Monday, August 30, 2021

Climate Memo Mondays #38

 38.  Climate Memo Mondays, August 30, 2021

     Sometimes people misuse the word “utopian” to mean impossibly or even dangerously idealistic.  Here are definitions from my Webster’s New World College Dictionary:  Utopian: having the nature of, or inclined to draw up schemes for, a utopia; idealistic, visionary; founded upon ideas envisioning perfection in social and political organization.”  Ideaslistic     Visionary:  By these definitions is the Green New Deal utopian—idealistic, visionary?  Absolutely.  Is it unrealistically, excessively and therefore impossibly and even harmfully utopian?  

       It’s an age-old debate, much hinging on the meaning and necessity of the word “perfection.”  Think of all the literary utopias with their page after, chapter after chapter analyses of ideas and practices manifestly harmful to their existing society, and their alternatives.    Each one was dismissed by the ruling class of the time, from More’s Utopia to Morris’s News from Nowhere to  Huxley’s Island.

     But the similar GND Resolutions in the Senate and House have been received favorably by one of the two ruling Parties—the Democrats.  Not wholeheartedly, but President Biden would move the USA from its present, ruinous fossil fueled and unequal economics toward a decidedly better carbon-free and fairer society  (For the People Act, Better Care Better Jobs Act, and other social safety net legislation, to be paid for by taxes on corporations and rich individuals).

       In a recent article in The Nation, Jeet Heer discusses how much more dominant has been dystopian writing imagining the end of the world—from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road  to Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games:  “nuclear war, rising oceans, biotech gone mad, totalitarian dictatorship.  What’s lacking is any positive road map for building a better world.”  Leaving aside to another day the inaccuracy of that statement and the dilution of the definition of utopia, do the GND Resolutions (and, like the Bible and the US Constitution, already possessing a library of commentary) provide that “road map.”   Assuredly they do, in two main advances: fossil fueled capitalism must be replaced by a GREEN New Deal  of sustainable energy if we are to rescue our climate and civilization, and this NEW DEAL must be fairer than the grossly unequal one in which we live, if most people are to share in the benefits of the GREEN NEW DEAL.  

      Why do some people add the qualification “impossible” to idealism?  Perhaps it is because of their ideological hostility to any challenge to the status quo that idealism presents (capitalism, individuals triumphing over other individuals, most humans unemployed or underemployed, incessant wars), or they choose to be confined by their lack of idealistic, visionary imagination (a cooperative world of government service, full employment, world peace).  The GND does the obvious by envisioning a better world based upon reality but transcending it.  

      Jeet Heer perceives “utopian imagination…reviving. . . .calling for a universal basic income, a Green New Deal, open borders, a super TVA to modernize America’s infrastructure, and abolition of police and prisons.  . . . Not all will pan out—nor do they need to. The utopian impulse exists to spark discomfort with the status quo and agitation. “


Jeet Heer.  “Utopia Allows Us to Dream Together.”  The Nation (7-26/8-2, 2021), 12-14.

 We work together to repair, rebuild, and reimagine a more compassionate and equitable world.   UUSC

Friday, August 27, 2021






For a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology



Speak Up! ‘World Day for the End of Speciesism’ Is Saturday   PETA E-NEWS (8-27-21).

Stand in solidarity with activists around the world by sharing a message—that animals have as much interest in being free as humans do and that they share our capacity for experiencing pain, love, fear, and happiness.



Report Cruelty to Animals


to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. 


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5 Things to Do This ‘World Day for the End of Speciesism’


Animal rights activists around the world are speaking up this World Day for the End of Speciesism (August 28). Speciesism is the human-held idea that all other species are inferior to ours. In this oppressive belief system, those with power justify exploiting or killing their fellow beings who are less powerful—for experiments, for taste, for a fashion trend, for entertainment, or for other reasons.

PETA supporters protesting to end speciesism.

Here are five ways you can help get the message out that animals have an inherent worth, they have as much interest in being free and staying alive as humans do, and they share our capacity for pain, hunger, fear, thirst, love, joy, and loneliness.

1. Organize a protest. We can give you free supplies, like posters, and help you promote your event. Submit this form with all your details and include “Protest to End Speciesism,” and we’ll connect you with a staffer who can guide you every step of the way.

PETA Hoots and Hollers for Owls Trapped at Johns Hopkins University

Socially distant protesters marched in the Baltimore neighborhood of Shreesh Mysore, who cuts into barn owls’ skulls for wasteful “curiosity” experiments.



2. Display a poster. Print our “End Speciesism” mini-poster and display it on your front door, window, balcony, or mailbox or in your office or any other highly visible place. Don’t have a printer? Write the message in chalk on your sidewalk. Post your photo on social media using the hashtag #EndSpeciesism and tag @PETA.




3. Submit a letter to your local newspaper. Often, the pen (or keyboard) is mightier than the sword. Expose speciesism for what it really is—the ugly and false belief that we have the right to abuse and kill animals—by writing to a local news outlet. Personalize the sample letter below, or write your own. Send copies of your published letters to See our letter-writing tips!

This sample letter may give you some ideas:

It’s 2021, but highly social monkeys are still caged alone in laboratories, billions of cows and chickens are still cut to pieces in slaughterhouses, and whales and dolphins are still trapped inside marine prisons. It’s time to recognize that all animals—from humans to hens—can feel pain and fear, want freedom, love their offspring, have personalities, and value their own lives.

August 28 is World Day for the End of Speciesism. Like sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination, speciesism is an oppressive belief system in which those with power draw boundaries to justify exploiting their fellow beings who are less powerful. Kind people can combat this by buying only cosmetics that weren’t tested on animals, choosing vegan food and fashion, staying away from animal circuses and marine parks, and otherwise rejecting any exploitation of animals.



4. Use PETA’s “End Speciesism” filter on Instagram. Get the message out as far and wide as possible by saying on your Instagram story that animals are not research tools, food, fabric, or toys. Go to PETA’s Instagram account from your mobile device, tap the smiley face shown in the image below, and then choose “End Speciesism” to use the filter.



5. Share this video on Facebook and other social media platforms: “RZA: We’re Not Different in Any Important Way. RZA explains how speciesism—like sexism, racism, and other forms of prejudice—is a toxic mindset that we need to break free of. Share his video along with a message explaining what you’re doing to help end speciesism, such as “I’m helping to #EndSpeciesism by only purchasing products that weren’t tested on animals.”



World Day for the End of Speciesism is a great time to stand in solidarity with other activists around the world. But you can take action for animals all year long with PETA.



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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind


Global Newsletter 49: You Are an Animal

Extinction Rebellion via 

Mar 12, 2021, 12:04 PM (1 day ago)

to me


(Web version in English. French, Spanish & more languages coming soon!)
Subscribe to this Newsletter)
Animal Rebellion in Czech Republic gets caught in a web of lies

Dear rebels,

Back in the summer of 2019, a small group of UK rebels felt something was missing from the exciting wave of climate activism that XR had ushered into the world.

Our first International Rebellion had pushed the climate emergency into popular culture, and we were busy linking the climate crisis with other systems of human oppression - the crises of Capitalism, and Colonialism, and the Patriarchy.

But one oppressive ideology was not being mentioned. Speciesism - the belief that one species of animal can be morally superior to and so dominate another. Rebellion in front of the ministry of agriculture, Warsaw, Poland

These rebels felt that speciesism was key to understanding how humanity dislocated itself from the natural world, how the climate crisis came about, and how to solve it. Quite simply, farming animals is one of the most ecologically destructive, oppressive and 
wasteful activities our civilisation does, and it is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.

So they formed Animal Rebellion, a sister group to Extinction Rebellion, that retained our movement’s culture, tactics, and demands - but with one small addition. Their 2nd demand explicitly called for an end to the animal agriculture and fishing industries.

Today Animal Rebellion chapters are active in over 30 countries, including Spain, Mexico, and Taiwan, and the movement is growing in every region of the world. They have targeted agri-conglomerates, blockaded meat subsidising parliaments, and campaigned for plant-based meals in schools - with actions involving international collaboration as well as campaigning side-by-side with XR.

Animal Rebellion Taiwan march for climate and animal justice

In Action Highlights you can see how the two movements formed a rebel alliance to launch the Spring Rebellion in the Netherlands, and learn more about Animal Rebellion’s vision for a plant-based society in Must Reads.

Elsewhere in this issue we have a report on a global action targeting Norwegian embassies to highlight that government’s gratuitous greenwashing. We also cover a digital strike in the Philippines where rebels are fighting to stop a dam project that will devastate biodiversity.

As yet another major report lands with the verdict that our governments are failing to address the climate emergency, we have to harness the power of as many rebels as possible to bring about the system change we all want, even if there are differences about how we get there.

As Extinction Rebellion increasingly becomes a movement of movements, so too will this newsletter. We hope you enjoy the temporary shift in perspective that this Animal Rebellion themed issue brings.

If you’d like to help, please check out our website and learn more about XR.

To connect to rebels in your local area, get in touch with your nearest XR group. If there’s no active group near you, you can start your own!

If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.

We are in a crucial phase of human history, and our Rebellion needs money to make our message heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.



Published on Monday, October 07, 2019 By Truthdig

Time to Rebel

The corporate forces that have seized control of our political and economic systems will, unchecked, drive us into extinction for profit.  All we have left is nonviolent, disruptive civil disobedience. A rebellion.

By Chris Hedges

"It is our sacred duty to rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all life on Earth." (Photo: Mr.Fish)

"It is our sacred duty to rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all life on Earth." (Photo: Mr.Fish)

Monday, Oct. 7. marks the start of what the British-based group Extinction Rebellion is calling the International Rebellion. Thousands of people will occupy the centers of some 60 cities around the globe, including Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris and New York, to stage nonviolent occupations of bridges and roads for at least a week. The goal is to paralyze commerce to force the ruling elites to respond to the climate emergency. I will be at Battery Park in New York to join them Monday morning.

The protests, which organizers say will likely lead to hundreds of arrests, will employ a variety of tactics, including activists who will superglue themselves to trains, subways and buildings as well as build temporary encampments to disrupt traffic.  The New York event will open at 9:30 a.m. Monday with a “funeral march” from Battery Park. At 2 p.m. Monday, organizers will set up base in Washington Square Park and use it as a staging area. Activists will congregate at the park and fan out in groups across the city to carry out protests. The disruptions during the week in New York will occur in a variety of locations, including in the Financial District and at the New York Stock Exchange, Columbia University and major cultural institutions. In Chicago, there will be an attempt to occupy City Hall and Daley Plaza. London activists, who shut much of the city down in April for 10 days and saw 1,000 arrests, are planning to hold out for three weeks.

“It is our sacred duty to rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all life on Earth,” Extinction Rebellion writes. This is not hyperbolic. We have, as every major climate report states, very little time left. Indeed, it may already be too late.

“People have to go to the capital city,” said Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and a researcher at King’s College London, when we spoke earlier this year. “That’s where the elite is, the business class. That’s where the pillars of the state exist. That’s the first element. Then you have to have a lot of people involved. They have to break the law. There’s no point in just doing a march. They have to literally close down the streets. They have to remain nonviolent. That’s absolutely crucial. Once you get violent, police and the state have an excuse to remove you. It’s got to be cultural. You make it into a sort of Woodstock affair. Then thousands more people come onto the streets.

“There’s a fundamental difference between breaking the law and not breaking the law. It’s a binary difference. When you break the law, then you’re massively more effective in terms of material and psychological influence as well as media interest. The more dramatic the civil disobedience, the better. It’s a numbers game. You want people blocking the streets, but you need 10, 20, 30 thousand. You don’t need 3 million. You need enough for the state to have to decide whether to use repression on a mass scale or invite you into the room. The gambit, of course, particularly in the U.K., is that the state is weak. It’s been hollowed out by neoliberalism. They’re going to find themselves overwhelmed. We will get in the room.”

The group stresses what it calls a “pre-social-media age” strategy for organizing. It has created decentralized structures to make decisions and issue demands. It sends out teams to give talks in communities. It insists that people who participate in the actions of Rebellion Extinction undergo “nonviolent direct-action” training so they will not be provoked by the police or opposition groups.

“Most of the recent mass mobilizations have been social-media-fueled,” Hallam said. “Consequently, they have been chaotic. They are extremely fast mobilizations. Social media’s a bit like heroin. It’s a high, but then it collapses, like we’ve seen. It becomes chaotic or violent. A lot of modern social movements put stuff on social media. It gets clogged up with trolls. There are lots of radical-left organizations arguing about different privileges. We’ve circumvented that and gone straight to the ‘common people,’ as you might say. We’ve held meetings in village town halls and city halls. We go around the country in a 19th-century sort of way, saying, ‘Hey guys. We’re all fucked. People are going to die if this isn’t sorted out.’ The second half of the talk is: There’s a way of dealing with this called mass civil disobedience.

“Nonviolent discipline, as the research shows, is the No. 1 criterion for maximizing the potential for success. This is not a moral observation. Violence destroys movements. The Global South has been at it for a few decades. Violence just ends up with people getting shot. It doesn’t lead anywhere. You might as well take your chances and maintain nonviolent discipline. There’s a big debate within the radical left over the attitude toward the police. This debate is a proxy for the justification of violence. As soon as you don’t talk to police, you’re more likely to provoke police violence. We try to charm the police so they’ll arrest people in a civilized way. The metropolitan police [in London] are probably one of the most civilized police forces in the world. They have a professional team of guys who go to social protests. We’ve been in regular communication with them. We say to the police, ‘Look, we’re going to be blocking the streets. We’re not going to not do that because you ask us not to.’ That’s the first thing to make clear. This is not an item for discussion. They know it’s serious. They don’t try to dissuade us. That would be silly. What they are concerned about is violence and public disorder. It’s in our interest as civil disobedience designers not to have public disorder, because it becomes chaotic.”

“You’re basically holding the economy of a city to ransom,” he said of the shutdowns. “It’s the same dynamic as a labor strike. You want to get into the room and have a negotiation. Extinction Rebellion hasn’t quite decided what that negotiation is going to be. We’ve got three demands—the government tells the truth, the carbon emissions go to zero by 2025, which is a proxy for transformation of the economy and the society, and we have a national assembly which will sort out what the British people want to do about it. The third demand [calling for a national assembly] is a proxy for transforming the political structure of the economy. It proposes a different, concrete form of democratic governance, based around sortition rather than representation. This has had a big influence in Ireland and Iceland. The optimal transition is going to be from the corrupted ‘representational’ model to a sortition model in the same way aristocratic law shifted to representational law at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 19th century.

“The intelligent people on the political left have woken up to the fact that we’ve got an existential emergency that could destroy human society in the next 10 years. It’s in the cards. A lot of us have already gone through the grief process. But these [newly awakened] people just had that enlightenment. They’re in shock. They’re maintaining a veneer of ‘It’s sort of OK.’ This is what the Green Deal [a United Kingdom government policy initiative] is about. It is an attempt to pretend that industrialization can stay the same. We can all still be wealthy. We can all still have great jobs. It is like Roosevelt’s New Deal. But the New Deal was based on the idea that we can carry on plundering nature and nothing’s going to happen. Maybe that was right in the 1930s, but it’s not right anymore. It’s a matter of physics and biology. We simply cannot maintain these levels of consumption. They haven’t reckoned with that. One of the main reasons the climate debate has not gotten into a serious mode over the last 30 years is because people who are in charge of informing the public are terrified of telling the public that they can’t have the high consumer lifestyle anymore. It’s a taboo. But like any addiction, there comes a moment of truth. We’re there now.”

“For 30 years we’ve had one political metaphysic, reform,” he said. “You either reform or you are irrelevant. But now, we have two massive, exponentially increasing structural faults—the inequality problem and the climate problem. A lot of people—because of path dependency dynamics—have worked for 30 years in this lost-cause sort of space. They’re desperate for change. For 30 years, they’ve been putting their money on reform. The tragedy—and you can see this in the history of political struggle going back hundreds of years—is there’s a flip where the reformists lose control. They’re still living in the past world. The revolutionaries, who everyone thinks are ridiculously naive, suddenly come to the fore. It’s usually a quake. It’s not a gradualist thing. It’s a double tragedy because it’s a quake and the revolutionaries usually aren’t organized. I think that’s what’s happening now. It has very big implications for [resistance against] fascism. Unless you have a clearheaded mass mobilization on the left, which is connected with the working class, you’re not going to be able to stop the fascism.”

These protests are a welcome antidote to the choreographed and ineffectual climate marches of the past in which protesters dutifully stayed in police-designated areas and dispersed after a few hours. The goal is not simply to protest but to throw a wrench into the machine. The group has 10 working principles that center on nonviolent resistance. These principles are:

We have a shared vision of change: to create a world that is fit for generations to come.

We set our mission on what is necessary, mobilizing 3.5% of the population to achieve system change – using ideas such as “momentum-driven organizing” to achieve this.

We need a regenerative culture, creating one that is healthy, resilient and adaptable.

We openly challenge ourselves and this toxic system, leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

We value reflecting and learning; as we follow a cycle of action, reflection, learning and planning for more action, we learn from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.

We welcome everyone and every part of everyone, and work actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

We actively mitigate for power, breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation.

We avoid blaming and shaming; we live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

We are a nonviolent network; using nonviolent strategies and tactics is the most effective way to bring about change.

We are based on autonomy and decentralization, collectively creating the structures we need to challenge power.

Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

You can see interviews I did with Hallam, who was jailed two weeks ago by British police in preemptive effort to curtail the rebellion herehere and here.

The longer we live in denial, the worse it will get. There is no way out. Floods, droughts, monster hurricanes, cyclones, extreme heatwaves, crop failure, mass displacement and the breakdown of society are now inevitable. This is our future. The democratic methods for change—voting, lobbying, petitions, education and protests—have proved to be spectacular failures. The corporate forces that have seized control of our political and economic systems will, unchecked, drive us into extinction for profit. All we have left is nonviolent, disruptive civil disobedience. A rebellion. And if we fail, we will at least obliterate our despair, find solace in a community of resisters and restore our emotional health and our dignity by fighting back against those who are engineering the ecocide.

UK Police Arrests 135 'Extinction Rebellion' Activists


·         Police officers detain an activist at Lambeth Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain October 7, 2019.

Police officers detain an activist at Lambeth Bridge during the Extinction Re

Published 7 October 2019

·         1

Banging drums and chanting, they took over the tourist hotspot of Trafalgar Square and marched down the Mall, the broad tree-lined avenue that leads to Buckingham Palace.

Climate change protesters blocked traffic across London's government district of Westminster Monday as they launched two weeks of peaceful civil disobedience to call for urgent action to curb carbon emissions.

Police said they had arrested 135 activists from the Extinction Rebellion group by 11:30 a.m. local time. The group expects 10,000 people will come to the capital from across Britain to join the two-week protest, which is part of a coordinated international movement. There were similar climate protests Monday in Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Madrid and other cities around the world.

Large crowds of protesters blocked some of Westminster's largest and busiest roads, bridges and squares, carrying banners with slogans such as "Climate change denies our children a future unless we act now.”

Banging drums and chanting, they took over the tourist hotspot of Trafalgar Square and marched down the Mall, the broad tree-lined avenue that leads to Buckingham Palace. Some activists glued or chained themselves to cars parked in the middle of roads or street lamps, making it hard for police officers to detain them.

"We're here because the government is not doing enough on the climate emergency," said protester Lizzy Mansfield. "We only get one planet and so we're here to try and defend it."

Extinction Rebellion rose to prominence in April when it disrupted traffic in central London for 11 days. More than 1,000 activists were arrested, of whom 850 were prosecuted for various public disorder offenses. So far, 250 have been convicted.

The Metropolitan Police has adopted more proactive tactics this time. Police chiefs said last week they would mobilize thousands of officers to handle the protests and that anyone who broke the law, even as part of non-violent civil disobedience, would be arrested.

On Saturday, officers used a battering ram to enter a building in south London where the activists had been storing materials to use during the two-week protest. Eight people were arrested during the raid.

Extinction Rebellion said the police response showed that British authorities considered the group a significant movement. Early Monday, a group of activists locked themselves to a mock nuclear missile outside the Ministry of Defence, calling on the government to redirect funds spent on Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent towards policies to combat climate change. "Climate not Trident" read a banner by the fake missile.

Richard Dyer, a retired doctor from Scotland who was taking part in the street protests, said he regarded it as an extension of his medical career because climate change was the biggest threat yet to public health.

"People in the environmental movement and climate scientists have been trying to persuade the public and government to take serious action and nothing has happened," he said. "We want to use any way we can to make people and governments sit up and notice."



Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)