Blog Archives

Destroy the “One Ring” of Corporate Greed

awakupedia

 

I stand with Standing Rock because I recognize they are at the front line in the war to save the biosphere from greedy   corporations. People need to learn the truth about who really has the power today, and why the truth is hidden.  That is why I’m building AWAKEupedia, to build a collection of  IMPORTANT LINKS WORTH SHARING. #ILWS is a hashtag people can use to spread awareness about any issue, including DAPL.

It is important to understand that solving any of the life-or-death problems we face requires us to ACT to take our power back. Americans will not enjoy democracy again until they dismantle the corrupt two party system controlled by Oligarchs. If you are sick seeing no progress while greedy billionaires continue raping the planet to death, consider sharing and discussing these ideas with your friends and family:

  1. Giving the Senate to democrats means Bernie Sanders becomes chair of the Budget Committee.
  2. If you think climate change is a big deal, even Ron Paul thinks you should vote for the Green party
  3. Don’t buy the narrative of ‘inevitability’ the media promotes. It is a lie.
  4. Don’t get important information from corporate media sources, they spew propaganda.
  5. Don’t lose sleep about who ends up in the white house this time around, the secret government is real.
  6. The way to take democracy back is to by-pass the whole corrupt political system using ANTI-CORRUPTION ballot initiatives, starting at the municipal and state level.
  7. The way to save the biosphere is to establish ANTI-ECOCIDE laws at the local, federal and international level.

 

 

Before the Flood Needs a Sequel

earthrisekillingmemeI just watched Before the Flood on National Geographic, hoping that the filmmakers dug deep enough to get to the root of the problem. Although the film is a strong call to action, I was disappointed that it didn’t follow the story far enough to locate and identify the source of political inaction in America.  The sad truth is that corruption is so extensive, and the political institutions so compromised that voting will not fix this problem unless and until anti-corruption ballot initiatives are passed in every state and eventually in Washington to get fossil fuel money out of the political process.

One of the saddest moments of the film was scientists blaming themselves for failing to inform the public, but that failure cannot be laid at their feet. The fourth estate – the news media – has failed spectacularly, an there is little hope for improvement now that corporate ownership is more concentrated than ever. The mainstream media frames issues and shapes public opinion. Algorithms on social media and Google are manipulated to promote the same narrow view of what is possible. Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” exposed the Propaganda Model but having accused the media of complicity, that understanding of power was  never allowed to bubble to the surface of public consciousness in America. It is time to wake up and connect the dots between political corruption, corporate malfeasance, and media complicity. We need to lay the blame where it properly belongs. As Utah Phillips said:

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.

This is no time for blind optimism, but fear of the future won’t help either. The time has come to get angry at the crimes fossil fuel companies commit, especially in North Dakota. We need to recognize that what is ‘legal‘ and what is ‘right’ may be very different, in a world where corporations have been allowed to write laws that members of congress often don’t even read.

Before the Flood is a great documentary, but like the Paris Accords, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. I strongly recommend that in his next film, DiCaprio focus on the obstructionist fossil fuel corporations, even if they threaten to sue. If we’re too afraid to step on the toes of the oil giants, we cannot hope to stop them from destroying the biosphere. They have too much power and they are not going to give it up voluntarily. The world would be a better place if the biggest multinationals were broken up into smaller units.

The next film I want to see will focus on the current DOJ investigation of the horrifying fact that EXXON KNEW about man-made climate change in 1981 and spent decades hiding the truth and lying about it. A crime of that magnitude should result in prison for perpetrators and the company should be liquidated.  Ecocide should be recognized as an International Crime Against Humanity under the Rome Statute and people of all nations should demand that their governments ratify the treaty. We need to fight to take back control of our governments and hold the fossil fuel giants to account. We can all begin by standing with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Climate Crisis Solution: Reclaim Democracy

earthrisekillingmemesmall

I just watched the trailer for “Before the Flood” and spotted a serious error made by one of the talking heads interviewed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest documentary. The interviewee says:

“Politicians will do what the people want them to do. Once the American people are convinced, the politicians will fall in line very quickly.”

This fundamental error is the reason climate change is still getting worse. Gilens and Page wrote a paper that demonstrated in 2014 that although politicians respond well to the wishes of billionaires, the average voter has “little or no independent influence” on public policy. This is a difficult fact to accept, as is the reason people have not been shouting louder about the climate crisis.

Ten years ago Al Gore tried to convince us of “The Inconvenient Truth” (2006) that climate change was the most pressing issue of our time. Gore was correct, but his ideas were attacked and marginalized by organized right-wingers. The documentary “Merchants of Doubt” (2015), based on a book of the same name, unmasks the climate deniers, but fails to appreciate the role the corporate media plays in controlling the narrative. For that you have to go back to “Manufacturing Consent” (1992), to learn how the Propaganda Model works. The consolidation of media ownership is part of an even larger problem described in “The Corporation” (2003) which makes the case that if  a corporation was a person, they would be considered a psycho.

This is the fundamental root problem of climate change. The biosphere is not under threat because you ate a hamburger this week (although it would be better if you didn’t). The problem is that the greed of billionaires is out of control. The climate scientists are not experts in the politics of power. The mainstream media produces propaganda instead of journalism. Corporations are abusing eminent domain not for public good, but for private profit because the Supreme Court condoned their behaviour. Politicians on both sides of the party divide are beholden to their major corporate donors. The average voter is learning that, worse than being ignored by  elected representatives, even if their vote is accepted, it may not even be counted at all. Once we finally realize that the root cause of climate change is a lack of democracy, the way forward becomes clear.

When a critical mass of people wakes up, our peace officers will stop acting like rent-a-cops doing dirty deeds for greedy billionaires. Anti-corruption laws, driven by grassroots action and ballot initiatives, can take government out of the hands of corporations and Wall Street banks, and restore it to the people. Electoral reform can break the corrupt two-party system and ensure that paper ballots are used to audit electronic voting machines. The debate system can be opened up so smaller parties are not unfairly marginalized. When the people take back their power they can stop greedy corporations from destroying the biosphere and solve all kinds of problems.

Every problem has a solution, most have several and you don’t have to pick just one. If you want to be part of the solution, share these ideas with your friends, family, co-workers, clients, classmates and neighbours. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

 

 

The Lessons of Ripples

256px-Ripple_effect_on_waterWhen I walk along the edge of Lake Ontario and see little boys tossing pebbles into the water it always brings me joy. My own little boy did that once, drawn inexorably toward the shoreline and delighted by the rings he created as they moved ever outward. We smile at their efforts to make a mark on a great body of water, but little children understand something that the rest of us forget. The first lesson of  ripples is that the only moment that any of us will ever have is right now. We sense this when we crouch beside children to see the shiny new world through their eyes. Now is the dividing line between the past and the future, between desire and fulfillment. Every pebble we toss, every decision we make happens on that frontier between our intentions and our actions.

As soon as we toss the second pebble we see that interesting things happen where two worlds collide.

The border where the sea meets the shore supports tremendous biodiversity and in science, intersections like this hold important lessons. The interactions between industrial scale monoculture, genetic engineering and chemical pesticides are having a devastating impact on the living earth. We are only beginning to see the connections to mammalian health and there are even deadlier interactions connected to the burning of fossil fuels. Corporations profiting from genetically modified seeds were allowed to be responsible for safety testing but their methodology was, unsurprisingly, inadequate. Longer term studies have now been released that are cause for concern. I am now trying to process the understanding that my child, for most of his life, has been used by transnational corporations as a science experiment without my knowledge or consent and that despite my effort to end it, this experiment continues, because I don’t buy groceries at his father’s house, or the school cafeteria.

The more pebbles you toss into the pond, the more complex the ripples become.

There are bound to be some messy interactions between the ripples created by different groups and we need to allow for this while understanding that although our goals may differ in their specifics, we all share the same fundamental needs for clean air, water and non-toxic food. The politics of division is incredibly corrosive, and it threatens the very biosphere when it fragments opposition to ecocide. Whether people stand behind the Idle No More protesters as settler allies, or march against GMOs as fellow earthlings or Terrestrials, it is the joining in a common purpose that will tip the balance of power away from oppression and exploitation and towards justice and sustainability.  Some people think the living earth is a sentient being, but whether Gaia has consciousness or not is a moot point if we argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin while ignoring the transnational corporations that are destroying the biosphere we need to survive. We are all on the same side in our need for air, water and food.

Ripples begin from point at which the pebble falls and travel at their own speed.

Although it is inevitable that trolls will try to sow conflict by trying to find differences between the indisputable needs of First Nations’ communities and the sympathetic desire of Settler Allies for a better world for all of our grandchildren, I think we are all bright enough to recognize and reject any false narrative that attempts to weaken our shared momentum. We all need to begin where we are. Settler Allies are not equally educated or aware of indigenous issues, and this isn’t going to change overnight.  My lack of in-depth understanding of the historical issues should not preclude my participation as long as I recognize and respect First Nations moral authority and sovereignity in events that they organize.  Settler allies’  understanding of the importance of dismantling the oppressive colonial power structures will grow over time, and gradually spread outwards throughout the wider community. Patience and understanding will help this process unfold.

Once they start, ripples keep going and cannot be stopped.

Years ago I would watch my son sleeping and unconsciously match my breathing to his. My love for him and the primal instinct to protect was a powerful and transformative force. When I became a mother my circles of concern and compassion expanded outward to take in other children not born into the privileged life my son enjoys. News stories of abuse and neglect that make everyone sad, seemed suddenly to cut much deeper. The protective instinct a parent feels is a powerful, primal thing. No matter what other roles I may adopt, I am a mother first, and that means I would stop a bullet for my child. While the threats to our childrens’ health are widespread and numerous, I am not going to back down just because the problem I’m trying to solve is massive and intractable.

It is no surprise that Idle No More movement has risen on the shoulders of indigenous women. Mothers Against Drunk Driving made a real difference because they have an unassailable moral authority.  Mothers of children everywhere are struggling against the corrosive power of transnational corporations and winning skirmishes on the ground in their own communities. These small victories send hope and courage rippling outwards to more families, friends and neighbours, increasing numbers of whom are finding it necessary to get off the couch to defend their communities as the tentacles of unrelenting corporate greed reach further into our daily lives.

As a species, we are finally connecting the dots between the countless smaller battles being fought in communities around the globe. We are dropping pebbles into the same pond because the issues are interconnected. The campaigns of groups like Idle No More, Seed Freedom, and Occupy all have a fundamental purpose in common with Greenpeace and Amnesty International. Arab spring brought people from all faiths and walks of life into the streets to recognize their common cause, and we are seeing small groups of people in the west now coalesce in social media. There is a growing awareness that we are all on the same side, and the divide-and-conquer tactics of transnational corporations are losing traction.

The pebbles of change will continue to drop and whether we march city streets, or meet at the blockades, we can all join hands and hearts in defense of the earth.  There is a reason we are all drawn toward the shorelines of lakes, rivers and oceans to make ripples. It is the same thing that draws us to the barricades to make waves. The place where two worlds meet is where the tide turns and ripples begin to spread outward. This connection is where the magic happens.

Helpful posts;

http://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/

http://decolonization.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/idlenomore-settler-responsibility-for-relationship/

http://valleyroadrambler.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/how-to-be-a-settler-ally/

I Fracked My Brain

This random insight hit me as I tumbled into bed two hours too late last night, having written 6 blog posts in 2 days. No recreational drugs were involved in this effort, not even caffeine. It was as if I turned on the spigot at a well into which thousands of bits of information had been pumped, building up the pressure. All the little bits of evidence that the world is going to hell in a handcart were shoved together inside a brain not quite big enough to hold it all, and now the flow has reversed.

I’ve been dismayed by the wide variety of problems we face today, and the inability of people to just connect the dots and realize that our children’s children are in grave danger and we need to do something about that before its too late. Divisions between any two groups on this planet are a problem because they distract us from the deception that that’s more important than the air we breathe and the water we need to live on this planet. If you think about basic human needs that we all have in common it really is not that complicated. We are all human, and beyond that, we are all Terrestrial.

We are all on and of this Earth. This planet is our home, just as we are home to billions of tiny micro-organisms that populate our skin and our intestinal tracts. The health of the parent organism depends on the health of its population, and too many of these populations are ailing. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m sick of a culture where rape is considered acceptable to joke about while we allow massive corporations to rape the planet for the profit of the few. If the Earth is our mother, think about that. We allow corporations to rape our mother. Yes, that is a truly disturbing picture. How many of us are saying that’s OK, as long as I get paid for it? Under the law of this land the person who co-operates with a crime is guilty as an accessory to it. It’s time to wake up to that fact.

I often tell my child that every problem has a solution and most have several. Saving the Earth has millions of solutions and we don’t have to pick just one. Some of us are pushing to divest from fossil fuels, others are fighting to get genetically engineered foods properly labeled and others want fluoride out of the drinking water. There are thousand of courageous people working at worthy and noble causes. These are all important, but the task of fixing all that is broken in our world will be much, much easier once we have wrestled control of our democracies out of the bloody hands of corporations who are murdering mother earth.

Repairing our broken democracies really is the foundation of any plan to save the world. That is the first prize we must keep our eyes on. That is the intermediate step that will bring all our plans closer to fruition. Terrestrialism is a little seed of an idea that I would like to plant in other brains. As an identity, it spans every living being on this planet – it is a club we already belong to. If you can shift your perception to encompass that idea, the world you perceive will change into a far less threatening place.

If you’re wondering how this will work, understand that it really is all about what you focus on. If you are focused on repairing the damage we have done to the biosphere so that our grandchildren don’t drown during a hurricane, how important is it to establish exactly who knocked down the world trade centre? Once you realize that the past cannot be undone, but the future can be saved, it becomes easier to entertain two conflicting viewpoints in your brain as well as in your circle of friends, without making a big deal out of it. Bringing the guilty to justice is certainly a worthy cause, and that is a goal we should work towards, but our basic needs for air, clean water and healthy food must be prioritized.

Keeping the goal in mind is helpful when fracking your brain by filling it up with the thousands of points-of-view that you are exposed to every day. Some of these ideas will stay with you, not unlike the chemicals that are pumped into the ground under our aquifers, but many will be ejected as unhelpful. Whenever you find a deep fissure between ideas, look for the elements of distraction and deception that go along with the politics of division, and realize how many of these dichotomies are false and illusory. We are all of this earth and we all have a duty of stewardship towards her.

The Winter of Our Discontent

798px-Windbuchencom   Arab spring was an amazing demonstration of the game-changing power of social media. Then Wall Street was occupied, we Marched against Monsanto, actions have been organized against Keystone XL and First Nations are taking on frackers. On November 16 the U.S. will see a March Against Mainstream Media while in Canada thousands will march to Defend our Climate on the same day. Is it just me or is there a groundswell of people who have had it with the status quo?

Fewer people are blindly swallowing the drivel they feed us on the evening news, and more are doing their own research on topics like GMO’s, fluoride, factory farms, and even Building Seven. It becomes easier every day to see how distraction, division and deception are deployed against us for the tremendous profit of massive corporations. The crime that has been perpetrated under our mesmerized noses is perhaps the greatest transfer of wealth in human history from the many to the few. The numbers are beyond comprehension, so we ignored them for years, but a shift is taking place today. Gloria Steinhem once said “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” That statement is still true for feminists, and now it is true for everyone else too.

We are bombarded with a constant stream of images and sounds that make it impossible to hear our inner voices. The still small voice of conscience is drowned out by the bombastic politics of us versus them.  I think people are begining to realize that this whole “us versus them” mindset is just another system of control. Divide and conquer still works, but when you become aware of the dynamic you begin to recognize those wedges for the falsehoods they are and see them everywhere. There are millions of people marching for different causes all over the world, but at the end of the day they ALL want to save the world for our children.

The military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about is still trying to cling to power and brutal policing at public demonstrations lays bare the fear of the one percent. The response to Toronto’s G20 protests was so disproportionate a lot of people seemed to keep their heads down for a while. Once you notice your own fear though, it loses its power to control you. I caught myself pausing before sharing a facebook post from an Occupy page and suddenly thought: that’s how they win. Self censorship is the worst kind. I am no longer afraid of what anyone thinks of my “multi-issue activism” not because I know I’m just one of millions who feel this way, but because my conscience compels me to speak truth to power. I’ll march on November 16 with thousands of others, but I don’t expect to see an immediate result.

What is important is the growth and spread of knowledge and understanding that we all share common fundamental needs, that all our many causes and problems are interconnected and that there are millions of solutions we can implement. I think we are approaching a tipping point where a critical mass of people will discover their own power to change the world through the moral dimensions of every purchasing decision they make. Democracy may be a total sham, but money still talks, and even if they refuse to label GMO’s we can still identify them and refuse to buy them. The powers that control the United Nations have not seen fit to recognize ecocide as a crime against peace, but we can call out offending corporations, shame them and shun their products. The economics of exponential growth on a finite planet does not work. The goalposts need to move and we can help shift them on November 16.

I think this Autumn might come to be recognized as part of a great awakening. Russel Brand’s recent call for revolution has been viewed well over nine million times for a reason. So many people have been hurt financially by the abuse of corporate power that continuing to support the status quo is no longer a sensible option. Let this be the winter of our discontent as we look around and recognize all the things that need to change because we need to see what is wrong before we can fix it.  A huge swath of the middle class has been pushed into poverty and the poor are being pushed down as far as they can go.  I thing its time for us all to spring back.

http://mamsm.info/aboutourevent

http://www.defendourclimate.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/solvealltheproblems

Divided No More

On the Idle No More facebook page, a woman holds a handwritten sign that says “I am a setter and an ally.” I am that. Its good to see more and more kindred spirits who recognize that the First Nations are the last hope to save our planet from destruction. The reason is that the First Nations in North America have legally binding treaties based on their sovereign rights that no invasive colonial power can overturn. For this I am profoundly grateful, because the democratic rights of Canadians and Americans have been eroded beyond recognition by people too busy, too distracted to notice what they have lost.

However, it saddens me to see so many people so fractured, so divided into millions of powerless little groups that they cannot recognize that we will all die – and by ‘all’ I mean our childrens’ children – if we don’t join and work together to save the earth. I’m tired of all the negative “isms” that divide us based on race, gender and even species. We all breathe the same air and we all need clean water. We need to collectively recognize that we are all equal in our basic needs as living beings. Humanitarianism is a better label than most, but in order to describe a club big enough to include all living beings and exclude none, I prefer the term Terrestrialism.

This task is the most important one we face as a species. There are many steps along the path to a better world, but no matter how small our first steps are, we must begin now, and we must walk this path together.

Helpful Links:

https://www.facebook.com/IdleNoMoreCommunity

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/sierraclubcanada/2013/10/elsipogtog-punished-taking-stand-on-environmental-rights