27 November 2016

It Would Appear Evil Has Triumphed

Evil has "trumped" good. The future can feel the reverberations.

Here's an excerpt from an essay-in-progress by Dr. Peter Carter, an indomitable climate change activist.

How bad can a Trump US presidency be?
Surely it would not be the end of world? Actually it would.
The surprise Trump win turns out to be the latest episode in a decades long overt conspiracy and campaign of deception and "big money" political influence by the American fossil fuel corporations to keep America and the world dependent on and dominated by the fossil fuel industry.
This makes Trump the greatest ever threat to world and US national security. A Trump presidency in the United States would be the end of our world, including particularly America.
During the campaign, a number of reasons were given for a Trump win to be a national security nightmare, but the greatest, most definite security issue has been all but missed.
Trump as president would be the end of US national and world security because his stated agenda is to pollute the planet to death with catastrophic levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, global warming, climate disruption, and ocean acidification.
This is definite. It is in his platform on his campaign website, where, if elected president, Trump promises to "unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves." That "unleashing" — at a time when we should be desperately trying to meet a goal of zero carbon emissions — would result in the collapse of the life-sustaining biosphere, both land and oceans.
Since the Trump win, several reasons have been given why the Electoral College in the United States should not confirm Trump, but global climatic annihilation is not one of them.
The reason a Trump presidency would be the end of the world, which he has made no secret of, is that he rejects any measures to mitigate the effects of atmospheric greenhouse gas pollution. Worse still, his election platform is to burn all the American fossil fuels as fast as they can be fracked and mined. According to the science of greenhouse gases, this will lead to the end of American and world agriculture, ending civilization and making an unlivable world for today’s children.
The resulting global climate disruption, with its ever escalating heat waves, forest fires, drought, ocean heating, ocean deoxygenation and ocean acidification makes the Trump agenda for his nation a death sentence for our planet.
The media gave the impression during the lead up to the election that Donald Trump had no fixed policies and just made things up as he went along the campaign trail — and they are still saying he has no election mandate. That is dangerously not the case. 
We're now hearing that Trump is back pedalling on a lot of his campaign rhetoric, including admitting that climate change might be real. But let's not be fooled. This man is a shill for Big Money and the fossil fuel corporations — and we know they will stop at nothing. There is no longer any distinction between the Church of Greed and State in the United States of America.

20 November 2016

I Think Permaculture Can Save the World (or At Least Delay Our Demise)

I finally found it. In the least expected place!

I was listening to a wonderfully inspiring webinar yesterday morning called Regenerative Moringa Farming. But it was about much more than that. Aaron Elton (a Vancouverite) was actually talking about a model that is lifting orphanages and villages in Uganda (his adopted homeland) out of food insecurity and poverty with large scale permaculture projects that include regenerative moringa farming.

As someone who's going to be teaching an introduction to sustainable development to first year university students in the new year, I was excited to hear Aaron talking about initiatives that are profitable (economy), healthy (social equity), beneficial (environment) — the 3 Es of sustainability — and fun (if it ain't fun, it ain't sustainable).

One of my most important take-aways from the webinar was the importance of being open to and building partnerships (including unlikely ones) when trying to get something new off (or on!) the ground.

I think I've admitted this before, but sometimes the only thing that can get me up in the morning is the potential for preservation of our species found in the principles and processes of permaculture.

Okay, so what was it that I finally found in this unexpected place? Aaron shared a quote that crisply explains my view of hope in the face of demise.

There is nothing so well known
as that we should not expect
something for nothing —
but we all do
and call it Hope.
— Edgar Watson Howe
There. That's it. You want hope? Then do something about the climate change emergency! Do not do nothing and expect a result. False hope never saved anyone's skin.

And if you want to do something exciting, take a class on permaculture ... and then get to work in the soil.

13 November 2016

"Your Anger is a Gift"

Someone writing about the self-doubt that keeps new permaculturalists from spreading the word as permaculture educators quoted a powerful rock song from the early 1990s.


These words have been muttered by Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer Zac Dela Rocha for at least two decades, and its likeness noted within any cultural movement attempting to reapportion justice for centuries prior, members of permaculture being no exception.

We need to learn to harness, or "catch and store" our energy in whatever form it takes. And all too often when faced with our contemporary scenario we are struck by an overwhelming anger. I’m saying we need to use it."
"Your anger is a gift." That first word, "your," really spoke to me this week. 

I was starting to feel pretty hysterical the night of the American election. I live in western Canada, a stone's throw from our border with the United States, and the angst on this side of the boundary cast a pall over our small community. But my nerves and tears and nausea turned to anger when I realized what (and who) American voters had unleashed on the rest of the world, especially what their president-elect stands for.

Then it began, early the next morning. All the posts and messages and listserves and articles exhorting us to remain positive and full of love and hope and light. To which I say, Phooey! That's like asking someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one to buck up. No, thank you. My anger is my gift!

My love and light and compassion are reserved for the children — of all species — and all future generations who do not deserve to have the sins of their elders visited upon them, especially when we thought we'd made some progress in so many areas. 

Mother Bear anger is a completely rational reaction to what is going on south of our border. I need my anger to give me strength to stick up for what I know is right. I need my anger to energize me for the climate change fights ahead. I need my anger to give me courage in case the hate crimes and horrible bullying creep across the border. I will not stand idly by. 

p.s. Two days after the election came the news that Our Children's Trust has been given the green light to carry on with its climate change suit against the US federal government. Now THAT'S something to feel good about!

06 November 2016

Well, America, This Compasson Tune-Up is for You

Tenterhooks. That's what much of the world is sitting on these last few days before the 2016 American presidential election. Friends in the United States, please do the right thing. We'll be thinking of you on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, it's been a long while since we had a compassion tune-up. This song, Make a Change, by Nahko and Medicine for the People (and featuring Zella Day), really struck a chord for me. I will make a change. I will do it. Not "I want someone else to do it." I will make the change that I want to see in the world! Powerful. 

For Standing Rock ...

[Zella Day]
If I make it out alive, I will make a change

[Verse 1: Nahko Bear]
I need a change, it’s evident
A transformation imminent
A chance for my soul’s intelligence to redefine lines of indifference
I ride past the spirit with the well-scratched pad
Always looking at my poetry for the reasons I had
Never stopped and let someone else take the wheel
Now I’m in the backseat like "What the fuck is real?"
Got to bury the hatchet
Bones, no casket
The dead don’t dance to a liar's message
So restless
Cross it off my checklist
Poetic warfare, a bear with horse hair
He’s reckless, acts like he’s got a death wish
True hey hoka, tricking the trickster
Laws of nature, loyal creature
Son of the most high, willing to wager my plan
And I'ma stick to it
I'ma ultimately liberate my consciousness

[Pre-Chorus: Nahko + (Nahko & Zella)]
I want the change
(I will make a change)

[Chorus: Zella + (Zella & Nahko)]
If I make it out alive, I’ll come out on the other side
If the sacrifice I owe is the reason that I die
And I know this too shall pass, so I put it in the past
And of all the things I fear, it isn’t now and it isn’t here
I’ll make a change (I will make a change)

[Verse 2: Nahko]
And it comes at a cost, well, that’s obvious
My list of distractions is infinite
My delusions of grandeur are all equipped
With dark lords, back doors, and some wizard shit
Well, I did not know they were gonna choose me
And I oughta take myself more seriously
'Cause what comes through me no it ain’t no trick
And I know that all of us are born with different gifts, so
Lift yourself from darkness, take a couple steps back
On an abstract attack I fell beneath the cracks
I didn’t come here to drone out and drag my feet
Stand in quicksand, both hands, and accept defeat
I got work to do, let me get back at it
The clock is tickin’, I can hear it through the static
Now I’m not being dramatic, enemies don’t sleep
In fact, some aren’t human and that’s hard to believe
'Cause I’m such a visual person, my third eye don’t lie
He’s a wise guy inside, even fooled himself twice
Thinking maybe I’m not ready to be leading the way
I mean, fuck, I’m only human, bound to make some mistakes
An earthquake took place within my lifetime of fear
I hear this too shall pass, the beginning is near

[Pre-Chorus: Nahko + (Nahko & Zella)]
I want the change
(I will make a change)

[Chorus: Zella + (Zella & Nahko)]
If I make it out alive, I’ll come out on the other side
If the sacrifice I owe is the reason that I die
And I know this too shall pass, so I put it in the past
And of all the things I fear, it isn’t now and it isn’t here
I’ll make a change (I will make a change)

[Verse 3: Nahko]
I wanna walk in righteousness
But I keep tripping over ditches of my selfishness
I wanna pass a fist to a pacifist
I keep beating 'round the bush instead of facing it
So I’m facing it, some gladiator shit
Yeah, I’m rippin' over rhythms, yeah, I’m healin' it
But it’s non-stop knocks from the mountain tops
To the city block. To the tanks: stop and block
Another brother got shot dead on the sidewalk
While the cops doing inside jobs and I'm shocked
So my hands are stretched out to the sky
Got some poems in my left and a gun in my right
And my eyes’ll cry over bulletproof pride
'Cause I know I didn’t come to make it out alive
And I thrive in the midst of a battle
Front lines, you can see me in the struggle
These are the songs of a walk towards revival
Even brave men can put down their rifles
I got my orders, and I'ma follow them
You can find me kickin' back inside the lion’s den
I’m making friends and amends with some evil men
Gonna bring them in, inject them with the medicine
I'ma do no harm, but I'ma take no shit
And I’ma build a bridge out of the emptiness
And then potentially, well, I'ma live to be
The hardest working bear in the fucking industry

[Outro: Nahko + Zella]
I will make a change
I will make a change
I will make a change