Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Perfect Moral Storm: [III]

("O Futuro que preparam na Rio+20 vai nos levar ao abismo." / 'The future they are preparing at Rio+20 will lead us to the abyss.' Leonardo Boff.)
Up, Down, Clues, One More. 
[Ha ha ha! That's funny - Chapter 11 Section VII Conclusion is not the end of the book at all :-) Thus adding a touch of versimilitude to the story.]
Contents: Justice, K-k-k-Canada, Kant, Three heroines, Lame, Ad Hominem. 
Justice:   [What looks good on a lawyer? Two dobermans.]

The only legitimate, believable, plausible (what you will) ... let's say 'positive' note (I have seen) coming out of Rio+20 is this, from the Guardian: Why the supreme courts can make Rio+20 a success.

There is an IISD bulletin on the lawyer's meeting: Highlights for Wednesday, 20 June 2012; and here (as a pdf): UNEP World Congress Bulletin Volume 203, Number 1, Friday, 22 June 2012 'A Summary Report of the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability'; and the document coming out of it is here (.pdf): 'Rio+20 Declaration on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability'.

World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability participants.The spin the Guardian puts on it is more optimistic than anything I get from reading the 'declaration' itself. A bunch of lawyers in suits (and one woman not in a suit), and a table full of lilies is what I see. ... And I wonder what 'IVS' stands for? (I think I know this building, down beside Praça 15; there is a group of statues there I think, larger-than-life bronze people in chains and blindfolds.)

Dan Wasserman: Show me the money!The notion that the legal system can do something in this impossible situation is current - you hear of it now and then. It is also good to be reminded that there are more supreme courts in the world than the one in the U.S. (which seems to be securely in the pockets of the status quo).

And the preamble to their three (somewhat lame & self-serving) declarations shows clearly that they do not have their heads in the sand - given the eminent positions they occupy in their respective societies this is good, this is more than might have been expected.

The use of the term 'non-regressive' could be important (a lawyer friend tells me). Here is the term Non Regression Principle more-or-less defined.

Pitter patter, let's get at 'er boys and girls - because this Rule of Law you ultimately depend upon might be an early casualty of the climate wars if you don't.

Ecocide: (essential to have at least a minimal grasp of International law and Rome Statute I thinks - and no, there is nothing about ecocide in the lawyer's Rio declaration)

When this ecocide notion came on the scene a few years ago I just thought, "Oh fuck! Another leftard splinter & vegepap issue," and filed it away with aroma therapy. And anyway, everyone hates lawyers. Then last week the Guardian Pollyanna (mentioned above) softened me up a trifle. Now Gywnne Dyer is on about it - and as he sometimes does (except on the subjects of nuclear power & geoengineering), he seems to make sense. His pre-Rio rant, Rio+20 and mass extinction, on June 8 left me cold - I put it down to depression & despair.

But his 'after' last Sunday caught me, firmly: Rio+20: Vengeance Too Long Delayed, June 24.

Being a sucker for symmetry - with a black hole in my brain around the Holocaust ... so. And resonating (as old men do, old women to no doubt) with Dyer's hints of aging and mortality ... double so. And knowing how water level determines the shapes of islands and promontories - when you drain the bath and find unexpected landscapes emerging, knees and toes, washrags, sunken toys - so the erosion of any vestigial hope that humans will get their collective thumbs out does reveal whatever is left standing, or even lying down in low relief. ... triple so, trifecta!

Ecocide: There is no economy on a dead planet.Louise Kulbicki from Eradicating Ecocide in Canada was there in Rio and Mangaratiba. She reveals (in this article: Insight into decision-making at Rio and here) that UNEP/DELC (United Nations Environment Programme Division of Environmental Law and Conventions) is every bit as permanently constipated as the rest of the UN. You can get a look at (and a listen to) Louise here (and maybe she is not from the Canadian wing after all, can't say).

Polly Higgins is unfortunately not quite convincing to me (very close but no cigar); watch these two videos and determine for yourself: here (11 minutes), and here (17 minutes).

And I am led (to go instead) looking for details of Richard Posner's hubris quibble (mentioned in Ole Pedersen's review of 'A Perfect Moral Storm').

I have a feeling I'll be back. A few links that may be useful:

Eradicating Ecocide (international I guess), and Eradicating Ecocide in Canada.


Polly Higgins' website; and her books: Eradicating Ecocide: Laws and Governance to Stop the Destruction of the Planet, 2010; and, Earth is our Business, (possibly 2012 - How can the publisher, Shepheard-Walwyn, not type in the year of publication?); and a review of Earth is our Business in the Guardian.


A recent article by Lachie McKenzie, 'Can Lawyers Save the Planet?': here and here.


Toxic Canada.
         Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being help'd, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act IV, Scene 2.
In the same way that Richard Nixon was exactly the epitome of the America he led; so Stephen Harper is Canada.

He did not get to be Prime Minister by accident (whatever you may say about our first-past-the-post electoral system). He and the style and content of his government are more-or-less what most Canadians want.

What will the streets of Canadian cities look like when the shit hits the fan? It might not be as pretty as that same 'most Canadians' assumes and expects.

Following along on Steve Gardiner's inventory of easily characterised and ethically analysable situations I had a look at a Mexican Standoff, and came across this: Canadian standoff (a situation where the parties are overly polite and unwilling to let themselves gain at another's expense). Another way to consider it might be as the passive-aggressive aspect of the psychology of the un-dead. (Please see if you can't slide the word 'pathological' into that sentence somehow.) And keep in mind that this Canadian standoff is a total sham - a thrice-inverted inversion; what it is really is nothing more than "pettiness that plays so rough".

Bottom line that afternoon was to fetch up on the memory of a late-80's movie, Miracle Mile (downloadable at isoHunt - though probably not for long). Here's a little (30 second) clip for y'all: Just your basic old fashioned girl (unrelated to any point or other - except that Mare Winningham is not Canadian).

[I was surprised to find that one of my children actually read as far as "What to do? (be warned up front gentle reader - I have no idea)," in the last post. Imagine! I think she was disappointed that I didn't know what to do. Who would have thought she still believed in me to that extent?
     In fact, I do have two ideas (suitable for tiny gray text):
     1. Vote with your feet and leave Canada, emigrate - Brasil, Denmark & the Falkland Islands are places I have considered, also Botswana. Not all peoples in the world are as fundamentally constipated (that is, having a big fat knot in their 0'th chakra) & terminally complacent as k-k-Canadians.
     2. Establish a primary residence in some city if you need to do that, but also provide yourself with a place as far off the beaten track as feasible - somewhere to settle when the bottom falls out. Make it humble and unostentatious - but entirely self sufficient. Maintain solid relations with any neighbours (but reserved - don't lie, dissemble). Keep (well hidden) guns there.
     If I still had the resources to accomplish it I would be there now and you and yours could come and visit ... or stay. Oh well.]
A veritable blizzard of misinformation from IISD & ECO (ECO maybe not quite so much). It's all "wasted words, proof to warn".

Peter Peter pumpkin eater.Peter Peter pumpkin eater,
Had the Earth and wouldn't keep her!
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he let her go to hell!

While IISD just reports (so sweetly): "Peter Kent, Minister of Environment, Canada, outlined his country’s continuing support to the Rio Conventions. Noting the world has changed significantly since 1992, he urged all stakeholders to overcome binary divisions and focus instead on actions that will make the biggest difference."

It feels like it needs a second verse, ending: "Oh! What a good boy am I!" 
Different strokes for different folks:

Snagging a fingernail in a silk stocking. Who even remembers silk?

'At university' one naturally takes up Kant - resounding categorical constructs an' all. Indeed, I remember winning an argument (with a Dutchman yet!) about not shooting obvious rapists carrying weapons as they smash through your families' front door - about not even providing yourself with the means to shoot them.

Of course who knew a damned thing about Kant? Not me; beyond some connection with the Golden Rule (but not quite, according to Kant himself - and that should have been a clue gentle reader). Precious hippies! Didn't know anything about rapists (still don't); didn't have any children ...

So Gardiner's bringing it up (on p380 & 382) ... resonated. The first hit slowed me right down, but the second one stopped me in my tracks. He says, "Now, most people do not find Kant's position compelling in this case. But we should be wary of simply rejecting it out of hand." (A lesson here for authors perhaps.) A snag! A hitch! And then, oh sweet Denial! (is a river in Egypt).

If you want to follow this trajectory, these may help: Immanuel Kant and his categorical imperative; Benjamin Constant (and the other Benjamin Constant, because I lived for a few years on a street of that name in Rio Grande); and finally the argument - On a Supposed Right to Tell Lies from Benevolent Motives, 1785 (had a serious carrot up his arse did that Kant fellow).

This respect of Gardiner's for other points of view is not exaggerated, it is neither a pose nor a put-on. If Juliet's nurse were describing him she might say, "—why, he's a man of wax." (and have it right this time). 
Three of my heroines:
Tuíra Kayapó.
Tuíra Kayapó & Aloysio Guapindaia of Funai.Tuíra Kayapó & Erwin Kräutler with friends.Tuíra Kayapó.
Someone once explained to me that a man I admired had both feet firmly in his culture (while I had each of my four or five rather unsteadily in a different one, none of them mine).

Tuíra ... reminds me of someone I used to know. We could sure use more like her.
Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 1964.Aung San Suu Kyi, 1965.Aung San Suu Kyi, 1995.Aung San Suu Kyi, in Oslo 2012.Aung San Suu Kyi, in Oslo 2012.Aung San Suu Kyi gets a degree.
You can watch and listen to Aung San Suu Kyi's speech in Oslo on June 16 (she speaks from about minute 9:30 to 37:00 and the slider sorta works); and there is a transcript here.

She does spout the standard nonsense bumph around economic growth, "... promote social, political and economic growth that is balanced and sustainable," but she may not have really thought about it.

What comes across consistently though is a (Buddhist?) perspective focussed upon the quotidian, the ordinary; small virtues: kindness, gladness (implicit though she does not use the word).

Bunny Greenhouse.
Bunnatine Greenhouse, 2005.Bunnatine Greenhouse, 2005.Bunnatine Greenhouse, 2005.
"She hadde passed many a straunge strem; ... Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye."

I was not quite finished with Halliburton when she came on the scene. Here is a blog post from that time.

Bittersweet.Though the writing was on the wall when I heard the envy in the voices of KBR up-and-comers around Ken Lay - as we regarded the Enron towers from our window and chatted.

You can watch and listen to her in this video on C-Span. It is 2+ hours but sometimes the slider works - she comes in at about 33 minutes.

I was unaware that she had had a sort of victory until I read this a few days ago: A bittersweet win for a federal whistleblower in the Washington Post, July 26, 2011. 
Our lame ...

Think about this if you will: Japan, population 128 million; 10's of thousands demonstrating every day for a week recently over re-starting the nuclear plants - let's say 30,000 once or 1 in 4,500; 7.5 million signatures on a petition or 1 in 17. Canada, 35 million; 1,500 at rally in Ottawa last year or 1 in 23,000. USA: 314 million; 8,000 circle the White House over TransCanada's Keystone or 1 in 40,000. And the point is that it looking very much like the nuclear plants will re-open, and Keystone (and Gateway) will be built.

Tell me I'm crazy - I really do not mind at all, such an opinion would even be helpful, kind ... B-but folks ... This 'letters & petitions & demonstrations' thing ain't doin' it!

But what destroyed such a complex society? / Foot on fragment of Rio+20 Declaration.But what destroyed such a complex society? / Foot on fragment of Rio+20 Declaration.

Leonardo Boff is reported saying, "O Futuro que preparam na Rio+20 vai nos levar ao abismo." / The future they are preparing at Rio+20 will lead us to the abyss; and on their 'declaration', “É um documento materialista e miserável” / It is a materialist and miserable document.

I like Leonardo Boff. I used to practice my Português translating his editorials in the Jornal do Brasil. So I went looking for the source - never quite found it, long story; but here is some of what I did find:
An article from 2011: The Illusion of a Green Economy, and the (I imagine) original, A ilusão de uma economia verde, November 17 2011 (there is a language bar at the top of the People's Summit site - who looked?);

Leonardo Boff.And this by Evelyn Araripe on his speech at the Cupula dos Povos on June 18th at Aterro do Flamengo: Leonardo Boff critica ONU durante lançamento da Carta da Terra;

And some videos of it (though the audio is not great): Part 1 & Part 2 (25 minutes altogether in Portuguese); and another here (20 minutes in Spanish).
I like David Suzuki too, even when he uses phrases like "It's almost a cliché ..." (when it really is cliché) in his recent hand-wringing exercise: The fundamental failure of environmentalism in May. And his comment on Rio+20? "blah blah blah blah".

Both Leonardo Boff and David Suzuki know what is going on; and they both know how to say it, get it across. So do these young women:
          Severn Suzuki in Rio, 1992,
          Christina Ora in Copenhagen, 2009,
          Anjali Appadurai in Durban, 2011, and,
          Severn Suzuki, Rio again in 2012.

She says, "Our hope is love. ... We must ... leverage the love ..."
(Leverage the love!? [¿] Say wha?)
I'm sorry darlin'; I think I love as much as the next person but this ... doesn't wash. 
Ad Hominem: Steve Gardiner & 'A Perfect Moral Storm':

[Having completed the first reading there will now be a (possibly extended) hiatus; so this seems like a good place to try to say something ... conclusive.]

This one-sided (but more-or-less uncompelled & linear at least) conversation with books is as much about the reader and the author as it is about any information which may or may not be conveyed. And I've already said more than enough about the reader in this case - must be a boomer thing.

The author, Stephen Mark Gardiner, plays it straight. Does it get any better than that? Yeah I guess - because he knows his stuff, is earnest with both skill and substance, neither manipulates nor proselytizes nor wrings his hands ... All I can do is pour it on ...

Except for that one incongrous bit: The Fairy Tale in Chapter 5; (and, truth be told, a few minor hiccups noted marginally for review on the second pass).

Stephen Gardiner.Stephen Gardiner.Stephen Gardiner.Stephen Gardiner.

He does look a bit like Ralph Nader in that first picture eh?

My only real quibble is with his 2020-2050 timeline, and no footnote. I've read as much of the science as he has (I think) and 2015 looks like the do-or-die drop-dead date to me. Maybe that will get clearer the second time through. Maybe it is a function of age (biology) and inertia and resulting horizons - anyway it's a guess, on both our parts.

One sentence, stumbled into by mistake, accident, "In my view, prominent among these is the task of bearing witness to serious wrongs even when there is little hope of change," made all the difference, like a glance from across the room (see Juliet's nurse below). That's it really.

There is despair (which I am even beginning to enjoy in a way, if only for bragging on the stamina & sense of humour I inherited from my father), and then there is guilt (which I am well used to). I already have toilet paper and a refrigerator, an electric stove ... gave up the car and air flights, red meat and poultry (except very occasionally) ... air-conditioning ... none of which washes either.

And a window.

(I would give up smoking but it's sort of a security blanket, or insurance, or something ...)

Be well.

1. Xingu+23: Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (MXVPS) / Xingu live forever movement

Eu defendo ...Tuíra Kayapó & José Antonio Muniz Lopes, 1989.A bit of history (in English yet): It was at the First Encounter of the Indigenous Nations of the Xingu (Encontro das Nações Indígenas do Xingu), the 1989 'Altamira Gathering', that Tuíra Kayapó cursed Eletronorte' honcho José Antonio Muniz Lopes.

Give the man credit - it doesn't look like he flinched.

I do not and will not celebrate +20 or +40 or +50 years of pricey but useless UN gum-flapping - but I sure do celebrate this! With all my heart. What a woman! Que este espírito viva para sempre, sim!

And Look at the pictures below (if you click on them you will see them larger). Anyone who has ever dug such a ditch through compacted gravel will know that the energy expended here was VERY substantial.
Nos Não Queremos Belo Monte! / We Dont' Want Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!Pare Belo Monte! / Stop Belo Monte!
You can visit MXVPS - O Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (MXVPS) / Xingu live forever movement, and read the Declaração final do Xingu+23 (with English translation).
Eu defendo ...Xingu+23.At a bus stop in Belém.At a bus stop in Belém.Xingu+23: Occupy! This River is OURS!

This interview with Erwin Kräutler by Eliane Brum in Época is good; and finally, a tune by Gilberto Gil: Um Sonho / 'A Dream' (with English subtitles). 
2. Solstice: June 20 23:09

I sat in the park, hoping that the people who celebrated solstice there last year might turn up again. They didn't. At one point a young man I recognized from the adjacent library came out and was picking up trash, so I spoke to him (imagining that he was doing something above-and-beyond). He wasn't. Picking up trash around the library and cleaning the public toilets inside is part of his job description.

So then I had to think of the young woman working in the library who recently commented on a book I was borrowing, "That's a heavy one eh?" Not a comment I expected from a librarian (but because they so rarely speak to me at all I am thankful and smile at her now whenever I see her there).

Next thing I was recognizing (and not for the first time): that although I have been visiting this library at least once a week for more than four years; and although I regularly praise the library staff and the Toronto Public Library in general for being 'the only thing that works in Toronto' (to their faces); and having offered them a crisp red 50 for their Christmas party one year (which was refused); and having supported them in the recent labour dispute with letters and emails to all and sundry; that in spite of all of this I do not know even the first name of a single person who works there.
(!) Uh oh.
The half-dozen times I have tried to start a conversation with one of them on this subject have been unsuccessful - they are too busy to chat.

Soon I was humming Lennie Cone, "And you're weak and you're harmless, and you're sleeping in your harness, and the wind's going wild in the trees, and it ain't exactly prison but you'll never be forgiven for whatever you've done with the keys."

So ... Margaret Atwood (who is old enough to know better and actually hob-nobbed with Northrop Frye back in the day), and Bob&Rob Ford, and Sid Ryan (the nincompoop), Maureen O’Reilly & the whole of CUPE Local 4948 ... you have all got this stick by the wrong end, and ... I am done with you.

Blame it on too much 'lesser evil' meditation too close to the solstice.

Oh tell me honey, what will I do            
When I am hungry and thirsty too?     
Feelin' foolish and that's for sure,         
Just waitin' here at your kitchen door.
[He may not mean 'I don't care' exactly - maybe it is some kind of ... acceptance.]

[Eddie died last year, asbestosis. No one told me - no problem, eventually it came up. I have exactly one picture of him and that's it.] 
One More Clue:

[It was Roger Scruton who turned me on to glances. (Sexual Desire 1986)]

Juliet's nurse!

Perhaps it was more than a silly mistake that led to 11/VII instead of the really last chapter; a fortuitous accident and 'for the best'. Superstitious correspondences are necessary to set the stage - it must always be framed 'as if', even when what it is is 'is'. (If wishes were horses beggars would ride.) A glance then. More than just a pretty face.

We had to read The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in high-school, grade 9 or 10; and then they took us to Stratford (Ontar[i-ar]io) to see it. Though it was not as useful as it might have been since we knew so little about anything, nothing in fact, or as close to nothing as they could engineer and still have us walk and talk. At least when Zeffirelli's film came out in '68 the language was not so ... strange. Luhrmann's 1996 version is good too (we were all grown up by then, we thought).

Best is to revisit the text itself - and not on the Internet, in a book you hold in your hot little hands - avoid Zeffirelli playing fast and loose with Paris' death and so on ...

Zeffirelli's nurse was played by Pat Heywood, about 35 at the time. (She seems to be gat-toothed but she is not.)

There is a download at demonoid (beware!) for as long as it lasts.

The nurse's scenes:
       Context firmly in the fundament: 1/3
       Essential purveyor of 'data':
              At the party: 1/5
              In the square: 2/4
              In the orchard: 2/5
       Betrayal 1: 3/2
       Messenger: 3/3
       Betrayal 2: 3/5
       A psychopomp crow ('Nothing is revealed.'): 4/5.

She says one or two things which I have never forgot: "He that can lay hold of her shall have the chinks." (1/5), and, "I'm none of his flirt-gills; I'm none of his skains-mates." (2/4) in particular.

"I dare no longer stay," says the priest (5/3). Got that right.

Coming away with one positive vision: the amazing bed! Superior in many ways to The Great Bed of Ware. I can't find a picture of it anywhere - but I have it in mind.

[The 'Go to' button is working again! These guys are like butterflies; or moths more like it.] 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Perfect Moral Storm: [II]

(They wept like anything to see such quantities of sand.)
Up, Down, Clues. 
[AHA! Naming anchors in the HTML of this blog worked in Firefox but not in IE. Reason: the <A tag cannot be empty in IE. Solution: put an &nbsp; in the anchor like this <A NAME="xxx">&nbsp;</A> - introducing a redundant and annoying line-feed but otherwise Like a charm!   :-)]

Contents: Explanation, Book-keeping The UN, Reality Check What to do?, Clues.

... and shed a bitter tear.

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

[From The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll.] 
What this is:

This ... is a blow-by-blow of an encounter with a book - nothing more. The first instalment was a few weeks ago (here). I have still not finished reading the book (being now somewhat past the mid-point) so there may be more.

An indulgence then, along the lines of some evangelical magazine I remember seeing on someone's shelf entitled 'What to do until the saviour comes.' (or some such bosh).

The section on the UN is an attempt to do something useful in response (beyond finding typos). 
Book-keeping: (pardon the pun)

It turns out that Oxford University Press is in the US now, as well as the UK. And their catalogues are different, check this out: The Mirror of the Gods is on the US site but not the UK site at all (?) What's that about?

'A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change' is up at Google Books (some pages omitted); you can find the preface, a short excerpt from Chapter 5: A Fairy Tale, and final conclusion; and himself.

     What is the rational response? by Malcolm Bull, May 2012.
     Reviewed by Holmes Rolston III, July 2011.
     Reviewed by Ole Pedersen, May 2012.
     Saving the world - Dashwood style by Steve Yearley, July 2011.
     The Page 99 Test (by himself) June 2011.
     Reviewed (p44ff) by Andrew Winters, May 2012.
     Reviewed (briefly) by Megan Blomfield, no date.
     Reviewed by Karmen Marguč, 2011 (locked).
     Reviewed by Robin Whitlock, October 2011.

Background: (the 2006 essay)

A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption, and a summary by Joshua Kurdys from 2009 (of about the same length as the original).

Still looking for a copy of Climate Ethics: Essential Readings by Steve Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson, and Henry Shue, August 2010; and for an essay titled 'are we deadbeats?' or something like that ...

Small mysteries resolved: (and not)

Steve Gardiner's remarkable accent is explained in Steve Yearley's review; and the 'M' is for Mark.

Malcolm Bull.Malcolm Bull's cattiness is still only a surmise but ... I wonder if he had a bad reaction to 'The Fairy Tale' (see here). Is he a boomer? (They can be touchy and that would explain it but he doesn't seem to be.) In any event the fact that he simply doesn't get it is entirely evidenced in the title of his review. And yet he is an Oxford lecturer in art and apparently a serious writer (?)

One way or the other Bull is misled (mīsl'd); but this little parable, 'The Fairy Tale', could be an unexpected entrée I thinks, into the relatively well-concealed emotional side of our Steve. Completely different from all that comes before it. When I have finished the book (to be able to say 'and all that comes after') there may be more about it.

"Aha!" (looking at the Table of Contents some weeks ago) "Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, something to look forward to." Then I watched this video 'Climate Change and Intergenerational Equity and Ethics' from the Three Degrees Conference at the University of Washington School of Law in May of 2009. Instead of using the text he shows video clips. Not strictly speaking literary then; films as well, and this is not a bad thing; his discussion of Sense and Sensibility in the book does focus on the text (and he has read lots more of Austen) - but something is off. He calls Austen's treatment 'subtle' (?); seems to mistake "and for many days successively, and he did not repent," for solidity (?); and then there is the limp in the gitalong of his little allegorical parable already mentioned ... fits, begins to fit ... (and there is a strange use of 'presumably' near the top of p335.) 
The UN: (Not!)

1962: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.


1968: Economic and Social Council resolution 1346 (XLV) recommends 'a conference'.


   -: General Assembly resolution 2398 (XXIII) 'convenes' the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.


1972: United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm establishes United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


1973: science of CFCs understood, published 1974.


1978: the United States bans nonessential use of CFCs.


1985: Vienna Conference 'Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer' (led by the US and at second-hand by UNEP).


1987: 'Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer'.


1988: General Assembly resolution 44/228 convenes the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development aka 'Rio Conference' & 'Earth Summit'.


1992: Montreal Protocol strengthened - see The Evolution of Policy Responses to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion by Peter Morisette (1989); and The Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol: Report and Reflection, Ian Rowlands (1993).


   -: [Sadly, using the Montreal Protocol as a shining example of global cooperation doesn't quite wash. Like herding cats, nailing a blob of mercury, sweeping water &etc. the situation is profoundly problematic. Some general background on refrigeration is useful (the 'traditional' gas is now consisdered to be CFCs - when I was a boy it was ammonia); and this recent spread in the NYT gives some perspective as well.]


1995: COP 1, Berlin - COP is Conference of the Parties signing on to the UNFCCC Framework Climate Convention.


1996: COP 2, Geneva.


1997: (March, August & October) Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)/Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in Bonn; &


   -: (December) COP 3, Kyoto - Kyoto Protocol 'adopted' (to come into force in 2005).


1998: (June & November) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn; &


   -: COP 4, Buenos Aires.


1999: (June) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn; &


   -: (October/November) COP 5, Bonn.


2000: (June & August) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn & Lyon; &


   -: COP 6, The Hague.


2001: (June) COP 6 continued in Bonn; &


   -: (November) COP 7, Marrakech.


2002: (June) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn; &


   -: (October/November) COP 8, New Delhi.


2003: (June) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn; &


   -: (December) COP 9, Milan.


2004: (December) COP 10, Buenos Aires.


2005: (May) SBI/SBSTA in Bonn; &


   -: (December) COP 11/MOP 1, Montreal - MOP is Meeting of the Parties signed on to Kyoto.


2006: (May) SBI/SBSTA/Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in Bonn; &


   -: (November) COP 12/MOP 2, Nairobi.


2007: (May) SBI/SBSTA/AWG-KP in Bonn; &


   -: (December) COP 13/MOP 3, Bali - Yvo de Boer weeps.


2008: (April, June & August) AWG-KP/Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA)/SBI/SBSTA/AWG-LCA in Bangkok, Bonn & Accra; &


   -: (December) COP 14/MOP 4, Poznań.


2009: (April, June, August, September/October, November) SBI/SBSTA/AWG-KP/AWG-LCA in Bonn, Bangkok & Barcelona; &


   -: (December) COP 15/MOP 5, Copenhagen - Yvo de Boer weeps again, quits soon after.


2010: (April, May/June, August, October) SBI/SBSTA/AWG-KP/AWG-LCA in Bonn & Tianjin; &


2011 Oil consumption per capita.   -: (December) COP 16/MOP 6, Cancún.


2011: (April, June, October) SBI/SBSTA/AWG-KP/AWG-LCA in Bangkok, Bonn & Panama City; &


   -: (November/December) COP 17/MOP 7, Durban; &


   -: Canada officially withdraws from Kyoto.


2012 Participation in Kyoto Protocol.2012: UNCSD PREPCOM I - 17-19 May 2010, New York; First Intersessional Meeting - 10-11 January 2011, New York; UNCSD PREPCOM II - 7-8 March 2011, New York; numerous Regional and Sub-Regional meetings here and there (always somewhere exotic); Second Intersessional Meeting - 15-16 December 2011, New York; Initial Discussions of the Zero Draft - 25-27 January 2012, New York; First “Informal Informal” Consultations and Third Intersessional Meeting - 19-27 March 2012, New York; Stockholm+40 - 23-25 April 2012, Stockholm; Second “Informal Informal” Consultations - 23 April to 4 May 2012, New York; Third “Informal Informal” Consultations - 29 May to 2 June 2012, New York; PrepCom III - 13-15 June, Rio de Janeiro; &


   -: (June) Rio+20; &


   -: (May/June) SBI/SBSTA/AWG-KP/AWG-LCA in Bonn; &


   -: COP 18/MOP 8, Qatar.


So, the cluster-fuck grows like Topsy (no disrespect intended to Topsy), fifty years squandered ... blah blah blah ... nice work if you can get it I guess.

['2011 Oil consumption per capita' from BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012; '2012 Participation in Kyoto Protocol' from Wikipedia. Comparing these statistics 'begs a question' as they say.]
Getting the news: (good from far but far from good)

One doesn't want to look, wants to boycott the thing with the only vector available - stifling of interest - but this is very hard to actually do, moth to the flame and all that. So then, how to cut through the mass media nonsense to get a shape of what is happening? The UNFCCC and UNCSD put it all out there, including videos & webcasts but all becomes too much, becomes a full-time job since it is not very well organized - more like a blizzard. So one turns to the green politicians (who have flown over to wherever it is natürlich), to their blogs and so on - for the likes of this: "There’s a sense of awe, wonder and exhaustion in the air. There’s a lot of work ahead to bring all this together. But if humanity can agree on this much here, it give me profound hope.[sic]" (Adriana Mugnatto on Cancun.)

There are pros and semi-pros too - examples of naïve viewpoints from the well-embedded on the Durban outcome:
IISD: "After the frustrations at the Copenhagen conference and the struggle to rescue the multilateral climate regime in Cancun, negotiators in Durban turned a corner and not only resuscitated the Kyoto Protocol but, in doing so, adopted a decision that will lead to negotiations on a more inclusive 21st century climate regime. There was a strong sense that elements of the Durban package, guided by a need to fulfill long overdue commitments that go back to the Bali Roadmap, restored sufficient momentum for a new negotiation process, one that will continue to witness a ..." Tuesday, 13 December 2011.

ECO: "Durban was a critical turning point for the future of the climate regime. While it resulted in what negotiators called a delicate balance, it left much for the Parties to do afterwards, in particular the need to tackle the glaring gap in reducing global emissions and providing climate finance. ECO was relieved that after hard fought battles, a sense of responsibility and leadership prevailed in Durban. Parties were willing to set aside their hardline positions in the interest of reaching an agreement ..." Friday, 25 May 2012.
It is only years later, when someone like Steve Gardiner lays it out plain that you can even feel hesitantly, tentatively, justified in mooting, more-or-less privately, such an outlandish opinion as, "This is utter nonsense!".

[And whispering quietly, like Pynchon's Slothrop, "Fuck you."]

Rio Earth Summit & Rio+20:
Maurice Strong, 2012 in Rio.Maurice Strong 2010.Maurice Strong 2000.Maurice Strong 1972.
Two editorials from Nature (twenty years apart, somewhat more sublime nonsense): Two successful weeks at Rio, 8 June 1992; and, Back to Earth, 7 June 2012.

Some of what is said on the web about Maurice Strong is so scurrilous you have to laugh. He fucked up? Well, we all fucked up, didn't we eh?

There is a leaked draft of the Rio+20 outcome floating around on the web (a horrible copy at Scribd is the ony one with a decent link: The Future We Want, June 2 draft - you have to get the .pdf downloaded somehow and then use the (priceless) Adobe 'Find' feature to look for 'Canada' - quite a bit of jiggery-pokery and reading, but Canada's objectives become clearer with the exercise - scumdog shit heads! (Oops, sorry, getting 'negative' again.)

Here, try making sense of this gobbledegook:
In the January draft there is this:
126. We support the eventual phase out of market distorting and environmentally harmful subsidies that impede the transition to sustainable development, including those on fossil fuels, agriculture and fisheries, with safeguards to protect vulnerable groups.

In the leaked draft it seems to have become:
Energy 6. We [recognize / stress - New Zealand; Russian Federation delete / call for –EU; Russian Federation delete] [the need – EU delete; New Zealand retain] [for -New Zealand] [to consider, as appropriate, - Switzerland, New Zealand, EU delete; Canada, Russian Federation retain] [reforms –New Zealand / measures - Russian Federation] that [would – Switzerland, New Zealand] lead[s – Switzerland, New Zealand] to the rationalisation and phasing out over the medium term of environmentally or economically harmful [fossil fuel –US] [energy - New Zealand, Australia, Russian Federation] subsidies[, including [energy subsidies such as for - New Zealand, Australia delete] [inefficient - Australia] fossil fuels [subsidies - New Zealand, Australia], that inhibit sustainable development, - US, Russian Federation delete] [taking fully into account the specific conditions and different levels of development of individual countries, and – Switzerland, New Zealand delete] in a manner that [takes into account specific conditions, - Switzerland, New Zealand] protects the poor and eases the transition for the affected vulnerable communities. [G77 delete entire paragraph; Norway retain]
Next paragraph is on 'Sustainable tourism', go figgure. 
Canada's Reality Check: (k-k-k-Canada!)

Jim Prentice, Robert Slater, David McLaughlin.Robert Slater.Robert Slater.David McLaughlin.David McLaughlin in 2000.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) is on the budget block which adds a certain poignancy to their: Reality Check: The State of Climate Progress in Canada (with a link there to download the report).

Tbe NRTEE Vice-Chair, Robert Slater (also an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Policy at Carleton University), and President and CEO, David McLaughlin, are ex-Deputy Ministers & ex- Assistant Deputy Ministers in various ex-Governments &etc. - on a political career path by the looks of it.

I have not read every line of this report, so if you want to dismiss what I have to say on that basis then please, fill yer boots!

The more I look at their first graph ... (keeping in mind that the first graph is about all most people - among the very few who take an interest at all - will look at in a 180 page report)
NRT Reality Check Target Trends - Original.NRT Reality Check Target Trends - Not Original.
... so I played around with it a bit - added red targets (from numbers in the report itself), added 2010 emissions and 1011-12 estimates from Environment Canada: Canada’s Emissions Levels from 2008 to 2012 (from May 2011 but still ...) and the impression is quite different.

The original is incomplete and subtly misleading: at first glance the big round black spots with numbers look like targets, but they are perfectly upon the blue line so they can't be (?); the 'Turning the Corner' text makes it seem as if ... a corner has been turned (?) which it certainly has not; an arrow buried in the last target as if it could be hit.

What truely mystifies me is why, when they have already been shown the door, the authors and their masters still seem to be pandering to the Conservative playbook: that there is some remote possibility that the thing can be turned around in this way; that 2020 is a reasonable place to start ... and so on. It could have been a perfect opportunity to stand up - I guess there are other appointments coming down the trough for them.

Table 1: Canada’s changing targets.The table of numbers I used is at the right.

It is also disheartening to see them waving the economic growth banner so unself-consciously: "... struggled to find the right formula that reduces GHG emissions within their jurisdiction while maintaining - indeed advancing - economic growth." Do they not see by now that continued growth on a finite planet is dooming every civilization on it? Most unsettling is their caveat, "Similarly it is important to note what the report is not ..." (though they don't quite say); and the absence in Kent's instructions of any reason for pursuing reductions in GHG emissions in the first place.

How one evaluates a policy, without making the least reference to the ultimate objective of that policy, or the possibility that the policy will achieve the objective, is something I simply do not understand.

Even a footnote on the 607Mt 2020 target saying, "This ambition, if fairly extended globally, is NOT sufficient to provide a reasonable probabilility of keeping average global temperature rise to 2°C, would have been ... kind. (Not that temperature is the only effect either - acid oceans, loss of species & relationships, poverty, wealth ... all of it; '2°C' is just quick to say.)

Instead their bottom line is polite, bureaucratic, milquetoast blancmange: "We recommend that advances in future Canadian climate policy meet three tests: they should be collaborative, coherent, and considered. We call it 3C." (Do they mean 3°C then? Is that it?)

But 'test' - there's that word again.

Steve Gardiner's global test is a much better one: A "... global test for social and political institutions and theories: if either does not respect the claim that failure to address a serious global threat is a criticism of it, and a potentially fatal one, then it is inadequate and must be rejected. [A perfect Moral Storm p 217-18] The sentence carries no fewer than three footnotes - might be worth looking up and reading for yourself.

The report uses the phrase "a hard reality' only once, but it is enough to remind me of Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men shouting, "The truth?! You can't HANDLE the truth!"

This Reality Check is ... not. In the case of the specific institution responsible for the report there has indeed been a recent rejection; I think it was made on other grounds, but from what I can see NRTEE fails the test described by Gardiner as well. 
What to do? (speaking as an oyster y'unnerstan' ...)

There don't seem to be many adults left in the room. The fail-safe trump is played at any hint of judgement or 'negativity' - Pollyanna-ism, the ideology of positive thinking, no distinctions made, no humanity understood (no compassion), no prisoners taken. Too many who can't spell (and don't care), and can't read (and don't notice).

There could be such a thing as Leonard Cohen's "mighty judgement coming," no doubt; but there is also finding your child in a puddle with mud running into her diaper and helping her get sorted onto very slightly higher ground. (Still musing on The Fairy Tale.)

Still an' all it's mostly shades of The Emperor's New Clothes around here. I have no idea what to do gentle reader. "Keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew," is about the best of it.

 :-)Like my colleague at Swedish Meatballs Confidential I find that a little T&A helps, palliative porn placebo. For medicinal purposes only though, eh?

Walrus & Carpenter, Mervyn Peake.

"... and the only sound that’s left, after the ambulances go ..."

Be well.

Miguel Pereira municipality & region.1. Not sure if this maybe isn't a clue (?) coming on the heels of witnessing an annual miracle the Guardian presents me with Brazil's blueprint for reforestation.

(I had to doctor the map a bit: Icaraí & Queimados didn't show up properly at that scale, and they had to be there.)

Something less than a 'blueprint' in fact ... the nut seems to be that the Instituto Terra de Preservação Ambiental (iTPA) "é uma organização privada, sem fins lucrativos" / is a private non-profit organization. Not government (though they apparently take some money from it), not the UN; ~200,000 acres so far (and not a eucalyptus plantation either). Also a story about a very specific father & son, Calico & Maurício Ruiz. So not a blueprint, no, not a recipe.

Miguel Pereira? Never heard of it, but ... yup: there it is on Wikipedia; at their own website (click the 'História' tab); on Google Maps.

This landscape is familiar. I know these places. Oh sure, the Guardian may just be trying to help save face for Rio+20 - but yeah, 90% of Brasilians (despite being 50%+ illiterate) are well-informed and care about the environment (somewhere in the old blog I think I clipped a Jornal do Brasil headline on the subject (if Google were any good at searching I could find it in a snap).

Ilha de Marajó, the mouth of the Amazon.And more recently, fossicking about in this cumbersome Internet book around the Código Florestal, here ... Vila do Pesqueiro, Ilha de Marajó, just across the river from Belém (that only took 15 minutes to find), somewhere appeared a good map (another half-hour) yeah, there it is from the University of Texas International Map of the World 1:1,000,000, with a clickable index and all - SA 22 Para ... and I think sometimes, "Just grab the last of the cash and go there."

Not gonna happen though. Stumped by having read Handful of Dust at too early an age, or having taken it up so securely into the back cupboards, or something ...

"Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
2. Who are these people? Really?!

For quite some time it's been authors, a veritable constellation of them: Simon Critchley, Andrew Weaver, Peter Sale, Steve Gardiner, Peter Victor, Tim Jackson (Chimamanda Adichie, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Arundhati Roy) ... and before that: Thomas Pynchon, Northrop Frye, Charles Taylor (Hannah Arendt) ... I read (and re-read) their books, try to see what they look like, hear what they sound like ... but often (too often, and this is uncomfortable to say) I wonder ... (Bob Dylan too I guess)

There seems to be a clue in Ole Pedersen's review of A Perfect Moral Storm, near the end; he says:
Elsewhere, Richard Posner alerts us to the argument that lawyers are often guilty of ‘lawyers’ hubris’, thinking that lawyers are somehow better placed at making important decisions and balance competing values (Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy 2003). There is a similar line of thought in Gardiner’s argument (albeit in the form of political philosophers’ hubris) that an enterprise of clarificatory political and moral philosophy will be particularly advantageous.
This is not exactly what I wonder about - but it is sorta getting there ... Two years after Northrop Frye's Helen dies in 1984, he marries another (this is not being critical, this is wonderment), and not so long before he dies himself in 1991. He's not the only one - I knew another United Church minister who did about the same - maybe it is no more than a small current in that particular cultural zone.

That is not what I meant at all. ... I picked up something of what Pederson is referring to in Gardiner's book - a certain exclusivity, speaking to those who know the language and accept certain of its structures implicitly in a certain mode (thus making certain questions ridiculous, un-askable).

Seems to be getting into Parzival territory. (?) 
3. Tensegrity almost languishes ... but not quite:

It was a struggle to get more struts made but they are finally arrived (made by a lad whose birth I remember). In the meantime the elastics have deteriorated to the point that some of the models are falling apart ('falling' is not quite the correct term in this case :-). And in the meantime the energy has ... dissipated, lost inertia, embers.

I wish I knew for certain ... If rubber bands ever lasted any longer? (But memory is suspect.) If something has changed in the latex formulation? If it is the tobacco smoke? (But I always smoked. Is there something new in the cigarettes?) Is it a leak of some kind from the refrigerator? Did a previous tenant leave a strong alpha/gamma emitter hidden somewhere? What?

I know that getting AutoCad and learning to use it will be an order of magnitude more distracting, but the stainless steel laser-cutting machine needs such drawings; and anyway, calculating the metrics needs a computer model. All there is here is Paint:

Tensegrity bents.Tensegrity bents.
Love knot negentropy - endorphins leaping up the waterfall on shiny springs. Maybe something will change with the solstice. 
4. Riding the streetcar:

On the 506 over to the UofT bookstore to pick up A Perfect Moral Storm, a long ride, a sunny day; humming Caetano's Terra inside somewhere and thinking of writing one of those 'tiny texts', along the lines of David Gaffney's flash-fiction, micro-fiction - one hundred and fifty words or less; an ultra-short essay (maybe 200 words on one side of one piece of 8½" x 11" paper):

'Is it possible to have a sexual relationship with a planet?'

Listening to two middle-aged asian women in front of me gabble away ... until I begin to think I am understanding something of the story they are telling (just from the inflections).

The driver is not using his (more-or-less friendly) bell - he is on the big horn, again and again. A skinny old man is intermittently talking out loud - baseball stats from some past in which the number 62 recurrs; no one hears and no one takes the seat beside him; but when he gets off the driver says, "Take care." 
5. ¡Ya basta! Neanderthals in Northern Spain (Cro-Magnon antecedents y'unnerstan'), Basque country ~40,000 years ago.

Stencils in El Castillo cave, Spain.Eu defendo ...The pigment is blown somehow (the scientists surmise) - done with the mouth then, and breath, pneuma, spiritus.

You got the silver. You got the gold.       
You got the diamonds, from the mine.   
Well that's all right, it'll buy some time.

[Ah, there is balance in the universe and it ends as it began. No way get to generic anymore (it was possible until June 15). So if you are in Canada (according to your IP address) you now see exactly what Google wants Canadians to see. Sorta something the way things work in ... China.]