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The fastest way to put the brakes on global heating (it's not George Monbiot's)
by Jan Lundberg   
25 August 2008
Culture Change Letter #196, August 28, 2008

The fastest way to put the brakes on global heating is to embrace the peaking of world oil extraction and the implications of petrocollapse. As long as we deny there's a terminal outcome for our petroleum-based infrastructure -- and therefore society as we know it -- we will keep dancing around the crisis of climate change. Precious time is being lost while feedback loops strengthen greenhouse gas output. Embracing collapse sounds crazy and, as we all would prefer, hopefully unnecessary. But what if that's your only ticket out of the burning theater and the rafters are about to come down?

Let's get our priorities straight. Is the economy a sacred cow? Is maintaining it along with its institutions of government and corporations the only way greenhouse gases will be slashed, and quickly enough to stave off climate hell? Writer George Monbiot is so certain that the answer is "yes" that he may have forgotten that direct action steps on certain toes.

I think the answer to those questions is emphatically "No!" Trusting the continuation of the economy and its self-serving components of Earth's destruction includes their assuring first their own self-preservation -- as if they were divine creations of Mother Nature to be loaded onto a Noah's Ark to save the world. No, thank you. There's another way, but many of us of a conventional bent are loathe to make the leap -- even if it would be off a burning precipice to safety within reach. When will we do it, when our neck of the woods becomes uncomfortable?

Ending Poverty: A Great Idea Whose Time Will Never Come
by Lorna Salzman   
22 August 2008
The past three weeks I and my husband Eric spent in Peru, birding in cloud and rainforest, primarily in the high Andes east of Cuzco, along the Madre de Dios River, and at lodges just outside the boundaries of the Manu Biosphere Preserve, a million acres of lowland rainforest that has been set aside for strict ecosystem preservation.

It was a tough slog - up at 4 am, breakfast at 5, on the trail by 5:30, birding for three to six hours morning and afternoon on muddy trails and seeking out not just the colorful "poster birds" like macaws and toucans and motmots and hummingbirds (which are most numerous in the higher cloud forest, though we saw many of these among the nearly five hundred species we logged), but Little Brown Jobs (LBJs) and Little Grey Jobs (LGJ) called antbirds, antwrens, antthrushes, antshrikes, which follow army ants and eat the bugs that flee from the ants. The antbirds, as well as larger brown Furnarids which prefer trees, creep silently along the forest floor, vines and shrubs. They are devilishly hard to detect. You usually have to hang around for half an hour before they can be glimpsed for a split second as they dart between the vegetation.

Economic growth mongering and its apologists
by Jan Lundberg   
20 August 2008
Culture Change Letter #194, August 22, 2008

One might think that our malfunctioning world would start to look at the clear causes of critical problems. Instead, we are besieged and bamboozled by the usual business-press and governmental focus on economic growth. This form of denial is not limited to capitalists and their reporters and regulators.

The only visible opposition to business-as-usual is actually a Team-B group of cheerleaders for a different shade of growth mongering. In this camp are some politicians and organizations that many progressive people would prefer to love unconditionally. After all, fundamental change, however overdue, is nice to put off or to pretend that it might be smooth.

"With the US awash with unsold homes, builders began work on 965,000 properties last month -- a 30% fall on July 2007." That revealing statistic [seasonally adjusted] was highlighted by The Guardian UK newspaper in an Aug. 20, 2008 article titled, “Economic Slowdown: World Markets Fall Sharply Amid Fears that Credit Crunch Has Further to Run”

Unplanned Pregnancy (UP) is Integrally Linked to Climate Change
by Pett (Petya) Corby   
17 August 2008

Overpopulation and rapidly depleting natural resources are engaged in a dangerous lock-step toward human extinction. Add pollution, contamination, out-of-control rising birth rates, and the drum roll countdown beats faster and louder.

Increased awareness and commitment to replacing archaic, highly destructive technologies with “green” solutions must include effective, natural methods for avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

“Natural methods” for avoiding pregnancy? What's wrong with all the contraceptive drugs and devices that Western societies have come to depend on for the past 48 years? Most of us are familiar with Einstein's famous aphorism that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Let's get real; these methods are not working.

Let's talk about the enemy
by Jan Lundberg   
15 August 2008
Image Culture Change Letter #193

Is Russia our enemy? Is the world living in Pax Americana? I don’t feel much peace these days, and in my 56 years I don’t believe I’ve been truly free or secure. There’s supposedly peace if one does not have to see war directly -- while paying taxes for too many weapons and atrocities and calling it “Defense.”

Matthew Simmons, the petroleum-industry investment banker, in a presentation on peak oil to a mostly Pentagon-employee audience in 2006, said, regarding wars over energy and out of control oil consumption, "Maybe we don't know who the enemy is. Maybe the enemy is us."

The Final Drought: Cold Fusion and the Destruction of Life on the Earth
by Michael J. Vandeman   
12 August 2008

Editor's note: Mike Vandeman thinks outside the box. When he advocated boycotting petroleum back in 1989 I was shocked. Soon I took up the same call. His activism in recent years has been about creating wildlife sanctuaries without human presence. He spent the previous eight years fighting automobile dependence and road construction. - JL

I don't understand how humans can be so intelligent, and at the same time, so stupid! A Berkeley, California-based electrical engineer, Robert Godes, claims to have a way of doing cold fusion (turning hydrogen into helium, while releasing energy), in his kitchen. If true, and I have no reason to doubt him, this could revolutionize the world's energy situation. He says he has hired a high-powered Palo Alto patent firm and is starting up a company to profit from his idea. I wonder if he told his partners the truth about this process?

There are a few obvious problems with it. Can you think of even one profit-making company that has provided a net benefit to the world? I can't! For example, Ben and Jerry's does some good things, but basically, they make junk food -- food that no one should eat! Chevron is destroying wildlife and human habitat in the Amazon and elsewhere. In short, greed begets grief!

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