Monday 22 April 2013

Sink sank sunk (sibilant).

(There, that didn't take very long.)                                                                       Up, Down.                        Earth Day 

I did remember Kateri Tekakwitha on the 17th and am looking towards the full moon on the 25th. Two quick word games: alma/lama Portuguese for soul/mud; and the familiar god/dog (Good dog).

Much of this post is lugubrious & mewling self-pity - that's just the way things are - but there have been two positive & enlightening developments come on the radar recently, three actually ...

Positive Earth Day indications:

1) The 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize recipients. Notable as well because of the well organized website. Discovered via The Guardian: Azzam Alwash wins Goldman prize.


2) A report from Real Climate: Thin Ice — the movie; the movie website: Thin Ice; and the film itself on Vimeo (1 hour 13 minutes). An Earth Day gift from the climate scientists to all - and giving gifts on important occasions is a good habit to cultivate. A little optimistic for me, but not too much.


3) 10 key points for becoming a more compassionate activist, part of the Occupy the Economy handbook by Judy Rebick & Velcrow Ripper.


Let's make it 4) The Toronto Climate Action Network (TCAN) schedule is beginning to be fuller - obviously more used. This could be the best news of all. Congratulations to the organizers.

We have met the enemy and he is us.Pathos at least allows for compassion, bathos not so much. Caved in a limited way on day 5; day 6 back at it lookin' like nothin' ever happened. Smoking is a death-wish; simple as that.

For many months the dominant mantra here has been 'Sorry' (also an s-word). Oh yeah, the Tourette's is still 'Oh Fuck! Oh Fuck!' and so on ... 'Fuckin' Bitch!' as the stumbling dropsy gets to the point of ridiculousness and I have to laugh; but the centre core of the boil has been and is unworthiness. Distinguishing guilt and shame is a useful and in some ways rewarding meditation - but in the end they collapse & conflate into a totally unacceptable self-pity (notwithstanding the absurdity of the positive thinking ideology - which is anyway refudiated by 'the conditions that prevail'
[Thank you Sarah Palin & Jimmy Durante.]).

The last good word was from Gabor Maté (talk about a quick study). He said, "You have some work to do," or something like that - but the means he suggested have proven beyond reach and it's back to wazizname, Berger? ... in Hair singin' "I'm falling through a hole in the flag."

From an optimistic New Year's Day and Lucky '13 - the year we turned it around!; through Forward On Climate and The spell has been broken!; to stupid & ineffective activist emails - finally getting a hit and freaked out ditching it; and so inspired by Naomi Klein's "... plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken selves ...", incubating, waiting with bated breath, and at the first positive sign ... on the verge of ditching that too. Bathetic. Sinking. 
Joanna Macy.Joanna Macy.Joanna Macy.What to think about Joanna Macy?

Read the bumph on Wikipedia ... an old lady, early 80's, Buddhist, lives by selling her books looks like ... dunno?

Ram Dass hit Montreal in 67 or 68, not a buddhist grant you; and later on, José Datrino, Profeta de Gentileza, a christian but still; and more recently our own k-k-Canadian Gabor Maté, definitely a buddhist and a very VERY clever fellow; ... but with experience over time my support for the messages of gurus wise or otherwise has changed. Not to mention Iron John, Jesus, (I am thinking of Tom T. Hall and 'Everything From Jesus To Jack Daniels' but I can't find it on YouTube).

So I have a look at her website and near the top somewhere it says, "... including despair work ..." and I am basically hooked.

At least deeply enough to take the next (tentative) step. And yet I am left wondering if at the end of the day I will find that it is me who should be giving the workshops on what to do about despair? 
Global Internet traffic.Global Internet traffic.Global Internet traffic.
Trying to get a feel for where the Internet is and isn't. This is where much of the modern life is lived: fossicking about on an information compost pile. Not difficult to view it as a disease, an epidemic even. That these images correspond to consumption patterns - close to the root of the 'problem' in other words - is no surprise. The good part is that it can (and will) so quickly and easily vanish: In a moment; in the twinkling of an eye; at the last trump; like the morning dew; like smoke. Just pull the plug; or cancel the phone.

[Similes and metaphors from First Corinthians 15:52 & Hosea 13:3. I use these references only because they prove the ubiquity of Launcelot Andrewes' (and his colleagues of course) figurative language. Without the KJV gentle reader, English might require more ... salt.]
And they call it the 'last' trump because?     :-)
Global Internet traffic.Global Internet traffic.Global Internet traffic.
[Best of a bad lot: the top image is in fact a 'heat map' of the 2007-2011 malware infections by DNSChanger from Team Cymru; and the other is from Carna Botnet Internet Census 2012; all very sketchy.] 

Lot leaving Sodom Raphael detail.Lot:   A long and complicated story; but a natural to consider in the context of collapse. Wikipedia sums it up pretty well; or go straight to Genesis, chapters 11 to 19 (both the flight from Sodom and his son's begettings are in 19).

Rendered almost incomprehensible with dangling questions: Why did he offer his daughters to the thugs? Why did his wife look back? How did he not catch on to his daughter's wiles? (to list just a few). 
Jim Hansen retires - photo by Michael Nagle with the NYT article.Jim Hansen:   The last news was: Climate Maverick to Retire From NASA (published April 1 but no joke). He knows how to organize a website coherently; witness his blog. There is a mailing list - what a pleasure to receive regular emails from himself. The latest is this: Making Things Clearer: Exaggeration, Jumping the Gun, and The Venus Syndrome (.pdf). I read it several times. The first time I kept thinking "he is 72 and a prostate cancer survivor, maybe he's tired too?" He ends it with "I am running out of steam for this present communication," and I am looking at the ghostly photograph that accompanied the retirement article.

But on second reading I decide I must be projecting.

He mentions an upcoming paper, 'Climate Sensitivity, Sea Level, and Atmospheric CO2' - advance information is here: abstract & download (pdf). 
Peter Sale:   I have praised his book here a number of times (1, 2, 3) and make comments on his blog which he permits. And I have roots in Huntsville. I thought ... I'll go up there and listen to him on Earth Day! So last week I put up a blurb about it. It is true that I am feeling generally like a leper ... but I go anyway, a pleasant bus ride with a driver who stops to show us the flooding in Bracebridge, a motel overnight ...

Rebecca Francis, Sustainablilty Coordinator.Rebecca Francis, Sustainablilty Coordinator.Grant you it snowed in Huntsville on Saturday morning, but I think very few turned out primarily because of a lack of publicity. The town forgave its fee for the venue but I'll bet single malt that the powers-that-be really want no part of such things. The nexus of inadequacy falls to Rebecca Francis, the 'Sustainability Coordinator' (to be shared with the organizing committee no doubt). I will send them an email - if anyone responds I will publish it here. Tony Clement didn't show up (no surprise there though he is the local MP and could have) - an email to him as well then and ditto on a reply.

Peter Sale.Peter is a good speaker; personable, charming and a professional - he prepares, thoroughly. Relating the global issue to the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (and here is their blog) complete with some well-explained science on the local situation is canny and effective. Two big ideas fall out of Saturday's experience for me:

1) The planet can support about two billion folks; there are now over seven billion; something's gonna give and it probably won't be pleasant (even if you are watching it from a relatively safe haven like Muskoka).

2) There is no guaranteed reward for righteousness. This is a big step forward from religious notions of a magically equivalent payback - Karma and the like; and a reason to get serious sooner rather than later, There are no reserved or VIP seats in the Elysian Fields and no reward-miles on the spiritual credit card - we must (all) get our thumbs out while there is still time. 
[A friend tells me that it does no good telling people like Rebecca "You blew it!" My friend is probably right, but for now it is the way I know - except to say "Nothing personal. Maybe you will learn from this and do better next time if there is one."]

Not enough publicity; no control of the AV equipment; no video record (that I know of) ...

That said - there is one very positive thing that can be said of the organizing committee: they may just all be church-goers and do it habitually, or maybe it was simply because of the low attendance - but - there were lots of greeters, and no shortage of opportunities for conversation with them. If they didn't all know what 350 represents, there was lots of room to explain. This 'greeting' is an essential activity and one that is often overlooked. Regardless of attendance, the vital results of any such event are the quality and strength of whatever relations are established. We are "l'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel" (Jacques et Raïssa Maritain).

A-and there was excellent coffee and lots of half&half if you like it creamy made by two women from Soul Sistas restaurant (thanks again - and who says soul sistas can't be white?).

There is a strong connection apparently with Transition Huntsville (and also here). 
FAO Food Price Index to March 2013.FAO numbers edging up at last:   The FAO Food Price Index is up a few points after a suspiciously long flat spot.

Two articles from John Vidal: How a warming world is a threat to our food supplies, and Millions face starvation as world warms.

Lester Brown is on the case: New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilizations, and as usual he has it nicely pinned. Unless we mobilize in a way equivalent to the American effort following Pearl Harbour we're done here. 
Uakti, Oiapok Xui.Uakti, Artur Andrés Ribeiro.Uakti, Décio Ramos.Uakti, Regina Amaral.Uakti, Josefina Cerqueira.Uakti, Paulo Sérgio Santos.Uakti, Marco Antônio Guimarães.Uakti:   Can you really criticise music? Does it work at all? Yes and no: everyone knows about what you mean when you say to someone who likes The Beatles, "I like the Stones," but exactly & precisely not so much. Here's an unrelated story on related issues.

It looks like Águas da Amazônia was the high point. I got curious about them (naturally). They've been at it a long time. Either you are an integrante/member or not, so it was unusually difficult to find the names and pictures of the two women involved (they are not 'members' apparently). They have moved on to Beatles renditions as a main effort recently - the Beatles are always big in Brasil - which I could not be bothered to listen to; before that it was 'Oiapok Xui' which is a slangy way of saying Oiapoque ao Chui/'sea to sea' so I listened, Forró de Larra (?!) ... forgettable. Maybe it's like writing in an invented language: Russel Hoban pulls it off in Riddley Walker but it often presents lame.

Philip Glass with Paulo Sérgio Santos.Philip Glass with Artur Andrés Ribeiro.Philip Glass with  Paulo Sérgio Santos & Artur Andrés Ribeiro.So then: the seminal moments between Uakti and Philip Glass must have been something to behold. Águas is so very strong.

These pictures come from Expo Guanajuato in Mexico taken by Sylvio Coutinho sometime (can't find a date anywhere, late 90s or early oughts I am guessing).

Some details on Wikipedia, and more on their own website (where the pictures are numerous but too small for me to see very well).                         Maybe try listening to this & this again. 
One way of looking at it is my compulsive (what passes for) honesty; that: a) I never learned how to play politely anyway; b) I am lazy and it is easier (especially as memories fade); c) playing it straight has some advantages when you are young and it can become a habit; d) every one says honesty is the best policy though they may not mean it; and e) it has become a tiny keyhole-full of light in the murk to believe that straight talk can make a difference. ... And f) I guess - just don't care much anymore.

"I seen pretty people disappear like smoke."

But what do you do when almost no one will talk to you anymore? When the conversations all dwindle to silence. What happens then painted bird? I guess I'll just have to go along and ... find out.

"I dreamed about you, baby. It was just the other night. Most of you was naked, ah but some of you was light. The sands of time were falling from your fingers and your thumb and you were waiting for the miracle, for the miracle to come." 
If my imagination moves towards beautiful young women it is not (only) because I am a dirty old man gentle reader. Mostly I am just old and harmless and these forays have led me (over the years since 2005) to a doorway and towards an anima I didn't know I had.

These photographs (I tried to buy rights but got no reply so some are watermarked) come from Araquém Alcântara via Terra:
Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá.In the lecture I posted the link to a while ago David Suzuki talks about a UN resolution proposed by Bhutan: "The purpose of government is not economic growth and more stuff. The purpose of government is to make sure that people are well and happy." The photographs of this girl look something like wellness and happiness (and security) to me.Araquém Alcântara, índia Carajá, modified by Zala.

And oh yes: the Internet does not know itself. This may be its largest and determining deficit. 
Walking along in the spring sunshine came to me Alzheimer's
'Vantage #11: as memory fades the continual mental background chatter fades too and experience becomes more sensual, or more immediately so at least: visual, auditory, olfactory, the delightful touch of the air (to the extent that the receptors still work).
Peanuts: What am I doing right?Peanuts: What am I doing right?Peanuts: What am I doing right?"I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet."

Here LISTEN! to this, turn up the volume, and keep in mind that it is called Águas da Amazônia - maybe it will move you.

Be well. 
Tom Toles: Fossil Fuel Subsidies.Theo Moudakis: Stephen Harper prefers Panda bears because they don't speak.Pascal: Canadian scientists muzzled.And a few cartoons that simply had to be here.

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