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January 22, 2011

EARTH MEANDERS: Ecological Internet: Being Green and Meaning It

Caring for Earth is cool; not caring, overly consuming, greenwashing, ecological ignorance, superstition and inaction are not acceptable

By Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk

Ecological Internet: Being Green and Meaning It

The Earth’s life is some 3.5 billion years old. In a mere 300 years human super-predators have taken it upon themselves to cut and burn other life forms to make a more comfortable life. Most are blissfully unaware that they are destroying their habitat. Remedial actions are orders of magnitude inadequate, band-aids instead of open heart surgery. We will quickly halt this growing industrialization, commit to ecosystem protection and restoration, and return to the forest garden, or we will all die. Really, if we continue as we are, the biosphere and ecosystems collapse taking being with it. And it will be grisly.

I haven’t written a really good rip-snorting Earth Meanders in awhile; though this is largely what I am known for doing. I use to meander quite frequently, writing personal essays in the tradition of Montesquieu looking at ecological sustainability in relation to other social issues, showing it is all related with ecology as the unifier. Nor have I literally ruminated regarding my life and ecology like I use to, spilling my guts regarding my turmoil and depression resulting from an acute ecological and historical awareness of global ecological change. This is overdue; particularly as I recently turned 45, I am celebrating this month 20 years of using IT and the Internet for ecological conservation, and thus some personal reflection is due. Stop reading if you don’t want to be shocked by these personal meanderings…

For those just catching up and not aware of Ecological Internet and my work much yet, let me tell you my story briefly, and why I care so much for Earth, all her creatures and the human family. I write Earth Meanders mostly for my own enjoyment and to express my thoughts, and my primary and overwhelming concern is that I write what I meant to say. If so, I like it, and could really care less what others think. So just when you thought I had matured, here goes another meander, which together with the others pretty much assure I can never run for office ;-) Potential employers please consider this piece an essay demonstrating critical thinking. If deep ecology – and free thinking and writing - are declared terrorism, I may be in trouble. Yet we all know there are no thought crimes, right?

Earth Dying

Humanity’s fate is completely one with the natural world. Our genes and cells – like all other species’ – are part of the larger environment and ultimately the global ecological system – Earth System or Gaia, if you will. Earth is alive and her air, water, land and ocean ecosystems self-regulate this organism like our organs do for us. The human boom of clearing natural ecosystems for “development” – which has only been occurring for a few hundred years, an ecological blink of an eye – is destroying our shared ecosystem home. Unless humanity transitions to a social, political and economic state devoted to global ecological sustainability; our future is apocalyptic ecosystem collapse as Earth becomes uninhabitable.

The Earth system is being destroyed by industrial capitalism’s emphasis upon growth as the measurement of well-being. As always poor people are being given the shaft by the rich. Ecosystems are treated like candies to be gobbled. And the environment is stopping working. As ecosystems collapse, we are reaching or passing the point where carrying capacities (ability to support life) and their lag times are exceeded, and the ecological fabric of being frays to the point where the whole biosphere dies.

Perhaps some bacteria on the ocean floor continue living, and cockroaches and dandelions, but Gaia - an entirely revolutionary, complex, amazing ecological amalgam of naturally evolved life, and their patterns and processes – is gone forever never to return. Maybe there are other Gaias, or this one can repair herself after we leave, but that is inconsequential; because as of now we only know of the one biosphere we share, it is remarkable, and we and all known life are utterly dependent.

Anyone with an iota of ecological knowledge and/or common sense can see the way we are treating Earth and her water, oceans, forests, climate and our shared biosphere is needlessly killing us all. Do some reading! Just consider with an open mind: 80% of natural primary forests gone, nearly all fisheries and most large ocean fish over-fished, abrupt climate change, water scarcity, militaristic resource grabs, surging population and over-consumption (albeit inequitable).

Some know Earth in crises and still don’t care. You are sick if you are not blown away by not yet over-developed world living conditions, the inequity, the stench, the unfairness of trade in resources to import goods, ripping off locals for trees and gold, and dumping wastes. The rich world’s beautifully coiffed yet still smelly rich elite are more concerned with maintaining enormously consumptive lifestyles that don’t give a rat’s ass about anything else. We live in times of great social inequity and injustice, and the movement for global ecological sustainability must remedy these as well, if only to ensure our own success.

Humanity Fucked if We Don’t Ecologically Transform Ourselves

EI and ecological science's grim prophesy of global ecological collapse is not without hope if we can transform our relationships with each other and Earth - but it must happen now, immediately, and with force. We must first protect all natural remaining ecosystems – back to the land and taking to the woods and protecting and restoring natural ecosystems! Then onto ecological restoration as power still exists in seeds to recover Earth. Just enough intact core land, ocean and water ecosystems and remnants exist to reconstitute biosphere losses with ecological restoration. We can embrace energy use reduction as our mantra, and choose a steady state economy that favors all living well forever over a few plundering, causing suffering and death for all.

Together we absolutely must act now to avoid global ecology collapsing - protecting and restoring natural ecosystems. We must all grow the ecological sustainability movement, organize including leaderless protest cells, and choose our own resistance tactics for which you are solely responsible. And we must overcome the grave disserve done to global ecology by corporate NGO greenwash of ecosystem diminishing extractive industries and techno-optimists considering geoengineering rather than human beings returning to living within nature.

The same bunch of Neanderthal cretins leading the fouling of the Earth, and who have stopped action for decades, are resurgent and remain in power and are pushing this greenwash crap that doesn’t really do anything for ecology. But then again, it is not as if government under U.S. democrats, or for that matter a liberal democracy anywhere in the world, were making huge strides on climate and ecology. It is time for us all to join Earth’s team again and grow food, restore ecosystems, and be one with Gaia as you homestead with your eco-village family. I contend this is the only remaining road to global ecological sustainability and personal family/friend group survival. We can do it together.

It is well past time to go around governments and use people’s power revolutionary tactics to achieve ecological sustainability. A soft revolution that makes clear there are certain activities that are no longer ecologically tolerable, and using all means with which you personally are comfortable to resist coal, old forest logging, tar sands, population growth, industrial agriculture, fish trawling, geoengineering, fracking etc. is needed immediately. I do not recommend harder revolutionary tactics at this time because well intentioned symbolic protest would be quashed. But we must prepare.

If humanity dares to discuss geoengineering – the apex of human hubris to think we can engineer creation – we are certainly free to discuss insurgency and change of political structures and social norms for Earth. Radicalness in thought and action is the way forward on global ecological sustainability as decades of compromise and accommodation have clearly failed to bring about the magnitude of ecological change necessary in the time we have. Humanity needs new ecology based ways of living.

And we just need some plain talking on what is at stake here. If you are too fucking stupid to see ecology is dying then you deserve to die too. My personal inner-most thoughts are the same - if you don’t care or obstruct the ecological revolution – you are ecocide. You can abuse your body, party, study, dream or do sports as you wish; but don’t destroy our shared ecology. Do what you like including aping incredulous superstitions you believe and that does not harm others, but it is not ok for you to take those living green lives and the entire biosphere down with you by destroying ecosystems with your over-consumption.

When you have a case like this, with one side knowledgeable and the other ignorant regarding a global planetary emergency, it is up the knowledgeable to destroy ignorance. There are so many other aspects of course. We need a planning horizon past tomorrow. There will be horrendous human and animal suffering because of the choices we make now. Will every last ecosystem be lost to get to the last resources? Shame on the U.S. for building, and then trying to hold onto, a lifestyle that is dangerous and destructive. It is time to for us all to downsize, and for others to reach a minimum standard of acceptable living. And I know it’s hard, as I grapple myself with simplifying and desiring objects.

Dr. Glen Barry and Ecological Internet

Unlikely a long haired neo-hippie intellectual like myself will be listened to outside of certain circles. I am generally not liked. Most of my family and close friends have abandoned and ostracized me, thinking I am crazy. I have been intense, driven and vain – but much less so as have aged and gained some perspective. They are partially right as I suffer from debilitating depression as witness end of being and Earth. But we do what we can, this is about the message not the messenger, and I feel much better thank you; aside from that niggling ecological fact that Earth and being are dying needlessly assaulted by known assailants.

Imperfect as I may be, I would be willing to take up arms to defend Earth, but there are so few of us with deep ecological understanding, and as of now we would be slaughtered. But I do academically write on how well known revolutionary strategies such as leaderless resistance and an autonomous cell structure are probably the only remaining way to organize ecological protest adequate to save being. Ruling elite and capitalists are not going to give up their Earth destroying ways unless made to do so. There is a body of people’s power revolutions of the past that inform the current situation, albeit still changing with the advent of transnational Internet advocacy networks and such.

Ecological Internet is well-established, has been around in one form or another including as Forests.org for 20 yrs. - along the way inventing blogging and getting a PhD with this work as the project. If you have just found out about us now, we were one of the first 10,000 web sites in 1993 and have just been under your and many's radar, consistently putting out successful biocentric ecological advocacy. I will be writing a memoir following completion of New Earth Rising – coming soon. But let me say at 5’6” when dripping wet, as with most things, small is beautiful. Pick a special ecological place and organize its protection and expansion.

I am the Founder, President and Chief Information officer of “Ecological Internet”, the web's leading provider of forest conservation and environmental portals and search engines, including the Forest Conservation Portal at http://forests.org/ and Climate Ark Climate Change Portal at http://www.climateark.org/. Ecological Internet (EI) specializes in the construction of environmental portals with unique information retrieval tools and original analysis. EI's web sites are widely recognized as premier environmental news, information and analysis web sites, and enjoy wide use from around the world.

This is the 20th anniversary of my work using the Internet to carry out Internet education on forest conservation, ecology, eco-forestry and sustainability and to build a community of forest conservationists. I have virtually pioneered the use of the Internet for forest conservation, inventing blogging and ecological search engines along the way, and building a huge variety of data sets, maps, queries and displays, and business practices for identification of high-priority areas for protection and restoration.

Ecological Internet (EI) – originally Forests.org – was founded with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 1999. But the work actually began in December of 1990 as I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Papua New Guinea. There on a 1200 baud modem I watched the characters go by one at a time, putting out rainforest protection information. Later this became my Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development project, and my PhD in Land Resources. Since graduating in 2003 with a PhD, I have worked full-time with Ecological Internet.

I have conceived, established and continue to run all aspects of the servers, operating systems, databases and programming for EI. I am the webmaster, network and content manager. This involves managing a dozen large, complex and joined networked databases of forest conservation and ecological sustainability data, program information retrieval and integration tools, and multi-channeled distribution networks using social media, the web and email. Daily we carry out activities like commenting upon, networking and archiving biocentric news; and much thought and efforts goes into the analysis for alerts, press releases and essays such as this one.

This work has made me internationally recognized as leader in the use of the Internet for communication that facilitates forest conservation outcomes – possessing outstanding knowledge of sustainable development and environmental conservation science and global policy, and expert IT skills – and has been supported and recognized as such by the MacArthur Foundation and Google Grants.

I hope very much to continue with this biocentric ecological awareness and action work forever until my time to rest comes, though lately I have out of necessity taken to applying and interviewing for a job to subsidize the work. For now I and my wife – EI’s two key employees – are well established and happy on our 7 acre homestead and office for Ecological Internet – loving the tree planting and ecological restoration, and organic and permaculture gardens, even as we program Earth fighting tools on the Internet. We’ll see what happens.

I and many others love Earth enough to fight and die for being if necessary. Of course hopefully it doesn’t come to that. But when shared survival is threatened; if it must, it must. I have just completed my political ecology book first draft entitled “New Earth Rising” regarding possible revolutionary approaches to reaching global ecological sustainability. During the last few years many meanders have shared ideas on revolutionary ecological thought, as I researched the topic for my book, but I am an academic and not a practicing revolutionary, and I do write about other things. And I do look forward to writing more on other topics including homesteading, permaculture and gardening, and doing other things like playing music, hiking and reading/thinking.

Yet frankly mine is a gloomy prophecy. I see no need to apologize; this is what I have concluded in a lifetime of study on global ecological change. Humanity is plunging into darkness with ecologically unsustainable lifestyles, aspirations and procreation that are killing the ecosystems required for life. There will be a hard turn now back to ecology or being ends. And America and clones – land of the free but gluttonous – are leading the way. Please plan on buying my book when published sometime this year on these topics. Happy holidays, let’s together make 2011 a key year in the history of global ecological and social sustainability, and last minute donations to raise the last $5K in donations necessary to fund Ecological Internet are deeply appreciated at http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/donate/ .

For Earth,
Dr. Glen Barry

Discuss


Comments

How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep 'feeding the problem' of human overpopulation?

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/frostovertheworld/2011/02/2011259341259393.html

How is it possible for so many top rank experts of great stature to be adamantly advocating for more "food production to feed a growing population" and yet be failing to mention the profound implications of skyrocketing absolute global population numbers on Earth? For such a thing to be occurring in 2011 appears preposterous. It is morally outrageous and dangerous both to future human well being and environmental health, I believe, for well established experts to be reporting ubiquitously in high-level discussions such things as are directly contradicted by unchallenged scientific research of human population dynamics and human overpopulation. Is it possible that so-called, self-proclaimed experts are not aware of peer-reviewed, published research in their area of expertise that indicates the food supply is the independent (not dependent) variable and human population numbers is the dependent (not independent) variable with regard to the relationship between human population numbers and food supply? It appears that many too many experts are collectively reporting specious theory and data regarding the human population that cannot be supported by the best available scientific evidence, I believe.

The food supply is the independent variable not the dependent variable. Human population numbers is the dependent variable not the independent variable. The believers in demographic transition theory and in the idea that "we must increase food production to feed a growing population" are simply mistaken. The false promise of Demographic Transition Theory, that population stabilization will somehow occur benignly and automatically a mere four decades from now, as well as the upside down thinking that human population numbers is the independent variable and food supply is the dependent variable, are at least two of the crucial and deliberate misunderstandings that are being deployed to direct the human community down a patently unsustainable "primrose path" no human being with feet of clay would ever choose to go.

The uncontested scientific finding of the relationship between food supply and human population numbers is being obscured and denied by the very experts upon whom the human community relies for guidance and direction. Conscious obsfucation and willful denial by 'the brightest and best' of the scientific finding regarding the relationship between food supply and human population numbers has been occurring pervasively for way too long a time. This incredible failure of nerve by 'the smartest guys in the room' in my not-so-great generation has got to be acknowledged, addressed and overcome.

The children's future is being stolen by thieves of the highest order. And what is the communal response? A code of silence! Are people going to choose yet again to be bystanders at a moment when bold action, intellectual honesty and moral courage are required? Willful blindness, hysterical deafness, elective mutism and utter passivity cannot continue. The children will soon enough express their anger and disbelief at what the elders in my not-so-great generation have either failed to do or else done poorly "on our watch", while wealthy and powerful crooks in high places robbed those among us who are still young of a good enough future.

How on Earth are we going to adequately feed the hungry and starving, and simultaneously not keep 'feeding the problem' of human overpopulation? This is the question no one is asking, the one that needs to be asked.

Please speak out loudly and clearly....


Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001
http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/

Could it be that we need to make democracy, real democracy happen?

Perhaps what we need, maybe all we need, is an adequately functioning democracy, but first ordinary people will have to liberate ourselves from the pernicious, widely shared and consensually validated thinking of a tiny minority in the human community who extol the virtue of greedmongering as good, as an activity to be valued most highly.

Even an enlightened dictator is not a person in whom I could place much faith. We need for duly elected, common people who are chosen by a society to accept the responsibilities and fulfill the duties of leadership by meaningfully embracing democratic principles and eschewing greed, by not "selling out" to greedmongers.

It appears to me that the most arrogant, foolhardy and avaricious, self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us rule the world in our time, and rule it absolutely. This situation is bold evidence of a corruption of democracy, not an example of the reasonable exercise of democratic principles and practices. These circumstances are not only a colossal insult to human beings with feet of clay, but also are a clear and present danger to global biodiversity, Earth's environs, its limited resources and to a good enough future for the children.

Democracy requires representatives who reject the entreaties and bribes of greedmongers as well as embrace principles and practices that promote long-term well being of ordinary people and not only the short-term desires and fantasies of masters of the universe.

You wrote a mouthful and it's a lot to take in but I agree that America is the land of the gluttonous and out of control consumerism with no regard for how it will affect the planet and generations to come. We all need to take responsibility and change our habits and respect and love the planet that gave us life and so generously supports us.

In my opinion there may still be hope, but I'm a firm believer in promoting conservation, and alternative energy.
If anyone would like energy saving tips, check out my website.

http://earthtied.com/


In search of sustainability for humankind...

Would professionals with appropriate expertise please examine the extant science regarding human population dynamics and human overpopulation of Earth? How can this knowledge be used to move the human community from the dangerous and patently unsustainable 'trajectory' it is on now to sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises?


http://newsecuritybeat.blogspot.com/2010/08/uk-royal-society-call-for-submissions.html#comment-form


—–Original Message—–
Sir John Sulston, Chair
People and the Planet Working Group
UK Royal Society
March 31, 2011


Dear Sir John Sulston:

Your recent comments regarding the review of research on the human population and its impact on the planet we inhabit by a high level panel of experts give rise to hope for the future of children everywhere. Thanks for all you, the Planet and the People Working Group and the UK Royal Society are doing to protect biodiversity from massive extirpation, the environment from irreversible degradation and the Earth from wanton dissipation of its finite resources by the human species. I am especially appreciative for two quotes from you,

…… “we’ve got to make sure that population is recognized… as a multiplier of many others. We’ve got to make sure that population really does peak out when we hope it will.”


…….”what we want to do is to see the issue of population in the open, dispassionately discussed…. and then we’ll see where it goes.”

Inasmuch as you and an esteemed group of professionals with appropriate expertise are examining scientific evidence regarding the unbridled increase of absolute global human population numbers, please note there is research that has been summarily dismissed by many too many of our colleagues regarding human population dynamics and human overpopulation which I would like to bring to your attention. For the past ten years I have been unsuccessfully attempting to draw attention to certain evidence that to date remains both unchallenged and ignored by virtually every top-rank professional. They appear unable to refute the evidence and simultaneously unwilling to believe it. Their unexpected conspiracy of silence has served to conceal certain research by David Pimentel and Russell Hopfenberg. How else can it be that so many established professionals with adequate expertise act as if they are willfully blind, hysterically deaf and electively mute in the face of scientific evidence of human population dynamics and human overpopulation? The conscious denial of what could somehow be real about the growth of the human population in our time is not doing anything that can be construed as somehow right and good for future human wellbeing and environmental health, I suppose. It appears as if we could be witnesses to the most colossal failure of intellectual honesty, moral courage and nerve in human history.

Peer-reviewed professional publications, letters to the editor, slideshow presentations et cetera can be found at the following link, http://www.panearth.org/

Thank you for attending to this request for careful, skillful and rigorous scrutiny of research from two outstanding scientists. Please know I am holding onto a ray of hope that the research of Hopfenberg and Pimentel is fundamentally flawed; that human population dynamics is different from, not essentially similar to, the population dynamics of other species; and that human population numbers are not primarily a function of an available supply of food necessary for human existence. That would be the best news.

Sometime soon, I trust, many scientists will speak up with regard to apparently unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation the way people in huge numbers in the Mid-East are calling out for democracy now.

Respectfully yours,

Steve Salmony


Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
Established 2001
http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176
http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/