The End Of The Beginning?

In the nineteen sixties and seventies the western world was in the throes of a cultural and psychological revolution of awareness that at times threatened to bring down the governments and destroy the societies of some of the most powerful countries on earth, and terrified many who were unable to step outside of the structure and limitations of the worldviews they had constructed for themselves in the course of their lives.

Questioning cultural norms and prejudices and searching for alternatives that better respected and valued human beings and their relationship with the larger society and with the natural world as the basis and reason for societies actions and existence rather than society and the state and the status quo as the determining factors of how people should interact with each other, were the drivers behind this revolution.

The insecurity of many in the face of insistent and deep questioning that in a religious context would have been labeled blasphemy and heresy caused knee-jerk fear reactions that in many arenas turned into violent confrontations, particularly but not only race riots and countless smaller horrors of the racial Civil Rights Movement, and in the struggle for equality under law and social systems of  more than half the population in the Gay and the Women's Liberation Movements, and what was often termed a Sexual Revolution, all of which had been percolating and growing for many years and all of which naturally contributed to making up the more encompassing psychological or awareness heightening Cultural Revolution of the times.

Noted philosopher Alan Watts in the early nineteen fifties in "The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are" described our situation, our human condition, this way:

It is said that humanity has evolved one-sidedly, growing in technical power without any comparable growth in moral integrity, or, as some would prefer to say, without comparable progress in education and rational thinking. Yet the problem is more basic. The root of the matter is the way in which we feel and conceive ourselves as human beings, our sensation of being alive, of individual existence and identity. We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms- Most of us have the sensation that "I myself" is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body--a center which "confronts an "external" world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. "I came into this world." "You must face reality." "The conquest of nature."

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.

The first result of this illusion is that our attitude to the world "outside" us is largely hostile. We are forever "conquering" nature, space, mountains, deserts, bacteria, and insects instead of learning to cooperate with them in a harmonious order. In America the great symbols of this conquest are the bulldozer and the rocket--the instrument that batters the hills into flat tracts for little boxes made of ticky-tacky and the great phallic projectile that blasts the sky. (Nonetheless, we have fine architects who know how to fit houses into hills without ruining the landscape, and astronomers who know that the earth is already way out in space, and that our first need for exploring other worlds is sensitive electronic instruments which, like our eyes, will bring the most distant objects into our own brains.)

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events--that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies--and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.

It was during these years of the social turmoil pressure cooker that forced reevaluation of so many previous considered immutable social strictures and standards that the modern Environmental Movement was conceived and born of a spreading awareness of something we already knew in our bones, in fact in every cell of our bodies, and even in our very DNA that the world and the universe we inhabit is a single interconnected organism that we do not come into at birth, but rather spring from and are intimately connected to and part of, as intimately as darkness and light are connected aspects comprising days, or as north and south poles make up a magnet that cannot exist without either.

Watts continued with:

It might seem, then, that our need is for some genius to invent a new religion, a philosophy of life and a view of the world, that is plausible and generally acceptable for the late twentieth century, and through which every individual can feel that the world as a whole and his own life in particular have meaning. This, as history has shown repeatedly, is not enough. Religions are divisive and quarrelsome. They are a form of one-upmanship because they depend upon separating the "saved" from the "damned," the true believers from the heretics, the in-group from the out-group. Even religious liberals play the game of "we-re-more-tolerant-than-you."

Furthermore, as systems of doctrine, symbolism, and behavior, religions harden into institutions that must command loyalty, be defended and kept "pure,--and-because all belief is fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty-religions must make converts.

The more people who agree with us, the less nagging insecurity about our position. In the end one is committed to being a Christian or a Buddhist come what may in the form of new knowledge. New and indigestible ideas have to be wangled into the religious tradition, however inconsistent with its original doctrines, so that the believer can still take his stand and assert, "I am first and foremost a follower of Christ/Mohammed/Buddha, or whomever."

Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, open-ness --an act of trust in the unknown.

We as human beings are the natural world, as much as is the biosphere that we are a fundamental part of rather than simply living in, and whatever we do to it we do to ourselves.

Christianity, the major religion in the western world, says "As ye sow, so shall ye reap". The law of Karma can be reduced to "You get what you give".

The Beatles said "In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make". It is the last lyric on the last album they recorded.

Watts also suggested that:

"We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience--a new feeling of what it is to be `I.'"

All of our countries and political systems, and all of our differences and conflicts, including our wars are, in this context, social constructs within the larger world, and do not and cannot exist in isolation from it. It is the base medium in which all else grows and lives. Or dies. It is our back yard, and if we poison it we poison ourselves.

Billmon in September of this year posted a story about:

British scientist James Lovelock and his warning that catastrophic global climate change is both imminent and unstoppable:

Within the next decade or two, Lovelock forecasts, Gaia will hike her thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Earth, he predicts, will be hotter than at any time since the Eocene Age 55 million years ago, when crocodiles swam in the Arctic Ocean.

"There's no realization of how quickly and irreversibly the planet is changing," Lovelock says. "Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover."

It would be easy to view this as just another kooky end-of-the-world theory, if it weren't for the history of some of Lovelock's other kooky theories -- like the time in the late '70s when he hypothesized that chlorofluorocarbons wafted high into the stratosphere would eat great big holes in the ozone layer, exposing first the polar regions and then the rest of the earth's surface to increasingly harmful ultraviolet radiation. What a nut.

As far as I can tell, Lovelock's latest crackpot (or should I say "crockpot"?) idea is still the minority opinion among climatologists, most of whom seem to believe we have perhaps 70-100 years before the seriously disastrous greenhouse effects kick in -- although Jim Hansen, the NASA scientist, has suggested that unless major cuts in Co2 emissions are made within the next decade, the process will become every bit as irreversible as Lovelock claims it already is.

If we break it, if we disrupt its integrity, we die. We die. It is as simple as that.

It now appears that we are on the verge of breaking it, if we have not already done so. It is my hope that we haven't yet, but also my opinion that we are dangerously close to doing so. So close in fact that there is no more time to waste. The next year or two may very well be the turning point, if we have not already passed it.

Many say that security of the nation is most important because without it nothing else can happen.

Our environment, our entire world, is immeasurably larger, and the problems we face are immeasurably larger than national security in the context of the arguments about it over the past few years.

Nations cannot and will not exist if the planet is killed.

Our backs are to the wall this time. We are painted into the proverbial corner. There is no escaping it. There is only life, or death, for all of us. We have only ourselves to fault, and only ourselves to rely on. No invisible being is going to come down from the sky and save us from ourselves.

Are we at the beginning of the end? Or are we at the end of the beginning?

If we want it to be the latter, what do we want that `latter' to be?

Where do we go from here?

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    The 100th Monkey (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 09:23:52 AM EST
    A story about social change, by Ken Keyes, jr.
    Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

    But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone.

    Good post, Edger (none / 0) (#2)
    by aw on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:24:14 AM EST
    I'm not in much of a philosophical state of mind this morning, so I don't have anything to add right now.  I hope I will later.

    Thanks, aw. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 10:35:10 AM EST
    It's a bit spacey, I know. I was trying to put Lovelock's warning about environmental problems into a larger context after reading this article earlier this morning:

    Outback cracks under assault of the Big Dry
    Phil Mercer in Sydney, Sunday December 10, 2006, The Observer

    Drought has plunged one of Australia's most famous outback towns to the brink of social and economic collapse. Bourke - heralded as the 'Real Gateway to the Outback' - faces oblivion.

    Five years of drought has left Bourke facing its worst crisis. Little wonder Australians are calling this prolonged barren spell the 'Big Dry'. The earth in this isolated corner of New South Wales, 500 miles north-west of Sydney, crunches underfoot. Every step stirs a tiny swirl of fine dust.

    The land is slowly dying of thirst. Some farms are the size of a small country, yet still they can't produce enough grazing for their livestock.

    These are not isolated happenings, although they seem that way from the disjointed coverage in the MSM.


    Touch my monkey (none / 0) (#4)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:42:29 AM EST
    The 100th Monkey is a double edged sword.

    I was hoping someone would notice, jondee. ;-) (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 11:49:40 AM EST
    The Threat to the Planet, Jim Hansen*
    Do we have politicians with the courage to explain to the public what is needed? Or may it be that such people are not electable, in view of the obstacles presented by television, campaign financing, and the opposition of energy companies and other special interests? That brings me to Al Gore's book and movie of the same name: An Inconvenient Truth.
    Indeed, Gore was prescient. For decades he has maintained that the Earth was teetering in the balance, even when doing so subjected him to ridicule from other politicians and cost him votes. By telling the story of climate change with striking clarity in both his book and movie, Al Gore may have done for global warming what Silent Spring did for pesticides. He will be attacked, but the public will have the information needed to distinguish our long-term well-being from short-term special interests.
    Perhaps the country came close to having the leadership it needed to deal with a grave threat to the planet, but did not realize it.

    The public has the information needed now, to distinguish our long-term well-being from short-term special interests. Are we at the beginning of the end? Or are we at the end of the beginning?

    *Jim Hansen is Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute.


    I thought you might enjoy this (none / 0) (#6)
    by aw on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 09:14:14 AM EST
    OT:  Don't know if you've ever seen this blog, but I find it rather compelling at times.  I found it a couple of years ago via Billmon's blogroll.  The current post is an especially good one.

    Have a good day!

    Rigorous Intuition

    Thanks, aw. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 09:56:06 AM EST
    Looks like an interesting blog. I'll take a closer read when I get home from work.

    You have a good day, too!


    Fairytale of New York is a good post. Thanks! (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 06:34:51 AM EST
    No more investigation is required. Not for the MacColl family, and not for us. All we need now is justice, and to push our children out of harm's way. Neither happens by polite and patient request.

    Beyond the end of the beginning (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:48:16 AM EST
    We often think that global warming and global climate change is a process so slow moving that we'll never notice it in our lifetimes, thinking it only occurs over geological time spans. Not so. It's happening right now, all around us.

    A group of US researchers funded by NASA have found that one of the major consequences of British scientist James Lovelocks' warnings of catastophic global warming appears to be well on the way to becoming reality within 30 years. It now looks like Artic sea ice is rapidy melting and that the Arctic will be open ocean to the North Pole instead of ice covered within 30 years.

    The Times Online reported Monday:

    Ice is melting so fast in the Arctic that the North Pole will be in the open sea in 30 years, according to a team of leading climatologists.
    In between 30 and 50 years, they concluded, summer sea ice will have vanished from almost the entire Arctic region.
    "We have already witnessed major losses in sea ice, but our research suggests that the decrease over the next few decades could be far more dramatic than anything that has happened so far," said Professor Marika Holland who led the study. "These changes are surprisingly rapid."

    "As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice. This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region."

    The speed of global climate change is not by any means affecting only remote areas of the planet either. It is beginning to show major effects in another of the most advanced industrial nations.

    The Guardian Unlimited reported Sunday that Global warming threatens Scotland's last wilderness:

    The Cairngorm plateau - a rocky massif once encrusted in ice and snow for most of the year - is losing its snow cover with dramatic speed. As in the rest of the Highlands, a third has disappeared over the past 30 years and the rest will go in a few more decades, it is predicted.

    Global warming - triggered by mankind's industrial activities - is bringing rapid changes to the Highlands and, in particular, to this fragile outcrop of Arctic ecology at the heart of Scotland. The coldest plateau in Britain, a bleak, dangerous stretch of tundra that possesses four of the nation's five highest mountains and dozens of rare plants and birds, including ptarmigans, golden eagles and ospreys, the Cairngorm is being warmed at a startling rate.

    I (none / 0) (#10)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:28:02 AM EST
    was in the Highlands in September. What a lovely place.  We saw Ben Nevis (the highest mountain) but there was no snow.  We didn't go through the Cairngorm plateau though, we were mostly west and north.  So many places are changing. I hope we can stop it before it's too late.

    That must have been a nice trip (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09:13:16 AM EST
    It's been said that the modern world would not be here if not for the Scots. They pretty much invented capitalism and democracy.

    Also Golf, I'm told. ;-)


    And also (none / 0) (#12)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:05:57 PM EST
    butter tablet, which I plan on making this week.  But only when I'm ready to box it up and run around and distribute it so as not to leave myself with the whole thing.  It's addictive.  

    And I not only ate haggis when I was there, I cooked it.  It wasn't bad at all.


    I'm 54. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:54:57 PM EST
    And mom still mails me shortbread cookies every year. In tennis ball tubes!

    Using tennis ball tubes (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:04:48 PM EST
    is a really good idea.  Smart Mom.

    When I was a kid (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:12:20 PM EST
    She made me read books till I liked it. ;-)

    To me a trip to the local library was (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:22:09 PM EST
    a trip to heaven.  I had special dispensation at my school to take out books above the limit.  I don't remember Mom reading to me much, but she was an avid reader herself.  I read a lot to my son, but he's more of an occasional reader.  Of course there is a lot of competition for the eyeballs today.

    It's funny how the reading bug skips around in a family.  Some of us have it, some don't.


    Books are good. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:48:27 PM EST
    They have ideas in them. Everything is made of ideas.

    I'll be back after work.


    Golf (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:18:59 PM EST
    No wonder that they also invented golf.

    I always miss the good stuff (none / 0) (#14)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:26:42 PM EST
    I can hardly ever make out the audio on YouTube.

    Really? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:35:27 PM EST
    That's too bad. A lot of good music there too...

    I wear (none / 0) (#16)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:37:15 PM EST
    a hearing aid.  I can "hear" it, but I can't make out a lot of the speech and lyrics.

    Mmmm. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:53:30 PM EST
    What can I say? Headphones? :-)

    You don't have to say anything (none / 0) (#21)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:15:32 PM EST
    Some things are only so "fixable".  I count my blessings; there are millions who are worse off.  

    It's funny, I have the cable music on now through the stereo and I can hear the lyrics of White Christmas quite clearly, because I can remember them from when I had normal hearing.  It's the same with any music I could hear up to about the late 60's, early 70's.  I'm stuck there as far as lyrics go.


    Well (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:19:33 PM EST
    Maybe we need glasses when we've seen everything worth looking at? And hearing aids when we've heard it all before??



    I'd probably want to hit things (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:17:24 PM EST
    with a stick too, if I had to eat haggis...

    Wussy (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by aw on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:26:31 PM EST
    Island vanishes beneath the sea (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 04:55:16 PM EST
    Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
    For the first time, an inhabited island has disappeared beneath rising seas. Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean reports, Published: 24 December 2006
    Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

    Yeah, (none / 0) (#28)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 07:25:31 PM EST
    I read that.  I've been out of the tv news loop lately.  I wonder whether that bit of news will rise to the level, of say, a plane landing with a busted landing gear?

    Maybe (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:00:02 PM EST
    IOW, "so?" is about the biggest reaction from most.

    Is the problem just too big for most people to cope with even thinking or talking about?

    Forty percent of the world gets its drinking water from melting glaciers. At the rate global warming is advancing, in 40 years those people will be without water, said former Vice President Al Gore.

    "All we are missing (to stop this) is political will, and that is a renewable resource," Gore said via a conference call.


    It might be (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by aw on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:49:59 PM EST
    Is the problem just too big for most people to cope with even thinking or talking about?

    This is too big to ignore for long, I think.  


    re: too big (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 09:43:54 AM EST
    Yes, and hopefully many more, and enough, people will start to understand that before too long, and before too late.

    It seems to me that one of the biggest barriers to dealing with it is that so far most people tend to see it as just another political issue that has "sides" or valid "opposing views or opinions" that people can pick from according to their political leanings or personal preferences, the way people would choose which candidate to support in an electoral race based on whether or not the candidate supports or opposes, for example, legalizing pot or some other issue that has "sides".

    Gore has been adamant that this is "beyond politics", and I agree with him. If he is right that within 40 years 40% of the worlds population will be without drinking water, safe or not, then we can expect "water" wars  fairly soon, and "oil" wars will look like kindergarten in comparison.

    It is far beyond politics. As I said above: "Nations cannot and will not exist if the planet is killed."

    Neither will any other issue.

    Here is the trailer for 'An Inconvenient Truth'


    Remember (none / 0) (#34)
    by aw on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 11:36:31 PM EST
    there was some talk way back in 2000-01 about privatising water supplies and water companies?  Enron?  Jeb Bush?  

    They know.


    It would be interesting (none / 0) (#35)
    by aw on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 11:49:23 PM EST
    to know who owns or controls water resources around the world.  Maybe I'll look around tomorrow.

    Good question (none / 0) (#36)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 06:55:14 AM EST
    I wouldn't be surprised to find something analogous to PSA's being pushed on countries like Canada and Brazil, which have very large renewable freshwater supplies.

    Forget OPEC. Some experts say the next cartel will be an organization of water-exporting countries. Others see more danger in local privatization of water, which could restrict access to the poor within nations.

    "Water is blue gold, it's terribly precious," says Maude Barlow, who chairs for the Council of Canadians, an Ottawa-based citizens' watchdog. "Not too far in the future, we're going to see a move to surround and commodify the world's fresh water. Just as they've divvied up the world's oil, in the coming century there's going to be a grab."

    Dawn of a thirsty century (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 07:07:48 AM EST
    BBC News Online
    Only 2.5% of the world's water is not salty, and two-thirds of that is locked up in the icecaps and glaciers.
    "The environment remains largely outside the mainstream of everyday human consciousness, and is still considered an add-on to the fabric of life."

    Virtual Water Flows (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 07:20:37 AM EST
    Watersheds of the World: Global Maps

    The easy way out will become the hard way out. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 08:54:03 PM EST
    There is no more important cause than the call to action to save our planet. This is a movement about change, as individuals, as a country, and as a global community. We are all contributors to global warming and we all need to be part of the solution. Join the 559,011 supporters of the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand solutions to global warming now.

    --> The Stop Global Warming Virtual March

    Climate costs: (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 11:12:31 AM EST
    The global picture
    A British government report says global warming could have a disastrous effect on the world's economy, shrinking it by 20%.

    Tackling the problem now would require 1% of global gross domestic product, the report by the economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, says.

    The latest global warming report is a huge contrast to Washington's current approach to global warming.

    The Bush administration decided not to ratify the Kyoto protocol and that called for far more moderate cuts in carbon dioxide emissions than those suggested by the Stern report:

    The world has to act now on climate change or face devastating economic consequences, according to a report compiled by Sir Nicholas Stern for the UK government.

    Found some good stuff (none / 0) (#39)
    by aw on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 09:46:53 AM EST
    Here are some great links.  The first is a must-read debate on water privatization with some good links at the end.  The second is a presentation, the Story of Water Privatization that is a real eye-opener.  Throughout the links you'll find the usual suspects, the WTO, the IMF, Bechtel, T. Boone Pickens (uh-oh), and many more.

    A Debate on Water Privatization

    Alliance for Democracy


    Sierra Club

    Polaris Institute

    Good morning.... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 09:50:12 AM EST
    Thanks, aw.

    Also this one... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 09:54:51 AM EST
    Potential for Water Wars in the 21st Century
    Presentation to College for Seniors Lecture Series, "The World Turned Upside Down," April 3, 2003
    Erwin E. Klaas, Professor Emeritus of Animal Ecology, Iowa State University

    Academia has been way ahead of the curve on this topic.


    Very worrisome (none / 0) (#42)
    by aw on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 10:08:50 AM EST
    Yet inertia at leadership levels, and a world population not fully aware of the scale of the problem (and in many cases not sufficiently empowered to do much about it) means we fail to take the needed timely corrective actions and put the concepts to work. ... Of all the social and natural resource crises we humans face, the water crisis is the one that lies at the heart of our survival and that of our planet."

    Good morning, Edger


    Ancient ice shelf snaps (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 12:43:37 PM EST
    Ancient ice shelf snaps and breaks free from Canadian Arctic
    TORONTO: A giant ice shelf has snapped free from an island south of the North Pole, scientists said Thursday, citing climate change as a "major" reason for the event.

    The Ayles Ice Shelf -- 66 square kilometers (41 square miles) of it -- broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic.

    Scientists discovered the event by using satellite imagery. Within one hour of breaking free, the shelf had formed as a new ice island, leaving a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.
    "This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years," Vincent said. "We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead."

    The ice shelf was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic. They are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. They float on the sea but are connected to land.
    "It is consistent with climate change," Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906.

    Photo here (none / 0) (#44)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 30, 2006 at 09:05:09 AM EST
    At least these things get some coverage by media in other parts of the world. Maybe their governments are paying attention, since they are not censoring it.

    From Xinhua Online in China: Arctic ice shelf shatters, creates an island


    El Niño combines with global warming (none / 0) (#45)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 01, 2007 at 07:49:00 PM EST
    01 January 2007
    2007 to be hottest year ever?
    A combination of global warming and the El Niño weather system is set to make 2007 the warmest year on record with far-reaching consequences for the planet, one of Britain's leading climate experts has warned.
    The warning, from Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, was one of four sobering predictions from senior scientists and forecasters that 2007 will be a crucial year for determining the response to global warming and its effect on humanity.

    Professor Jones said the long-term trend of global warming - already blamed for bringing drought to the Horn of Africa and melting the Arctic ice shelf - is set to be exacerbated by the arrival of El Niño, the phenomenon caused by above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific.

    Combined, they are set to bring extreme conditions across the globe and make 2007 warmer than 1998, the hottest year on record. It is likely temperatures will also exceed 2006, which was declared in December the hottest in Britain since 1659 and the sixth warmest in global records.

    Water wars? Coincidences?? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 05:12:02 PM EST
    From National Geographic News, August 28, 2006
    Conspiracists Allege U.S. Seizing Vast S. American Reservoir
    The accusations are clouding international efforts to develop the Guaraní Aquifer. And the rumors come at a time when water may be joining oil as one of the world's most fought-over commodities. (Related: "UN Highlights World Water Crisis" [June 5, 2003].)

    Stretching beneath parts of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, the Guaraní Aquifer is an underground system of water-bearing rock layers covering 460,000 square miles (1.2 million square kilometers)--an area larger than Texas and California combined (map of South America).

    "The United States already has water problems in its southern states," said Adolfo Esquivel, an Argentine activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. "And it is clear that humans can live without oil, gold, and diamonds but not water. The real wars will be over water, not oil."

    Esquivel points to a recent military deal, under which U.S. Special Forces will train with Paraguayan soldiers. He says this is evidence of Washington's creeping control--a claim that's been further popularized by an Argentine documentary, Sed, Invasión Gota a Gota (Thirst: Invasion Drop by Drop).
    The theory centers on an ill-reputed jungle area known as the Triple Border, where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet.

    The area is home to thousands of Muslim merchants who immigrated to South America from Syria and is known as a hotbed of smuggling, drug dealing, and arms sales.

    Coincidences?? (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 05:18:30 PM EST
    Thursday, October 19, 2006
    Although official sources have not confirmed the information that is already public, the land is reportedly located in Paso de Patria, near Bolivian gas reserves and the Guarani indigenous water region, within the Triple Border.
    George W. Bush has recently purchased a 98,842 acre farm in Northern Paraguay. What on earth does the President of the United States need a 98,000+ acre farm in Northern Paraguay for?
    This all still seems very innocent on the surface, but now let's add the five hundred U.S. troops that arrived in Paraguay with planes, weapons and ammunition in July 2005, shortly after the Paraguayan Senate granted U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court jurisdiction.
    Does Bush plan on being charged with something in the future? Does Bush foresee a collapse of the United States and feels a strong need to have a place to cut and run to, or does Bush just need a nice secret little place other than Gitmo where he can send people he doesn't like?
    WONKETTE - Here's a little background on the base itself, which Rumsfeld secretly visited in late 2005: U.S. Special Forces began arriving this past summer at Paraguay's Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling complex built in 1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner.

    Security... (none / 0) (#48)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 05:19:34 PM EST
    Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the airfield can handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It also has a huge radar system, vast hangers, and can house up to 16,000 troops. The air base is larger than the international airport at the capital city, Asuncion.

    Immunity withdrawn (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 08:01:29 PM EST
    The Associated Press, Tuesday, October 3, 2006
    Foreign Minster Ruben Ramirez said Monday that Paraguay and Washington would not renew a defense-cooperation agreement for 2007 over the South American country's refusal to grant U.S. troops inside Paraguay immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

    Wow (none / 0) (#50)
    by aw on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 10:25:11 AM EST
    So much intrigue.  So many questions.

    You'd think they were planning a government in exile.


    Or a safe, well defended (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 10:36:28 AM EST
    and well supplied hole to hide in while they watch everything else fall apart...

    I wonder (none / 0) (#52)
    by aw on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 10:46:50 AM EST
    who will defend them?  American troops?  Mercenaries?

    Hopefully no one... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 10:48:17 AM EST
    Not nice to say I guess. But hopefully... you know?

    I know (none / 0) (#54)
    by aw on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 10:55:22 AM EST
    Blair and Bush - more smoke and mirrors? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Edger on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 09:18:24 AM EST
    seem to think they have found a way to try to save their reputations and legacies and make people think they really are good guys with the best interests of citizens and and the planet in their hearts.

    Bush set for climate change U-turn

    George Bush is preparing to make a historic shift in his position on global warming when he makes his State of the Union speech later this month, say senior Downing Street officials.

    Tony Blair hopes that the new stance by the United States will lead to a breakthrough in international talks on climate change and that the outlines of a successor treaty to the Kyoto agreement, the deal to curb emissions of greenhouse gases which expires in 2012, could now be thrashed out at the G8 summit in June.

    The timetable may explain why Blair is so keen to remain in office until after the summit, with a deal on protecting the planet offering an appealing legacy with which to bow out of Number 10.

    Bush and Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas, and there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.

    I won't believe a word of it till I see some results, AND some evidence that their won't be loopholes in it big enough to shove the boards of the oil companies through, along with some juicy corporate welfare packages for them...

    Yup (none / 0) (#56)
    by aw on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 10:43:37 AM EST
    I think this may have something to do with it (none / 0) (#57)
    by aw on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 11:55:27 AM EST
    These weather maps are pretty hard to ignore


    Now that Bush's administration is officially admitting that humans activity is contributing to global warming, perhaps we will see the naysayers start to realize that they've been simply played for fools by Exxon-Mobil

    I imagine (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 12:10:09 PM EST
    Paraguay is going to get uncomfortably warm in the next 10 or 20 years too...

    We know enough to act now. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 03:22:30 PM EST
    WASHINGTON - The chief executives of 10 major corporations, on the eve of the State of the Union address, urged President Bush on Monday to support mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution and establish reductions targets.
    Members of the group, called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, include chief executives of Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co., and Duke Energy Corp.

    At a news conference, the executives said that mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and would lead to economic opportunities if done economy-wide and with provisions to mitigate costs.

    Many of the companies already have voluntarily moved to curb greenhouse pollution, they said. But the executives also said they do not believe voluntary efforts will suffice.

    "It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions," said Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. "The science of global warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."

    Sell (none / 0) (#60)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 04:35:17 PM EST
    Guess that ppj and his right wing possee has to do the right thing now that Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co., and Duke Energy Corp. are taking global warming seriously:

    Sell all your stock in these corps before your friends find out that you are supporting 'junk science'.


    No sweat (none / 0) (#61)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 05:21:56 PM EST
    He's probably got them in his grandsons name. Let the kid take the fall. Long as ppj isn't around to face the heat.

    Last-ditch way to halt global warming? (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 30, 2007 at 07:23:08 AM EST
    Or the last "surge" into the ditch? More smoke and mirrors from the burning bush.

    George Bush and his mis-administration have latched onto addressing Global Climate Change as the mega-issue that he feels is just the thing to save (seal?) his legacy.

    His solution, not surprisingly, like most of his "solutions", is straight out of lala land and is to exacerbate the problem by throwing money at a high tech fantasy as deluded as Reagans' Star Wars that will pump taxpayers money into the balance sheets of (who else?) defence contractors and aerospace companies while allowing his friends in the oil industry and other big polluters to merrily continue poisoning the planetary environment.

    US answer to global warming: smoke and giant space mirrors

    David Adam, environment correspondent
    Saturday January 27, 2007
    The Guardian

    The US government wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming, the Guardian has learned. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a major UN report on climate change, the first part of which will be published on Friday.

    The US has also attempted to steer the UN report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), away from conclusions that would support a new worldwide climate treaty based on binding targets to reduce emissions - as sought by Tony Blair. It has demanded a draft of the report be changed to emphasise the benefits of voluntary agreements and to include criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing treaty which the US administration opposes.

    The final IPCC report, written by experts from across the world, will underpin international negotiations to devise a new emissions treaty to succeed Kyoto, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft of the report last year and invited to comment.

    The US response, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, says the idea of interfering with sunlight should be included in the summary for policymakers, the prominent chapter at the front of each IPCC report. It says: "Modifying solar radiance may be an important strategy if mitigation of emissions fails. Doing the R&D to estimate the consequences of applying such a strategy is important insurance that should be taken out. This is a very important possibility that should be considered."