[permaculture] ecogeddon, something to think about

Diane Frances diane.frances at verizon.net
Tue Oct 24 17:26:30 EDT 2017


Persist! This is a very rural area of central NY, small towns surrounded by 
family farms in NE Delaware County. We are just regular folk doing the work 
I sent along. There is an active Transition group here, recently installed 2 
electric car chargers, runs Repair Café events and just did a screening of 
Tomorrow. Side by side with Roundup-ready corn fed dairy. We're about 3 
hours from NYC and smack in the middle of the NYC watershed so it is a very 
diverse community in seemingly constant transition - 7+generation families 
and transplants from all over the world figuring out how to be in community 
together. Even agriculture is transitioning - from traditional dairy to 
grass fed beef, artisanal cheese, lots of organic - thanks to being in the 
watershed we have a natural if sometimes challenging connection to people 
and markets who are helping to shape the transition to more organic, more 
renewables. It is a slow and sometimes contentious and often frustrating 
process yet through gatherings such as our monthly community soup supper 
Soup's On! we are building bridges, understanding, trust. Hang in there 
Carolyn, it's worth it! You are in the "slow and steady wins the race phase" 
which requires patience and persistence, and regular activities that mark 
out and celebrate progress so people remain connected and committed when it 
seems like no progress is being made. There is always progress; every 
conversation moves the ball forward in ways you can't always see in the 
moment. Trust and keep going! d

-----Original Message----- 
From: Carolyn Anderson
Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 1:46 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] ecogeddon, something to think about

Dear Diane,
this is such a beautiful thing!  How big is this community? Are there
organized activist groups involved?  I started the WNC Renewables Coalition
here in Asheville now comprising about 18 previously siloed environmental
groups working toward 100% renewable energy here in Asheville.   We're very
young and still growing and learning about how to support each other;
hoping to plan a group action/event/something for the spring that will
empower our voice. Something like that tends to bring in new people and
energize those who have dropped out.

I'll admit that patience is not my best virtue. I'm a woman of action.  If
something needs doing, I roll up my sleeves and get it done. It's hard for
me to just allow the time folks need to understand and face the realities
of the urgency of our work.  Last spring I took on leadership of the
Indivisible Environment team, and it was on fire originally.  People
flooded to our actions and events.  Now it's hard to even get them to come
to the lovely, inspiring, uplifting film "Tomorrow" (I recommend it for
your group as a cozy activity for a chilly fall gathering.).  I will try
harder to be patient, and to reach out gently, and to share good news (I do
do that) whenever it comes through.

Thanks for your kind guidance.  And still I persist.....

Carolyn

On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 12:35 PM, Diane Frances <diane.frances at verizon.net>
wrote:

> Try to be patient Carol (yes I know how urgent it really is but it takes
> time for each person to understand and digest the enormity of what is
> happening, and then be able to actually face it and then be able to
> overcome all the separateness of decades of living in American culture and
> begin to work together). What you are doing is beautiful, important, and
> happening in communities all across the globe. List serves like this one
> help us learn what others are doing, share ideas, slowly build the 
> movement
> you are craving. We all need to keep at it, encourage each other, link
> together. The main stream press doesn't often cover this good work so we
> need to find channels for sharing and connecting - I use Facebook a lot.
> Attached is something a group of us is working on in the Western Catskills
> of NY, there are others who held a women's march and have created projects
> and teams nearby, good things and good connections are happening. It is
> essential to accept what people can give, even if it is less that what you
> wish, and to be encouraging and to be hopeful. We each respond to pressure
> in different ways but it mostly takes the form of retreat. Try your best 
> to
> be inviting, inclusive, to work with the few who are self-energized to
> attract those who respond best when asked to come along and to help. Most
> people like to help - ask them to help and you will be amazed what shows 
> up.
>
> -----Original Message----- From: Carolyn Anderson
> Sent: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 9:52 AM
> To: permaculture
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] ecogeddon, something to think about
>
>
> I lead, and am part of, several environmental activist groups in Asheville
> NC. The.people who were intensely passionate about making change last
> Spring when we organized the Women's March and the Climate March, and we
> grew in number by 20 fold, have had so many gut punches since ast then,
> that they have mostly retreated to their comfortable lives, bolted the 
> door
> to news such as this and no longer even come to meetings.
>
> I feel the need for decisive and dramatic action to reverse this death
> spiral we're on, but am at a loss as to how to re-inspire the passion they
> felt last Spring.
>
> There are small things happening.locally, but I can't get them to throw 
> off
> the covers and leap out of bed into any actions beyond that. Does anyone
> else experience this? If so, can you share ideas for inspiring action
> that.would "go viral" and start a worlwlde movement? Our 'Save the Bees'
> group is down to about 6 people. Nothing will come of that. We need 60
> million people to make a lot of noise and make dramatic demands. Any help
> or suggestions for actio in this group could be really important for
> getting something like that started. I can organize if we have
> something.to
> organize around.
>
> Thanks,
> Carolyn Anderson
>
> On Oct 24, 2017 4:09 AM, "Lawrence London" <lfljvenaura at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [saw less than 25 bees so far this 2017] [put Bayer and Monsanto out of
>> business]
>> Insectageddon - monbiot.com <http://www.monbiot.com>
>> ------------------------------
>>
>> Insectageddon <http://www.monbiot.com/2017/10/23/insectageddon/>
>>
>> Posted: 23 Oct 2017 04:25 AM PDT
>>
>> The scale and speed of environmental collapse is beyond imagination.
>>
>> By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 20th October 2017
>>
>> Which of these would you name as the world’s most pressing environmental
>> issue? Climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss, plastic waste or
>> urban
>> expansion? My answer is none of the above. Almost incredibly, I believe
>> that climate breakdown takes third place, behind two issues that receive
>> only a fraction of the attention.
>>
>> This is not to downgrade the danger presented by global heating – on the
>> contrary, it presents an existential threat. It is simply that I have 
>> come
>> to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impacts 
>> that
>> they push even this great predicament into third place.
>>
>> One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now 
>> causing
>> systemic ecological collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life
>> from the land
>> <https://theconversation.com/how-changing-your-diet-could-
>> save-animals-from-extinction-81061>
>> by farming.
>>
>> And perhaps not only non-human life. According to the UN Food and
>> Agriculture Organisation, at current rates of soil loss
>> <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/25/
>> treating-soil-like-dirt-fatal-mistake-human-life>,
>> driven largely by poor farming practice, we have just 60 years of 
>> harvests
>> left
>> <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-
>> farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/>.
>> And this is before the Global Land Outlook report
>> <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/12/third-
>> of-earths-soil-acutely-degraded-due-to-agriculture-study>,
>> published in September, found that productivity is already declining on
>> 20%
>> of the world’s cropland.
>>
>> The impact on wildlife of changes in farming practice (and the expansion
>> of
>> the farmed area) is so rapid and severe that it is hard to get your head
>> round the scale of what is happening. A study published this week
>> <http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809
>> >
>> in the journal Plos One reveals that flying insects surveyed on nature
>> reserves in Germany have declined by 76% in 27 years. The most likely
>> cause
>> <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/
>> warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers>
>> of this Insectageddon is that the land surrounding those reserves has
>> become hostile to them: the volume of pesticides and the destruction of
>> habitat have turned farmland into a wildlife desert.
>>
>> It is remarkable that we need to rely on a study in Germany to see what 
>> is
>> likely to have been happening worldwide: long-term surveys of this kind
>> simply do not exist elsewhere. This failure reflects distorted priorities
>> in the funding of science. There is no end of grants for research on how
>> to
>> kill insects, but hardly any money for discovering what the impacts of
>> this
>> killing might be. Instead, the work has been left – as in the German case
>>>> to recordings by amateur naturalists.
>>
>> But anyone of my generation (ie in the second bloom of youth) can see and
>> feel the change. We remember the “moth snowstorm” that filled the
>> headlight
>> beams of our parents’ cars on summer nights (memorialised in Michael
>> McCarthy’s lovely book of that name
>> <https://www.hodder.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781444792775>). Every
>> year I collected dozens of species of caterpillars and watched them grow
>> and pupate and hatch. This year I tried to find some caterpillars for my
>> children to raise. I spent the whole summer looking and, aside from the
>> cabbage whites on our broccoli plants, found nothing in the wild but one
>> garden tiger larva. Yes, one caterpillar in one year. I could scarcely
>> believe what I was seeing – or rather, not seeing.
>>
>> Insects, of course, are critical to the survival of the rest of the 
>> living
>> world. Knowing what we now know, there is nothing surprising about the
>> calamitous
>> decline of insect-eating birds <http://www.ace-eco.org/vol5/iss2/art1/>.
>> Those flying insects – not just bees and hoverflies but species of many
>> different families – are the pollinators without which a vast tract of 
>> the
>> plant kingdom, both wild and cultivated, cannot survive. The wonders of
>> the
>> living planet are vanishing before our eyes.
>>
>> Well, I hear you say, we have to feed the world. Yes, but not this way. 
>> As
>> a
>> UN report published in March explained
>> <http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/34/48>, the notion
>> that pesticide use is essential for feeding a growing population is a
>> myth.
>> A recent study in Nature Plants
>> <http://www.nature.com/articles/nplants20178> reveals that most farms
>> would
>> increase production if they cut their use of pesticides. A study in the
>> journal Arthropod-Plant Interactions
>> <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11829-017-9527-3> shows that
>> the more neonicotinoid pesticides were used to treat rapeseed crops, the
>> more their yield declines. Why? Because the pesticides harm or kill the
>> pollinators on which the crop depends.
>>
>> Farmers and governments have been comprehensively conned by the global
>> pesticide industry. It has ensured its products should not be properly
>> regulated or even, in real-world conditions, properly assessed
>> <http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6357/1232.full>. A massive
>> media
>> onslaught by this industry has bamboozled us all about its utility and 
>> its
>> impacts on the health of both human beings and the natural world.
>>
>> The profits of these companies depend on ecocide. Do we allow them to 
>> hold
>> the world to ransom, or do we acknowledge that the survival of the living
>> world is more important than returns to their shareholders? At the 
>> moment,
>> shareholder value comes first. And it will count for nothing when we have
>> lost the living systems on which our survival depends.
>>
>> To save ourselves and the rest of the living world, here’s what we need 
>> to
>> do:
>>
>> 1. We need a global treaty to regulate pesticides, and put the
>> manufacturers back in their box.
>>
>> 2. We need environmental impact assessments for the farming and fishing
>> industries. It is amazing that, while these sectors present the greatest
>> threats to the living world, they are, uniquely in many nations, not
>> subject to such oversight.
>>
>> 3. We need firm rules based on the outcomes of these assessments, 
>> obliging
>> those who use the land to protect and restore the ecosystems on which we
>> all depend.
>>
>> 4. We need to reduce the amount of land used by farming, while sustaining
>> the production of food. The most obvious way is greatly to reduce our use
>> of livestock
>> <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/04/
>> livestock-farming-artificial-meat-industry-animals>:
>> many of the crops we grow and all of the grazing land we use are deployed
>> to feed them. One study in Britain
>> <http://www.thelandmagazine.org.uk/sites/default/files/
>> can_britain_feed_itself.pdf>
>> suggests that, if we stopped using animal products, everyone in Britain
>> could be fed on just 3m of our 18.5m hectares of current farmland (or on
>> 7m
>> hectares if all our farming were organic). This would allow us to create
>> huge wildlife and soil refuges: an investment against a terrifying 
>> future.
>>
>> 5. We should stop using land that should be growing food for people to
>> grow maize
>> for biogas
>> <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/
>> 2014/mar/14/uk-ban-maize-biogas>
>> and fuel for cars.
>>
>> Then, at least, nature and people would have some respite from the global
>> onslaught. And, I hope, a chance of getting through the century.
>>
>> www.monbiot.com
>>
>>
>> --
>> Lawrence F. London, Jr.
>> lfljvenaura at gmail.com
>> Avant Geared
>> avantgeard at gmail.com
>> <lfljvenaura at gmail.com>https://sites.google.com/site/avantgeared
>> https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Avantgeared
>> Avant: culturally or stylistically advanced Geared: one outfitted with
>> proper gear
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-- 
Carolyn Anderson Design
828-803-2941
cschampagne at gmail.com
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