. The leak of radioactive elements from the melted down reactors has completely permeated the entire food chain of the North Pacific. The herring all swim through the very waters off the Fukushima Oceanic wasteland. All the Salmon, Tuna and other sea life feed on these herring. The herring are all bleeding from sores from the diseases acquired from the radiation. We cannot prove the Sockeye didn’t return to our rivers because of this but all empirical evidence points to it as being at the source of the massive losses."

Following Merv's links led me to an article titled 'Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna Salmon and Herring on the West Coast of North America?' Where i learned that the radioactivity from Fukushima is spreading to North America is extensively documented. And how more than a year ago, 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. What do you think the US and Canadian governments did in response? That's right they discontinued testing and refused to make public the information they already had.

The reason these 3 types of fish are being focused on are because is Sockeye Salmon and herring both range all across the northern pacific and Bluefin tuna are an even wider-ranging and fast swimming predator which can swim back and forth between Japan and North America easily in a year. So, not only is a radioactive plume that stays active for thousands of years coming towards us on the sea's currents but it is being brought over to us in concentrated form through bio-accumulation up the food chain even faster. Furthermore our governments refuse to test the fish apparently because the seafood industry knows, just as the GMO industry knows, that testing will undoubtedly return data that will in turn demand action by governments and take a huge bite out of the industry as well as the investors portfolios.

Following the links led me to an interview on Democracy Now! with nuclear-energy consultant Arnie Gundersen who said: "The surveys of the area [around Fukushima] determined that the radiation coming from the ground was five times more in an hour than a normal person would get in a year. Radioactive water is leaking out of this plant as fast as it's leaking in. So, you've got something on the order of 400 tons to maybe even as much as a thousand tons of water a day leaking off of the mountains around Fukushima into the basement of this plant. Well, the basement is highly radioactive because the containment has failed and radioactive material is leaking out from the nuclear core into the other buildings. That's being exposed to this clean groundwater and making it extraordinarily radioactive. ... And the problem is going to get worse."

The video below by Nobel Prize winning physician Dr. Helen Caldicott breaks down the lies of the nuclear industry including the huge amount of greenhouses gases embedded in the production of the fuel. Her talk focuses how the nuclear industry's by-products effect the health of every living thing. She specifically talks about the horror of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns that have been completely covered up by the governments and press around the world. Helen is an expert on nuclear radiation and her analysis needs to be shared with everyone.


Thousands Lineup at Canadian Border Crossings Waiting Their Turn to Buy More Needless Crap

The Labour Day long weekend is off to a typical start, it's a bit rainy, and thousands of Canadians are lined up coast to coast at the US border crossings. They'll there sit idling, listening to some tunes or checken out facebook for at least an hour until it's their turn to buy some more needless crap. It's all so wrong for so many reasons.

First off, why are they spending their money to support the US workers, owners, governments and economy when it's the Canadian economy that supports them, Canadians that are their neighbors, Canadian price differences that pay for the medical care, schools and better wages for those neighbors? And why is the government not discouraging them from spending all their dough down in Amerika without limits, duties and taxes and then enforcing those rules?

Why? Why? Why?, As Joni Mitchell asked recently, "Why Whine?" Well i'm whining because every economic exchange has unintended environmental consequences embedded in it. Capitalist markets are driven by demand, everything we consume, essential or not, causes environmental pollution over a broad range of different types.

As Jorge Majfud says, "Trying to reduce environmental pollution without reducing consumerism is like combating drug trafficking without reducing the drug addiction." It's important to notice that Majfud refers to the broad issue of environmental pollution, not just to global warming. The World Federation of Scientists, which encompasses many of the world's most eminent scientists and today represents more than 10,000 scientists, now focuses on 15 "planetary emergencies," among them water, soil, food, medicine and biotechnology, and climatic changes.

One thing they agree on across all fields is that there are no 'Green Solutions'. Every alternative energy is simply another way of burning fossil fuels and creating even worse environmental conditions broadly speaking. Even Nuclear energy which creates little to no CO2 in production creates plenty of it during the mining, transport, crushing and construction along with another huge pile of even worse GHGs during the enrichment process. Not to mention that on a broader scale, nuclear energy's by-products contain loads of dangerous and undetectable particles that zip in/out of every living thing causing cancerous mutations.

Until humans learn to live within their means, learn to stop driving to the mall, learn that hard work isn't a sin - debt is - and get rid of their consumer memes and dreams, capitalist expansionism will continue and so will the border lineups.

Please take a look the list below, maybe research some the topics more broadly,  i think you'll agree that each issue can be boiled down to demand driven consumer capitalism as their underlying driver and my mud-dle minded whining.

1. Contamination of Drinking Water

2. Water Pollution

3. Soil Contamination

4. Wildlife Conservation

5. Air Pollution

6. Biological Pollutants

7. Carbon Footprint

8. Climate Change

9. Consumerism

10. Dams

11. Ecosystem destruction

12. Energy conservation

13. Fishing and its effect on marine ecosystems

14. Food Safety

15. Genetic Engineering

16. Industrial agriculture

17.Desertification and Soil Pollution.

18. Urban Sprawl and Habitat Destruction

19. Logging Destruction and  Global Warming.

20. Mining and its Contributions to Global Warming

21. Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology.

22. Natural Disasters and their impact on all aspects of the environment.

22. Nuclear Issues

23. Overpopulation Concerns

24. Resource Depletion

25. Sustainable Communities

26. Waste Management.



Didn't Dante Warn Us a Long Time Ago About Where This Materialism Deal Would End Up?

Conspicuous consumption of needless crap is the darkness that lies at the heart and soul of capitalism's endless growth paradigm. As growing human populations  demand more and increasing industrialization rises to fulfill those demands the health our shared environment - our only long term security - plunges.

Recently German marine biologist Hans Poertner warned in his report 'Inhospitable Oceans' Acidifying at Rate Unseen in 250 Million Years'  that, "The current rate of change is likely to be more than 10 times faster than it has been in any of the evolutionary crises in the earth's history." The article is interesting as it foreshadows the rapid and disastrous decline the broader environment is suffering because of the unsupportable demands of materialism.

Materialism is 'a deal with the devil'. Unless humans somehow learn to live within their means, learn that hard work isn't a sin - debt is - Mephistopheles wins. Unless short term gratification and the veil of self-delusion that allows materialism to prosper is overcome, Evil wins.

There may be uncertainty about the percentage that industrial capitalism is contributing to global warming. About the other disasters our biosphere suffers there is no uncertainty, no wiggle words. Why are all those other non-wiggly issues like fresh water contamination and depletion, disappearance of pollinators, species extinction rates, ocean acidification, soil degradation from chemical ag., etc, getting so few headlines while wiggly climate change gets so many? They're all the same issue really. They're all manifestations of consumer capitalism in different disguises. None of them can be solved without solving the others also which can only happen with the collapse of our deal with the devil - materialism.

As Pogo famously said, "I've seen the enemy and he is us." Unless people stop driving to the mall [or aspiring to], stop consuming needless crap, slow down and recognize that we have nothing to fear and nothing to lose by abandoning this ignorant deal our descendants will live short brutal lives far worse than our ancestors ever did. This all encompassing environmental death spiral is the result of our deal, it devours any and all short term material comfort, it owns our collective soul. Mephistopheles wins

“When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”
― Cree Prophecy


Are the Syrian Chemical Attacks Another False Flag Disaster Designed to Propel the US into War?

The US has a long history of disasters that conveniently fit into an existing US plan to start a war that US citizens are overwhelmingly against. In the case of the Syrian chemical attacks the US has been itching for years to find a way to assist its paranoid ally Israel in an attack on Iran and now is a doubly convenient time as this rush to war has mostly silenced the NSA's spying critics. 

Speculation is rampant across the Internet and non-corporate media now as even impartial experts are alleging the tragic deaths were the result of another 'false flag' operation carried out by the US and its goons. In addition to other circumstantial evidence numerous impartial analysts have commented on how it makes little sense for Assad’s forces to have carried out such an attack days after UN chemical weapons inspectors entered the country. Whether the alleged chemical weapons attack was an attempt by the Assad regime to target the militants, or as Russia asserts it was a conveniently timed “planned provocation” carried out by the rebels themselves to coincide with the movement of CIA-trained FSA militants, remains to be seen.

The article titled 'Is Obama complicit in Syrian Gas attack?'  started me researching all this over the last few days focuses on the issue of leaked emails from a defense contractor that refer to a plan, approved by Washington, to carry out a chemical weapons attack on Syria.

Of course none of us can know absolutely if this was an irrational act by Assad who must have been aware that every act of his is/was under the surveillance and international media microscopes, and not just any act but the worst chemical weapons attack to date which would in all probability prompt a western military intervention into his country? Or is this another really a false flag attack in which the so-called rebels, aka Qatari mercenaries, are trying to pin the blame on Assad in order to instigate a western military attack?

Remember it wasn't that long ago that Colin Powell stood before a global audience at the UN and gave a bogus presentation based totally on 'intelligence' that resulted in a decade long travesty of death and destruction. Now here we go again. There is no actual material evidence that the Syrian government forces are guilty, the only evidence the west has is from these same 'intelligence' sources and this time the allegations not only grease the path for another unpopular empire building military fiasco they also serve to help silence the expanding criticism of their illegal worldwide eavesdropping. YIKES!

The 1,300 deaths in Damascus are certainly tragic, but what would be just as tragic is if this wholesale murder of innocent civilians was merely to promote an agenda of empire building. It would be so much easier to believe the US and its allies if it weren't for their track record:
  • In 1898, the battleship Maine conveniently exploded in Havana harbor, allowing the Spanish American War to begin.
  • In 1915, the passenger ship Lusitania, despite many warnings of German U-Boats in the area, set sail for the US and was promptly sunk. After the 1916 election, Woodrow Wilson, who ran on the platform of "he kept us out of the war," took us to war.
  • In 1941, Pearl Harbor brought us into World War II.
  • In 1964, the mostly-staged Tonkin Gulf Incident set ablaze the already smoldering Vietnam War.
  • Both 9/11 and apocryphal Weapons of Mass Destruction were used as a shield for starting a war with Iraq, that lasted for ten years.


Students Return Home From the Zapatista's First Seminar in Chiapas With a New Sense of 'Liberty'

The 1700 students leaving the University of the Earth, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas where the Zapatistas’ first seminar on 'Liberty' was centered are returning to their communities, collectives and movements around the world with a new sense of purpose - to pass on all that they've learned from the escuelita.

The focus of the five-day school’s curriculum was liberty according to the Zapatistas. The major difference between this seminar and most was the hands on experience gained by the students who lived and worked alongside their Zapatista host families in their homes and fields as well as attending classes. One student from Argentina explained,"That growing one’s own food is also part of liberty.” Adding, the Zapatistas had shown him that, “To be free is to be able to decide for themselves what lives they want to have.”

The EZLN brought together representatives of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples from all over the world to learn that there is another way to live one's life in peace and liberty through community organization and non-capitalism. The lesson that most impacted Uruguayan Mónica Olaso was when she asked her teacher why they were summoned and what the Zapatistas expected of the students. The response, Mónica recounted, was, “You know, Mónica, a bullet is not going to reach Uruguay. But our word will.”

The Zapatista Way is once again well communicated in a new series of essays by Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN titled 'Them and Us' The series wonderfully lays out the differences between those in power and those who choose to organize from below.

IMO, the 'state' is invulnerable to either democratic change or violent revolution, but it is vulnerable to folks ignoring it, to being undermined by non-participation, to folks simply 'dropping out' and living a different way. Of course folks can't/won't dropout without first turning onto the fact that there is an intractable problem rampant in our current socio-economic system. Then tuning into the details of the problem. Each of these steps is a necessary part of the ontological development that must occur for our species and many others to survive. The Zapatista's escuelita is showing us how.

The Zapatista's ongoing seminar will continue to re-convene in different regions of the Americas and is intended to create a traveling forum and voice for Another Way of Seeing the World and of living in it, while the Zapatistas have announced that they will hold a second escuelita this coming winter.


Unbridled Political and Commercial Espionage Have Pushed Us Over the Brink and Into Tyranny

Though the mass media continues to talk about spying on 'terrorists', the US National Security Agency [NSA] uses the multi-national spying network not only for surveillance of those they proclaim to be terrorists but also private citizens, politicians and on behalf of US corporations. Yesterday's post focused on the long history, widespread capabilities and economic spying of the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries as does this excellent historic overview. Today we'll focus on how well the carrot and stick approach has worked to hobble governmental oversight.

By redefining the term “national security” to include spying on foreign competitors of prominent US corporations,.the intelligence agencies found a new justification for their surveillance capability in order to protect their power and their bloated budgets..This new fascist partnership sped up the creation of the Office of Intelligence Liaison within the US Department of Commerce as the venue through which the intelligence agencies forward intercepted materials to major US corporations. This incestuous relationship is so strong, that sometimes this intelligence information is used to push other American manufacturers out of deals in favor of these mammoth US defense and intelligence contractors who frequently are the source of major cash contributions to both political parties.

Those 'contributions' and other 'benefits' are the carrot part of the control system intelligence agencies exercise over Congress - the supposed watchdog protecting the constitutional rights and liberties of the American people. But stick part is even more scary.

As the article 'ECHELON' by Patrick S. Poole explains the FVEY ECHELON apparatus was quickly turned around on the Congressional officials in order gain advantage for the intelligence agencies and insure that these agencies would never actually be under the control of our elected representatives. The NSA and its ilk simply adopted the FBI's methods based on the fact that everyone has skeletons in their closet.

The skeletons stick is far more powerful than material bribes. If a group attempts to use just bribes to control politicians there's always the chance there could be a higher bidder/briber or in the slim chance a politician might turn honest. But by using the threat of ruination, of a career ending, shame filled future along with a bit of sugar coated bribery the intelligence community has their overseers completely throttled [as of now anyway].

Headquartered at Fort George Meade, located between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland, the NSA boasts the most enviable array of intelligence equipment and personnel in the world as well as being the largest global employer of mathematicians. Since the close of World War II, the US intelligence agencies have developed a consistent record of trampling the rights and liberties of the American people. But the rise of post-modern warfare - terrorism - gave the powers that be all the justification they needed to develop an even greater ability to spy on its enemies, its allies and its own citizens to suit its own prerogatives independent of oversight. This unbridled power allows the illegal targeting of political opponents, business competitors, dissidents and churches which, along with the redefinition of 'national security interests' to include espionage committed on behalf of powerful corporations, has pushed all of us over the brink and into free fall, into tyranny.


Commercial Espionage - the Multi $Trillion Iceberg Beneath the Tip of Snowden's Recent Revelations

"It is bewildering to witness the excessive media frenzy surrounding the recent “leaks” from whistleblower, Edward Snowden.  The fact that an extensive and advanced global surveillance network has been in place for decades seems to have eluded both the public and media alike." says Alexandra Valiente in her article 'ECHELON, Exposing the NSA's Global Spy Network'. In it she explains why Edward Snoden's recent NSA leaks and the ongoing cyber spying scandal in which the US, UK, Canadian, Austrailian and New Zealand's surveillance agencies have been accused of intentionally spying on one another's citizens and willingly sharing the collected information with each other, allegedly circumventing laws preventing each agency from spying on its own citizens is only the tip of the iceberg. Information from the Echelon network and other parts of the global surveillance system is used by the US and its allies for diplomatic, military and commercial purposes.

UKUSA Agreement, also known as Five Eyes (FVEY), is a multilateral agreement for cooperation in signals intelligence between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.was first signed in March 1946. The alliance of intelligence operations has since WW!!, then throughout the cold war and since, monitored the signals and broke the codes of allies and friends, as well as of civilians and commercial communications around the world. It's a long story, the well documented report by Duncan Campbell titled 'The History, Structure and Function of the Global Surveillance System Known as ECHELON' provides a valuable and excellent overview.

Ironically the first global wide area network (WAN) was not the Internet, but the international network connecting FVEY's stations and processing centers. The original network was connected over transoceanic cables and later space links. Most of the capacity of the American and British military communications satellites, Milstar and Skynet, was and is devoted to relaying intelligence information. It was not until the mid 1990s that the public Internet became larger than the secret Internet that connects surveillance stations.

None of this was kept 'secret', there were numerous leaks. For instance, the New York Times article on 7 September 1960.was about two NSA analysts, Bernon Mitchell and William Martin who told the world what NSA was doing when they said, "We know from working at NSA [that] the United States reads the secret communications of more than forty nations, including its own allies ... NSA keeps in operation more than 2000 manual intercept positions ... Both enciphered and plain text communications are monitored from almost every nation in the world, including the nations on whose soil the intercept bases are located."

Then on 8 August 1975, NSA Director Lt General Lew Allen admitted to the Pike Committee of the US House of Representatives that the "NSA systematically intercepts international communications, both voice and cable" He also admitted that "messages to and from American citizens have been picked up in the course of gathering foreign intelligence". [sound familiar]

And on 3 Dec. 2000 former CIA Director James Woolsey confirmed in Washington that the US steals economic secrets "with espionage, with communications [intelligence], with reconnaissance satellites", and that there was now "some increased emphasis" on economic intelligence. There were many others as well, but none ever gained the attention of Snowden's recent leaks perhaps because of Glen Greenwald's spirited presentation of them or perhaps because the mall shoppers weren't quite as hypnotized as usual this summer.

Throughout the decades thousands of analysts worked on these mostly unencrypted communications using NSA ’watch lists’ - weekly key word lists of people, companies, commodities of interest for the NSA watchers to focus on. Among the regular names on the watch lists were the leaders of African guerrilla movements who were later to become their countries’ leaders. In time, many prominent Americans were added to the lists including actress Jane Fonda, Dr Benjamin Spock and hundreds of others who were put under surveillance because of their opposition to the war in Vietnam. Black-power leader Eldridge Cleaver and his colleagues were included because of their civil rights activities in the US.

Information from the Echelon network and other parts of the global surveillance system was and is used by the US and its allies for diplomatic, military and commercial purposes. Although routinely denied, commercial and economic intelligence has become a major target of ECHELON's activity. Under a 1993 policy colloquially known as 'levelling the playing field', the United States government under President Clinton established new trade and economic committees and told the NSA and CIA to act in support of US businesses in seeking contracts abroad. In the UK, GCHQ’s enabling legislation from 1994 openly identifies one of its purposes as to promote "the economic well-being of the United Kingdom in relation to the actions or intentions of persons outside the British Islands"

As an article in the Baltimore Sun reported back in 1995 the European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract. This issue, commercial and economic intelligence is the multi trillion dollar iceberg who's tip we are only now waking up to.

The media's focus on Edward Snowdon's travel plans and the protection of whistleblowers will soon be seen as spin intended to deflect scrutiny away from the real problems posed by this phenomenon. Look for the next round of spectacular exposes by Greenwald et.al., and the next mud reports, to focus on ECHELON and its evil offspring's abuses in the arena of commercial espionage. Turns out that instead of protecting us from terrorism the NSA and its FVEY partners are protecting their corporations from competition.


"Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society" - Bradley Manning

The following is a transcript of the statement made by 25 year old Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference today - Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - the day he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for telling the truth.

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war.  We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any  traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country.  It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing.  It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity.  We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians.  Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture.  We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government.  And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power.  When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few.  I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States.  It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people.  When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.  I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.


Industrial Meat Production is Just One Disgusting Aspect Corporate Ag's Web of Pollution

Yesterday a friend sent me the video below. It's a 6-minute clip from the documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke. It's about factory farming, it's very moving, very troubling, very difficult to watch. i chose the little piggy picture at the left as the opening image of this post to kinda counter-balance the video's stark reality and to not scare everybody off.

My first reply to my friend yesterday was full of self-righteous crap centering on the fact that i quit eating meat over 35 years ago. But that reply, and the video itself, troubled me all night. First thing this morning i wrote him again saying:

Been thinking about my response to the factory farming video, it was bullshit. i AM part of the system that creates this horror too, though i try to pretend to myself i'm not. i may be slightly less culpable than some people, i'm far from innocent. i eat dairy stuff, i feed Pancho [my best fiend] commercial dog food, i drive a car [though very little now] etc. It's impossible to live in this world and raise a family and remain innocent no matter how much a person tries to dropout of the system. i guess if a person walks away totally and lives in the mountains creating/building/growing everything he/she consumes maybe they could consider themselves innocent. i've never been that brave so...i'm guilty too.

The timing of the video's arrival was interesting as well, just hours earlier i'd finished reading Jane Goodall's book 'Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating'. It's a few years old now but still as relevant as ever. In fact in the 8 years since its publication most issues the book tackles have gotten far worse, very few have gotten better. This well researched and calmly presented book touches on many aspects of our food supply including 3 chapters that focus on the horrors of factory farming.

The Progressive Women's Alliance has published a summary and excerpts from the book if you're interested. Here's a sample from the factory farming chapters:

Even more egregious is the treatment of animals on the industrial farms. Factory-raised pigs are confined in narrow cages on cement floors. They are often crowded so close together they bite off each other's tails. Because of this behavior, the pigs' tails are cut off at birth. Hormones are used to increase their weight. Because of their lack of exercise, their legs are usually unable to support their bloated bodies. At slaughter time they are often dragged away, squealing in pain. Chickens and cows face similar conditions. They are pumped with hormones and antibiotics and, like pigs, become assembly-line commodities.

The irony is that relatively inexpensive, government-subsidized meat derived from these factory-farmed creatures is endangering the health of people consuming it.

Quite amusing is the fact that animals appear to be more intelligent than humans when it comes to awareness of pesticides in farm crops. One farmer filled two feeding bins with corn. One bin contained genetically modified corn while the other had organic corn. The cows sniffed the genetically modified (GMO) corn but would not eat it. They moved on to the organic bin and ate heartily. Raccoons will attack organic cornfields but ignore other fields with GMO corn. One farmer noticed deer attacking his soybean crop and ignoring his neighbor's Roundup Ready soybean field.

Industrial agriculture creates a devastating interconnected web of pollution, industrial meat production is just one particularly disgusting aspect of it. As Prof Mark Sutton lead author of a UN Environment Programme (Unep) study titled 'Our Nutrient World: The challenge to produce more food and energy with less pollution' says, Meat production - namely the crops used to feed livestock - accounts for 80% of the nitrogen and phosphorus used in farming. On top of that, the intense run-off of nutrient-infused animal waste at large-scale meat manufacturing facilities contributes significantly to fertilizer pollution in bodies of water."

Add to that the fact that more than a third of the world's agricultural land goes to feeding meat and dairy production and it becomes more and more obvious that the best thing each of us can do immediately is to either stop consuming meat products or search out and buy them from local small farmers who allow their animals to live a decent life or do it yourself.

In my case, i'll be looking into buying other ethical dairy products beyond the free-range eggs i now buy and seeing if there's any chance of being able to afford buying ethically produced dog food for Pancho. i'm guilty too, as i said above, we all are. Please watch as much of the video below as possible. Then, if you're ashamed, like i am, of your role in this horror story try to make changes, one step at a time, toward a more healthy world and a more healthy family inside and out.


Washington State's Initiative #522 - the Next Battleground in the Mandatory GMO Labeling War

The next battleground in the war to force mandatory GMO labeling on corporate agriculture and their evil twins in the chemical and corporate grocery industries is in Washington State.  A group that includes food activists, small-scale producers, several food co-operatives such as PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods Market have setup an excellent website -YES on 522 - that says in part, "We are motivated by a very simple principle: people have the right to know what’s in the food they eat and feed their families."

This is basically a rerun of California's Prop. 37 Initiative last year. The YES campaign is supported financially by the same type of folks: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Organic Consumer Fund Committee to Label GMOs in WA State, Mercola.com Health Resources LLC, Presence Marketing Inc, Nature’s Path Foods USA Inc [top five contributors]. The No campaign is funded only with corporate money. In addition to the junk food maker’s trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, the opposition’s funders are Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, and Dow Chemical. Last year, proponents of GE labeling were outspent by the No campaign 5-1 in California as they will  probably be again in Washington this November.

As Allison Kopicki of The New York Times reports, "According to a national telephone poll was conducted from Jan. 24 to 27 2013 for the New York Times, 93 percent of respondents say that foods containing such ingredients should be identified." Nonetheless corporate agriculture, like all corporations, is in business to make their shareholders richer, not wealthier in the long term sense of security and well-being, but richer in the sense of reaping every dime possible in the short term no matter what the long term consequences are including the destruction and pollution of the biosphere that supports their lives or the health and survival of their offspring. Ain't capitalism grand?

The horror stories about the widespread effects of the greed induced GMO industry just keep rolling in. Articles like: 'Unauthorized GM Rice Threatens World Supply' about how strains left over from Bayer field trials are being found in US rice exports in over 30 countries leading to a ban on US rice imports in most of them; and: 'Pesticide Use Spikes as GMO Failure Cripples Corn Belt' about how Midwest farmers must keep increasing the dose of chemicals on their fields as the insects grow more resistant to Bt Corn; make no difference to corporate agriculture's propaganda machine which uses it's money to produce advertising full of lies and fear-mongering.

All eyes will be on Washington State's mandatory GMO labeling Initiative Measure No. 522 on the November 5, 2013 general election ballot. The good people of Washington State showed us last year that they are quite capable of seeing beyond the corporate spin doctors by passing an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana despite the protestations of their own state government and the combined force of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Hopefully they'll step up to the plate again and knock another one outta the park for all the rest of us who are either to afraid [or in the case of us up here in Canuckistan, not allowed to] to vote in favor of our right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our families.

For more information contact the:
Yes on I-522 Committee
603 Stewart Street #819
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 351-3323
or visit their website:


Thanks to Edward Snowden the Bitching About Government Not Listening to Its Citizens Will End

Thanks also to Edward Snowden the media is now critically listening to the Liar Obama's speeches. Last Friday, for instance, Obama delivered his wiggle worded surveillance speech which the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf eviscerated, point by mendacious point in his article Monday, saying the content of the speech was in fact "the disinformation, the weasel words, the impossible-to-believe protestations, the factually inaccurate assertions".

"Throughout the surveillance debate, the executive branch, including Obama, has lied, obfuscated, and misled the American people in a variety of ways. Before Edward Snowden's leaks, they could at least tell themselves that the disinformation was serving the purpose of keeping al-Qaeda operates from learning the general contours of our surveillance capabilities. But today, when that excuse has long since expired, Obama is still lying, obfuscating, and misleading the American people." said Friedersdorf. Going on to say, "His tone on Friday was inappropriately dismissive, while the substance was misleading at best and mendacious at worst." Friedersdorf also called the speech a low point in Barack Obama's presidency, which i don't agree with, Obama has often done worse, like the drone murders innocent civilians and...it's a long list.

And Eugene Robinson of the far from liberal Washington Post wrote the same day that "The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. President Obama’s message about the government’s massive electronic surveillance programs came through loud and clear: Get over it." Thanks Edward.

A week earlier.John Naughton's article 'Edward Snowden's Not the Story. The Fate of the Internet Is' took a deeper look into the how much we owe Edward Snowden focusing on the role the mainstream media has played up until now by regurgitating government spin about Snowden. Naughton writes, "Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world's mainstream media. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower." Going on to say, "In a way, it doesn't matter why the media lost the scent. What matters is that they did. The "human interest" angle has trumped the real story, which is what the NSA revelations tell us about how our networked world actually works and the direction in which it is heading."

Naughton's broadly read article helped open the door for the this week's criticisms of Obama's surveillance speech. Thanks again Edward.

Then there's the story 'On Obama's Cancellation of Summit with Putin and Extradition' that upon investigation by real journalists dissolved into one about how the US frequently refuses extradition requests where, unlike with Snowden, it involves serious crimes and there is an extradition treaty [here's a list of recent examples].

As Tom Engelhardt of the TomDispatch detailed in his recent article 'Now You See Him, Now You Don’t' about the miraculous events surrounding retired CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady's disappearance from custody in Panama which avoided him being extradited to Italy on an international arrest warrant, “If the US wants to be credible in any way on the issue of extradition request they might start by applying to requests for people residing in the US for the moment. I am talking of people like Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosh, people who are known terrorists wanted in Venezuela and in Cuba, who are wanted in Ecuador. People who are living in the United States. If they start to extradite those people to those countries, they might have, maybe on the moral level a bit more credibility."

Thanks again to Edward Snowden's courage the global press is now far less intimidated and far more likely to perform their 5th Estate duty as investigative journalists who's role in these dark as one of the few remaining honest voices of opposition to the fascist order can not be overstated.

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell 


Subcomandante Marcos' Series, 'Them and Us', Explains Why Ignoring the Elites is the Way

Yesterday, 1,700 students from around the world enrolled in the first Zapatistas school, held at the University of the People’s Land of Chiapas. 

This morning i've been inspired by a new series of 7 essays titled ‘Them and Us’ [original Spanish or English] written by Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN that lays out the differences between those in power and those who choose to organize from below. These essays by Marcos are the philosophical underpinnings of a new Zapatista school that opened yesterday [Aug. 12, 2013] at the University of the People’s Land of Chiapas.

In the past few days thousands of people from around the world have descended on Chiapas for the Zapatistas’ first organizing school, called la escuelita de libertad, which means the little school of liberty. Originally the group allotted for only 500 students. But so many people wished to enroll that they opened an additional 1,200 slots for the weeklong school.

'Them and Us' was mentioned in the excellent article titled 'The Zapatistas’ first school opens for session' which explains the how the school's revolutionary spirit extends beyond the classroom and onto the broad experience of living, working in the fields, sleeping and eating with Zapatista families of the community that the students are embedded in.

My feeble attempts to characterize Marcos' words and the depth of his thought are...feeble. Below is a quote from the first essay as an example, please take the time to read through 'Them and Us' and be moved.

And they’re so rude that they don’t beg, await, request, plead — instead, they exercise their freedom. Have you ever seen such obscenity!

That is the real danger. Those who look to the other side, who leave the mold, or break it, or ignore it.

...what’s really dangerous in a true chaos is when everyone becomes a collective, group, crew, raza, organization, and they learn to say ‘no’ and ‘yes,’ and they reach agreements amongst themselves. Because the ‘no’ is directed towards those of us who give the orders. And the ‘yes,’… jeez… that really is a disaster. Imagine if everyone built their own destinies, and they decided who to be and what to do. It would be like pointing out that we’re expendable, excessive, that we get in the way, that we’re not necessary, that we should be in jail, that we should disappear.

Yes, a nightmare. Yes, of course, for us. Can you imagine how bad that world would be? Full of Indians, blacks, browns, yellows, reds, dreadlocks, tattoos, piercings, studs, punks, goths, cholos, skaters, that ‘A’ flag without a nation to buy it, youth, women, whores, children, the elderly, zoot suiters, drivers, peasants, workers, tacky people, proles, poor people, anonymous people… others. Without a privileged space for us, the ‘beautiful people’… or, so you understand us, the ‘good people’… because we can tell by the way you talk that you didn’t study at Harvard.

Yes, that day would be night for us… Yes, everything would be ruined. What would we do?


Restoring Perennial Grass Lands Can Save Us by Sucking Greenhouse Gases Out of the Atmosphere

The Earth has five pools or repositories where various forms carbon are absorbed, stored and re-cycled: the oceans (which contain 40 trillion tons of carbon), the atmosphere (800 billion tons), the soils (3.2 trillion tons), plants and forests (650 billion tons), and hydrocarbon/fossil fuel deposits (4 trillion tons). To avoid a major extinction event, we not only need to keep the remaining 3.2 trillion tons of carbon in the soil, where it is now (instead of allowing it to be released into the atmosphere as collateral damage from industrial agriculture), but we must also capture and sequester (through organic soil and land management) at least 100 billion tons of excess carbon that are currently over-saturating the atmosphere.

There are safe and sane solutions. The one we'll focus on today is 'The Perennial Solution'. As Richard Westwood, professor of environmental science and studies with the University of Winnipeg says, "The tall grass prairie which once extended from Canada all the way down to Texas is probably the most threatened ecosystem in North America. There is only about one per cent of it left."

The annual grains that government subsidized corporate agriculture grows on what was once the tall grass prairie create many problems including the run off of chemical fertilizers and pesticides into our watersheds, the consumption of huge quantities of fossil fuel products, the overuse of our limited fresh water resources and the direct emission of billions of tons of carbon that was safely sequestered in the living soil's biomass. The thrifty perennials, with their long roots hold on to soil, water, and fertilizer, which means less of all types of pollution including carbon pollution of the atmosphere.

Modern industrial agriculture has in a few decades done as much harm to the health our global atmosphere as it has to the health of the humans who consume its toxic products. Research shows that perennial grasses sequester carbon. "Soils are like a bank account. You should only draw out what you put in." says Rattan Lal of Ohio State University, “Keeping and putting carbon in its rightful place needs to be the mantra for humanity if we want to continue to eat, drink and combat global warming, concluded 200 researchers from more than 30 countries."

Organizations like the American Grassfed Association and its members like Martha Holdridge, owner of West Wind Farm, who used soil samples to determine that her West Virginia farm sequestered 15 tons of CO2 per acre over the past four years know the truth.

Wes Jackson's Commencement Address at University of Kansas this spring focused on The Land Institute who's scientists have proved that agricultural landscapes that absorb greenhouse gases, protect soil, water, and air can feed us profitably. Wes's institute is working to perennialize major crops and domesticate some promising wild species like Kernza, a relative of wheat and other grasses, on their Salina Calif. experimental farm and in Minnesota. They are also working on the perennialization of upland rice in China.

Ted Turner is another inspiring individual who is putting his money where his mouth is by buying up huge tracts of tall grass prairie that has been destroyed by industrial agriculture and is successfully returning it to its former fertility in conjunction with re-establishing and expanding one of the few remaining genetically pure bison herds on his 500,000 acres [or more, it grows constantly].

As these examples illustrate that a few individuals can, and are, starting without government grants or permission to use the tools of our regenerative Mother Earth freely provides for re-building soil carbon sequestration through the re-establishment of perennial grasses.

Restoration of North America's tall grass prairie ranches can become a significant sink for the sequestration of existing greenhouse gasses, literally sucking excess greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and sequestering them safely in the soil, where they belong. A shift from seed grains to perennial grasses would, over time, re-sequester those 100 billion tons of excess carbon in our atmosphere and as Ted Turner is busy demonstrating and lecturing about, make a profit doing it. Please check out this awesome library and its links that lead to the research results and conclusions drawn from those results by some of the world's leading scientists.

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
-Ancient Indigenous Proverb


The Lesson From Lac-Megantic is that Limited Liability + Bankruptcy = Corporate Welfare

The original function of a corporation was to shield the personal assets of shareholders from personal liability for the debts or actions of a corporation. Most of the protections corporations enjoy today, including limited liability for shareholders which dates back centuries, were already in place by the 1950s. The insanity of corporate personhood has allowed bankruptcy laws created to protect breathing human beings from being tossed into prison because they got sick or got behind on the automobile payments or doctor bills to protect the non-breathing corporations.

Corporations hide their assets by shuffling them around between interlocking corporate ownership webs, and then claim poverty in bankruptcy court as MM&A and Rail World, the multinational corporation who owns them [Ed Burkhardt being the asshole-in-chief of both], has done. According to Canadian court documents, MM&A has just $18 million in assets in Canada. Documents filed in a Maine court say the parent company has between $50 million and $100 million in estimated assets in the US. In addition MM&A has a paltry $25 million insurance policy, the minimum they are legally required to have.

Common sense dictates that the court hold the company liable for all cleanup and victims' costs. If they go bankrupt, who cares. If the court needs to seize their assets, or the assets of the parent company, and sell them off, ditto. Unfortunately, in previous similar cases the court's decisions provide legal loopholes for corporations that allows them to escape what common sense rightly dictates the punishment should be.

The most recent estimates are that the cleanup costs in Lac-Megantic will be at least $200 million. On top of that MM&A faces at least 47 separate lawsuits by the families of those killed and at least 30 more from the owners of the properties destroyed. Those suits will certainly add many millions more to MM&A and hopefully Rail World's costs. Who pays the difference? We all know the answer - the taxpayers.

Nothing new here really, successive governments in Canada, the US, the UK and every common law country have for centuries passed laws that protect the rich from the clutches of the poor. That's capitalism. That's democracy. That's crap IMO.

Think about it, unlike the limited liability afforded corporate type persons, when a breathing type person causes huge damage by their actions that they can't pay to fix out of their current bank account does the breathable type person get protected? Do we the breathable get to say that the wages earned last year can't be seized or that homes can't be foreclosed on because they were paid for before our current bad judgement caused this disaster? No. But the past profits and dividends earned by the shareholders of the non-breathable types are protected.

Then there's the bankruptcy protection that sees senior debt holders, like the banks who have the leverage to demand that loans be secured by the corporation's assets meaning they, by law, get paid first. Consequently the banks will get paid off first by the bankruptcy court and the families, the property owners and cleanup of Lac-Megantic will get what's left.

These bankruptcy and limited liability laws that protect the banks and the speculators are a clear example of corporate welfare. The people of Lac-Megantic are by themselves powerless. Never in history have the elites voluntarily given up their privileges, and they won't now either. Perhaps one day before what we call civilization collapses the under-classes will pull back the curtain and see that the seemingly all-powerful elites are, like the Wizard of Oz, all smoke and no fire.

The 'corporate state' is at this point invulnerable to either democratic change or violent revolution, but it is vulnerable to folks ignoring it, vulnerable to being undermined by non-participation, to folks simply 'dropping out'. Perhaps the lessons of Lac-Megantic's will be the lens that focuses the many on the real weakness' of the few.


On our Global Titanic the Elites are Quietly Climbing Into Lifeboats While the Band Plays On

Even if somehow the world's billions of consumers woke up tomorrow and adopted the level of conservation necessary to actually reverse the destruction being wrought on our environment by the extraction of resources and manufacture of useless crap to meet those demands the capitalist economy would implode. The 'markets' would capitulate [as the traders say] every mutual fund, every pension fund, every investor would be wiped out. Panic and war would soon follow.

The system, the elites, the powers that be, the politicians, the corporations, the banks - whatever you wanna call them -  are delaying the public's understanding of this horrific reality so that they can lay the plans to retain their privilege and power in the chaotic superheated world that's coming. If, in the meantime, the schemers figure out how to make more money off schemes like geoengineering as the global fear level rises, so be it. The elites know though that geoengineering MIGHT slow global warming in the short term but it won't do shit to stop all the other insults the biosphere is suffering from extractive capitalism and that its potential for causing unpredictable collateral damage is unparalleled.

On the Titanic the band playing kept playing lest the passengers think something was REALLY wrong. It's not a new tactic as the 5,000 year old carving from Turkey [above] implies.

Lately i'm more and more convinced that it's too late and too expensive at this point for anything meaningful to be done about global warming. There are some sane solutions but they would require massive changes that both the 99% and the 1% refuse to even consider [for opposite reasons]. It seems to me we're not on teetering on the brink of disaster, we're well over it. My best analogy right now is how the band kept playing on the Titanic, even as it sank, so no one would panic, especially not those passengers, who like us, were in steerage..

IMO, like on the Titanic, the powers that be understand that no good can come from our dear leaders standing up and saying it's all over and causing a global panic. For instance, if the IPCC allowed permafrost carbon feedbacks to be included in their climate model's projections the reality that we're headed towards a massive extinction event would become clear to everybody. So 'The Band Plays On'.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the elites are buying time, alliances are being formed and arrangements being made. Their arrangements include locking us in steerage so as to insure we go down with the ship while they - the wealthy and their ilk - take the few available lifeboat seats [like the private islands in the south seas] that might be able to grow food in the future and are currently being stocked up while we debate and their storm troopers protect them.

All the while the berths are filling up down here in steerage as 'we the divided' spend our time in debate. All those debates about the causes and consequences of global warming are signs we still have hope that meaningful change is possible. But, as the dividers, the conquers, know, it's a false hope. False hope is a deadly mind numbing disease. Thankfully there's still beer in steerage, it and "God" are the last refuges down here eh.


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, of Fearmongering Fake Terror Alerts, Fear is the Empire's Fence

The mainstream media regurgitate fearmongering. They do it ad nauseam and they're at it again. This time the headlines read ”US issues global travel alert, to close embassies due to al Qaeda threat.” How convenient, just as the polls are begining to show that Americans are joining their brethren around the world in understanding and condemning the worldwide NSA email and phone spying crap, along comes a terror alert followed by the empire's 'authorities' telling us, via their corporate owned media, how lucky we are to have all those lovely spooks spying on us and how afraid we should be of the evil 'terrorists'.

This is just the latest in the history of broad, non-specific, bogus warnings issued by the US [remember the Yellow alerts, Red Alerts]. Why? Not to save lives. Americans and other westerners are more likely to get struck by lightning than by terrorists. The real agenda behind this recent terror alert, as numerous skeptics point out [here, here and here], is fear-mongering. The Empire's leaders want the whole Western world to fear terrorism. It's just good business, after all without fear why would people go along with the destruction of the globe by the corporate extractors.

Control through fear, it's little wonder zombie movies are so popular these days. There are hundreds of millions of zombies wandering around in the Western world… working, shopping, watching TV, living fast-food lives, and having fear-filled nightmares about a terrorism. It's a question of freedom IMO. Freedom is the opposite of control by fear. Cattle are controlled by fear too. Does a cow that is fenced in, know that it is fenced in, if the fenced in area allows it to move around with a semblance of free movement? Can it see the fence at all?

“And here is the dilemma we face as a civilization” as Chris Hedges says in his essay 'How to Think'. Going on to point out: "We march collectively toward self-annihilation. Corporate capitalism, if left unchecked, will kill us. Yet we refuse, because we cannot think and no longer listen to those who do think, to see what is about to happen to us. We have created entertaining mechanisms to obscure and silence the harsh truths, from climate change to the collapse of globalization to our enslavement to corporate power that will mean our self-destruction. If we can do nothing else we must, even as individuals, nurture the private dialogue and the solitude that make thought possible. It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced."

Fear is the Empire's fence.


Extreme Weather, Rising Oceans, Extinctions, Chunky Air, Wildfires, Droughts, Floods, Melting Ice...we are all connected!

Yes, that's the North Pole. It's now a lake.

"Sea ice is as central to the Arctic as soil is to a forest in an ecological sense." said Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta and one of the co-authors of a study published Thursday in the journal Science that reviews dozens of recent studies on the Arctic in an attempt to provide a big-picture look at the overall ecological consequences of vanishing sea ice.

In part the study concludes that "Sea ice is home for algae and plankton, which together produce 57 per cent of all the food in northern oceans. These primary producers are dependent on sea ice as their habitat underpin the entire marine food web of the Arctic." Going on to say that the effects of sea ice loss wind all the way through the ecological system from the tinyest microbe to the top predators. Oceans warmed after losing their sea-ice cover also are expected to promote warming permafrost as far as 1,500 kilometres inland. The accelerating loss of sea ice and warmer tundra is expected to lead to an earlier spring growth, disrupting the delicate timing the entire interrelated eco-sphere.

Activists and groups like Greenpeace have been warning us for decades that the climate change impacts on all Arctic lifeforms including wildlife would be far greater than the overly conservative projections of climate science. The Arctic biosphere, like all others, is a highly complex interrelated web. Unfortunately the simplified models that our scientists use are so crude they seldom, if ever, are reliable as anything more than a tool for suggesting further areas of interest to be studied.

Another factor that confounds model based analysis is that today's climate change is happening 10X faster than any climate shift ever recorded. "We know from past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years," Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science, "But the unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades."

The terrifying rate of global warming is already having an impact on the spread of infectious diseases across the world, in most cases resulting in an increase of disease and parasitism. University of Georgia Professor Sonia Altizer says, "As global warming changes ecosystems across the world, disease hosts, as well as parasites, undergo changes as well. For example, as temperatures climb in the Arctic, parasites develop more quickly leading to greater infection rates for their hosts." [Oh Goody, ed.]

Apparently Greenland’s ice sheets have disappeared far faster than climate models predicted recently. Climatologist Jason Box has a 'radical theory' of why, called the Unified Theory of Glaciology. It explains how tundra fires in Canada, massive wildfires in Colorado and pollution from coal-fired power plants in Europe and China sent an unexpectedly thick layer of soot over the Arctic region last summer, which settled onto Greenland’s vast frozen interior, increasing the amount of sunlight the snow and ice absorbed, which in turn accelerated the melting.

The idea that soot can have a powerful effect on the melt rate of snow and ice is not new. The godfather of global-warming science, James Hansen, explored the idea in a paper published in 2003, arguing that if soot reduced the reflectivity of Arctic ice by just two percent, it had the same effect on the melt rate of the glacier as a doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Each of these studies show that we are immersed in an interconnected whole. The lake forming at the North Pole in the picture above is one part of the same whole as the extreme weather events all over the globe, as are the rising oceans, the dying corals, the chunky air over urban areas, the wildfires, the droughts, the floods, the melting glaciers and sea ice...we are all connected. There is only one life, we, the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries share it. We all have the personal responsibility to protect this one life we share by rejecting materialism, by living simply, by wanting and demanding less.