THIS JUST IN: GW: Canuck theocons to derail Bali?

Sounds really possible.

Fight Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Obesity: Eat less!

(Those of us who are able, that is.)

Drink less non-human animal milk, too.  (Unless you need what’s in it, like calcium, and can’t find it anywhere else.)

See, factory farming on land – cows, pigs, chickens, etc. – may be America’s Number One source of Greenhouse Gases.  Factory farming in water – many seafoods – is a very bad scene for other reasons: diseases, unhygienic, pollution, etc.  But demand for flesh-foods of all kinds is going through the roof, with big parts of the Third World (China, India, etc.) now ‘coming online’ in that regard.  And many natural fisheries are already in danger of being ‘fished out.’  Hence, we need to eat less of all flesh foods.

But substituting plant foods is problematic because the recent “Green Revolution” was mainly wrought by petro-fertilizers, and they’re going the way of the dinosaurs, so more plants is not an option.  And I think letting GMOs out into the planetary gene pool – eg, to increase crop yields or selected nutrients that way – is way too big a threat without knowing the long-term and even very-long-term consequences; we’ve only got one planet folks!  (For now.)*  And increasing arable land by burning forest adds carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases to the atmosphere, and takes away trees that help remove these gases from the atmosphere.

Hence, eat less of everything if we can.

Obviously people with eating disorders who don’t eat enough, or with malnutrition or simply true hunger (vs. psychologically-induced pseudo-hunger) or certain health problems, or perhaps who are elderly and/or frail, etc., shouldn’t worry about this.  But the rest of us, especially the 2/3 of Americans who are overweight (Canadians and Brits are up there too), could use this for extra motivation, if overeating is a problem.

Also, let’s not stop partying, people!  But is every meal a party? every supper?  Not where I come from!!!

And let’s not cold-turkey it and drive ourselves crazy and set ourselves up for failure.  Perhaps a good program to start with/build up to (in the beginning) is the Orthodox Church’s “fasting” schedule.  (That’s “abstaining,” for you Catholics and High Church Protestants.)  Most Wednesdays and Fridays of the year, the 40 days before Christmas, the 40 days before Holy Week, Holy Week itself, the period between Pentecost and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29), the first half of August, and a few other “fast” days throughout the year.  (Old Calendar or New Calendar.)  Before I became Orthodox, but was considering it, I was told I shouldn’t try to fast; spiritually it wasn’t a good idea.  But I see no reason why people not currently considering Orthodoxy couldn’t adopt some or all of its fasting practices as a simple eating program.  Like I’ve said, Orthodox “ascesis” may turn out to be a great idea for the whole human race and the earth!  Fortunately or unfortunately, the decentralized structure of the Orthodox Church means there is not in every sense a uniform practice of fasting.  I could point you to websites that might seem to conflict, or in going overboard in describing the strictest forms of the fast may discourage and demoralize.  What you might want to do is consult an Orthodox parish near you; I’m sure they’d be glad to help!

(*–An experimental community should move to a bubble-enclosed island and mess around with GMOs for a few centuries to make sure they’re safe.  I mean it.  Otherwise, we could f— ourselves for good!)

Meat-eating causes Global Warming? (Got milk? That too!)

So said the head of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on TV the other day: factory-farming of livestock is a major cause of greenhouse gases, with them farting and burping and pooping so much.*

(My apologies to that lawyer-kid, although in fairness, what we’re talking about here is not “natural processes,” but the astronomical increase in livestock by humanity in recent centuries, now even in the Third World as it too “modernizes” and eats lots more meat.)

In addition, she pointed out that the fires from burning away forest for pasture and farming to feed the beasts, and in so doing taking away trees that remove carbon dioxide from the air, compound the effect.  And of course, it takes alot more crops to produce meat than to feed humans directly with the crops.

Turns out last November the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO [not Schwarz!!]) reported on this.  The animals’ poor diets are part of the problem, and that can be improved with positive benefit GW-wise, but it sure looks like “prosperity” will outstrip those efforts easily:

“With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year, the report notes. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 per cent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.”  [Emphasis added.]

Oh, yeah, dairy products too: milk, butter, cheese, casein, yogurt, (sodium) caseinate, lactose, etc etc etc.

But what’s clear is that once again, we “prosperous” of the world consuming all that meat and dairy, are screwing the whole planet, especially the poorest.  But of course, if we consume less meat and dairy, some real people (Screw corporations!) will get less money and thus be harmed.  Therefore what’s needed is a coordinated campaign to consume less meat and dairy, AND “economic conversion” help for the real people harmed thereby.

Makes me think of an idea from recent(?) Catholic and Orthodox fasting/abstaining practice, like for Lent/the Great Fast: The money you “save” from giving up meat (and for Orthodox, dairy also), you don’t bank, but do something better with – traditionally, give to the poor or charity; how about a more direct connection to the real people who make the stuff?!

It can be done.  I don’t eat alot of meat, and I’ve been lactose-intolerant since my religious-inspired vegan stint in the ’90s.  Many flavored soymilks actually taste better than cow’s milk now, and apparently lots of people are foregoing cheese on their pizzas or Mexican food already because of the fat content, so you won’t stick out as much as you/I did even a few years ago!  They’re even fortifying some soymilks with calcium (and other nutrients it lacks), and there are other sources for calcium too.

As for milk for human babies… and even their daddies**…!  For that matter, apparently it’s even possible for many women to “induce lactation” without a recent pregnancy or birth, so they could donate their milk to interested families, reducing human use of cow’s milk even further.  And doing so is real natural birth control, during lactation and for two months to two years after stopping… sure to appeal to many!

(*–This choice of words will bring the kiddies running!!)

(**–As far as I’ve looked into the “adult nursing relationship” concept – by reading only! – the common idea that the partner has to suckle 6-8 times per day around the clock doesn’t seem necessary, as long as the other times the lactating woman expresses instead [to keep the milk flowing]. ISTM the extra milk can be donated, used in cooking – what about cheesemaking? [After all, “Blessed are the cheesemakers“!] – or simply discarded.  NB: Breast milk does contain lactose, so if you’re lactose-intolerant, you might need to see if you can do something about that. The guys quoted on the first page of this PDF seem to think it’s easy, though their research is ten years old, so if it worked you’d think we’d have heard more about it since then, eh? I’d try it, for nothing else but the sake of my next relationship or marriage, but dairy stinks to me since I went off it, like, even fresh milk smells sour to me – not much motivation there!)

UPDATE: Best Place to Live for Global Warming

When I recently calculated that parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties near the California coast were the best places to live amid GW for now, I neglected to factor-in water resources.  Those places are going to get mighty drier, mighty fast.

I now favor the cooler and wetter side of the San Francisco Bay Area… for now.  But not right on the Bay or ocean, of course.  And forget Silicon Valley: long-term, it’ll be flooded by rising sea levels.  [Earthquakes?  Pshaw!]

I liked Tasmania and New Zealand, but recently heard they’re going to get substantially drier too.  (Though NZ is marketing itself to Europeans afraid of the coming Little Ice Age in a century or two!!)  Quito, Ecuador and Caracas, Venezuela [Viva Chavez!] actually look nice longer-term, but climatologically they’re pin-points, and won’t hold enough people to be significant longest-term.  Of course, no place will!

The problem with the California coast, of course, is that when my new Nice Zone creeps northward over time, it’ll bump into the oldest residents of that region, the redwoods.  Some tough choices will have to be made when that time comes.  Not unlike having to go back to some more coal and nuclear when oil and natural gas run out… if we have enough of the latter to provide the time we’ll need to ramp-up the former… (hopefully temporarily) compromising anti-GW efforts and global peace and security, respectively.  Of course, as I’ve said, GW is our worst chronic global problem, very-long-term; Peak Oil, Third World “dirty” industrialization* and the bad First World diet already coming with it, and the (hopefully) temporarily-shrinking magnetic field of the planet, are IMHO worse acute problems, much-shorter-term.

[*–‘Chinese Communism: Screwing Workers and “the People” Just Like The Man!’]

Corporate Media Promoting Benefits from Global Warming

This AOL link will break.  In the meantime, observe how they point out benefits to the Global North, as the NY Times and I have already said.  If you work harder, you’ll see how they don’t neglect detriments elsewhere, and planetarily, but still, this is misleading and shameful.

They also neglect the expected Little Ice Age in the Upper North Atlantic, including their favored Greenland and Iceland.  We’re already seeing fauna migrating southward from the UNA – because it’s cold maybe?!!  They could be the Gulf Stream monitoring system scientists are looking for!

Commandments to humanity at Creation?

In the Book of Genesis, God tells humanity to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion.”  Some “Christians” use this as religious cover to dismiss concern about the apparent ability of the planet to sustain many more human beings [or at least, many more First-World human beings!!!], and to destroy the environment.  But it occurs to me that these commands were given before the Fall.  After the Fall, humanity’s chief concern is different: to reunite with God in His Uncreated Energies/Activities.

Traditionally more than a few Orthodox have tried to collaborate with God through monasticism, ie, a lifestyle of NOT multiplying, and of using as little of the earth as possible.  Even practicing Orthodox laity try to include some of this asceticism in their lives, including abstaining from marital relations most Wednesdays and Fridays, during the four Fasting Periods (“lents”) of the year, several other prescribed days each year, any nights before and after receiving Communion… as well as the fast-related dietary self-restrictions during these periods, and in the weeks leading up to the Great Fast (ie, Great Lent, or just Lent, the pre-Pascha/Easter fast).  I believe many of these practices persist among Eastern Catholics, and some of them persisted among Latins (Catholics of Western Rite) before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and among many older Latins even afterward – though since the ’60s they have all retained the practices of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, and some bishops seem to want to bring back the year-round “fish on Fridays” practice.

Furthermore, a number of Protestant groups embrace what might be called a certain neo-asceticism, such as Amish, Mennonites, some Quakers, some individual liberal mainstream Protestants, and even some “conservative” Protestants, under the rubric of “How ought a Christian to live?”  Some pacifists extend their ethic to “simple living,” or at least advocating it, in the spirit of 1700s New Jersey Quaker John Woolman, who sought to remove from his life anything containing “the seeds of war,” including profiting from slave labor and foreign trade in unnecessary clothing accessories.  (In fact, he predicted the U.S. Civil War.)

As I have reflected previously, greater asceticism may be the lifestyle of the next two thousand years, as we face Global Warming, Peak Oil, and the other coming difficulties – lest we destroy ourselves even before the Lord returns in Glory!  Though as He said, ‘Don’t go around moping, unwashed, in ratty clothes, but smile, clean up, dress adequately’ (more or less!).  For Orthodox, asceticism is the privilege of collaborating with God in this world, and becoming more God-like (NOT “god-like”)!

Democrat Surrender Monkeys indeed!

I guess the Congressional Democrats really are what the theocons (who hate America) like to call most of America, “surrender monkeys,” for caving-in to another Bush veto threat on a timetable for abandoning his Iraq/Oil/civil war/Empire quagmire.  Minimum wage?  I thought we did that months ago!

Until the Monarchy Party gets off the ground, there’s always these guys….  I was once more sympathetic to the Green movement than I am today obviously, but if we could just replace the Democratic affiliation of voters, votes, and (most, apparently) Democratic members of Congress, with Green(s), 100 pct., all at once, it’d be an improvement.  I actually voted for my Green U.S. Rep. candidate in November, but only because I’m in a very safe Dem district, and wanted to make a statement.  Call me a Green Monarchist Realist Anti-abortionist maybe!

Global Warming: Impacts for Millennia to Come!!!

(Sorry, I was delayed by Great Week/Pascha-related pursuits.  This is the report that came out Friday [PDF].)

You’ve heard the MSM take on it.  Not alot new for readers of this blog, although some of the regional specificities are… as is the question: Why are governments allowed to futz with what is supposed to be a scientific document?  It smacks of Bushie “faith-based [pseudo-]science”!!!

Anyway, some highlights you might not have heard, in the order reported:

  • –Greater carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to greater acidity in the oceans, harming shellfish and species (like humans!) who depend on them directly or indirectly. 
  • –Africa will be the worst-hit because of its poverty.  Severe reductions in agricultural output – this is on top of those already being experienced on account of HIV/AIDS, poor policymaking, etc.  Increased desertification.  Warmed lakes will impact fishing and other aquaculture.  Up to a quarter-billion people there will lack sufficient water just 13 years from now.
  • –In Asia by mid-century more than a billion people will have less freshwater.  South and East Asia’s increasing urbanization and industrialization will increase all GW effects there [as well as globally!].  More infectious diarrhea and cholera.
  • –Increasing coastal development and population growth anywhere will be more New Orleanses waiting to happen.
  • –Lots more deadly European heat waves.  And southern European agriculture will be more vulnerable to drought.
  • –In Latin America, the eastern Amazon will become savanna by mid-century!  Semi-arid areas will become arid.  Much agricultural land will become desert.  Less water for drinking, farming, and hydroelectricity.  Poverty here too will make adaptation difficult.
  • –Less water in the dry western U.S.  More forest fires and pest and disease damage.  More and worse urban heat waves, rough especially on the increasing elderly population.
  • –Just to make it official, small islands anywhere in the world will be more vulnerable to sea-level rise, temperature rise, and extreme weather events.  By mid-century, especially in the Caribbean and Pacific, small islands won’t have enough drinking water during dry seasons.  [‘Water, water everywhere….’]
  • –If you scroll down to page 15 of the report (remember again, this is the “Dummies” version for policymakers; the whole, longer text won’t be available to us mortals for a couple more months I guess), every bad effect in the chart whose description starts at the left-hand side, near the zero (0) temperature-increase indicator, starts REAL SOON.  Time to wake up!!!
  • –Global sea level is rising about half a centimeter a year through 2080… that’s about 16 inches from the 2000 level.
  • –Thanks to fiddling by the Bushies, Communist Chinese, and Saudis – talk about an “Axis of Evil”!!! – this report is less gloomy than the (“conservative”!) scientists think it will be in reality!
  • –Higher sea levels will introduce sea-salt into groundwater, river estuaries, and irrigation water, meaning even less usable water!!!
  • –For the first time, scientists talk about relocation and migration of threatened/impacted populations!!!
  • –They also talk about GW impacts over “millennia” – plural!!!  (This is in connection with assessing the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.  Apparently they – or somebody – don’t want to be total doomsayers about these just yet, but if it’s like the February chapter, they haven’t been able to take into account unexpected increased melt in the last several years.  They may have a gloomier assessment of this in the next full report around 2013.)
  • –Although an Upper North Atlantic Little Ice Age isn’t expected this century, some slowing of the Gulf Stream and cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean IS now expected (p. 17): “Impacts of large-scale and persistent changes in the {Gulf Stream} are likely to include changes to marine ecosystem productivity, fisheries, ocean carbon dioxide uptake, oceanic oxygen concentrations and terrestrial vegetation.”  They focus on Europe, but it has to affect eastern North America somewhat as well.
  • –As recently illustrated by the NY Times, vulnerability to the effects of GW is increased by poverty (in the global sense).
  • –In summary (p. 20, emphasis added), “Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change… which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts. Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt. This suggests the value of a portfolio or mix of strategies that includes mitigation, adaptation, technological development (to enhance both adaptation and mitigation) and research (on climate science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation). Such portfolios could combine policies with incentive-based approaches, and actions at all levels from the individual citizen through to national governments and international organizations.”
  • –And just as a reminder, when the governments made them reduce some of their “confidence” assessments from “very high” to just “high,” it was a reduction from 90 percent probability to 80 percent (see p. 22, Endbox 2, paragraph 2).  A difference which makes no difference is no difference.  F*cking politicians!

My own concluding reflections:

  • –Unless the rest of the world can do something about it, between GW, Peak Oil, AIDS, and expected increased political instability, Africa is going to be a basket case.
  • –Again, unless the rest of the world can do something about it, further-urbanizing and industrializing China and India are going to face warmer temps, higher sea levels, greater river flooding, less drinking water, more coal mining, more pollution of air, soils, and water, more infectious diarrhea and cholera, more lung cancer from the pollution, more skin cancer from the planet’s reversing magnetic field, more nuclear power and certain plant accidents and/or sabotage… and alot more people, fatter and sicker.  God help them!
  • –Why people are still moving to the Southeast U.S., already intolerably hot and humid in the summer, now with intensifying hurricanes and tornadoes and imperiled coastal communities, is beyond me!  Even summers in the rest of the Eastern U.S. are just awful!  I’ve actually calculated that the best place to live in North America, GW-wise, for now, is Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo Counties, California (maybe not right on the coast!): not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter – i.e., saving on fossil fuels for cooling and heating – not too humid or snowy(!), without the long winter nights farther north requiring fossil fuels (or nuke power) for extra lighting.  Of course, as the climate warms, this Nice zone will creep up the Coast….
  • –In any case, we should discourage further coastal development, and encourage people to move away from the coastlines and flood-prone areas – worldwide.
  • –Step-up desalination of sea water for human usage worldwide.
  • –Plant more trees in heat-prone urban cores, perhaps removing unused buildings to do so.
  • –Start thinking about relocating inhabitants of the world’s small islands… voluntarily of course.  Meanwhile, of getting them usable water during dry season.
  • –All that Northern Canadian freshwater will be worth its weight in gold!
  • –Gotta love how this “theme” doesn’t display bullets in its supposed “bullet lists”!!!

Bushies Would Defoliate Amazon, versus Cocaine

According to Loretta Nall…now running for Congress???

Truly insane and inane.  (Them, not her!! Well, she’s a little kooky, too, but in a good way mostly, it seems!!)  ‘Stop us before we snort again!!!’  Who knew the “War on Drugs” had Global Warming impacts?!!!