While the human race still remains at loggerheads debating whether “climate change is real” or not, we might consider designing a chart which would actually show how high the floodwaters of climate change have already reached our species, and where to position the marker: at the knees? at the thighs? Because sooner or later we may be faced with the dilemma of where to go to breathe, a threat which is already impacting many of the Earth’s millions.
This chart, a cosmic calendar of the birth of Earth and evolution of earthlings in the last 23 seconds of the cosmic year might suggest to the canny reader that maybe it’s time we got down from the trees. And how ironic is it that, not even quite down yet, we are faced with a challenge like none we have ever had to face—or will face. The challenge of climate collapse—the threat of famine now looming as Midwestern farmers are still unable to plant after massive flood waters inundated their fields; or the threat now driving multitudes of desperate people feeing drought into leaking rubber dinghies as they attempt a Mediterranean crossing, or crossing the Rio Grande into the receiving arms of the United States.
As an urbanite (one of the first dinosaurs to become irrelevant in the face of the new reality) I tend to overlook the whole picture addressing the source the Earth’s polluting gases—not just CO2. Three charts developed by Dr. Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, illustrate the point. Absent the charts themselves (which i couldn’t manage to download) here’s the world-wide story (each country varies somewhat from these world averages): CO2 comes from 62% fossil fuels, 11% land use, that is agriculture and forestry practices, and 3% chemicals. Other greenhouse warming gases: 24%.
Source of world-wide warming emissions can be attributed as follows: Electricity, 25%, Food and land use, 24%, transportation, 14%, industry, 21%, buildings, 6%, other energy, 10%. So far, although I have certainly urged not driving and not flying, my attention has not focused readers on the imperative of looking at manufacturing, cement mixing, and where our food is sourced, and the farming practices which cause a full one quarter of warming.
On Dec. 17, 2018, after a long process of activism by land justice groups, the UN General Assembly finally adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and others working in rural areas. These are the mostly landless peasants, many of them women, and fisherfolk, albeit often being food insecure themselves, who have been feeding the world’s people for hundreds of years.
Why is this movement to recognize them important? Because peasant agriculture traditionally increases bio-diversity, and encourages a sense of community, and their growing methods sequester carbon in a way commercial agriculture, with its tilling practices, and its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, fails to do.
Here is an abbreviated statement of groups representing family and women farmers, dalits, landless poor, and fisherfolk as set down in the Kathmandu Declaration, a related document: “We…take our struggle forward for food sovereignty…as peasants of South Asia, [reiterating] our rights on land, water, and territories… against… discrimination, rights on seeds and livestock…and fisheries, right to fight agribusiness, transnational organizations, free trade agreements and WTO…. We consider Food Sovereignty and Agroecology as the only way to cool down the planet…and the only way of changing the current model imposed by agribusiness and transnational companies.”
In 2011, I gave up driving or owning a car. So far, I know of only on activist who has done likewise, preferring to ride a bike. Only one musician that I know of has given up a brilliant career; she happens to be Malena Emman, opera singer, and mother of Greta Thunberg. But every morning as I wait for the bus, I see traffic streaming by me along one of my city’s major arteries, intent on global suicide and getting to it as fast as possible. And that’s only one city, and one thoroughfare. Now imagine the same phenomenon in all the world’s nearly 2000 major cities worldwide. And you see suicide on a massive scale.
What is being asked of creatures barely making their way down from the trees is to consider de-growth. What would that look like? How might we turn a fossil-fuel culture completely upside down. We have work to do, learning how to use a hoe, thinking to consider, and most of us are not even close to a mind like Einstein’s.
Here is Dr. Foley’s last chart: He titles it Fate of Carbon Dioxide Emissions. Long-term increase in atmospheric CO2, 45%, is the amount of green house gas remaining in the atmosphere, and contributing to global warming, versus that percentage that is absorbed by the oceans of 23%, and land-based ecosystems of 32%.
According to Dr. Foley, the Earth is already helping us to an overwhelming degree. It is that 45% left to us that we must worry about. But are Holocene-intelligenced humans equipped to confront that challenge in time? Or will Earth turn into another Venus?
Add your name please to 314 Action’s Emergency Petition demanding we act on climate change now at
Please tell fossil fuel companies to end anti-climate lobbying at
Please sign petition demanding immediate release of activists jailed for protecting their forest at
European Parliament dodges far-right bullet in recent elections, although threat of autocracy remains real and growing.
Irish Senate stands up for Palestine.
German activists disrupt Arye Shalicar, Israeli intelligence officer promoting his new book.
Activist Benjamin Ladraa walks from Sweden to Palestine to protest occupation.
Statement by Mecca summit slams US embassy move to Jerusalem.
Iran, Turkey develop pact ditching greenback in bilateral trade.
Injured yellow vests protest police brutality in Paris.
Assange won’t face charges over role in devastating CIA leak.
Protests in London and Edinburgh demand freedom for Assange and Manning.
UN warns against extraditing Assange to US.
UN recognizes Venezuela among top nations for right to housing.
China and Russia will support Venezuela against US aggression.
Brazil “uninvites” Gaidó’s envoi amid reports of possible talks with Maduro.
Argentina warns Bolsonaro “Your hatred is not welcome here.”
Protesters set fire to US embassy in Honduras.
Cuban doctors raised for work in post-cyclone Mozambique.
“Dump Trump trade deal” banner dropped from Tower Bridge at start of state visit.
Following ongoing protests and pressure from activist organization, Extinction Rebellion, Welsh government declares climate emergency, along with Ireland, whose leader, Eamon Ryan states there must be action to back it up.
Mass demonstration against Saudi summit and US “deal” mark Quds in Yemen.
US up in arms as Brussels continues to insist on cutting US weapons makers out of the bargain.
Tens of thousand flood UK streets protesting #45 and “everything he stands for.” (Please see Sunday Funnies.)
Warning of “surveillance capitalism nightmare, big tech investor-turned-critic Roger McNamee pushes Toronto to abandon ‘smart city’ waterfront development.
As more die at sea, EU is sued at ICC over Mediterranean migration policy.
In a crisis displacing 68.5 million people worldwide, Sea Watch flying the German flag, one of Europe’s last migrant rescue ships defies political pressure to save a total of 37,000 lives.
Haem Zaghloul, sentenced to death as a child by Egypt, pardoned and freed.
Proving she knows lots more about the Grand Jury than the jurors do, Manning resistance aims at abolishing it altogether.
Pushback against 5G deadly wireless spreads to at least 7 Pacific Northwest cities: Eugene, Portland, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Gig Harbor, Seattle.
Oregon lawmakers vote to elect president by popular vote by 2024.
US cuts funds for propaganda Iran group, funded by the State Department, that was discovered trolling journalists and activists.
Former US ethics chief warms not to “underestimate the threat to our republic from within.”
Beyond Nuclear appeals against proposed national high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at New Mexico.
New Mexico governor says no to high-level nuclear waste.
California San Bernardino community helps hundreds of migrants border patrol drops off without orientation or assistance at Greyhound station.
Asylum-seeker falsely accused of gang ties by border officials reunited with kids—after 184 days.
Asylum-seeker separated from son for 378 days by administration wins immigration case.
Florida launches probe into group behind private border wall.
Comcast ditches ties with ALEC
Responding to threats by management, American Airlines mechanics promise “bloodiest, ugliest battle’ in labor history.
Warren unveils plan to reverse policy, allowing DOJ to indict and prosecute a sitting “president.”
Ten Dem presidential candidates promise(?) to ban fracking.
Sanders hands over his social media accounts to Walmart Workers ahead of attending annual meeting to advocate for them.
Sanders blasts Walmart execs to their faces at annual shareholder meeting demanding “Pay your workers a living wage.”
Anti-democracy riders removed from House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
California Dems back #NoMiddleGround with Medicare for all.
Doctors and nurses to march on AMA annual meeting demanding end to “rotten” opposition to Medicare for all.
In California’s East Bay local activists plan to erase over $1 million in medical debt using debt collectors’ tools.
Study claims ribociclib/Kisqali drug, funded by its producer, Big Pharm Novartrs, extends life of younger women with advanced beast cancer. Duh.
San Francisco joins national push to abolish youth prisons.
San Francisco to pay $400K settlement to mother of Mario Woods over fatal police shooting.
Oakland California votes to decriminalize magic mushrooms, the psychedelic fungus.
Fifty years later, NYPD “apologizes” for 1969 raid of Stonewall Inn.
Hollywood producer, Peter Chernin, plans to raise millions to fight anti-abortion laws.
California Act to Save Lives, designed to hold police accountable for needless violence passes state Assembly with huge support.
California Assembly passes two bills helping people with old criminal records to access opportunities.
Rhode Island Sen. Elaine Morgan supports a study commission to review possible health impacts of 5 G wireless networks.
Texas Dems force resignation of voter-suppressing Texas Secy. of State.
Some prosecutors say they’ll refuse to enforce state abortion bans.
Overriding Gov. Sununu’s veto, N. Hampshire Senate votes to abolish death penalty.
Announcing the largest independent survey of black people in the US ever, Alicia Garza of Black Live Matter introduces latest project to survey more than 31,000 black people to determine “What Black People Want.”
Lonnie Bunch first black man ever to head the entire Smithsonian.
Across US and Canada, residents unite to fight displacement in Chinatowns.
Judge orders Feds to disclose climate impacts of fracking on public lands in Colorado and Utah.
Shareholders strongly support climate resolutions at Chevron and Exxon annual meetings.
Overruling GOP, House passes $19.1 billion disaster relief, for US and Puerto Rico.
House sets contempt votes for Barr and McGahn by changing rules to enforce subpoenas.
House passes latest DREAM Act, hoping to place millions of immigrants on citizenship path.
To honor her immigrant, farmworker parent, high school valedictorian carries basket of strawberries on state.
Protesters at Creech drone base and Nevada security site cross line for peace.
Clean school buses come to Maryland, Arizona, and Nevada.
Saying we have “national crisis in public safety,” Julián Castro’s proposes people first policing plan.
Threatening revolt, Republicans threaten to block #45 Mexico tariffs, while Americans for Prosperity also call on Congress to block them.
U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln hangs back outside Persian Gulf.
US lawmakers push back against #45 on Saudi weapons sales.
PA County sues Monsanto over chemical contamination.
Opioid maker Insys “Therapeutics” admits bribing doctors to push fentanyl.
South Carolina Public Service Commission slaps down outrageous Duke Energy fee hike.
EPA cancels registration of 12 toxic, bee-killing pesticides.
SEIU first national union to endorse Green New Deal.
Courts give endangered vaquitas glimmer of hope.
Court of International Trade issues preliminary injunction banning shrimp and other seafood caught in Gulf of California with gillnets.
DOJ exploring antitrust investigation of Google.
Judge denies Facebook’s motion to dismiss Cambridge Analytica lawsuit in DC.
Rhode Island farmer protests to shut down ICE, jailed.
Eastern Illinois conservative county stands yup to big coal.
And last but not least:
House Dems propose $4,500 pay raise a year for Congress