Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fort Collins Bucking Horse Farm Agriculture Development

Farmer farm as infrastructure local food sustainability NPR story 12-17-13 permaculture farm as neighborhood amenity

Luke Runyon
Harvest public media

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

35 and Single - Paula Schargorodsky (New York Times Op-Docs)

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been compulsively filming everyone and everything for no particular reason. All my love stories and breakups have been recorded and systematically kept.

As I continued to change boyfriends and hometowns every two years or so, I filmed my friends with their boyfriends, then husbands, then pregnant bellies, until they were surrounded by children. When my last single friend from school married, I fell asleep the evening of the wedding and didn’t show up.

I’m 35, Argentine, Jewish and single.

And these four categories don’t seem to go smoothly together. So I decided to make a film about the questions I have struggled to answer. Can social mandates be disregarded, or is my extended youth finally coming to its end?

After I finished filming, I met someone. He is imperfect, and I love him. This time I realize I can live with unanswered questions, and that’s fine.

Paula Schargorodsky is a filmmaker who lives in Buenos Aires. She is currently expanding the story in this Op-Doc video into a feature-length documentary, “Girl Behind the Camera,” and an online interactive project, “Get Over It.”


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Depredation of El Tango

We need to copyright and trademark the word "Tango". It pisses me off when advertisers co-opt the word and depredate El Tango. Fuckers.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

In memory of my father-in-law, who went on out into the wild blue yonder on 09/11/2013. I miss him. I will miss him.

This was his favorite song - the Mary Hopkin version. It was written by Pete Seeger, adapted from The Book of Ecclesiates (3:1), which is ascribed to King Solomon.

It's a beautiful song with a powerful message.

Pete Seeger...interview...

Mary Hopkin...

Judy Collins...

Judy Collins & Pete Seeger...

The Byrds...

Roger McGuinn...Kennedy Center 1994 honoring Pete Seeger...

Nina Simone...

Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, Kathy Mattea, Radney Foster, Roger McGuinn, Leigh Nash, and Kim Richey performing "Turn, Turn, Turn" for the film Our Country...

The Seekers, 1967...

Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman...1990...Tribute Concert to Roy Orbison...benefiting the homeless...

Johnny Cash & Judy Collins...1970...

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy and Liberation of the Empty Self by Nozomi Hayase / September 20th, 2013

From Nozomi Hayase at Dissident Voice, an important read...

Here's an excerpt...full article here....

Nozomi Hayase is a contributing writer to Culture Unplugged and a global citizen blogger at Journaling Between Worlds. She brings out deeper dimensions of socio-cultural events at the intersection between politics and psyche with fiction and reality to share insight on future social evolution. She can be reached at: nozomimagination@gmail.com. Read other articles by Nozomi.

This article was posted on Friday, September 20th, 2013 at 8:24am and is filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Espionage/"Intelligence", Fascism, Obama, Privacy, Propaganda, Psychology/Psychiatry, Whistleblowing.

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy and Liberation of the Empty Self

by Nozomi Hayase / September 20th, 2013

Half a year into Obama’s second term, it has become clear what has been done under his watch. He brought to the world massive banking fraud, drone attacks, indefinite detention, assassination of US citizens and an unprecedented war on whistleblowers. The rhetoric of hope and change has finally and undeniably revealed its true colors. Prominent dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky remarked how Obama’s assault on civil liberties has progressed beyond anything he could have imagined. All of these telltale signs mark the slippery slide toward totalitarianism that seems to now be escalating.

Edward Snowden’s NSA files unveiled to the world mass global surveillance and that the USA has become the United Stasi of America. The decay of democracy in the United States is now undeniable, as all branches of the federal government have begun to betray the very ideals this country was founded on. The exposed NSA stories have had serious global impact, challenging the credibility of the US on all levels. Under a relentless secrecy regime, the criminalization of journalism and any true dissent has become the new norm. In recent months, a pattern of attacks on journalism has unfolded. Examples include the APA scandal of the Department of Justice’s seizure of telephone records, the tapping of Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private emails and the British government’s detention of David Miranda, partner of the Glenn Greenwald, who was the primary journalist breaking the NSA story. On top of these recent developments, a media shield law has moved forward in Washington. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill that narrowly defines what a journalist can be, thus removing the First Amendment protection from new forms of media. This all points not only to deep threats to press freedom, but to a general trend toward excessive state control through centralizing power.

The American corporate media takes all this in stride with a business as usual attitude that carries the meme of “Keep Calm and Carry On”. After the NSA revelations, author Ted Rall posed the question, “Why are Americans so passive?” Obama’s blatant violations of the Fourth Amendment have reached far beyond Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal in 1974 that led him to resign under threat of impeachment. In the midst of Obama’s aggressive persecution of those who shine light on government crimes, where are all the courageous Americans? How have the people allowed such egregious acts by the government against the Constitution? As scandals of the NSA continue to shed light on a further subversion of basic privacy within the internet, the drumbeat of war seems to be no coincidence as Obama prepared for an attack on Syria. Although Snowden’s revelations began to stir up debate and efforts for reform across the country, compared with mass protests breaking out in countries like Turkey and Brazil, the scale of the response has been relatively small and hasn’t reached the full swing needed for meaningful change. One can ask -do Americans even care or are they so defeated and disempowered by a corporatized war machine they feel there is nothing they can do?

The Slowly Boiling Frog and the ‘Good American’

One of the reasons for public passivity is the normalization overtime of radical politics. The metaphor of the slowly boiling frog comes to mind. A frog would not jump out of a hot pot if the temperature is slowly being altered over time. The frog’s instinctual reaction to boiling water can be compared to an innate sense within us that detects dangerous, radical or controlling agendas and blatant unconstitutional and illegal actions of governments or corporations. Our sense to feel the changes of temperature in the habitat of this supposed democratic society has been made dull and eventually incapacitated by subversion and perception management.

This control of perception is seen most blatantly in US politics with the manufactured pendulum between a faux right and left. For instance, the handling of the issue of raising the federal debt ceiling in 2011 illustrates this machination of perception control. Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends spoke of how the rhetoric of crisis is used to rush through otherwise impossible, unpopular agendas:

Just like after 9/11, the Pentagon pulled out a plan for Iraq’s oil fields, Wall Street has a plan to really clean up now, to really put the class war back in business … They’re pushing for a crisis to let Mr. Obama rush through the Republican plan. Now, in order for him to do it, the Republicans have to play good cop, bad cop. They have to have the Tea Party move so far to the right, take a so crazy a position, that Mr. Obama seems reasonable by comparison. And, of course, he is not reasonable. He’s a Wall Street Democrat, which we used to call Republicans.

The definition of liberal can move as opponents shift views. There is a false partisanship that slowly makes the public feel comfortable with what are quite radical and inhumane ideas and actions. This subversive form of perception management appears to have reached its height with the current presidency. This administration, with its crafted image of the ‘progressive Obama’ has successfully co-opted the left and marched them into supporting neoconservative policies that they once claimed to reject. Greenwald described Obama as much more effective in institutionalizing abusive and exploitative policies than any Republican president ever could. He pointed out for instance how “Mitt Romney never would have been able to cut Social Security or target Medicare, because there would have been an enormous eruption of anger and intense, sustained opposition by Democrats and progressives accusing him of all sorts of things”. On the contrary, he continued, Obama would “bring Democrats and progressives along with him and to lead them to support and get on board with things that they have sworn they would never, ever be able to support.”

Full article here....

Nozomi Hayase is a contributing writer to Culture Unplugged and a global citizen blogger at Journaling Between Worlds. She brings out deeper dimensions of socio-cultural events at the intersection between politics and psyche with fiction and reality to share insight on future social evolution. She can be reached at: nozomimagination@gmail.com. Read other articles by Nozomi.

This article was posted on Friday, September 20th, 2013 at 8:24am and is filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Espionage/"Intelligence", Fascism, Obama, Privacy, Propaganda, Psychology/Psychiatry, Whistleblowing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Farcical Bernanke Fed

...Central bank policy of flooding the banking system with reserves, and more reserves, heaped upon already too high reserves...the historic data show this proposition to be farcical, and that the real-world maneuver of exactly this type of bank reserve flooding to be a total failure...a monumental case of pushing on a string...

Paraphrasing David Stockman's "The Great Deformation" Chapter 12

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, July 29, 2013

Unclean at any speed

Note to self:
NPR story on "Here and Now"
Ozzy Zeener 
Unclean at any Speed
Green Illusions
Inglorious National Embarrassment 

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Victoria Grant, age 12, on our fraudulent banking system

Yes, she is talking specifically about Canada's banking system and the complicit Canadian Government, but this is true for the good 'ol US of A.

And this, on North Dakota's State owned "socialist" bank...what Victoria is talking about as an alternative, which is actually in practice...

The fundamental truth is that the banks, and our government are all stealing from us, and stealing from future generations. One day soon, we will all wake up and put a stop to this.

From RT: (which includes an interview the Victoria and her mother...)

June 2012

Economists around the world are struggling to break free of the clutches of the financial crisis but a Canadian girl explains exactly what needs to be done.

Victoria Grant, 12, became an overnight Internet sensation after a video of her slamming Canada’s banks and the government for robbing the people, went viral.

“What I’ve discovered is that banks and the government have colluded to financially enslave the people of Canada,” she said at Pubic Banking Institute conference in Philadelphia.

In her interview with RT, the child economist expressed her concern that the Canadian government has been borrowing money from private banks and putting the people into debt. “And they are not doing anything about this. So they are just standing by and watching the private banks make us pay compounded interest.”

“It has become painfully obvious even for me, a 12-year-old Canadian, that we are being defrauded and robbed by the banking system and a complicit government,” Victoria stated in her speech at the conference.

Until the 1970s, the Canadian government borrowed money directly from the Bank of Canada. But in recent decades, it has been borrowing from private banks instead which results in the government paying extra in interest rates to cover private banks’ profit margins.

The prodigy’s solution to her country’s financial problems is that the government “should stop borrowing from private banks and start borrowing from the Bank of Canada with little to no interest.”

“The people will then pay fair taxes to repay the Bank of Canada. This tax money would in turn get injected back into our economic infrastructure and the debt would be wiped out. Canadians will again prosper with real money as the foundation of our economic structure,” she said.

Victoria’s mother, Marcia Grant, principal at the Resurrection Christian Academy, told RT that her daughter becoming an Internet sensation is “quite exciting.” “We never knew when this project started what would happen with this. It’s exciting that we get people talking and doing their own research. Whether they agree or disagree, they are at least listening and exploring.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I AM [the documentary]

Official Site: http://iamthedoc.com/

Link to BUY the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/I-AM-Tom-Shadyac/dp/B005U0ZP46

From the official site:

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

Armed with nothing but his innate curiosity and a small crew to film his adventures, Shadyac set out on a twenty-first century quest for enlightenment. Meeting with a variety of thinkers and doers–remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith–including such luminaries as David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks, and Marc Ian Barasch – Shadyac appears on-screen as character, commentator, guide, and even, at times, guinea pig. An irrepressible “Everyman” who asks tough questions, but offers no easy answers, he takes the audience to places it has never been before, and presents even familiar phenomena in completely new and different ways. The result is a fresh, energetic, and life-affirming film that challenges our preconceptions about human behavior while simultaneously celebrating the indomitable human spirit.

The pursuit of truth has been a lifelong passion for Shadyac. “As early as I can remember I simply wanted to know what was true,” he recalls, “and somehow I perceived at a very early age that what I was being taught was not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” He humorously describes himself as “questioning and searching and stumbling and fumbling toward the light.” The “truth” may have been elusive, but success wasn’t. Shadyac’s films grossed nearly two billion dollars and afforded him the glamorous and extravagent A-List lifestyle of the Hollywood blockbuster filmmaker. Yet Shadyac found that more – in his case, a 17,000-square foot art-filled mansion, exotic antiques, and private jets — was definitely less. “What I discovered, when I began to look deeply, was that the world I was living in was a lie,” he explains. “Much to my surprise, the accumulation of material wealth was a neutral phenomenon, neither good or bad, and certainly did not buy happiness.” Gradually, with much consideration and contemplation, he changed his lifestyle. He sold his house, moved to a mobile home community, and started life—a simpler and more responsible life – anew.

But, at this critical juncture, Shadyac suffered an injury that changed everything. “In 2007, I got into a bike accident which left me with Post Concussion Syndrome, a condition where the symptoms of the original concussion don’t go away.” These symptoms include intense and painful reactions to light and sound, severe mood swings, and a constant ringing sound in the head. Shadyac tried every manner of treatment, traditional and alternative, but nothing worked. He suffered months of isolation and pain, and finally reached a point where he welcomed death as a release. “I simply didn’t think I was going to make it,” he admits.

But, as Shadyac wisely points out, “Death can be a very powerful motivator.” Confronting his own mortality, he asked himself, “If this is it for me – if I really am going to die – what do I want to say before I go? What will be my last testament?” It was Shadyac’s modern day dark night of soul and out of it, I AM was born. Thankfully, almost miraculously, his PCS symptoms began to recede, allowing him to travel and use his movie-making skills to explore the philosophical questions that inhabited him, and to communicate his findings in a lively, humorous, intellectually-challenging, and emotionally-charged film.

But this would not be a high-octane Hollywood production. The director whose last film had a crew of 400, assembled a streamlined crew of four, and set out to find, and film, the thinkers who had helped to change his life, and to seek a better understanding of the world, its inhabitants, their past, and their future. Thus, Shadyac interviews scientists, psychologists, artists, environmentalists, authors, activists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and others in his quest for truth. Bishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Noam Chomsky, historian Dr. Howard Zinn, physicist Lynne McTaggart, and poet Coleman Banks are some of the subjects who engage in fascinating dialogue with Shadyac.

Shadyac was very specific about what he was after, wanting I AM to identify the underlying cause of the world’s ills – “I didn’t want to hear the usual answers, like war, hunger, poverty, the environmental crisis, or even greed,” he explains. “These are not the problems, they are the symptoms of a larger endemic problem. In I AM, I wanted to talk about the root cause of the ills of the world, because if there is a common cause, and we can talk about it, air it out in a public forum, then we have a chance to solve it.”

Ironically, in the process of trying to figure out what’s wrong with the world, Shadyac discovered there’s more right than he ever imagined. He learned that the heart, not the brain, may be man’s primary organ of intelligence, and that human consciousness and emotions can actually affect the physical world, a point Shadyac makes with great humor by demonstrating the impact of his feelings on a bowl of yogurt. And, as Shadyac’s own story illustrates, money is not a pathway to happiness. In fact, he even learns that in some native cultures, gross materialism is equated with insanity.

Shadyac also discovers that, contrary to conventional thinking, cooperation and not competition, may be nature’s most fundamental operating principle. Thus, I AM shows consensus decision-making is the norm amongst many species, from insects and birds to deer and primates. The film further discovers that humans actually function better and remain healthier when expressing positive emotions, such as love, care, compassion, and gratitude, versus their negative counterparts, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear. Charles Darwin may be best known for popularizing the notion that nature is red in tooth and claw, but, as Shadyac points out, he used the word love 95 times in The Descent of Man, while his most famous phrase,survival of the fittest, appears only twice.

“It was a revelation to me that for tens of thousands of years, indigenous cultures taught a very different story about our inherent goodness,” Shadyac marvels. “Now, following this ancient wisdom, science is discovering a plethora of evidence about our hardwiring for connection and compassion, from the Vagus Nerve which releases oxytocin at simply witnessing a compassionate act, to the Mirror Neuron which causes us to literally feel another person’s pain. Darwin himself, who was misunderstood to believe exclusively in our competitiveness, actually noted that humankind’s real power comes in their ability to perform complex tasks together, to sympathize and cooperate.”

Shadyac’s enthusiastic depiction of the brighter side of human nature and reality, itself, is what distinguishes I AM from so many well-intentioned, yet ultimately pessimistic, non-fiction films. And while he does explore what’s wrong with the world, the film’s overwhelming emphasis is focused on what we can do to make it better. Watching I AM is ultimately, for many, a transformative experience, yet Shadyac is reluctant to give specific steps for viewers who have been energized by the film. “What can I do?” “I get asked that a lot,” he says. “But the solution begins with a deeper transformation that must occur in each of us. I AM isn’t as much about what you can do, as who you can be. And from that transformation of being, action will naturally follow.”

Shadyac’s transformation remains in process. He still lives simply, is back on his bicycle, riding to work, and teaching at a local college, another venue for sharing his life-affirming discoveries. Reflecting Shadyac’s philosophy is the economic structure of the film’s release; all proceeds from I AM will go to The Foundation for I AM, a non-profit established by Shadyac to fund various worthy causes and to educate the next generation about the issues and challenges explored in the film. When he directs another Hollywood movie, the bulk of his usual eight-figure fee will be deposited into a charitable account, as well. “St. Augustine said, ‘Determine what God has given you, and take from it what you need; the remainder is needed by others.’ That’s my philosophy in a nutshell,” Shadyac says, “Or as Gandhi put it, ‘Live simply, so others may simply live.’”

Shadyac’s enthusiasm and optimism are contagious. Whether conducting an interview with an intellectual giant, or offering himself as a flawed character in the narrative of the film, Shadyac is an engaging and persuasive guide as we experience the remarkable journey that is I AM. With great wit, warmth, curiosity, and masterful storytelling skills, he reveals what science now tells us is one of the principal truths of the universe, a message that is as simple as it is significant: We are all connected – connected to each other and to everything around us. “My hope is that I AM is a window into Truth, a glimpse into the miracle, the mystery and magic of who we really are, and of the basic nature of the connection and unity of all things. In a way,” says Shadyac, a seasoned Hollywood professional who has retained his unerring eye for a great story, “I think of I AM as the ultimate reality show.”

Written & Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Producer: Dagan Handy

Editor: Jennifer Abbott

Co-Producer: Jacquelyn Zampella

Associate Producer :: Nicole Pritchett

Director of Photography: Roko Belic
Executive Producers: Jennifer Abbott, Jonathan Watson
Media and PR Coordinator: Harold Mintz
Graphic Designers: Yusuke Nagano, Barry Thompson
Release Dates: March 11, 2011 – Los Angeles, March 18, 2011 – New York
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rating: Not rated

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Great Deformation by David A. Stockman

Listening to the audiobook, making my way acrost the Llano Estacado...

Good stuff...

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why We Should Let Off The Gas Pedal Just A Little

File under "random shit I think about"...

If everyone would slow down a bit...be a little lighter in your loafers...

Let's say you I only save $20 a month on your gas bill. Not a big fucking deal.

But multiply that by ONE HUNDRED MILLION VEHICLES...

And we have collectively just diverted TWO BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH back into the US/Global economy...

Out of the already well-lined pockets of BigOil/Stockholders/OPEC...

And into other areas of the economy...

Or save your $20 bucks a month a buy a case of MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir at Christmas-time.

Just sayin'

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, May 23, 2013

FILM The Garden & Take Action Against Monsanto and FOR The Family Farm

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

Subject: FILM the Garden thurs 8  plus an easy action YOU can do...

Come see "the Garden" at Third Coast Activist center Thursday the 23rd
potluck 7 pm, can you bring local organic food? sure we can...
then... read on, it's inspiring what is happening~
 can you take 2 mins to limit Monsanto & build organics?
if you can take a couple of minutes, it could help alot!
click the link, it's all there easy as pie to follow~
calls count for waaaaay more than emails, that's why we call!

Stop the Corporate Takeover of America: Tell Congress to Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support GMO labeling and environmental protections in the 2013 Farm Bill!

Dear Pat,

Yesterday was an incredible day for the movement to label GMOs and take our democracy back from corrupt chemical and biotech seed companies like Monsanto.

Late last night, the Connecticut Senate passed a bill to label GMOs by a margin of 35 to 1!

Yesterday morning, less than 2 months after the Monsanto Protection Act was signed into law, Senator John Merkley (D-OR) introduced an amendment, S. 954, to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act – the most outrageous special interest loophole in recent memory.

And yesterday afternoon, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a Right-to-Know GMO labeling amendment to put pressure on the Senate to get in the game for a federal bill that requires labeling for all Americans!

Today we need your help to keep this momentum going to stop Monsanto and win GMO labeling and build a better food supply. Right now, Monsanto and the biotech industry is running scared. The tide has turned on the conversation to label genetically engineered foods and we need your help to drive it home!

This week the Senate is taking amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill and we need you to take action to protect our future!

Tell Congress it's time to end the corporate takeover of our food supply, repeal the Monsanto Protection Act and support organics and family farmers! It's time to put the health of our people, our environment and our nation over Monsanto's profits!


These are the list of amendments that Food Democracy Now! and our allies support to build a better future!

Take action by calling your senators today!

List of Amendments to S. 954, the 2013 Farm Bill to Build an Organic, Sustainable Food Supply

1. Repeal Monsanto Protection Act: Merkley Amendment #978 In an unprecedented move, Senator Merkley, introduced an amendment to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act, Section 735 of H.R. 933, which was passed into law last March. The Monsanto Protection Act has been called "the most outrageous special interest provisions in years."

2. Support GMO labeling: Boxer Amendment #1025 to Label Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know: Boxer has introduced an important amendment to the farm bill that would show support for labeling foods with genetically engineered ingredients

3. Ban Genetically Engineered Salmon: Begich Amendment #934 to ban the sale of genetically engineered salmon until Federal wildlife agencies are properly consulted.

4. Protect Honey Bees and Pollinators: Boxer Amendment #1027 to protect honey bees and native pollinators, that have declined over 45% last winter as a result of pesticides and industrial agriculture.

5. Wyden Common Sense Hemp Amendment #952: Senator Wyden introduced Farm Bill Amendment 952 to define industrial hemp and allow the states to regulate it. S.952 is in support of the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act" (S. 359), that Wyden filed earlier this year to support family farmers who want to grow hemp on their farms to grow this sustainable crop for food, clothing and bio-fuels. The amendment has broad bipartisan co-sponsorship from Senators Paul, McConnell and Merkley.

6. Limit Payments to Large Corporate Farms: Shaheen-Toomey Payment Limit Amendment #926: Limits crop insurance premium support to $50,000 per farmer annually; requires a farmer to be actively engaged in the farm business in order to be eligible for premium support; generates more than $4 billion in savings over ten years; and impacts fewer than 4 percent of farmers.

7. Support Caps on Insurance Payments: Coburn-Durbin AGI Amendment #953: Supports caps on isurance payments to reduce premium support by 15% for farmers with an Adjusted Gross Income of more than $750,000; generates more than $1 billion in savings over ten years; impacts less than 1 percent of farmers.

8. Open Transparency for Public Subsidies: Begich-Flake Transparency Amendment #936: Permits RMA to disclose the names of insurance subsidy recipients, making crop insurance disclosure requirements consistent with requirements for other subsidies, disaster payments, and conservation payments at no cost to the taxpayer.

Join Food Democracy Now! to help take back our food supply and support organic farmers! It's time to stand up for what you believe in! Every voice counts!


It's incredible how far we've come in such a short period of time and with your help we can win these important amendments to help family farmers grow an organic, sustainable and non-GMO food supply!

Remember, democracy is like a muscle - either you use it or you lose it!

Thanks for participating in food democracy,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds: A Publication of the National Intelligence Council

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds: A Publication of the National Intelligence Council

The National Intelligence Council's (NIC) Global Trends Report engages expertise from outside government on factors of such as globalization, demography and the environment, producing a forward-looking document to aid policymakers in their long term planning on key issues of worldwide importance.

Global Trends 2030 is intended to stimulate thinking about the rapid and vast geopolitical changes characterizing the world today and possible global trajectories over the next 15 years.

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds by Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Monday, May 6, 2013

Orphans Over Orchids - This Mother's Day

Bouquets are beautiful, but will you consider a new way to celebrate Mother's Day on May 12th?  


Before your day and week gets crazy… click through to joy with us!  Now you can applaud good moms and instantly give a wonderful,real childhood to 100 kids who don't have one-- yet.  With your help, they will!


Please join me,  Caroline Boudreaux,IndieGoGo.com and UNICEF Ambassador Tea Leoni in our exciting "Orphans Over Orchids" $100,000 Global Challenge, and enjoy this authentic and meaningful way to celebrate Mother's Day. With a few clicks now, you can make an immediate, permanent and trackable difference in the health, happiness (and future) for an entireorphanage of 100 boys and girls halfway around the world.  (www.miraclefoundation.org)


We're really gaining momentum for Orphans Over Orchids but we need YOU.  Crowdfunding campaigns through secure sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter magicallycatch fire quickly when people go online and check it out, and your contribution can be anonymous.  You can help quickly fund pet projects for as little as $25without ever being asked for more!


Here are 5 ½ easy ways to make a difference in the Orphans Over Orchids global challenge NOW:


•             Go to www.Miraclefoundation.org and see video of CarolineBoudreaux, the outstanding social entrepreneur who founded The Miracle Foundation and is revolutionizing the way orphanages are run worldwide.  Click on the Give a Mother's Day Gift tab toIndieGoGo.com and decide from there.  CLICK THRUS COUNT!

•             Post "Orphans Over Orchids" links and recommend on Facebook

•             Tweet about Orphans Over Orchids!

•             PLEASE forward this email to your entire list

•             Donate.  Click on Give a Gift  (Mothers and grandmothers, ask for this or donate too!)  You will get a downloadable Mother's Day e-card, or you can email it to any mom you want!


Right here from Austin, The Miracle Foundation is successfully combatting corruption and transforming virtual warehouses of kids into real homes, with fantastic results that are closely monitored.  By joining the Orphans Over Orchids challenge, you can ensure delivery of100 childhoods with loving trained housemothers, clean water, good food, cozy beds AND an excellent education with life skills training.  (www.miraclefoundation.org )   


IS there a better possible present for Mother's Day?.


And if the Miracle Foundation gets more than $100,000?  We'll uplift another orphanage!  You can track our way to success, then read all of the publicity about Orphans Over Orchids it next week. 


On behalf of Caroline, Tea and the beautiful kids—THANK YOU!

Sent from my iPhone
Just a bit west of the Pecos River

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Robert Jensen :: Arguing for Our Lives

 Missed it, but buy the book.. 

Monday, April 29, 7 pm

Robert Jensen on "Arguing for Our Lives"

UT professor Robert Jensen will discuss and read from his new book, Arguing for Our Lives: A User's Guide to Constructive Dialog, published by City Lights. http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100303190

With the quality of political engagement at an all-time low—and threats to social justice and ecological sustainability at an all-time high—it has never been more important for citizens to be able to argue constructively. In this lively primer on critical thinking that draws on more than two decades of classroom experience and community organizing, Jensen offers practical advice on challenging the conventional wisdom and confronting the crises of our time.

Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas and a founding board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. He is also the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice and co-producer of the documentary film "Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing."

Location: BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, 78703 http://www.bookpeople.com/

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Over The Rhine

Y'all know about them, right?

Google and listen...

Sent from my iPhone


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tim Hetherington Photographer

Must see/feel...into your bones and the depths of your soul ...


Also the new documentary, "Restrepro"...

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Big Fix :: It Breaks My Heart

"We're no better than a third-world country." "The Gulf of Mexico is the toilet for the entire country." This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that it happened in the first place. That all of the environmental disasters that have happened, happened in the first place. That it continues to happen. And it continues to be covered up, with our Federal Government and its "bought" regulators complicit in the cover ups. It breaks my heart that we are all complicit in all of these acts. We are complicit in that we look the other way, and go about our business as if nothing is wrong.

It breaks my heart.



Here's the link to Jeff Goodell's piece in Rolling Stone Magazine titled "The Poisoning".

Matthew Simmons, outspoken critic of BP, Founder and Chairman of The Ocean Energy Institute, "drowns" in his hot tub - read more here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

In my heart of hearts, a note to my friend Sam

I think the momentum of apathy is too great - which goes to the premises set forth in the book "American Mania, When More Is Not Enough". The author, psychologist Peter C, Whybrow presents a well-founded,  research-based treatise of the genetic roots of the more, more, more, bigger, faster, better, richer undertow of "The American Dream"/Delusion. Perhaps as the enviropoliticalsocioeconomic collapse begins to unfold in the coming years, catastrophic death rates in the U.S., in the hundreds of thousands, might wake us up from our junk food junk media junk everything  drug/alcohol/HFCS/RealityTV induced torpor. To the point that we might come together in a time of crisis (see book by Rebecca Solnit) and live up to the full potential of humanity and the human individual.  Or not. And then descend further into our oblivious oblivion, accelerating the demise of "modern" "civilization". Which may not be a bad thing, which may actually be evolution and natural population controls in their most brutally elegant intelligent design. Sam, I know you know the indigenous and long-term sustainable way of life of our not so distant past may very well have been the beautiful and divine apex of human "civilization". Passed up in our collective apathy and overpopulated epidemic cognitive impoverishment of the last few hundred years. Passed up, but not forgotten,  an equilibrium state that I hope in my heart of hearts, with a smile on my face,  and some tango in my step, will return to our Mother Earth. It has to. I feel it in my gut. It all makes me want to be a better man. And that seems to be the most difficult part. Perhaps my great-grandchildren will know it, should they come into being. In a way I would not wish that upon them. Wish what is to come upon them. I wish for something better for them, something that is absent or rare today. A sustainable and connected and beautiful way of life. Not that this one isn't beautiful, but that is another story, for another time. In the meantime, all I can do is muddle my way toward it, and toward being a better man. Namaste, my friend.

Sam is tango/FB friend up there under The Big Sky, whom I have yet to meet in real life...this is a comment to a thread /post of his in FB that started out on the subject of "The Long Emergency" - our inevitable move away from a hydrocarbon based economy/society...

Sent from my iPhone
From EL Tin Can
Odessa, Texas

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeling Blue? Then Try Argentine Tango...

kind of illusion

Feeling blue? Then try the tango: Scientists claim the dance helps rid depression, anxiety and stress
Australian academics said the dance has significant health benefits
University of New England team recruited 41 people with complaints of stress, anxiety and depression
Study found 'satisfaction with life and self-efficacy significantly increased'

Thanks go to Nina P on Facebook for the find....!!!

UNE/Rose Pinniger Blog Article: http://blog.une.edu.au/news/2008/04/16/tango-trial-aims-to-dance-depression-away/

Apparently there are a couple of published studies (at least) - one in the journal "Music and Movement" and one in "The American Journal of Dance Therapy"...one on depression and anxiety and one on macular degeneration...I'll see what I can do to get the full text of the study...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2280869/Feeling-blue-Then-try-tango-Scientists-claim-dance-helps-rid-depression-anxiety-stress.html#ixzz2LUWqSqyG

The authors wrote: ‘Participants showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Satisfaction with life and self-efficacy were significantly increased.‘At one-month follow-up, depression, anxiety, and stress levels remained reduced. A brief programme of tango dance was shown to be an effective strategy in alleviating mood disorders.’ The team at the University of New England in New South Wales and Australian National University in Canberra recruited 41 people with complaints of stress, anxiety and depression.

Mood: The team at the University of New England in New South Wales and Australian National University in Canberra recruited 41 people with complaints of stress, anxiety and depression. The participants were aged from 18 to 73, mainly well-educated and 80 per cent were female. Clinical assessments were made to classify their symptoms as extremely severe, severe, moderate, mild or normal.

Twenty participants then took eight tango sessions of 90 minutes each over a two-week period, while the 21 in the control group were put on a waiting list for classes. The assessments were conducted again at the end of the two weeks. Most tango participants showed clinically significant improvement in at least one area, whereas those on a waiting list were stable or became worse. Dancers also reported less insomnia and better general life satisfaction. One month later all 41 people were asked to complete the survey again and the results showed the tango’s benefits in reducing anxiety, stress and depression still remained.

The benefits for insomnia and general life satisfaction did not, however, suggest longer courses might be needed for sustained effects in these areas. The authors said tango requires 'a strong connection' with a partner, synchronisation and improvisation. They said study feedback 'indicated that this activity helped the participants to focus on the present moment and mentally switch off from their feelings of stress and distress'.

Another recent study, also by Australia’s University of New England and published in the British Journal of Visual Impairment, found that dancing the tango reduced depression, boosted self-esteem and improved balance in people with age-related macular degeneration.

Abstract here...

Intensive Tango Dance Program for People With Self-Referred Affective Symptoms
Rosa Pinniger, BPsych1⇓
Einar B. Thorsteinsson, PhD1
Rhonda F. Brown, PhD2
Patricia McKinley, PhD3
1School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
2Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
3McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Rosa Pinniger, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia. Email: rosapinniger@gmail.com


Recent research shows that tango dance may be an effective strategy for influencing symptoms that contribute to mood disorders. In this study, we examined the efficacy of a short-duration intensive tango program (ie, 2 weeks). Forty-one participants were randomized to tango dance (1½ hours, 4 times/week for 2 weeks) or to a wait-list control condition. Self-rated symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, self-efficacy, satisfaction with life and mindfulness were assessed at pretest, posttest, and 1 month later. Tango group participants showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia at posttest relative to the controls, whereas satisfaction with life and self-efficacy were significantly increased. At 1-month follow-up, depression, anxiety, and stress levels remained reduced relative to the wait-list controls. Thus, this brief but intensive program of tango dance was shown to be an effective strategy in alleviating mood disorders in people who self-report these symptoms.
anxiety dance depression insomnia mindfulness

Intensive Tango Dance Program for People With Self-Referred Affective Symptoms
Rosa Pinniger, Einar B Thorsteinsson, Rhonda F Brown, Patricia McKinley
Publication date
Journal name
Music and Medicine
SAGE Publications
Abstract Recent research shows that tango dance may be an effective strategy for
influencing symptoms that contribute to mood disorders. In this study, we examined the
efficacy of a short-duration intensive tango program (ie, 2 weeks). Forty-one participants
were randomized to tango dance (1½ hours, 4 times/week for 2 weeks) or to a wait-list
control condition. Self-rated symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, self-efficacy,
satisfaction with life and mindfulness were assessed at pretest, posttest, and 1 month later. ...
Scholar articles
Intensive Tango Dance Program for People With Self-Referred Affective Symptoms
R Pinniger, EB Thorsteinsson, RF Brown, P McKinley - Music and Medicine, 2013

Tango program for individuals with age-related macular degeneration
Rosa Pinniger, Rhonda F. Brown, Einar Baldvin Thorsteinsson, Patricia McKinley
Publication date
Journal name
British Journal of Visual Impairment
Abstract Recent research shows that tango dance is an absorbing and effective strategy to
reduce levels of depression, while also increasing well-being. This study investigates the
feasibility, acceptability, and adherence to a tango programme for individuals with age-
related macular degeneration (ARMD). Depression is closely intertwined with the ARMD
diagnosis, since the loss of central vision has a profoundly negative impact on the person's
quality of life. Seventeen participants were randomised to tango dance (1.5 h, 2 times/ ...
Scholar articles
Tango programme for individuals with age-related macular degeneration
R Pinniger, RF Brown, EB Thorsteinsson, P McKinley - British Journal of Visual Impairment, 2013

Argentine tango dance compared to mindfulness meditation and a waiting-list control: A randomised trial for treating depression
Rosa Pinniger, Rhonda F Brown, Einar B Thorsteinsson, Patricia McKinley
Publication date
Journal name
Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Churchill Livingstone
To determine whether tango dancing is as effective as mindfulness meditation in reducing
symptoms of psychological stress, anxiety and depression, and in promot.
Scholar articles
Argentine tango dance compared to mindfulness meditation and a waiting-list control: A randomised trial for treating depression
R Pinniger, RF Brown, EB Thorsteinsson, P McKinley - Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2012

Monday, February 18, 2013

File under SuperHeroPowers

The ability to spontaneously generate F5 tornadoes and control their path.

There's some shit that needs to be erased from the face of my Mother Earth.

Sent from my iPhone, Luckenbach, Texas

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Changing Education Paradigms :: Sir Ken Robinson

RSAnimate on Sir Ken Robinson's talk (part of it anyway) on Changing Education Paradigms, on the occasion of his acceptance of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin Award.

Good stuff.

01/22/13...adding his TED Talk...

Here is the full talk - @ 55 minutes:

Here's more info on RSA, from their website:

What we do

For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action.

- We encourage public discourse and critical debate by providing platforms for leading experts to share new ideas on contemporary issues, through our public events programme, RSA Journal and RSA Comment.

- Our projects generate new models for tackling the social challenges of today.

- Our work is supported by a 27,000 strong Fellowship - achievers and influencers from every field with a real commitment to progressive social change.

- Our House, the historic home of the RSA, is an environmentally-friendly and flexible space that can cater for a variety of events.

The RSA is registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 212424 and in Scotland no. SC037784

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist :: By Paul Kingsnorth

Originally published in the January/February 2012 issue of Orion Magazine.

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Scenes from a younger life # 1:

I am twelve years old. I am alone, I am scared, I am cold, and I am crying my eyes out. I can’t see more than six feet in either direction. I am on some godforsaken moor high up on the dark, ancient, poisonous spine of England. The black bog juice I have been trudging through for hours has long since crept over the tops of my boots and down into my socks. My rucksack is too heavy, I am unloved and lost and I will never find my way home. It is raining and the cloud is punishing me; clinging to me, laughing at me. Twenty-five years later, I still have a felt memory of that experience and its emotions: a real despair and a terrible loneliness.

I do find my way home; I manage to keep to the path and eventually catch up with my father, who has the map and the compass and the mini Mars bars. He was always there, somewhere up ahead, but he had decided it would be good for me to “learn to keep up” with him. All of this, he tells me, will make me into a man. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

Only later do I realize the complexity of the emotions summoned by a childhood laced with experiences like this. My father was a compulsive long-distance walker. Every year, throughout my most formative decade, he would take me away to Cumbria or Northumberland or Yorkshire or Cornwall or Pembrokeshire, and we would walk, for weeks. We would follow ancient tracks or new trails, across mountains and moors and ebony-black cliffs. Much of the time, we would be alone with each other and with our thoughts and our conversations, and we would be alone with the oystercatchers, the gannets, the curlews, the skylarks, and the owls. With the gale and the breeze, with our maps and compasses and emergency rations and bivy bags and plastic bottles of water. We would camp in the heather, by cairns and old mine shafts, hundreds of feet above the orange lights of civilization, and I would dream. And in the morning, with dew on the tent and cold air in my face as I opened the zip, the wild elements of life, all of the real things, would all seem to be there, waiting for me with the sunrise.

Scenes from a younger life # 2:

I am nineteen years old. It is around midnight and I am on the summit of a low, chalk down, the last of the long chain that winds its way through the crowded, peopled, fractious south country. There are maybe fifty or sixty people there with me. There is a fire going, there are guitars, there is singing and weird and unnerving whooping noises from some of the ragged travelers who have made this place their home.

This is Twyford Down, a hilltop east of Winchester. There is something powerful about this place; something ancient and unanswering. Soon it is to be destroyed: a six-lane motorway will be driven through it in a deep chalk cutting. It is vital that this should happen in order to reduce the journey time between London and Southampton by a full thirteen minutes. The people up here have made it their home in a doomed attempt to stop this from happening.

From outside it is impossible to see, and most do not want to. The name calling has been going on for months, in the papers and the pubs and in the House of Commons. The people here are Luddites, NIMBYs (“not-in-my-backyard” grumblers), reactionaries, romantics. They are standing in the way of progress. They will not be tolerated. Inside, there is a sense of shared threat and solidarity, there are blocks of hash and packets of Rizlas and liters of bad cider. We know what we are here for. We know what we are doing. We can feel the reason in the soil and in the night air. Down there, under the lights and behind the curtains, there is no chance that they will ever understand.

Someone I don’t know suggests we dance the maze. Out beyond the firelight, there is a maze carved into the down’s soft, chalk turf. I don’t know if it’s some ancient monument or a new creation. Either way, it’s the same spiral pattern that can be found carved into rocks from millennia ago. With cans and cigarettes and spliffs in our hands, a small group of us start to walk the maze, laughing, staggering, then breaking into a run, singing, spluttering, stumbling together toward the center.

Scenes from a younger life # 3:

I am twenty-one years old and I’ve just spent the most exciting two months of my life so far in an Indonesian rainforest. I’ve just been on one of those organized expeditions that people of my age buy into to give them the chance to do something useful and exciting in what used to be called the “Third World.” I’ve prepared for months for this. I’ve sold double glazing door-to-door to scrape together the cash. I have been reading Bruce Chatwin and Redmond O’Hanlon and Benedict Allen and my head is full of magic and idiocy and wonder.

During my trip, there were plenty of all of these things. I still vividly remember klotok journeys up Borneo rivers by moonlight, watching the swarms of giant fruit bats overhead. I remember the hooting of gibbons and the search for hornbills high up in the rainforest canopy. I remember a four-day trek through a so-called “rain” forest that was so dry we ended up drinking filtered mud. I remember turtle eggs on the beaches of Java and young orangutans at the rehabilitation center where we worked in Kalimantan, sitting in the high branches of trees with people’s stolen underpants on their heads, laughing at us. I remember the gold miners and the loggers, and the freshwater crocodiles in the same river we swam in every morning. I remember my first sight of flying fish in the Java Sea.

And I remember the small islands north of Lombok, where some of us spent a few days before we came home. At night we would go down to the moonlit beach, where the sea and the air was still warm, and in the sea were millions of tiny lights: phosphorescence. I had never seen this before; never even heard of it. We would walk into the water and immerse ourselves and rise up again and the lights would cling to our bodies, fading away as we laughed.

Now, back home, the world seems changed. A two-month break from my country, my upbringing, my cultural assumptions, a two-month immersion in something far more raw and unmediated, has left me open to seeing this place as it really is. I see the atomization and the inward focus and the faces of the people in a hurry inside their cars. I see the streetlights and the asphalt as I had not quite seen them before. What I see most of all are the adverts.

For the first time, I realize the extent and the scope and the impacts of the billboards, the posters, the TV and radio ads. Everywhere an image, a phrase, a demand, or a recommendation is screaming for my attention, trying to sell me something, tell me who to be, what to desire and to need. And this is before the internet; before Apples and BlackBerries became indispensable to people who wouldn’t know where to pick the real thing; before the deep, accelerating immersion of people in their technologies, even outdoors, even in the sunshine. Compared to where I have been, this world is so tamed, so mediated and commoditized, that something within it seems to have broken off and been lost beneath the slabs. No one has noticed this, or says so if they have. Something is missing: I can almost see the gap where it used to be. But it is not remarked upon. Nobody says a thing.

What took hold

It is nine-thirty at night in mid-December at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. I step outside my front door into the farmyard and walk over to the track, letting my eyes adjust to the dark. I am lucky enough to be living among the Cumbrian fells now, and as my pupils widen I can see, under a clear, starlit sky, the outline of the Old Man of Coniston, Dow Crag, Wetherlam, Helvellyn, the Fairfield Horseshoe. I stand there for ten minutes, growing colder. I see two shooting stars and a satellite. I suddenly wish my dad were still alive, and I wonder where the magic has gone.

These experiences, and others like them, were what formed me. They were what made me what I would later learn to call an “environmentalist”: something that seemed rebellious and excitingly outsiderish when I first took it up (and that successfully horrified my social-climbing father—especially as it was partly his fault) but that these days is almost de rigueur among the British bourgeoisie. Early in my adult life, just after I came back from Twyford Down, I vowed, self-importantly, that this would be my life’s work: saving nature from people. Preventing the destruction of beauty and brilliance, speaking up for the small and the overlooked and the things that could not speak for themselves. When I look back on this now, I’m quite touched by my younger self. I would like to be him again, perhaps just for a day; someone to whom all sensations are fiery and all answers are simple.

All of this—the downs, the woods, the rainforest, the great oceans, and, perhaps most of all, the silent isolation of the moors and mountains, which at the time seemed so hateful and unremitting—took hold of me somewhere unexamined. The relief I used to feel on those long trudges with my dad when I saw the lights of a village or a remote pub, even a minor road or a pylon, any sign of humanity—as I grow older this is replaced by the relief of escaping from the towns and the villages, away from the pylons and the pubs and the people, up onto the moors again, where only the ghosts and the saucer-eyed dogs and the old legends and the wind can possess me.

But they are harder to find now, those spirits. I look out across the moonlit Lake District ranges, and it’s as clear as the night air that what used to come in regular waves, pounding like the sea, comes now only in flashes, out of the corner of my eyes, like a lighthouse in a storm. Perhaps it’s the way the world has changed. There are more cars on the roads now, more satellites in the sky. The footpaths up the fells are like stone motorways, there are turbines on the moors, and the farmers are being edged out by south-country refugees like me, trying to escape but bringing with us the things we flee from. The new world is online and loving it, the virtual happily edging out the actual. The darkness is shut out and the night grows lighter and nobody is there to see it.

It could be all that, but it probably isn’t. It’s probably me. I am thirty-seven now. The world is smaller, more tired, more fragile, more horribly complex and full of troubles. Or, rather: the world is the same as it ever was, but I am more aware of it and of the reality of my place within it. I have grown up, and there is nothing to be done about it. The worst part of it is that I can’t seem to look without thinking anymore. And now I know far more about what we are doing. We: the people. I know what we are doing, all over the world, to everything, all of the time. I know why the magic is dying. It’s me. It’s us.

How it ended

I became an “environmentalist” because of a strong emotional reaction to wild places and the other-than-human world: to beech trees and hedgerows and pounding waterfalls, to songbirds and sunsets, to the flying fish in the Java Sea and the canopy of the rainforest at dusk when the gibbons come to the waterside to feed. From that reaction came a feeling, which became a series of thoughts: that such things are precious for their own sake, that they are food for the human soul, and that they need people to speak for them to, and defend them from, other people, because they cannot speak our language and we have forgotten how to speak theirs. And because we are killing them to feed ourselves and we know it and we care about it, sometimes, but we do it anyway because we are hungry, or we have persuaded ourselves that we are.

But these are not, I think, very common views today. Today’s environmentalism is as much a victim of the contemporary cult of utility as every other aspect of our lives, from science to education. We are not environmentalists now because we have an emotional reaction to the wild world. Most of us wouldn’t even know where to find it. We are environmentalists now in order to promote something called “sustainability.” What does this curious, plastic word mean? It does not mean defending the nonhuman world from the ever-expanding empire of Homo sapiens sapiens, though some of its adherents like to pretend it does, even to themselves. It means sustaining human civilization at the comfort level that the world’s rich people—us—feel is their right, without destroying the “natural capital” or the “resource base” that is needed to do so.

It is, in other words, an entirely human-centered piece of politicking, disguised as concern for “the planet.” In a very short time—just over a decade—this worldview has become all-pervasive. It is voiced by the president of the USA and the president of Anglo-Dutch Shell and many people in between. The success of environmentalism has been total—at the price of its soul.

Let me offer up just one example of how this pact has worked. If “sustainability” is about anything, it is about carbon. Carbon and climate change. To listen to most environmentalists today, you would think that these were the only things in the world worth talking about. The business of “sustainability” is the business of preventing carbon emissions. Carbon emissions threaten a potentially massive downgrading of our prospects for material advancement as a species. They threaten to unacceptably erode our resource base and put at risk our vital hoards of natural capital. If we cannot sort this out quickly, we are going to end up darning our socks again and growing our own carrots and other such unthinkable things. All of the horrors our grandparents left behind will return like deathless legends. Carbon emissions must be “tackled” like a drunk with a broken bottle—quickly, and with maximum force.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t doubt the potency of climate change to undermine the human machine. It looks to me as if it is already beginning to do so, and that it is too late to do anything but attempt to mitigate the worst effects. But what I am also convinced of is that the fear of losing both the comfort and the meaning that our civilization gifts us has gone to the heads of environmentalists to such a degree that they have forgotten everything else. The carbon must be stopped, like the Umayyad at Tours, or all will be lost.

This reductive approach to the human-environmental challenge leads to an obvious conclusion: if carbon is the problem, then “zero-carbon” is the solution. Society needs to go about its business without spewing the stuff out. It needs to do this quickly, and by any means necessary. Build enough of the right kind of energy technologies, quickly enough, to generate the power we “need” without producing greenhouse gases, and there will be no need to ever turn the lights off; no need to ever slow down.

To do this will require the large-scale harvesting of the planet’s ambient energy: sunlight, wind, water power. This means that vast new conglomerations of human industry are going to appear in places where this energy is most abundant. Unfortunately, these places coincide with some of the world’s wildest, most beautiful, and most untouched landscapes. The sort of places that environmentalism came into being to protect.

And so the deserts, perhaps the landscape always most resistant to permanent human conquest, are to be colonized by vast “solar arrays,” glass and steel and aluminum, the size of small countries. The mountains and moors, the wild uplands, are to be staked out like vampires in the sun, their chests pierced with rows of five-hundred-foot wind turbines and associated access roads, masts, pylons, and wires. The open oceans, already swimming in our plastic refuse and emptying of marine life, will be home to enormous offshore turbine ranges and hundreds of wave machines strung around the coastlines like Victorian necklaces. The rivers are to see their estuaries severed and silted by industrial barrages. The croplands and even the rainforests, the richest habitats on this terrestrial Earth, are already highly profitable sites for biofuel plantations designed to provide guilt-free car fuel to the motion-hungry masses of Europe and America.

What this adds up to should be clear enough, yet many people who should know better choose not to see it. This is business-as-usual: the expansive, colonizing, progressive human narrative, shorn only of the carbon. It is the latest phase of our careless, self-absorbed, ambition-addled destruction of the wild, the unpolluted, and the nonhuman. It is the mass destruction of the world’s remaining wild places in order to feed the human economy. And without any sense of irony, people are calling this “environmentalism.”

A while back I wrote an article in a newspaper highlighting the impact of industrial wind power stations (which are usually referred to, in a nice Orwellian touch, as wind “farms”) on the uplands of Britain. I was e-mailed the next day by an environmentalist friend who told me he hoped I was feeling ashamed of myself. I was wrong; worse, I was dangerous. What was I doing giving succor to the fossil fuel industry? Didn’t I know that climate change would do far more damage to upland landscapes than turbines? Didn’t I know that this was the only way to meet our urgent carbon targets? Didn’t I see how beautiful turbines were? So much more beautiful than nuclear power stations. I might think that a “view” was more important than the future of the entire world, but this was because I was a middle-class escapist who needed to get real.

It became apparent at that point that what I saw as the next phase of the human attack on the nonhuman world a lot of my environmentalist friends saw as “progressive,” “sustainable,” and “green.” What I called destruction they called “large-scale solutions.” This stuff was realistic, necessarily urgent. It went with the grain of human nature and the market, which as we now know are the same thing. We didn’t have time to “romanticize” the woods and the hills. There were emissions to reduce, and the end justified the means.

It took me a while to realize where this kind of talk took me back to: the maze and the moonlit hilltop. This desperate scrabble for “sustainable development” was in reality the same old same old. People I had thought were on my side were arguing aggressively for the industrializing of wild places in the name of human desire. This was the same rootless, distant destruction that had led me to the top of Twyford Down. Only now there seemed to be some kind of crude equation at work that allowed them to believe this was something entirely different. Motorway through downland: bad. Wind power station on downland: good. Container port wiping out estuary mudflats: bad. Renewable hydropower barrage wiping out estuary mudflats: good. Destruction minus carbon equals sustainability.

So here I was again: a Luddite, a NIMBY, a reactionary, a romantic; standing in the way of progress. I realized that I was dealing with environmentalists with no attachment to any actual environment. Their talk was of parts-per-million of carbon, peer-reviewed papers, sustainable technologies, renewable supergrids, green growth, and the fifteenth conference of the parties. There were campaigns about “the planet” and “the Earth,” but there was no specificity: no sign of any real, felt attachment to any small part of that Earth.

The place of nature

Back at university, in love with my newfound radicalism, as students tend to be, I started to read things. Not the stuff I was supposed to be reading about social movements and pre-Reformation Europe, but green political thought: wild ideas I had never come across before. I could literally feel my mind levering itself open. Most exciting to me were the implications of a new word I stumbled across: ecocentrism. This word crystallized everything I had been feeling for years. I had no idea there were words for it or that other people felt it too, or had written intimidating books about it. The nearest I had come to such a realization thus far was reading Wordsworth as a teenager and feeling an excited tingling sensation as I began to understand what he was getting at among all those poems about shepherds and girls called Lucy. Here was a kindred spirit! Here was a man moved to love and fear by mountains, who believed rocks had souls, that “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her” (though even then that sounded a little optimistic to me). Pantheism was my new word that year.

Now I declared, to myself if no one else, that I was “ecocentric” too. This was not the same as being egocentric, though some disagreed, and while it sounded a bit too much like “eccentric,” this was also a distraction. I was ecocentric because I did not believe—had never believed, I didn’t think—that humans were the center of the world, that the Earth was their playground, that they had the right to do what they liked, or even that what they did was that important. I thought we were part of something bigger, which had as much right to the world as we did, and which we were stomping on for our own benefit. I had always been haunted by shameful thoughts like this. It had always seemed to me that the beauty to be found on the trunk of a birch tree was worth any number of Mona Lisas, and that a Saturday night sunset was better than Saturday night telly. It had always seemed that most of what mattered to me could not be counted or corralled by the kind of people who thought, and still think, that I just needed to grow up.

It had been made clear to me for a long time that these feelings were at best charmingly naïve and at worst backward and dangerous. Later, the dismissals became encrusted with familiar words, designed to keep the ship of human destiny afloat: romantic, Luddite, NIMBY, and the like. For now, though, I had found my place. I was a young, fiery, radical, ecocentric environmentalist, and I was going to save the world.

When I look back on the road protests of the mid-1990s, which I often do, it is with nostalgia and fondness and a sense of gratitude that I was able to be there, to see what I saw and do what I did. But I realize now that it is more than this that makes me think and talk and write about Twyford Down to an extent that bores even my patient friends. This, I think, was the last time I was part of an environmental movement that was genuinely environmental. The people involved were, like me, ecocentric: they didn’t see “the environment” as something “out there”; separate from people, to be utilized or destroyed or protected according to human whim. They saw themselves as part of it, within it, of it.

There was a Wordsworthian feel to the whole thing: the defense of the trees simply because they were trees. Living under the stars and in the rain, in the oaks and in the chaotic, miraculous tunnels beneath them, in the soil itself like the rabbits and the badgers. We were connected to a place; a real place that we loved and had made a choice to belong to, if only for a short time. There was little theory, much action, but even more simple being. Being in a place, knowing it, standing up for it. It was environmentalism at its rawest, and the people who came to be part of it were those who loved the land, in their hearts as well as their heads.

In years to come, this was worn away. It took a while before I started to notice what was happening, but when I did it was all around me. The ecocentrism—in simple language, the love of place, the humility, the sense of belonging, the feelings—was absent from most of the “environmentalist” talk I heard around me. Replacing it were two other kinds of talk. One was the save-the-world-with-wind-farms narrative; the same old face in new makeup. The other was a distant, somber sound: the marching boots and rattling swords of an approaching fifth column.

Environmentalism, which in its raw, early form had no time for the encrusted, seized-up politics of left and right, offering instead a worldview that saw the growth economy and the industrialist mentality beloved by both as the problem in itself, was now being sucked into the yawning, bottomless chasm of the “progressive” left. Suddenly, people like me, talking about birch trees and hilltops and sunsets, were politely, or less politely, elbowed to one side by people who were bringing a “class analysis” to green politics.

All this talk of nature, it turned out, was bourgeois, Western, and unproductive. It was a middle-class conceit, and there was nothing worse than a middle-class conceit. The workers had no time for thoughts like this (though no one bothered to notify the workers themselves that they were simply clodhopping, nature-loathing cannon fodder in a political flame war). It was terribly, objectively right wing. Hitler liked nature after all. He was a vegetarian too. It was all deeply “problematic.”

More problematic for me was what this kind of talk represented. With the near global failure of the left-wing project over the past few decades, green politics was fast becoming a refuge for disillusioned socialists, Trots, Marxists, and a ragbag of fellow travelers who could no longer believe in communism or the Labour Party or even George Galloway, and who saw in green politics a promising bolthole. In they all trooped, with their Stop-the-War banners and their Palestinian solidarity scarves, and with them they brought a new sensibility.

Now it seemed that environmentalism was not about wildness or ecocentrism or the other-than-human world and our relationship to it. Instead it was about (human) social justice and (human) equality and (human) progress and ensuring that all these things could be realized without degrading the (human) resource base that we used to call nature back when we were being naïve and problematic. Suddenly, never-ending economic growth was a good thing after all: the poor needed it to get rich, which was their right. To square the circle, for those who still realized there was a circle, we were told that “social justice and environmental justice go hand in hand”—a suggestion of such bizarre inaccuracy that it could surely only be wishful thinking.

Suddenly, sustaining a global human population of 10 billion people was not a problem at all, and anyone who suggested otherwise was not highlighting any obvious ecological crunch points but was giving succor to fascism or racism or gender discrimination or orientalism or essentialism or some other such hip and largely unexamined concept. The “real issue,” it seemed, was not the human relationship with the nonhuman world; it was fat cats and bankers and cap’lism. These things must be destroyed, by way of marches, protests, and votes for fringe political parties, to make way for something known as “eco-socialism”: a conflation of concepts that pretty much guarantees the instant hostility of 95 percent of the population.

I didn’t object to this because I thought that environmentalism should occupy the right rather than the left wing, or because I was right-wing myself, which I wasn’t (these days I tend to consider the entire bird with a kind of frustrated detachment). And I understood that there was at least a partial reason for the success of this colonization of the greens by the reds. Modern environmentalism sprang partly from the early-twentieth-century conservation movement, and that movement had often been about preserving supposedly pristine landscapes at the expense of people. Forcing tribal people from their ancestral lands, which had been newly designated as national parks, for example, in order to create a fictional “untouched nature” had once been fairly common, from Africa to the USA. And, actually, Hitler had been something of an environmentalist, and the wellsprings that nourished some green thought nourished the thought of some other unsavory characters too (a fact that some ideologues love to point to when witch-hunting the greens, as if it wouldn’t be just as easy to point out that ideas of equality and justice fueled Stalin and Pol Pot).

In this context it was fair enough to assert that environmentalism allied itself with ideas of justice and decency, and that it was about people as well as everything else on the planet. Of course it was, for “nature” as something separate from people has never existed. We are nature, and the environmentalist project was always supposed to be about how we are to be part of it, to live well as part of it, to understand and respect it, to understand our place within it, and to feel it as part of ourselves.

So there was a reason for environmentalism’s shift to the left, just as there was a reason for its blinding obsession with carbon. Meanwhile, the fact of what humans are doing to the world became so obvious, even to those who were doing very well from it, that it became hard not to listen to the greens. Success duly arrived. You can’t open a newspaper now or visit a corporate website or listen to a politician or read the label on a packet of biscuits without being bombarded with propaganda about the importance of “saving the planet.” But there is a terrible hollowness to it all, a sense that society is going through the motions without understanding why. The shift, the pact, has come at a probably fatal price.

Now that price is being paid. The weird and unintentional pincer movement of the failed left, with its class analysis of waterfalls and fresh air, and the managerial, carbon-über-alles brigade has infiltrated, ironed out, and reworked environmentalism for its own ends. Now it is not about the ridiculous beauty of coral, the mist over the fields at dawn. It is not about ecocentrism. It is not about reforging a connection between overcivilized people and the world outside their windows. It is not about living close to the land or valuing the world for the sake of the world. It is not about attacking the self-absorbed conceits of the bubble that our civilization has become.

Today’s environmentalism is about people. It is a consolation prize for a gaggle of washed-up Trots and, at the same time, with an amusing irony, it is an adjunct to hypercapitalism: the catalytic converter on the silver SUV of the global economy. It is an engineering challenge: a problem-solving device for people to whom the sight of a wild Pennine hilltop on a clear winter day brings not feelings of transcendence but thoughts about the wasted potential for renewable energy. It is about saving civilization from the results of its own actions: a desperate attempt to prevent Gaia from hiccupping and wiping out our coffee shops and broadband connections. It is our last hope.

The open land

I generalize, of course. Environmentalism’s chancel is as accommodating as that of socialism, anarchism, or conservatism, and just as capable of generating poisonous internal bickering that will last until the death of the sun. Many who call themselves green have little time for the mainstream line I am attacking here. But it is the mainstream line. It is how most people see environmentalism today, even if it is not how all environmentalists intend it to be seen. These are the arguments and the positions that popular environmentalism—now a global force—offers up in its quest for redemption. There are reasons; there are always reasons. But whatever they are, they have led the greens down a dark, litter-strewn, dead-end street where the rubbish bins overflow, the light bulbs have blown, and the stray dogs are very hungry indeed.

What is to be done about this? Probably nothing. It was, perhaps, inevitable that a utilitarian society would generate a utilitarian environmentalism, and inevitable too that the greens would not be able to last for long outside the established political bunkers. But for me—well, this is no longer mine, that’s all. I can’t make my peace with people who cannibalize the land in the name of saving it. I can’t speak the language of science without a corresponding poetry. I can’t speak with a straight face about saving the planet when what I really mean is saving myself from what is coming.

Like all of us, I am a foot soldier of empire. It is the empire of Homo sapiens sapiens and it stretches from Tasmania to Baffin Island. Like all empires, it is built on expropriation and exploitation, and like all empires it dresses these things up in the language of morality and duty. When we turn wilderness over to agriculture, we speak of our duty to feed the poor. When we industrialize the wild places, we speak of our duty to stop the climate from changing. When we spear whales, we speak of our duty to science. When we raze forests, we speak of our duty to develop. We alter the atmospheric makeup of the entire world: half of us pretend it’s not happening, the other half immediately start looking for new machines that will reverse it. This is how empires work, particularly when they have started to decay. Denial, displacement, anger, fear.

The environment is the victim of this empire. But the “environment”—that distancing word, that empty concept—does not exist. It is the air, the waters, the creatures we make homeless or lifeless in flocks and legions, and it is us too. We are it; we are in it and of it, we make it and live it, we are fruit and soil and tree, and the things done to the roots and the leaves come back to us. We make ourselves slaves to make ourselves free, and when the shackles start to rub we confidently predict the emergence of new, more comfortable designs.

I don’t have any answers, if by answers we mean political systems, better machines, means of engineering some grand shift in consciousness. All I have is a personal conviction built on those feelings, those responses, that goes back to the moors of northern England and the rivers of southern Borneo—that something big is being missed. That we are both hollow men and stuffed men, and that we will keep stuffing ourselves until the food runs out, and if outside the dining room door we have made a wasteland and called it necessity, then at least we will know we were not to blame, because we are never to blame, because we are the humans.

What am I to do with feelings like these? Useless feelings in a world in which everything must be made useful. Sensibilities in a world of utility. Feelings like this provide no “solutions.” They build no new eco-homes, remove no carbon from the atmosphere. This is head-in-the-clouds stuff, as relevant to our busy, modern lives as the new moon or the date of the harvest. Easy to ignore, easy to dismiss, like the places that inspire the feelings, like the world outside the bubble, like the people who have seen it, if only in brief flashes beyond the ridge of some dark line of hills.

But this is fine—the dismissal, the platitudes, the brusque moving-on of the grown-ups. It’s all fine. I withdraw, you see. I withdraw from the campaigning and the marching, I withdraw from the arguing and the talked-up necessity and all of the false assumptions. I withdraw from the words. I am leaving. I am going to go out walking.

I am leaving on a pilgrimage to find what I left behind in the jungles and by the cold campfires and in the parts of my head and my heart that I have been skirting around because I have been busy fragmenting the world in order to save it; busy believing it is mine to save. I am going to listen to the wind and see what it tells me, or whether it tells me anything at all. You see, it turns out that I have more time than I thought. I will follow the songlines and see what they sing to me and maybe, one day, I might even come back. And if I am very lucky I might bring with me a harvest of fresh tales, which I can scatter like apple seeds across this tired and angry land.