Part of the ongoing Terminal Velocity series
Creative non-fiction in an age of publish or perish, analysis paralysis and speaking to the choir who is selling us all out by the nanosecond
Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates. -- Vandana Shiva
Ahh, this is part of a piece I wrote for an edited project a while back—I was asked by editors to contribute to Systemic Crises of Global Climate Change. It's reflective in part around my almost total life-adherence to monkey wrenching and debunking the controllers in the environmental movement, especially as of late with my interest in urban planning, sustainability and climate change action for communities, not the profiteers.
It's been tough, applying to non-profits, to environmental outfits, to so-deemed "green building and land use" outfits like the Living Building Institute, and folks with Cascadia Green Building Council. When I get interviewed, it's obvious that these outfits want lock step workers, who have not only sipped the Kool-Aid, but mixed it up and distributed it far and wide.
As we know in ecosocialism, green is the new black for the millionaires and billionaires. None of the sustainability movement writ large cares about cultural input, cultural thriving/survival, languages, people of earth, ecosystems for and because of species other than Homo Sapiens Consumopithecus.
Well, that was a few years ago, and I tweaked and rewrote and wrote new stuff, and you all have to know this is gratis, not a dime coming to a precarious worker like myself. These edited books are many times filled with work from the publish or perish crew, from people with tenure, with stability in some fields or another. I am not saying that's the totality in the book, but what follows is my contribution.
I did make it into the second volume of the series— Emergent Possibilities for Global Sustainability—Intersections of race, class and gender (Routledge, 2016, Godfrey & Torres). With all of my steam, all those licks, and experience and passion and teaching and some planning and activism, my contribution was a poem, a good poem, to be sure, but a short poem. I will post it in the last of this portion of Terminal Velocity—A Man Lost of Tribe.
As I stated before, the autobiography is a compendium of work, styles, forms, tones, undertows, cries and chants into the night sky. A narrative poem as one of my autobiography's chapters? Right here, over at the Hollywood Progressive—My work for a decade was around sustainability, and I have stories ahead with some interesting people, like Winona LaDuke and David Suzuki, and with farmers, economists, back-to-the-landers, and more. For now, though, here, Part One of the next few portions to Terminal Velocity.
Post Script—Predicated on my travels today, back to Cathedral Park, St. John's Bridge, Portland, for a "greenie" sort of thing around the Willamette, Superfund Site, and, whew, a real anemic turnout for the river that defines this Stumptown.
Part One—Birdbrains and Greenwashing
What does a group of thirty professionals both directly and indirectly working in the general arena dubbed “sustainability” as part of their job descriptions do when they run into a breeding pair of two-story tall common house sparrows?
“When are Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren (The Birds) going to pop out of one of these buildings here?” asks travel services expert John Dean, one student in the 2011 July 4-8 University of British Columbia Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership.
We’ll get to the invasive bird species in a second, but first, kicking off sustainability lite: enter Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED).
We’re in a planned community in the heart of Vancouver—green roofs, solar-powered trash compactors, LEED Gold and Platinum architecture, sleek and steel walking features with plenty of native stone sidewalks. It’s all described in brochures as a Tesla is the electric sports car rags. These are “high performance” buildings—and much of the other stuff a so-called sustainable city adds to the mix are standard equipment: solar tubes, non-off-gassing everything, energy efficiency, hybrid plug in stations, bike racks, tufts of clump grass on overhangs, and wind tight doors, casings, windows. Yes, solar-run trash receptacles-compactors.
It’s a Thursday, early July, around 1 PM: hardly anyone is outside. Even with an occupancy rate of over 70 percent, there is no public activity, no gathering of people or children or anyone but our group and the two birds out of a Fukushima anime.
The air is thick with unseasonably wet British Columbia cloudbursts. One participant talks about a power line north of Vancouver that went down because of poor planning and mud from way too much rain. The buzz phrase, “climate change, sure,” is bandied about.
We are hoofing it on the grounds of what is called the world’s greenest athletic facilities. Count in our group land use and transportation planners, environmental and sustainability directors, landscape architects, social planners, energy experts, a coffee services manager, a yoga clothing manager, a Unilever middle manager, all mostly from Canada, but several state energy folk from S. Korea, one petroleum engineer from Brazil and, me, the lone Yankee, the teacher-journalist and, well, hyphenate in “sustainability ombudsman,” err, hyphen-muckraker.
Eco-philosophy Meets Liberation Theology
Striking still for me after three decades of environmental and sustainability work—at this greenest of campuses,enrolled in this nirvana of the sustainability short-courses—is the lack of people of color, and certainly the lack of people on the other side of the dividing line: poor and lower economic class people. Or people like me— a precarious worker, bi-lingual, multi-revolutionary (read: multicultural and multi-contextual). Someone hardly jaded but weather-worn from the debates around climate change, peak oil, social justice, overpopulation, ecosophy, and the needs of Homo Sapiens v. the rights of nature as the false dichotomy of a very robust but frayed “movement." A Baby Boomer without the boom and plenty of bust, and way outside the American norm of blind obedience to the stuff Big Brother and Big Box ram down our throats, I’ve been in a long-Tarahumara race to find common ground and deep regard for people, planet, culture at the expense of economists and corporations.
On the chopping block in my short lifetime have been three strong components of who I am, or who I think I should be—someone passionately tied to journalism, education, and marine sciences. In 2013, the term sustainability is applied to some of the most unjust socially and environmentally corporations and schemes in anyone’s lifetime. I don’t have to give the reader the list, because, it’s exhaustive. Education is part of the problem, with more and more corporate influence on departments, budgets and individual faculty to toe the party—corporate line.
Journalism is in its last death throe as newspapers and magazines are shadows of their former selves, and online bluster and hucksterism are the product of the day. And, as one well-known turtle researcher has been quoted as saying, “going to work every day is an exercise in depression, as each year more and more is lost.”
Looking for turtles now is a high tech gambit of turtle cams and RFID satellite-guided monitoring of embarrassingly very few animals left, as Wallace J. Nichols will attest.
The people in this UBC class, my cohorts, maybe do not know yet I am not one of them, or maybe they already recognize me immediately with my Greek sailor’s cap and goatee, as, “oh, one of those . . . .” Adjunct faculty, bee-lining to Vancouver, BC, from Spokane, WA (never been there, hands down for my fellow fellows), in my own beat-up vehicle, my tuition paid for by a grant I had to beg-borrow-and-steal at the community college I work at and then choosing to stay in a discounted mini-college dorm room on the campus of UBC (because that’s all I can afford).
Everyone else is on an expense account, and is either a careerist in government or higher ed, or some new-fangled sustainability consultant in an agency or corporation. They talk about the great morning buffets they’ve snagged at one of the Marriotts or Hiltons where they are staying, and even that small talk gets my revolutionary juices flowing—“How can you not see through the façade, the transnational financial capitalists in the hotel monopoly and the sort of small business genocide they orchestrate every day? They are some of the worse greenwashing monopolists and slave wagers around.”
They laugh, as I stew over one more unsustainable—socially unjust—thing, which is a daily infinitesimal bump on the sustainability highway that gets under my skin while I end up in yet another tangential debate about sustainability and how the top six hotel chains claiming over 30,000 hotels worldwide and touting “green” are anything but dark, dark toxins, cesspools of wage slaving financial riggers who have mastered greenwashing into an art.
I am I—Thinking with Autobiography
I carry this not as a cross to bear or chip on the shoulder to covet, but as reference point, that framing device that folk like Lakoff (2004) posits in his Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. I take messages, words and my own narrative frames and expansiveness very seriously when I act, teach or write. Lakoff says, “Every word is defined with respect to frames. You’re framing all the time.” We are unconsciously processing the value or emphasis on words based and morals and emotions. For journalists, Lakoff knows that “framing” a story goes beyond just choices of words and how they are manipulated on the page. “You can only learn things that fit in with what your brain will allow,” Lakoff says.
Kid of a military professional, I spent my first few years of life living on the Azores where my family was stationed on the islands as part of a US Air Force contingent. We eventually ended up in Paris, then Munich, and the UK. My old man spent his time working on cryptographic strategy for the US War Machine in Indochina, first in the Air Force as a sergeant then in the Army as a chief warrant officer.
My entire formative years were around those highly manipulated and propagandistic languages of the military, the lexicon of war and early American empire.
I fought my father and his war, fought the pervasive exceptionalistic attitude (yes, language and messaging) around the warriors of his empire, and when we ended up in Arizona, I began the process of elimination—rebuffing the white man’s great Manifest Destiny over everything and everyone else and questioned the grotesque manifestations of science as a Capitalist’s bunker buster to change river systems, terrestrial expanses, marine ecologies, and the very air we breathe.
That metamorphosis involved reclaiming languages I had barely been exposed to—philosophers, political revolutionaries, poets and historians. In one sense, language meant action, and experiences and travel as well as artistic and journalistic express, all of that means to me complete freedom from any dominant paradigms or narratives as forms to define me.
A guy like me doesn’t have much opportunity in the planning profession or in the higher education game to tell people that I put culture-education-people-art high up on the environmental scale. It’s difficult to tell mainstream audiences (I include liberal environmental groups in this) I have also done my share of monkey-wrenching in Arizona and Texas.
I traveled throughout Mexico and Central America working on environmental stories, and I even put my money where my mouth was and ended up in Vietnam as a logistics leader for a survey team of scientists from the UK, Canada, and Vietnam working in an area along the Laos border that has been more or less biologically and climatically stable for, oh, a million years. Biodiversity transects and focused studies on certain biodomes in a country where my old man, at the same age, 36, had fought in the war during two tours, one of which in particular when he was almost killed as the helicopter he was in was shot up and his shoulder received a Chinese-made slug ending two inches from his heart. Talk about me going into the heart of darkness, back to my father’s demons, exorcising my complete contempt for the USA!
In fact, in Vietnam, the word “ecology,” for which I was helping the country establish policies around unique or biologically significant ecosystems, was not easily translatable in their language. “Ecology” as we frame it here in the West has no likewise frames in Vietnam.
It’s both easy and difficult to expose these sides now, in 2013, in a time of agnotolgy, shifting baseline syndrome and disregard for anything opposing the dominant paradigms and narratives sculpted by consumerism and this junky thing we call IT/ computer technology/ digital culture (sic). We have, in my opinion, become a lock-step society made up of largely those in the great flagging middle class who seek perfect credit scores, who bow to the HR departments that hold sway over their lives, and who believe in the core of Capitalism, faced against many like me who smell the rot of that game every single day and sing dirges for real community interchanges that are quickly dying off. Some of us take on the role of stoking the flames that might one day burn through the Big Brother lenses of on-line everything.
Hell, college teachers at Bellingham Technical College struck September 24, 2013 for higher wages, reduced workloads AND against “proposed covert surveillance.” The college powers that be have this great Big Brother proposal to have third-party members dressed up as students coming to class. Unfortunately, the college has already in place a system of peers and students anonymously evaluating instructors. Once you shift the baseline, more and more draconian things occur. The BTC faculty got some wage concessions and motion on the workloads but nothing on surveillance.
That shifting baseline syndrome is especially pervasive in ecology and sustainability circles, too. Imagine, my own diving background, pretty extensive in the 1970s in the Sea of Cortez. Now, in 2013, what is acceptable or normal for a dive in terms of the variety and sheer number of marine life is a hollow shell of what was the norm 43 years ago. Without historical linkages and baseline defenses, you end up protecting only what you can see, feel and hear. It’s a broken foundation to anything.
The same can be applied to sustainability—when I first engaged in sustainability, it was about reducing poverty, making cities more livable for all members of the community, and about creating public spaces and community partnerships to take the economic pressures off the average person who spends too much money on housing, food, and transportation while earning sub-par wages in a system that kettles them out of preventative health care. When I first got engaged with sustainability, there were already moves to make it a Five e heuristic (pentagram)—putting in e for education and e for energy added to the triple bottom line of environment, equity and economy.
I know you aren’t supposed to say this in mixed company, but, heck, some of us torched a few bulldozers, tore down a lot of developers’ signs, and did other things as eco-raiders in the desert. I’ve also helped bring across the US-Mexico border a few refugees from the Central American dirty wars, largely promulgated by Capitalism—the United Fruit Company kind but updated—and vis-à-vis our military machinations in such terrible programs as the School of the Americas, now renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), an Orwellian example of America the marketing and rebranding fool.
That intersection between what is good for the environment and what is good for the average human being to me is not a contradiction or bifurcation. I’ve been on a few expeditions off Quintana Roo with people fighting cruise ship operators dumping toxins and junk into the ocean and “dredging” coral systems as part of the ships’ anchor setting protocols. The battle wasn’t just for blue tangs and leopard moray eels, but also for the people who survive through subsistence by using the sea for their bounty and employing a marine existence as their culture.
Sewage, film developing chemicals, solid waste and you name it, duh, that dumping into the Caribbean hurt trigger-fish and parrot fish, but also the people living along the shore.
Earlier, in my late teens, when our family settled in Tucson, I was scuba diving the waters in the Sea of Cortez off Guaymas, and clearly I was making the link to those hearty fat jumbo shrimp and tequila bashes with the moonscapes the shrimpers were making of my once pristine underwater heaven. If you want the lime and tequila shrimp dinners, then the price to pay is the pristine diving. And the tipping points of an underwater landscape mauled by shrimp dredgers.
Clearly, when I go into debates or conferences around sustainability, I have several large meters and many more small litmus tests from which to judge the participants, the sounders, the hustlers, the elite and golden boys and girls who spew some very poetic and green-like action plans and strategic overlays of how the world will work for sustainability. I keep to some of the most mainstream liberal economics theorists’ professing the dents in capitalism (when it should be abolished altogether), like Paul Krugman (2012) when he speaks of those vanguards and the very One Percent who many times back so-called green or sustainable or smart growth projects while also holding onto the idea that in most cases economic pain is somehow redeeming.
Collateral Damage – The Weak Sink, the Strong End Up with All the Toys
Collateral damage. It’s an old saw with militaries and governments engaged in combat, war. The same collateral damage justification abounds in sustainability circles: there must be bloodletting and entire relocations-removals-eradications of peoples, ways of life, and cultures in the process of modernizing. Been there, done that, and, as a higher education precarious worker—part-time, at-will, removable with the stroke of pen—that’s all I hear: what the markets are manipulating into the axiom of “it’s what the market will bear.” For us in higher education the new Holy Grail (for hedge fund investors) now being touted is on-line education, classrooms of a hundred kids with iPads, Massively Open On-line Courses. Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, Walton Family, you name the elitist, One Percenter, they are pushing this new paradigm of “cut the fluff and get to the job corps prep courses so we have compliant and willing-to-go-into-debt workers.” We are in a common core curriculum-and-controlled-teaching style mindset that indeed might get youth in line for cradle to grave indebtedness, acquiescence to the culture-and-ecology-eating consumerism regattas of container ships chugging along with 9,000 boxcars each full of stuff, and accepting of greenwashing progress toward resiliency.
The same goes with those of privilege and their land use planning and city shaping schemes – the SOP of collateral damage par excellence.
Gentrification as a Tool of Cultural and Ethnic Eradication
You know them: the rich and those who have skin in the game of sustainability – developers, architects, bureaucrats, planners, builders, consultants, and various trades, as well as the Yuppies and Gen X-ers plotting that downtown’s density and bike lanes feel. They don’t get it when it comes to what to do with the homeless, the drug users, the working poor, the displaced immigrants, and the growing legions of people servicing the elite’s lives for a penny on the Coders’ dollar. They don’t even care about most in their own generation who may have danced to a beat of a different drummer in school, like theater, political science, psychology.
They scoff at the unemployed with PhDs. All part of their take on the Art of War, the winners adapt and lead change, the losers have one step in the past and another in the grave. We are to them the malcontents, Luddites, and the consumers in their sites even though we have failed to embrace complete cultural and psycho-social immolation in order to move into this post-industrial age of apps, smart cities and “a-drone-in-every-garage.”
Dealing with sustainability, the triple-bottom line (environment, economy, equity), all those other precepts of what many have bought into as the marketing of sustainable development (that being an oxymoron to many in the no-growth and genuine progress index camps), like the great equalizing PR phrasing, “the new black is green . . . or green is the new black,” I have to let people know that taking care of business for true social justice seekers around sustainability means taking care of the needs of the most vulnerable, the most at risk and those with the least amount of power. Sounds like a unionist precept, and it is. And, oops, that means, what, replacing capitalism with a rights of nature plan, one based on rationality and in-line with our only home, this planet, and its finite resources and limits on growth? Yep.
Housing, transportation, food security, health care, and worthy employment – with safe, culturally-important and -relevant public spaces and public schools planned into the superstructure of the sustainability plans, well, that’s common sense and democratic and fair. All the green roofs, living buildings, compostable toilets and “Beyond Gold-or-Gadolinium LEED” ratings are meaningless when 50 million in the USA are living in poverty, and the same number, 50 million, have no health care, and 50 percent of young people have no chance at full time jobs, will live high-school-matriculation-to-the-grave-in-debt, and who can’t afford to rent or transport themselves in these so-deemed New Urbanism Tweeked Cities.
It has to be made clear as I was going into this summer sustainability institute, I was not expecting much socialism through the scheduled sustainability presentations (rarely ever do we hear that intersection at sustainability convergences); nor was I expecting there to be almost no worthy critiques or attacks on those sustainability action plans that are hitched to (and therefore get government breaks in many forms) outlandish greenwashing, green-lite and ecopornography denominators—all ways of explaining (away) the false actions of sustainability-based-on-market-numbers with the marketing ploys of companies who think they are greening up big time. Jerry Mander (1972), of course, was one of my early sources for that hucksterism. Hands down, get this, not one of the people I eventually became close to at the UBC Sustainability Leadership Course, including presenters, had neither heard of him nor his article in Communication and Arts Magazine: "Ecopornography: One Year and Nearly a Billion Dollars Later, Advertising Owns Ecology."
“As the contemporary environmental movement built momentum in the mid-to-late 1960s, undermining the public trust in many a corporation, newly greened corporate images flooded the airwaves, newspapers and magazines. This initial wave of greenwash was labeled by former Madison Avenue advertising executive Jerry Mander and others at the time as ‘ecopornography’" (Karliner, 2001).
Contradiction in Terms – Sustainability and Capitalism
Oh, how tired I am of the language or the various sleek framings around sustainability and the so-called triple bottom line of economy, environment and equity as the triad of a just, ecologically sustainable and market (goods)-based society. Along with ecopornography, in the 1980s, William Keegan (1992), a writer for the Observer in the United Kingdom and author of The Spectre of Capitalism: The Future of the World Economy After the Fall of Communism, coined another term that stuck with me—“sado-monetarism.” Oh how the world turns back onto itself, since that was used to describe Thatcher, but now some 25 years later, sado-monetarism defines neoliberal policies worldwide, from Merkel in Germany to Obama in the USA, the transfinancial capitalists, and in a smaller way, defines all of those “oh-lookee-here-we-have-green-toilet-paper” corporations with governmental agencies sucking up to them to shower them with grants, tax write-offs and golden stars.
Chris Williams (2010) writes his ecology and socialism articles that end up on a newsletter for which I have written, Dissident Voice. His critique on climate change and ecology and, of course, society and sustainability is fresh, yet it’s a perspective that’s scrubbed (definition of agnotology) from classrooms all over the US, certainly in high schools but also in colleges beyond. He’s certainly in line with my whole thesis around the green Nazis, those who see everything through the green lens of technological wonder, while just putting aside or sweeping them/us under their 100 percent triple-recycled/reused/repurposed carpet. You know, “If you can make a green missile, one-hundred percent recycled uranium, reused materials for the frame, old Nintendo components and propelled with biodiesel rocket fuel, whew, what a marketing dream. That would make a great TED talk.”
I wish I was joking, but they are not.
Here’s Chris Williams from his 2010 book, Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis:
"Based on where we are now, however, even if the revolution were to occur tomorrow, capitalist ecological crimes are vast. We may well be too late to prevent or reverse all of them. According to a UN-commissioned report due out in full in late 2010, the combined environmental despoliation resulting from CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution by the three thousand largest public companies accounts for one third of their profits. From these unaccounted-for costs, the 3,000 corporations make over $2.2 trillion per year.
Clearly there is a huge need for real development for countries of the Global South. They have the opportunity to leapfrog over the fossil-fuel age and move directly to clean energy. To do this, technological help, capital, and training will be required. One of the most urgent tasks of a new society will be to ensure that everyone is fed adequately, everyone receives health care and vaccinations, and massive infrastructure improvements are made to sanitation systems and for the provision of clean water. The UN estimates that around $25 billion per year for eight to ten years would be enough to provide clean water for all of the one billion people who currently don’t have it. This is a tiny fraction of the world military or advertising budget. It’s also far less than annual sales of bottled water at around $100 billion—$11 billion in the United States alone, which is another pointless and heavily polluting industry.
The specific solutions to environmental challenges that will be found in a future society can’t be enumerated with certainty here. This limit on our current vision comes in part from the limits that the profit system has put on investigation and even on our ways of thinking. The limit also comes from the squandering of ordinary people’s abilities to contribute to solutions because they are weighed down with poverty and overwork. Freeing the minds of billions of people from the stress and degradation of unrelenting poverty and malnutrition will allow those minds to contribute productively to societal questions, facilitating a gigantic unleashing of human potential. The ideas and creativity of seven billion human brains actively and productively set to work represents an enormously expanded pool of collective knowledge and experience."
Instead of those billions of people unleashed as solutionaries to tackle creatively the gigantic problems with urban and rural planning and climate change and resource peaks, we shunt them aside and put on the public payroll hired guns in the planning fields, hiring on elitist capitalists who are in no way outside the box thinkers, the very kind Williams believe could be utilized in a new ecological socialistic world.
Slap a Smart Meter on It and Write an App For It – Instant Sustainability
Efficiency, metrics, and the dream of heaven being run with a smart meter tracking and data crunching every bit of human agency, that’s the dream of the Google corporatists, the Face of Zuckerberg Book, the daily plotting of Jeff Bezos and Amazon (dot) com toward complete control of publishing and ninety percent of on-line transactions. But back to land use dilemma around these new thinkers (sic). The problem is that gentrification is the intended (mostly) and sometimes unintended consequence (rarely serendipitous) of smart growth or new urbanism.
Certainly, pushing out the lower income old and young, the working class families, the single mothers, people of races other than white or those not connected to Judaic traditions and power, well, that’s the game now, and, for those truly creative types – people of color, the young and underemployed, the aging and old, people in poverty or working class hardened -- who live low on the carbon tree, their destiny isn’t part of this “creative class” bunk, the kind Richard Florida yammers about in his books and at the Atlantic where he is a senior editor and also head honcho of many a project –
"Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here.” (to include Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, BMW, Citigroup, et al -- says it all!)
Absolutely amazing that mayors have drunken his snake oil and major companies have employed his group to explain creativity, urban possibilities, what the heart of a city should be, as he, his wife, his knowledge workers and planning wonks sell the world another pop-up digital lie about how cities can and should flourish using his calculus and planning Dystopia tools. Just the unsustainable level of pomposity of the short blurb above speaks volumes about how unsustainable are these people who attain the multivariate level of professional titles and avocations.
Their ideas are part of the lock-step group of elites and knowledge worker class who support and refine their corporate bosses’ shilling these marketing ideas to, again, push out the working class, as a way to remake cities in their own image. What they sell is a type of cultural and intellectual eugenics, ideas having almost nothing to do with the reality of a very messed up world, economically, racially, climate-wise and philosophically. They are the captains of trickle down, trickle over and trickle up for their ideas on economic development. They think they are leaders in sustainability, but they are Spencerians in hipster clothing while delighting in the slow food, fair trade and DIY whiskey orgies they write about in their blogs.
Note—Given this was written a few years ago, I have to make a reclamation of where I am at today, 59, working with addicts, homeless, released prisoners, et al: This mess we are in grows, daily, through the bowels of Capitalists, the One Percent, Point-One Percent, and their abiding henchmen and henchwomen. Nothing coming out of Google, nothing coming out of the green think tanks, nothing from K-Street, nothing from both sides of the coin of the realm, politics, none of it is real, deep, and beneficial to the planet, to the people, to communities, culture. It's that bad, yet, we have to prop up angels in waiting, push hope into the very DNA of a country supported by other White Countries Who Monetizes Death, Destruction, Disease.
I go around the booths set up today, on the Willamette, and they are all there, part of the controllers products, good people, those wanting to stop coal trains, those 350.org Portlanders who want to do something about the tsunami that is climate change, and the Audubon Society, the community groups wanting more money for the Superfund Clean-up of the River, and on and on. But, alas, it's managed death and destruction. How can it be that any amount of lead in Jane and Juan's water is good. That there are acceptable levels of all the toxins and poisons and compounds created to move the Homo Sapiens Consumopithecus into a continuous Hamster Wheel of Not Knowing, Not Connecting All the Dots?
Hope? I was given a lot of testimonials today at the River, about hope, not giving up hope, while I was encouraging us all to stop the silos, stop the poverty pimping, the environmental organization pimping, the social movement prostituting by the George Soros types of the world. It's not about saving the bats, stopping coal (bomb) trains, ending lead in school and community drinking systems, giving homeless tents, pleading for rent control. It's about it ALL, structural racism, environmental injustice, structural Eugenics, genocide, enslavement, usury, resource theft, cultural cancer.
From an Orion Magazine piece I used to teach to students when I was allowed to teach at community Colleges and Private Colleges, before I was Googled and the Admin Class deemed me unworthy of teaching youth and old because of my "extremism."
" A wonderful thing happens when you give up on hope, which is that you realize you never needed it in the first place. You realize that giving up on hope doesn't kill you, nor did it make you less effective. In fact it made you more effective, because you ceased relying on someone or something else to solve your problems - you ceased hoping your problems somehow get solved, through the magical assistance of God, the Great Mother, the Sierra Club, valiant tree-sitters, brave salmon, or even the Earth itself - and you just began doing what's necessary to solve your problems yourself.
Casey Maddox wrote that when philosophy dies, action begins. I would say in addition that when we stop hoping for external assistance, when we stop hoping that the awful situation we're in will somehow resolve itself, when we stop hoping the situation will somehow not get worse, then we are finally free - truly free - to honestly start working to thoroughly resolve it. I would say when hope dies, action begins.
When we realize the degree of agency we actually do have, we no longer have to 'hope' at all. We simply do the work." -- Derrick Jensen.
Paul K. Haeder