|Nicholas Roerich - Serpent of Wisdom (1924)|
They found alarming losses of big trees, ranging from 100 to 300 years old, at all latitudes in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, South America, Latin America and Australia ... The study showed that trees were not only dying en masse in forest fires, but were also perishing at 10 times the normal rate in non-fire years. The study said it appeared to be down to a combination of rapid climate change causing drought and high temperatures, as well as rampant logging and agricultural land clearing. Agence France Press, 12-6-12
The worst drought in half a century has brought water levels in the Mississippi close to historic lows and could shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks – unless Barack Obama takes extraordinary measures. Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, 12-14-12
A group of elephants near Timbuktu makes an epic journey each year in their quest for food and water. Researchers found that they travel across an area of 12,355 square miles (32,000 square kilometers) in the deserts of Mali, marking the largest known elephant range in the world. Live Science, 12-14-12
From Newtown to Darfur, from Sandy to Bopha; As 2012 Ebbs Away, Look to Solstice for a New Year, and Hopefully, a New Age; Look into Mirror for Leaders
By Richard Power
The life of 2012 ebbs away, and each of us, in our own way, prepares for the Solstice. I write this post to assure you that it will guide us into a new year, and yes, a new age (as inconceivable as that vision might seem at this moment). There is so much to say, and yet in a very real way there is so little to say.
Concerning the slaughter of twenty young children in Newtown, Connecticut, I refer you to the insights of Harvey Wasserman and Chauncey DeGraw:
The Second Amendment does NOT guarantee the right of any and all citizens to own any and all kinds of guns. It DEMANDS, in the name of national security, that we regulate it. NEVER let assertions of the so-called "sanctity" of the 2d Amendment bully you into thinking it guarantees unregulated weapon ownership. It does NOT. Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, 12-15-12
Per our national script, there are several questions which will go unanswered...just as they always do. As I wrote about in regards to James Holmes , the Batman movie killer, there will be no soul searching about why white men are committing these violent acts. In the present, mass shootings have been almost the exclusive province of white men. Chauncey DeGraw, AlterNet, 12-15-12
Of course, at this very moment, in all too many places on this planet, there are so many children suffering atrocities, and on such a large scale. And yet, these ongoing narratives, e.g., the slow motion genocide in Darfur, are largely ignored by Infotainmentstan and Beltwayistan, those twisted sisters who control "the horizontal and the vertical."
Camps have become free-fire zones, an epidemic of rape continues to plague women and girls, murders are common, and aerial bombardment of civilian targets has been relentless (see www.sudanbombing.org). Perhaps most tellingly, more than 1 million people have been newly displaced since UNAMID took up its mandate on January 1, 2008; and as has been the case since the beginning of conflict in Darfur, the greatest cause of displacement is violence. The scale of this new displacement has never been acknowledged by UNAMID, which prefers instead to celebrate the small-scale “returns” of displaced persons that are optimistically measured in the tens of thousands. And the engine of displacement—ethnically-targeted violence in camps and rural areas, rape, and land appropriation by Arab groups taking advantage of this displacement—continues to race. Radio Dabanga provides daily updates that find no place in the infrequent and disgracefully uninformed and unrevealing reports from UNAMID. Eric Reeves, 12-1-12
Meanwhile, every child on the planet is growing up into a world that will bear little if any resemblance to the planet which even their parents and grand parents inherited from the generations that preceded them. Because we are, in a very real way, stomping the world as we know it to death with our carbon footprint.
Profound spiritual illness and deep psychological dysfunction have allowed such ongoing narratives of horror to continue exacerbating and unaddressed, from the refuge camps of Africa to the schoolrooms of the affluent U.S.A., and from the devastation wrought by Sandy to the horror wrought by Bopha.
If you had told me twenty years ago, at that that first Rio Summit, that by 2012 global carbon emissions would have increased by around 50%, that 1 billion people in the world would be hungry, that fossil fuel subsidies would amount to $1 trillion a year, I would have been horrified. As Lord Stern states in his latest report, 'The overall pace of change is recklessly slow. We are acting as if change is too difficult and costly and delay is not a problem. The rigidity of the processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the behaviour of participants also hinder progress. And the vested interests remain powerful.' I was appalled by the lack of progress, and deeply disturbed by the powerful special interest being exerted in Doha. The fingerprints of corporate interest were all over the COP18 negotiations. As Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy, Union of Concerned Scientists said at the conclusion of the conference: "There were some winners here. The coal industry won here, the oil industry won here, you saw on display the power of these industries and their short term profit to influence the governments of the world. This wasn't an environmental summit it was a trade fair to see who would share the spoils as we drill in the Arctic, produce tar sand in Canada and mine coal in Indonesia for China..." Bianca Jagger, Common Dreams, 12-12-12
Sadly, if you are looking for leadership, don't waste precious time turning to the White House. Look in the mirror instead. POTUS will not lead on our toughest issues (I would be so happy to be proven wrong), but I have hope that he will follow IF a multitude rises up to lead the nation and the species to the threshold of a brighter future, and a new age. How many beings constitute a multitude? None of us can say what number will deliver the counter tipping point we so desperately need. But we can say with great certainty that each of us only has to count to ONE, i.e., ourselves.
Stand up for this new world, in your prayer, in your meditation, in your interactions with others, in your life-style (as much as is possible given your own circumstances), and in your attitude toward the rest of your life. That is all that is required of any of us.
And when you are in need of encouragement, listen to those voices who are already at the forefront of this assembling multitude.
Women knew that the real value of forests was not the timber from a dead tree, but the springs and streams, food for their cattle, and fuel for their hearths. The women declared that they would hug the trees, and the loggers would have to kill them before killing the trees. Vandana Shiva, AlterNet, 12-10-12
Each has a tough-love message for their own constituency — McKibben for an insular environmental movement that's been woefully ineffective on climate; Klein for a left, including many in the Occupy movement, that has failed to grapple with the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis. Look, they're saying, this is it: science tells us that time is running out, and everything you've ever fought for is on the line. Climate change has the ability to undo your historic victories and crush your present struggles. So it's time to come together, for real, and fight to preserve and extend what you care most about — which means engaging in the climate fight, really engaging, as if your life and your life's work, even life itself, depended on it. Because they do. Wes Stephenson, Boston Phoenix, 12-13-12
Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to 350.org for the answer.
Richard Power is the author of eight books, including Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in an Era of Global Peril, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. Power writes and speaks on spirituality, sustainability, human rights, and security. He blogs at http://words-of-power.blogspot.com and http://primalwordsofpower.blogspot.com, and is a member of the Truthout Board of Advisors. He also teaches yoga.