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    Good and Not So Good News November 2021

    Autumn is here!

    Good News:

    Local people in Namibia organized and stopped a dam from flooding their ancestral lands.

     

    Forests:

    Good News. Land protected as parks and reserves has increased four fold . And countries have pledged to protect 30% of their land from development.

    Native peoples coexist with and protect their forests.

    Forests turn light and combine it with carbon dioxide to make plants and earth, storing carbon. Intact forests store 7 times as much carbon as replanting forests. Endangered and rare species thrive in the ecosystems of intact forests.

     

    Bad news:

    10 % of intact forests were damaged in the last 16 years. And the rate of destroying old growth forests is increasing.

    The main threats are oil and gas, logging, road building, and mining.

    Link - NYT Article - Climate Change Glasgow Deforestation

     

    Insects Apocalypse:

    Insect populations are tumbling- down by 30 to 40 to 75 per cent. the rate of extinction is 10,000 times higher that it was before humans. Insects pollinate, decompose, and support most food chains. Neonicotinoids and other toxic pesticides wipe out insects. Solutions include: planting native plants and trees in yards, parks, and along roads ; and taxing or banning pesticides and fertilizers.

    Link - New Yorker - Where have all the insects gone?

     

     

     

    Climate Change:

    Actions Work to Stop Big Oil from Accelerating Climate Disasters.

    Protests, non-violent direct action, boycotts, sit-ins, divestment, rallies, Fridays for the Future rallies, marches, lawsuits (civil, criminal, on behalf of endangered species, of future generations, of cities, states and countries, of young people), Congressional hearings and street theater are fun and effective against oil, natural gas, fracking, coal, utility, and pipeline companies, plus their banks and politicians.

     

    Divestment of fossil fuel stock by colleges and pension funds; lawsuits on behalf of young people and future generations ; sit-ins, Fridays for the Future rallies; lawsuits by cities, states, and countries; Congressional hearings; and civil, criminal, and lawsuits over are all effective. RICO ( Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuits would make oil executives change their ways. RICO lawsuit grounds include: funding climate change denial PR campaigns while knowing that climate change was real and that they were causing it, misleading investors, bribery, fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and depriving citizens of the honest services of their representatives.

     

    There is also the "necessity" defense for breaking lesser laws in order to stop breaking a higher law. This was used by Katherine Gun, the British intelligence official who leaked papers showing that the US and NSA were bugging the offices of UN diplomats in order to pressure the UN ambassadors to vote for invading Iraq. This was while this invasion was considered illegal by the British attorney general, but Bush, Blair, and Cheney wanted a vote by the UN in favor of invasion. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and Blair knowingly lied, claiming Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

     

    Over 1800 climate lawsuits have been filed since 2015. Major wins have been in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02424-7 Reasons for the lawsuits are floods, landslides, fires, hurricanes, sea level rise, loss of livelihood, destruction of homes, destruction of ecosystems, killing endangered species, and oil companies funding disinformation PR campaigns, lobbying, and the bribing of politicians while oil companies knew that they were causing climate change. These PR campaigns put out carefully tested and crafted talking points for politicians and spokespersons to claim the climate change wasn't happening; or if it was happening, then it wasn't caused by humans' actions; or it it was caused by humans, it wasn't caused by oil companies; or if it was caused by oil companies, then there were no way to prevent it; or if there were ways to prevent it, then they were too expensive; or if there were inexpensive ways to prevent, then it would decrease jobs; or if it would not decrease jobs, then it would cost union jobs; and if it would not decrease union jobs, then it would harm lower income and minority people. They never mention that stopping oil company plans to burn oil, coal and gas would take away billions in profits from oil companies that oil companies spread amongst politicians, bankers, and lobbyists. but it would save trillions in the costs of climate disasters and public health costs. Of course, the curse is that lower income people, natives, and minorities are the most harmed by oil, coal, and gas production, pipelines, refineries, and by climate disasters!

    Colleges and cities have now committed to divest over over $6 trillion of stocks an bonds of fossil fuel companies.

    Link - New Yorker - The Divestment Movement is All Grown Up

    Link - GoFossilFree.org - What is Fossil Fuel Divestment?

     

    $40 trillion has been divested from oil, coal, and gas stocks. Cities, states, colleges, pension funds, endowment funds, and countries are divesting: Ireland, New York City, Quebec, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Los Angeles.  On the other hand, hedge and equity funds have invested $1 trillion into fossil fuels. There are battles to get teachers' pension funds in NY and CA and TIAA to divest.

    Link - New York Times - Climate Change Divestment

     

    Think Differently- Solutions: Go for sustainable, local economies- protecting rivers, mountains, animals, and involving community owned utilities, and the struggle of public employees against resource exploitation states like TX, KY, WV, and OK.

    Three books show that the focus on economic growth leads to domination, extraction, genocide, depredation, depletion, and climate chaos. One study  warns  that  abillion lpeople may be made into climate refugees for each additional degree of warming.  The spoils go to the 1 %, and everything is viewed as something to exploit. The oil companies want to be in charge of fixing the disaster they caused - they claim they can do carbon capture! Or they plan giant sunshades in space or gargantuan dust veils! They are full of follies. Nature and natives are something to be conquered. Right wing parties probably funded by oil companies stoke fears of immigrants, terrorists, Islamic people, black men, critical race theory, along with the real issues for oil companies: preventing regulations, lawsuits, windmills, and photovoltaic farms.

    Link - New Yorker - Our Planet is Heating Up

     

    How Election consultants use highly targeted ads and lies on social media such as FB to destroy their opponents

    This shows how Cambridge Analytica alumni political consulting companies use private detectives, smear campaigns, social media, bots, and individually  targeted posts, using cell phone data to tell which people went to a rally, a particular Catholic church, to other events, etc.- all to tailor political campaigns to control the narrative, and spread fake news that accuses opponents of outrageous stuff.  It also makes up humorous stories that are amusing and go viral that mock political opponents .  They did this to pass Brexit and to elect Trump. 

    https://www.dw.com/en/undercover-on-an-election-campaign-how-pr-professionals-manipulate-us/a-58648089Undercover on an Election Campaign - How PR Professionals Manipulate Us

    Just how unscrupulous are international PR agencies that work on election campaigns? Using a fake identity, investigative journalist Peter Kreysler infiltrates their inner workings.

    Book about Peter Thiel- Fresh Air Terri Gross

    link

    Terri Gross also had an interview with  Bloomberg reporter Chafkin's book about Peter Thiel who founded Palantir, which does data mining and works with using our past " locations on our phones" , "when we log into social media", "to identify our individual details, which are then sold to government agencies and corporations"

    Fresh Air For Sept. 21, 2021: Who Is Tech Billionaire And 'Contrarian' Peter "Thiel? 

    "data collection and analysis and software to manipulate the data,"

    "he's sold it to the military, intelligence agencies and increasingly private companies." "

    Good and Not so good News August 2021

    Autumn is coming! Here are some great links & information about what is going on in the world of environmental activism : Good News!

    Each of us must experience one of two pains- the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Which pain will you choose?” --John Harding, WildEarthGuardians.org
    Wild Earth Guardians works to stop coal, oil, fracking, and natural gas . Also, they protect wolves, wildlife, rivers and forests.

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    Good news- the removal of a dam led to the return of fish, wildlife, and an inspiration that has led to many other dams being removed.

    “The removal of the Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec River helped river conservationists reimagine what’s possible”, said Amy Souers Kober, communications director at American Rivers. “Dam removal also makes sense for economic reasons and public safety in a lot of cases.” That includes Bloede Dam on the Patapsco River in Maryland, where she says nine people have drowned. Efforts to remove the dam there began in September. There are also a number of big projects on the horizon, including on the Middle Fork Nooksack River, which Kober says is the number-one salmon-recovery project on the Puget Sound that conservationists hope will help struggling Southern Resident killer whales. All eyes are on the Klamath River as plans come together to remove four dams in 2021 in what would become the largest dam-removal and river-restoration project in the world. Dam-removal proponents don’t think we need to take out all of our dams, and of course we couldn’t. The United States has more than 90,000 dams, and many still serve crucial functions. But where dams have been removed, the past two decades have shown the environmental results are unparalleled. “There’s no faster or more effective way to bring a river back to life than taking out a dam,” says American Rivers’ Graber. “That’s why we focused on it for 20 years. It’s a win for environmental reasons, public safety and a relief from liability for dam owners. ”Ultimately, dam removals are much bigger than the dams themselves", says Kober. “Dam removals are really stories about people reclaiming their rivers. Those stories started with the Edwards Dam.”
    Source:  TheRevelator.org

    There is a bill now to remove 1000 more dams in the senate passed infrastructure bill.. It will also increase dam safety and add environmental protections to some hydro power dams. We also need to remove the 4 federal dams on the lower Snake river.
    Source:  AmericanRivers.org

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    The heat is unbearable! Support Natives, and activists, and other water protectors who protest against fracking, pipelines, LNG terminals, banks that fund fossil fuels, Big Oil, and politicians corrupted by Big Oil.
    Link:  Stop Line 3
    Link:  350.org
    Link:  Price of Oil
    Link:  Clean Energy Action
    Link:  Inside Climate News:  Line 3 Protests

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    Many Senate Republicans and some Democrats voted to for an amendment to continue to allow fracking for oil and natural gas- to prevent bans on fracking. Oil and gas and coal companies gave millions to the senators.
    Source:  DailyPoster.com
    "$10 billion for carbon capture, transport, and storage, along with $8 billion for hydrogen—with no stipulation that the energy used to produce it comes from clean sources. A new liquid natural gas plant in Alaska won billions in loan guarantees, while other waivers in the bill will weaken environmental reviews of new construction projects"
    Source:  CommonDreams.org

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    YES magazine has lots of articles on how people and the planet are happier when they have enough, instead of having a lot.  Instead of competing to have a lot, working with others and having less is healthier.
    Article:  Yes Magazine

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    NYT wrote recently that 2 studies showed at diet with flavonoids in strawberries, raw spinach, winter squash, and brusells sprouts  help prevent dementia. Also, apple juice,  onions, and grapes help to a lesser extent.
    Source:  NYT “Fruits an Vegetables and Brain Health” by Bakalar

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    I wrote the following to my congressman, Rep Joe Neguse, asking him to change his forest cutting bill:

    "Please oppose your forest thinning plan!  Your  legislation, the Joe Neguse Landscape Restoration Partnership Act, is misguided.  Recent articles in the Science News show that large trees every year take alot of co2 out of the atmosphere and store it in their layers of cambium and xylem.  It is stupid to cut down the big old trees that provide shade, and hold the soil in place, and resist fire, along with taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere.   It reads like giving the timber cos. and forest service a boondoggle."

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    Article:  Boulder Weekly:  Misguided Forest Policy

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    Keeping Forests
    JULY 28, 2021
    Mature trees add more tissue each year - more than planting lots of small, new trees.
    To achieve the all-important goal of cutting global emissions, saving the natural forests already in the ground must be a priority, “Protect existing forests first,” That priority also gives the planet’s magnificent biodiversity a better chance at survivingarticles on keep the trees we have.
    Source:  ScienceNews.org - Planting Trees
    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/planting-trees-protect-forests-climate-change

    Food crops and trees can work together. Also fence off areas from cattle so the land can recover.
    Article:  ScienceNews.org - Trees and Biodiversity

    Caring for Trees that We Plant:  We need to better plan and care for the tress being planted, so they survive. Not just plant a lot, and abandon them. You need buy-in from and benefits for local communities, so they will water and care for them.
    Article:  ScienceNews.org - Planting Trees and Climate Change
    Article - ScienceNews.org - Tasking Trees With Averting Climate Crisis

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    Great Book about how trees cooperate -
    Finding the Mother Tree, Suzanne Simard
    Link - The Guardian - Finding the Mother Tree
    "Here's Suzanne Simard's 2016 TED talk about forest communication and cooperation. For me, this 17-minute talk provided an engaging framework for the sometimes detailed and repetitive information in her book about carbon and nutrition pathways among fungal networks linking tree species."
    Link:  Ted Talks - Suzanne Simard
     "I've been told Suzanne (Simard) was the inspiration for the forest ecologist in ( Richard Power's) (novel) The Overstory. Her true life story, while divergent, is just as riveting. She's one of my heroes, and I think The Mother Tree is one of the most important books of this century."  wrote a great ecologist Steve Jones, who teaches birding and leads hikes and surveys for wildlife : birds, dragonflies, owls,....
    About the mother tree book:
    GoodReads.com
    ScienceNews.com
    Erin explains about the connection between the Overstory and this book:
    "Richard Powers explains that the character Patricia in The Overstory is a composite based largely on Simard as well as Diana Beresford-Kroeger. "
    Link - Conjunctions.com - Richard Powers

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    Trees Foundation is a great organization that works to restore forests and rivers, and to stop the CA dept of forestry from cutting down forests. They save salmon, and work with Native American tribes to restore and protect forests and rivers and salmon: TreesFoundation
    They have partner groups: Link and a newsletter: Link

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    I have started the new sci fi book, The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley. It shows people coming together to stop Big Oil and the banks from continuing to cause climate change. Activists, students, and normal people use protest, direct action, lawsuits, experiments, and scientific research to stop it.
    Link:  The Guardian - The Ministry for the Future
    Link:  Rolling Stone - The Ministry for the Future

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    EXXON lobbyist explains that EXXON has bought Congress by spending $115 million on lobbying, plus more in campaign contributions. This way they block progressive bills that would limit their drilling, fracking, and selling of oil and natural gas. EXXON spent a lot on Joe Manchin (WV), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jon Tester (MT), Maggie Hassan (NH), Mark Kelly (AZ), and Chris Coons (DE) .
    Link - GreenPeace - Quotes from the EXXON Tapes
    “In 2020, the oil, gas, and coal industry spent more than $115 million lobbying Congress in defense of fossil fuel subsidies; currently, the industry receives $15 billion of our tax dollars in direct federal subsidies every year. All told, that amounts to a return on investment of over 13,000% for these corporations annually. “

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    Monopolies increase their lobbying and prevent regulation, so we need anti-trust laws that prevent and break up monopolies, instead of just letting them happen under the excuse of lower prices for the consumer. "Casts doubt on pure regulatory solutions that do not reduce concentration, since more lobbying can mitigate regulatory action or even turn regulatory choices into mechanisms to protect entrenched incumbents,"..  "corporate concentration and antidemocratic political influence go hand in hand."
    The author looks at oil and gas, big pharma, and social media (FB, Amazon, MS, Google,....)- these eliminate their competitors then concentrate on lobbying and campaign contributions.
    Link: CommonDreams - Corporate Lobbying

     


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    “Forgotten oil and gas wells linger, leaking toxic chemicals” 7-30-21, They leak into drinking water, groundwater, water for ranches rivers and homes. They release methane a greenhouse gas and benzene, a carcinogen. They have exploded. The companies often go bankrupt or sell off the well to some other company that goes bankrupt to avoid having to pay to plug their inactive wells. And the plugs are unplugging themselves, polluting! Existing wells don't pay enough in bonds to cover having to clean up and plug a well. It is all a scam, with oil companies dumping the responsibility to clean up wells onto the states and the federal govt.
    Link:  APNews - Joe Biden Business, Health, Environment, Nature

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    Stanley Aronowitz, a writer and labor organizer, has died – He said we need an organized left, that we need mass struggle to turn around capitalism, that he organized against the vietnam war, for unions, to deal with questions of power, and for civil rights.

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    I like recent book on the Covid epidemic called the The Premonition by Michael Lewis- He interviews some enthusiastic public health activists who pioneered in figuring out how badly it was spreading in the US and in China; how using masks, social distancing, contact tracing, isolating super spreaders, and creating green , yellow, and red local zones based on the number of new cases to determine whether there was a need to close businesses and schools depending on how much infection was occurring in different settings. They figured out stuff on the backs of envelopes and wrote and gave speeches and sneakily wrote policy for the CDC, Governors, and the president who all didn't want to do anything controversial, such as shutting down schools or businesses. They take the approach, if the worst that could happen were to happen, what would I wish in the future that I had done now. They also believed in getting their hands dirty, directly treating patients, listening to patients, etc. they figured out how to trace the disease spread thru looking at mutations as it spread from one person to another. They invented with volunteer grad students and researchers at UCSF a quick free test that gave results in hours plus allowed them to track the spread- but no hospitals or prisons or health care insurance cos. or anyone would use it because the hospitals and prisons had long term contracts with testing labs that had tests that were worthless for determining how fast the virus was spreading– (the labs with the contracts took 10 or 14 days to get results).
    Link:  CBS News:  Michael Lewis - Premonition
    Link:  3mhsinsideangle.com
    Link:  GoodReads - The Premonition
    Link:  The Guardian - The Premonition
    Link:  NY Times - Review - The Premonition

    Share the Earth,

    Jim Morris