SoCS: Ecocide

It’s the first Stream of Consciousness Saturday and continuing on with Just Jot it January.

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “eco.” Find a word that starts with “eco” or has “eco” in it, and base your post on that word. Have fun!

I chose the word ‘ecocide’. It means the destruction of the natural environment (by human agency). With all the news about global warming- or climate change- lately, of course I’ve been thinking of it.

It’s always been in the back of my mind ever since I first became aware of it when I was just a little kid. Maybe 3rd-4th grade? Back then, the official scientific consensus was that we’d all be frozen into icebergs by now. They’ve changed their minds to the ‘global warming’ scenario now.

There has always been some debate between the optimists- who think human ingenuity will be able to solve all the problems brought upon ourselves by our insistence on breeding to the point of total destruction of the planet, and pessimists (like me) who think we will not.

It’s 40+ years later and I am still listening to the same basic arguments. The only difference is: now it’s global warming instead of global cooling. Or climate change to cover all the bases.

And, just to say it now… I am not a ‘climate change denier’. Of course the climate changes . It always has, it always will. I’m even willing to say that mankind most probably has had something to do with it. My problem with the ongoing debates at the moment has to do with the proposed solutions to the problems.

Of course, the ecocide has only progressed over those 40+ years. More pollution, more clear cutting, more soil erosion, more pollution in the air helping cause climate change, more ocean acidification, more habitat destruction for farms and houses, loss of biodiversity, and on and on and on.

Our leaders want to convince all of us to give up our high standard of living (which we get through the use of things like oil, chemicals, etc.), and bring about a ‘carbon neutral’ economy. Or even to reduce our use of energy so that we can ‘save the planet’.

I’m not totally sure what to say about that. I think there’s a much better solution than what ‘our leaders’ have come up with.

Of course I don’t want to see the destruction of planet Earth (even if I would love to see us out there exploring space and making ourselves a backup plan). I would love to see each and every person on this planet have the ability to live a good life!

Not one mired in poverty. Not one where they have to struggle every single day just to scrape up the bare necessities to exist, but a good life. One where they can work at what they enjoy, where they have plenty to eat and drink, one where they have time to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

I also want to see a planet where every other living thing has the ability to live without the threat of humanity’s greed destroying the habitat needed for survival. I want to see a planet with plenty of free space for nature. Room for all the plants, animals and humans to enjoy the natural world.

Not just for the fact that it’s healthy and good for people to be out in nature, not just for the possibility of all the things we’ve not yet discovered in the natural world that will help us live better, not just for the fact that the Earth is a cohesive, interconnected organism and we have no idea what we’re screwing up beyond repair with our human activities, but also because it’s morally, spiritually and even economically wrong to destroy so much of the world around us.

Why? Because we are so greedy.

I am NOT using that word in the way most people would. I see nothing wrong with people trying to live the best lives they possibly can. My issue is with the fact that so many people choose to have so many children (or don’t even consider not having them). Birth control? WTF? It’s like their only purpose in life is to breed. 😦

I’m scolded for being a ‘selfish American’. One who was lucky enough to be born in the USA and so afforded a higher standard of living than most people around the world. I’m very lucky I don’t have to work my ass off for $1-2/day like so many do. But, where you’re born is mostly a matter of luck. I know I personally had nothing to do with where I was born!

What I ask people who ‘dis’ me for my ‘selfishness’ is: “and how many children do you have?” (or plan to have)?

Consider. Even if you only have one child, that child may chose to have only one, or they may have dozens. And each of those children may chose to have one, or dozens more. You have absolutely NO control over anyone but yourself in this matter.

And so, by my choosing to never have any children, I have already done more than my share in ‘saving the world’. I will spend the rest of my life being ‘selfish’ and enjoying the things I’ve earned the right to enjoy.

Don’t tell me not to use my air conditioner, or my car, or anything else! No, you don’t have a right to say diddly-squat about it until YOU stop having kids!

My solution to the problem of ‘climate change’ (and all the other problems) is to simply stop having so many kids!

Not forcibly, like China, but voluntarily. Spend some of the resources going on about global warming on convincing women around the world on the benefits of only having 1-2 children. Start promoting THAT as a way to save the planet instead of trying to convince everyone to give up on their hopes to live a decent life!

The optimists insist we can put up everyone on Earth in Alaska! That may be true, I don’t know. I do know that I don’t want to live in a world where 7 billion + people are living in Alaska! I do know that I don’t want to live in a world where we continue to commit ecocide simply so that we can fill it up with more and more people.

I can’t even understand WHY so many people think that’s the way to go. It saddens me, that we have so much beauty in this world and we are throwing it away. Why? Because we need to fill up the world with another few billion people? Why?

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Heart of the Sea: 2

I’m not sure how long this blog is going to be here. I’ve having huge problems since I moved. Please check out my new blog www.captainjillsjourneys.com where you’ll see all of my stuff!

I took a little break and went to the movies yesterday. I’ve been wanting to see the movie “In the Heart of the Sea” since I first saw the commercials for it a couple of months ago.

I’d read the book (by Nathaniel Philbrick) a couple of years ago. I LOVED it. It’s a fantastic sea story (which I always love).The movie tells the story of the Nantucket whale ship “Essex”.

“In the Heart of the Sea” showcased adventure, suspense and even horror mixed in with the wonderful depictions of the sailing ship and life on the sea 100 years ago. Then there was the whole Moby Dick thing. The whaling and the incredible idea that there might be a whale out for vengeance!

I admit, I don’t remember much about the book ‘Moby Dick‘. Yeah, we all read it in high school. I had no idea it was based on a true story. I don’t remember being all that impressed with the book. I’m pretty sure the ending was not the same as in this movie, (if it had been I’m sure I would have remembered it better)! Like a lot of those ‘classics’ we had to read in high school, I remember thinking “what the hell’s so great about this book?”.

They did a good job with the film. It wasn’t as good as Philbricks’ book (movies almost never are). Still, it was good.

It started right off by following the Chief Mate, Owen Chase (played by Chris Hemsworth), leaving his pregnant wife behind and heading into town for his next assignment. He’d been promised a captains position on his next voyage and was pretty ticked off when he found out he got screwed out of it in a case of ‘office politics’. I hadn’t realized they were even doing that way back then. 😉

Captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) gets the job instead, simply because he comes from an old time, respectable family.

This creates a situation on board between the Master and Mate where they are constantly butting heads and is NOT good for the ship (it never is)! The tension between the 2 characters is evident throughout the entire movie. They could have done more to show the interaction with the rest of the crew, but the focus was on these 2 men (and the whale).

The movie, directed by Ron Howard, uses the story device in which Herman Melville (working on his book Moby Dick) is interviewing Thomas Nickerson, who went to sea as a young boy on that disastrous voyage. Nickerson is ashamed by what he did to survive and has never spoken to anyone about it. It’s been eating him up inside. His wife finally convinces him to speak to Melville in exchange for much needed funds.

It works as a way to tell the story. You can still see the effects the incident had on Nickerson, even all these years later. It was well done, not disturbing the story too much with the returns to the scenes of the late night story telling over drinks.

I really enjoyed the movie. I loved all the scenes of the everyday work aboard the ship. I felt for the sea sick cabin boy. I yelled at the captain that he was an idiot to sail into the storm like he did. I was thrilled to see the whales and caught up in the chase when the boats were launched. I cried when the ship was lost. (I’m glad it was dark in the theater). 😉

I suppose todays environmentalists would be cheering for the whale the whole time, but I found myself wavering. Sometimes I felt like I imagined the whale felt. Angry at men for destroying so much innocent beauty. Coming to murder my family for money! Sometimes I felt like the men. Just out to make a living, to survive however they could. This was a survival story in the end. On both sides.

I’m glad we discovered petroleum oil, or we WOULD have wiped out all of the whales. OK, I have been working in the offshore oilfields the last few years (so maybe I’m prejudiced), but I wonder what would have happened if we had NOT found an alternative to whale oil. Would we still have been able to progress? Or would we have gone back to the ‘dark ages’ when everything stopped when the sun went down? Yeah, even tho we have a few oil spills, I’m still glad we have petroleum.  The whales are recovering now.

Video: Overfishing

They did a pretty good job with this video. It is undeniable that we have been over fishing for years. For decades. Might even say centuries now that it’s 2013!

I grew up in a small fishing community. My father was a commercial fisherman for a while. So were a lot of his friends. So were a lot of my friends. I used to be one. My brother still is.

I remember how it used to be when I was still fishing and I see how my brother struggles now. There is no comparison.

We have been raping the ocean (along with the rest of the planet) for a LONG time. Since we have figured out how to take such overwhelming advantage, we have not been allowing nature to replenish what we use.

I don’t know of any practical way to eliminate by catch. I don’t know of any solution to all the issues of farmed fish. I don’t know of any solution to poaching.

I don’t know of any  REAL solution to any of these problems EXCEPT the one that no one will even consider and that is for us as a species to voluntarily limit OUR population. Give every human being a chance at a GOOD life and in the process also allow the rest of the planet some space and a chance to recover.

I hope I’m not the only one on this planet who thinks that other species have just as much a right to exist here as we do. They all have a place and a purpose and we do NOT have the right to just use to the point of abuse anything and everything we feel like.

Coming from a background of commercial fishing, I’m not sure about this video. I have serious doubts about turning ANYTHING over to the politicians. I do NOT think the politicians are the answer to ANYTHING!

WE ARE!!

I have a suggestion for the fisheries… how about we try something like leasing the fishing grounds. Lease the areas where the fish (and other marine life) gather, similar to how we do it with the oil in the ground.

Hold an auction, let the highest bidder win the rights to use (NOT abuse) a certain area of the ocean. The winner would be able to fish there and would also be responsible for protecting his asset. This should put a stop to the practice of taking everything there is to take before the next guy does.

Of course, this wouldn’t work for every type of fish, but lots of them are known to either live or migrate into certain specific places year after year. If we could lease those areas to the fishermen and hold them accountable, we might even be able to GROW the fish stocks instead of depleting them.

I really would like to see this kind of thing given a good chance before we go any further with the restrictions. I have read about how fishermen in Britain have property rights to the streams they fish in. It seems to work there.

Here’s a link to an article about how it works in Scotland…

http://www.adamsmith.org/80ideas/idea/18.htm.

Actually, that website has a LOT of really good ideas…

www.adamsmith.org/80ideas,

glad I found it this morning. 😉

Beating Swords into Solar Panels

Beating Swords into Solar Panels – Politics – Utne Reader.

Well, there’s a lot in this article I disagree with, but I sure as hell agree that we can and should start dismantling our military-industrial(-prison) complex. It has become so big and bloated, it’s corrupting our politicians and its lobbyists have convinced “our leaders” that we MUST continue to spend billions to imprison people for decades for possession of a plant(??!!), or to blow up people in foreign countries rather than take care of our own people here.

We do NOT need to keep spending those billions- no,trillions!- of dollars to keep our country safe! There is no other country in the world today that can even come close to our military capabilities. WHY do we keep on building more, more, more???

It’s simple, the defense (at home and abroad) industries make billions (trillions) of dollars off our FEAR and ignorance. They will keep on spending millions to convince “our leaders” that they need to keep on spending our tax dollars on the military-industrial-prison complex.

Those ‘leaders’ will not ever think to actually CUT military (or prison) spending. Oh, NO!! They might lose a few jobs in their district. Those people who would be affected by a military operation closing down will be screaming bloody murder.

Maybe they might actually be better off if we weren’t spending trillions on military crap! Or locking people up for trivial BS! Their taxes might go down so they could have a better standard of living if we stopped spending so much on the military.

If people actually followed the suggestion in the article and converted that military spending to spending on something useful (productive) instead, they might actually be SO much better off, they might enjoy making something that HELPS the world instead of destroying it. They might enjoy having more peace and prosperity around the planet. They might enjoy having more money to spend when (if) the US ever gets around to lowering taxes like they should as a byproduct of cutting military spending.

I can’t even imagine all the fantastic things the people who work now on military projects could come up with if they were turned loose into the commercial/civilian marketplace. Wow! Just think of all the cool things they would come up with. These are intelligent, determined, educated people we’re talking about! How about all the good that would come from allowing all those people we lock up for victimless ‘crimes’ (possession, gambling, prostitution, etc) just get on with their lives instead of locking them up and so ruining their (and their families) lives forever?

The article focuses on environmental projects, stopping global warming, etc. Sure, they might eventually be able to make a dent in that. There is just SO much they could be working on to help make things better instead of finding more ways to destroy everything.

Yeah, I’m sure the military people (law enforcement too) probably think they’re out there fighting to save the world. I know they get told that they’re ‘fighting for our freedom’ here. All I can say to that is… why the heck do they always enlist YOUNG people to do all the dirty work???

Probably because by the time they grow up a little and spend a little time learning the truth, they won’t go fight someone else’s battles for them anymore! They finally figure out they’re only being USED to make money for somebody in the background. Anyone who really believes ‘our’ military is fighting for our freedom is surely needing to do a bit more thinking about things.

I could say a LOT more about that, but I’ll leave off by saying this: if they’re fighting for OUR freedom, they’re doing a pretty shitty job of it! We’ve lost a HELL of a lot of OUR freedom since 9-11!!! All those stupid wars (including the drug war) we’ve got involved in since then haven’t saved one tiny iota of OUR freedom! So, maybe, just maybe, all you cops and military people ought to just rethink your basic assumptions.

Texas Adopt a Beach

Anyone else going out to the beach cleanup this morning? I posted this to my mariners meetup group (www.meetup.com/boating-39) calendar a couple of weeks ago (thanks P.) but only know of 1 other person going. I’ll be there (Surfside). 🙂

I know they do this worldwide. The link to the Ocean Conservancy at the bottom of my post will take you to their website and there you can find a location near you. I’m not exactly sure if they have it the same date as we do. Here we do it twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall.

Click the links for more information!

http://www.glo.texas.gov/adopt-a-beach/cleanups/participate.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TMFQOrOk3Fo

Cleanup 2013 Map

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/international-coastal-cleanup/sign-up-to-clean-up.html

Russia’s Imprisonment of Greenpeace Freelance Photographer Crosses the Line

Russia’s Imprisonment of Greenpeace Freelance Photographer Crosses the Line | gCaptain

I wasn’t there so I can’t vouch for what really happened, but from reading the news I would think that YES, the Greenpeace activists could and should be charged with multiple violations.

Yes, the photographer/journalist has certain rights (here in the USA- maybe not in Russia!). I think he knew very well what he was getting into. Greenpeace has done this kind of stunt before (and not only on the Disco)!

The Arctic Sunrise violated ALL the rules of maritime traffic. There are 500 meter security zones around drilling operations. Greenpeace surely knew that. The vessel captain and crew absolutely must know that! They’re even marked on the charts! It is illegal for ANYONE to enter that zone without asking and being granted permission from the rig.

The Arctic Sunrise at the very least helped the Greenpeace activists in their attempts to board the Russian rig. That boarding can certainly be seen as piracy. It is of course illegal even if they did not intend to harm anybody or steal anything. It is a dangerous place and could have resulted in a major accident (which of course would have been blamed on the drilling company).

Of course I don’t want to see the Arctic ruined by oil spills either. But I can’t agree with Greenpeaces’ tactics. Either they fight to change the laws so that there will be no Arctic drilling, or they fight to change peoples minds.

The ONLY way we are ever going to not NEED the oil is for people to limit the growth of the human population. Either that, or come up with some miracle energy source that is cheap, efficient and can replace everything we use oil for today. There is nothing even close to oils ability to provide the things we NEED to survive now.

Aerial Views of Our Water World

Aerial Views of Our Water World | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Smithsonian reports on the latest project from photographer Edward Burtynsky. His focus has always been to capture the impact humans have on the landscape. “Nature transformed by industry” is how he puts it.

I remember reading about one of his earlier projects on the subject of Oil and I thought he did some fantastic work. His photographs of a ‘dirty’ subject were really beautiful. This project on Water is even more exciting. His work is simply stunning!

Burtynsky spent the time from 2007-2013 traveling around the world to investigate the way water is used, how it (or lack of it) effects the land, effects our lives, how we deal with it, how it deals with us. Now, he is coming out with a triple header.

He will be releasing a new documentary film, a book and multiple exhibitions, all on the theme of water.

Watermark, his 92 minute long documentary will premier at the Toronto International Film Festival and continue showing in theaters across Canada afterwards (and hopefully worldwide).

His book, Burtynsky- Water, will feature over 100 of his photographs.

His large scale photographs will be making the rounds of a number of exhibition spaces around the country. In New York at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and the Howard Greenburg Gallery (September 19- November 2), the show will move on from there.

It will be in New Orleans at the Contemporary Arts Center from October 5- January 19). I’ll be in town for the Workboat Show and will be sure to see it then. I can’t wait to feast my eyes. 😉

Here’s a peek. Enjoy 🙂

 

Our Fossil-Fueled Future – Environment

Our Fossil-Fueled Future – Environment – Utne Reader.

Love the picture they start this off with. Right off the bat they make out Exxon as the cause of all the worlds suffering. Yeah, riiiighht…

OK, for the record, I do NOT think we need to stop using fossil fuels! I do NOT think we need to stop the rest of the world from developing up to first world standards. In fact, I think that will be one thing that could help solve everything.

OK, I bet some people are pretty skeptical…

First point: rising incomes = lower birth rate. Lower birth rate + rising incomes = more resources to give a shit about something other than bare survival. So, the first thing we should do if we want to ‘save the planet’ is to help everyone in the world move up the economic ladder asap.

Second point: all of this increase in productivity and rising incomes (time/effort/money spent on other things than energy) depends on CHEAP energy. At this point in time, alternative energy (sources other than fossils) are NOT cheap. They are not anywhere near as efficient and they are not practical (yet). (I DO agree with technology like solar ovens replacing wood burning stoves- that is a GREAT use of solar power in the developing world and a great example of how solar will be able to help)

Third point: they talk about how the entrenched energy companies (meaning fossil fuel companies) earn “staggering profits”, which makes them somehow evil and so they should be either nationalized (BAD idea) or have their ‘profits’ stolen “for the better good” (another really bad idea).

First of all, they don’t make anything like what I would call staggering profits. They only sound like that because of the way they are reported. Which is intentionally to make you feel like something is wrong with it. They are manipulating you to make you want to punish those ‘evil’ corporations. Please read this article to get a more balanced perspective… http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/10/20/big-oil-isnt-as-profitable-as-everyone-thinks/

And to end my review of this article, I would like to point out my personal favorite way to ‘save the world’ with the least pain and anguish for everyone (and everyTHING) on the planet… start using BIRTH CONTROL!!!

If you really think about it, almost every problem you can come up with is minimized if you cut down the amount of people running around the planet. Global warming for instance. If you say that global warming is caused by the actions of people, then it could easily be solved by reducing the amount of people acting. Right?

YES! So, wouldn’t it be better to just use some birth control rather than kill off the people that are already here (through starvation, disease, war, pollution)???

China has done the world a great service with their one child policy (the only problem is their use of force instead of persuasion). If everyone around the world would think about this and resolve to just have one child voluntarily, it would solve a LOT of our problems. War, hunger, pollution, would all be just about eliminated, or at least minimized to the greatest possible extent.

Yes, it would take a while. But in the same time period they’re talking about 2040, we could make a huge, lasting impact, especially if people really came to value the rest of the planet instead of only humanity.

Personally, I would LOVE to see the use of non-polluting alternative energy sources grow to overtake the use of fossil fuels. I DO value this beautiful earth and all the other creatures living here with us.

I would be happy to use wind, solar, ocean current, fuel cell, or anything else that can match fossil fuels in price and efficiency. I am hoping they will come up with new technology that will allow me to make that choice sometime soon. So far, that day has not come. I’m doing what I can see as feasible in the meantime. No, I’m not going to be a martyr.

 

Are Weeds Healthier Than Farmed Veggies?

Are Weeds Healthier Than Farmed Veggies? | Mother Jones.

My guess would be yes. 🙂

We’ve had an expert on edible plants come out to lead our Campaign for Liberty meetup group on an expedition to hunt down local ‘weeds’. I’ve managed to miss it both times so far. I’d really like to know more about this and hoping I’ll be home the next time he can come to see us. We’re trying to get more involved with natural, organic, non-GMO foods.

I can’t manage a garden very well when I’m offshore most of the time. I’m pretty sure I could manage to grow weeds. In fact, I have a yard full of them already. I just need to know if any of them are good for eating. 😉

Fish on Drugs – Environment – Utne Reader

Fish on Drugs – Environment – Utne Reader.

Fish on drugs? WOW! The law of unintended consequences at work again. As they said in the article, there is not enough evidence yet to blame this ALL on our drug use, but my money’s on that idea. We keep on doing things where we THINK we know what we’re doing and how it’ll all work out to our benefit, but time is showing us that we do NOT know what we’re doing, we’re just flailing around trying to figure things out and testing things in the REAL world that we should be testing much more in the ‘lab’ first. GMO food is just one more example of this and the more I learn about it, the more I don’t like it!