Volatility

January 14, 2019

A Desert of the Soul

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The Sahara, a favorite target to be covered with one huge electricity factory

 
 
At first glance the natural desert may not look as lavish as a rain forest. But the natural desert is full of diverse life, efflorescent, and very fragile.
 
“During my weeks in the field, the paleontologists leading the expedition repeatedly warned us not to “bust the crust,” a reference to the paper-thin desert “glue” that covers much of the ground in the desert southwest.
 
This unprepossessing knobby black varnish is actually Cryptobiotic soil, a biologically active film that takes decades to form yet has big effects on everything from storing spring runoff to allowing plants to fix nitrogen in sandy ground. This in turn supports a healthy habitat for herbivores and predators, like the large rattlesnake I encountered one afternoon sporting a suspiciously mouse-sized lump in its midsection.
 
The soil is so fragile that some dig sites require that even theropod bones, which can weigh hundreds of pounds, be carried out on foot, since wheeled vehicles of any kind cause too much damage to the landscape.
 
If something as small as a single wheelbarrow can do years of damage to the desert, imagine how destructive uranium mining will be.”
 
A careful dinosaur dig must take such precautions. As she says, imagine the destruction to be wrought by uranium mining (remember that next time you hear a shill touting nukes on “climate” grounds, and know how much he really cares about the Earth). Imagine the destruction wrought by oil and gas drilling.
 
In the same way, imagine the destruction wrought by vast CSP industrial electricity-generation factories such as the one which destroyed a large swath of the Mojave Desert, with near-full support from California’s “environmental movement”, so that Los Angeles industry could continue to burn cheap electricity.
 
The Big Green climate-industrial complex spits on the desert ecology for the sake of their industrial fetish. As I wrote earlier, the corporate environmental movement has perfect consensus with the corporate destroyers of the Earth on total commitment to the production-consumption economy. Therefore all prescriptions touted by the establishment climate movement really have zero to do with the climate or with any other ecological crisis but have everything to do with saving the cancer economy (the metastatic “growth” economy) from its own death wish.
 
As Derrick Jensen put it, “The desert is being sacrificed not, as the article states, to save the earth, but to generate electricity—primarily for industry. The earth doesn’t need this electricity: industry does. But then again, from this narcissistic perspective, industry is the earth. There is and can be nothing except for industry.”
 
 
Corporations, the government, NGOs, the Democrat Party, all work to co-opt and hijack every social and ecological movement.
 
The climate movement was pre-co-opted. Before most of the people became aware of the crisis the “movement” already had coalesced on a technocratic basis, a basis of UN conferences, international accords, Big NGO marketing campaigns, “sustainability” initiatives at Walmart, top-down (usually wonkish) prescriptions and policy.
 
The purpose of this pre-fabricated establishment-led movement was never real climate action but the fake facade of it. That’s why the movement’s been active for over thirty years (the IPCC was established in 1988) and over that entire time emissions have continued to increase, at an accelerating rate, and sinks continue to be destroyed at an escalating rate. And now we have the Paris accord whose primary purpose is to accelerate the destruction of what’s left of Earth’s forests (the most important carbon sinks) in the name of “the climate” (the “biomass” scam and assault). Arbeit Macht Frei.
 
You don’t like what Bolsonaro threatens to do to the Amazon? He’s just following the Paris playbook.
 
Here’s the real purposes of the mainstream technocratic climate movement.
 
1. This faction among the technocrats believes that climate chaos and peak oil will destroy the existing fossil-based economy, and they’re looking for a way to preserve industrial cancer (“growth”), productionism-consumerism, capitalism, elite power, and extreme material luxury for the elites.
 
2. This faction includes many corporate sectors which can profit from an industrial “climate” program, especially something on the scale and subsidy level of the Manhattan Project or Apollo program, to name two of the favored militarist metaphors of the climate mandarins. These sectors include industrial renewables, finance (“offsets”, carbon taxes, “cap-and-trade” etc.), Big NGOs (nominally non-profit, effectively profiteering), along with new subsidized markets for industrial agriculture (“climate-smart agriculture”, Monsanto’s “Climate Corporation”), automakers (electric vehicles as loss-leaders, the upscale hybrid market, all to mask the real goal of increasing SUV sales), logging and coal (the biomass scam), and yet more subsidies for Big Oil, nukes, and other hoary destroyer sectors.
 
3. The climate movement is a happy hunting ground for the scientism wingnuts who now have political space to propagate such deranged notions as geoengineering, biofuels from genetically engineered algae, or ramping up the space program since Homo domesticus soon will need a new planet to destroy. These psychopaths gain legitimacy when they cloak their planetary serial-killer fantasies in “climate” garb.
 
4. And then we have the standard, inescapable liberal hypocrisy. If you shed crocodile tears for the climate, donate to a Big Green corporate front group like the World Wildlife Fund or Nature Conservancy, sign some online petitions and vote Democrat, then you can go about your extreme high-carbon, high-impact, Earth-destroying Western lifestyle in perfect serenity of conscience.
 
 
No doubt this technocratic cultural wave is part of the reason there’s so many de jure denialists among the 99% who can’t benefit from climate denial and can only be harmed by climate chaos itself. But like creationism, and fundamentalism among the three Abrahamic religions as such (a purely modern phenomenon, in spite of moronic epithets like how it’s a “medieval” mentality), bottom-up climate denial (which is different from but tutored and exploited by astroturfed top-down denial led by Big Oil – the flip side of the top-down climate-industrial complex) is a reaction against technocracy and scientism.
 
 
For the moment, for as long as fossil fuels remain cheap and plentiful (so-called “renewable” industrial energy is completely dependent upon fossil fuels for parts, transportation, much of its own fuel, and the vast majority of the fuel for the productionist economy which industrial renewables are intended to help prop up for a little while longer), the electricity is cheap and plentiful. The electricity as well as the coal, oil, and gas are cheap since the Earth pays almost all of the cost. That’s the essence of the parasite and vandal civilization.
 
It’s clear that any movement true to the ecological heart, faithful to the Earth cannot proceed in any such way. The production-consumption-technocratic Extreme Energy Civilization itself is destroying the Earth including natural humanity, the human soul. Wherever this civilization goes, on the Earth and into our minds and souls, it leaves nothing but desert.
 
This desert has nothing in common with the natural diverse flowering desert. It’s the desert of wasteland, a dead zone.
 
The industrial climate movement, like the corporate industrial environmental movement as a whole, offers nothing to Gaia or her human element. Like all that’s industrial, all that’s productionist, all that’s corporate, all that’s mass-produced, commodified and consumed, it offers nothing but destruction.
 
Gaia hovers at the brink of the great Kinesis, the great phase change. The cancer civilization will not survive it. Homo domesticus will be the keystone victim of its own onslaught of mass extinction. Humanity itself will survive only if we start heading home to Earth right now. The only idea sufficient to the crisis, the only movement, the only culture, the only politics, is the Gaian movement. This is the only way home. All else is the politics of parasite squatters and vandals.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

July 30, 2018

We Need Renewable Ideas, Not Stale Ones About “Renewables”

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They may say I look like Don Quixote, but they’re the ones charging a mirage.

 
 
Industrial renewables are unsustainable because of their dependency on a foundation of cheap plentiful fossil fuels: Especially, they and the industrial economy they’re supposed to rescue would continue to be completely dependent upon fossil fuels for transportation. Industrial renewables also are bound up in ecological destruction: The destruction of arid ecosystems for CSP monocultures, the murder of rivers for hydroelectric, the straight extractionist rape from the metals mining it requires. And of course the wholesale massacre of birds by industrial windmills. It takes a special kind of depravity to call this “environmentalism”, and only today’s corporate environmentalists could reach such a level of depravity.
 
The main evil of the propaganda of a large-scale industrial renewables buildout is that it’s supposed to replace fossil fuels in powering what would otherwise be the same corporate globalization regime. This is no improvement. Centralization itself, gigantism itself, is at the core of the crisis. No one who would want a high-consumption grid based on CSP and industrial wind mega-farms would care about replacing fossil fuels anyway; they’d only want to supplement them. If the paramount imperative is to feed the monstrous consumption maw (and for the advocates of the industrial civilization this is the only imperative), then the climate crisis and all other environmental crises can’t have any importance at all, other than as propaganda gambits on behalf of further escalated destruction. On the contrary, if averting the worst of the crises was any kind of goal, then the goal of maximizing energy production automatically would be downgraded severely.
 
What’s most promising about renewables is their decentralized, non-grid potential to contribute to a decent life for human beings, such as the great potential of passive solar heating. Just as with agroecology, here we can provide warmth and comfort and sufficient electricity for family and community use, as opposed to the productionist mindset which only wants massive corporate-controlled electricity generation for its own sake. It’s the same as how growing food for human beings is vastly more productive and healthy in every way than producing agricultural commodities from which food is then supposed to trickle down as an afterthought. It’s true that acre for acre agroecology is far more productive in every way – calories, nutrition, biodiversity, every other ecological function – than industrial monoculture, whereas decentralized renewables would produce less gross energy quantity than any kind of industrial generation. But the better quality of life provided by a decentralized ecological society would more than make up for that.
 
Anyway, industrial-scale renewables never could be self-sustaining rather than dependent upon a fossil fuel foundation. Therefore the whole quantity-vs.-quality debate is moot since the quantity couldn’t be sustained anyway.
 
All this must be placed in the context of humanity’s great need to abolish the onslaught of industrial poisons. This is a more immediate and dire threat even than climate change, as pressing as that’s becoming. (But these two crises are completely intertwined and cannot be separated. What drives one drives the other, and the only solution for one is the only solution for the other.) Many of those who tout industrial renewables want to use this to prop up poison-based agriculture. Obviously it won’t be possible really to do that once the necessary cheap, plentiful fossil fuels aren’t available. But the idea itself is pernicious since it’s part of the “delayer” form of denialism, the de facto denialism of the climate crocodiles shedding their usual crocodile tears.
 
That too is a reason to reject any version of the call for productionist Business As Usual, including the version which would have it all powered by industrial renewables. Such a program, if it were possible and actually carried out, would continue destroying the Earth and would continue to drive the climate crisis since it would continue destroying the forests, grasslands, and soil.
 
No aspect of the modern technocratic-corporate system is redeemable. Productionism, capitalism in itself is the most evil of all ideologies and systematically maximizes all other evils because it can’t use or tolerate anything that’s good in people or the Earth, only the bad, destructive, and wasteful.
 
We must reject concepts of absolute production and consumption, but rather think and speak only in terms of what’s sufficient and desirable. This includes the social/community element. All the worthless high-maintenance material junk which has been available to the Western rich and middle classes and their apes around the world have not made them psychologically secure, content, happy. On the contrary, it’s evident how unhappy, insecure, insane and deranged the “modern” human type has become.
 
Conversely, and as a corollary, people still close to an indigenous or national way of life, or who faithfully seek such a life, don’t need more “stuff”. We can benefit from modern agroecological science (which is knowledge, not imported junk like commodified seeds and poisons) and some of the medical knowledge (there too, it’s basic knowledge and low-tech practice which helps most, not modern high-maintenance technology; the fact is that most of the modern medical gains were achieved by things like better sanitation, while hi-tech modern medical science has had a much smaller and diminishing-returns role, and in any event is increasingly impossible financially for most people even in the West). Agroecology is not a revelation to people still close to the Earth, but builds upon and modifies traditional knowledge.
 
For the physical reasons of Peak Oil, the climate crisis and the many other environmental crises, driven by the socioeconomic and spiritual evils of productionism and corporate capitalism, all our ideas about energy and technology must mean finding the level which is best for the most constructive and fulfilled human experience and interaction within the ecology, our only home. The workable political and economic level for the ecology is also the best level for human happiness and contentment, on an individual and community level. All the evidence says this level is low in terms of the physical technological sophistication and grossness, high in terms of knowledge. The best example is the extreme contrast of the technologically highly ramified, but intellectually and scientifically very stupid and retrograde poison agriculture regime, vs. the “low-tech” but intellectually highly advanced agroecological paradigm. The same is true for money and finance. The same is true for everything else. And the same is true for energy, where the low-hanging fruit of fully developing passive solar knowledge to provide adequate heating for home and community use, joined with the necessary social transformations, is far more promising than generating extreme amounts of electricity amid an ongoing consumer atomism while the civilization attempts to murder the Earth and commits suicide in the process.
 
 
 
 
 

November 19, 2017

Trickles and Blasts

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Life is complete right here

 
 
Picture a steady trickle of water from a faucet. Now picture this trickle, over hundreds of millions of years, filling a cistern whose walls gradually close in. Eventually the water would be so compressed that if you could insert a pipe the water would blast out with great force.
 
So far the analogy with an oil well is fairly direct. And for the sake of argument let’s go further and say the compressed water could be extracted and its force used in all kinds of ways. So we have an analogy with fossil fuels.
 
Now instead let’s say we want to go directly to the trickle and extract force from it. Immediately we see the problem. Yet the cultists of industrial renewables – industrial wind farms, concentrated solar panels, the whole notion of using solar power for consumerist electricity generation – think that the concentrated solar energy of hundreds of millions of years, compressed into fossil fuels (and of course it took vastly greater energy to concentrate fossil fuels in the first place than is contained in the fossil fuels themselves), can be replaced by tapping the present trickle. This is an example of the religious insanity of the modern ideological complex of productionism-consumerism-technocracy-scientism-progress-corporate rule.
 
It’s no wonder the apostles of a renewables-based “future” always support the fossil fuel status quo in the present. Just as almost all who verbally deplore climate change support this climate-wracking status quo. And as a Green Queen might say, it’s “fossil fuels today, renewables tomorrow, never renewables today!” Because deep down they know that the great renewables Millennium, like all utopian techno-hype, is a pipe dream. The idea of powering the extreme energy civilization on renewables is only that: An empty idea, a propaganda campaign. Like all other such propaganda, its purpose is to prop up faltering faith in the model of civilization based on fossil fuels, extreme energy consumption, productionism, and high-maintenance technology. Its purpose is to keep the gate against any thought of an ecological future. Keep “civilized” (i.e. technocratic) thought and action in, keep ecological thought and action out.
 
But the faith continues to falter, because deep down everyone knows fossil fuels are finite, these cannot be replaced, the Earth is not an infinitely disposable waste dump, Gaia shall impose its correction, there will be no technological savior and there are no “stars” to go to (i.e., no god will descend to save us, which is what both of these really mean). The extreme energy civilization, having bottlenecked all human potential and driven humanity into a socioeconomic and political dead end, now drives itself into its own terminal bottleneck.
 
Anyone who feels bottlenecked, whatever the surface reason seems to be, must understand that yours is a symptom of a global ecological crisis. You cannot solve your crisis within the bottleneck which causes it any more than the civilization can pull itself out of its own bottleneck.
 
There’s only one liberation, for all of us, for humanity, for the hope of an ecological civilization. This is to liberate ourselves from the decadent barbarism of the corporate-technocratic extreme energy Babylon. We must liberate ourselves first in thought, and propagate the necessary new ideas. Then we must organize, taking all actions possible within the existing framework, while preparing for the coming physical, political, and spiritual tribulations as the extremist civilization begins its collapse in earnest.
 
Renewable energy offers great benefits for the coming transformation. We must think in terms of passive solar heating, rebuilding and improving wind energy for pumping water and other on-site and local uses, small-scale electrical generation, and similar uses. In the same way many of us are working on agroecology, many are working on a truly rational theory and practice for renewable energy, starting with off-grid development today. These are thoughts and actions toward a human ecological future.
 
But typically extreme, gigantist, megalomaniacal notions of renewables powering vast cities floating on the sand are nothing but typical desert mirages, as often occur in the minds of those crazy from the heat. We must renounce such dinosaur notions ourselves and counteract them by propagating the necessary new ideas, the ideas of an ecological way of life, which is the only possible human way of life.
 
The trickle is indeed more than enough for all we need and all we could sanely want. For four billon years now it’s been more than enough for all life on Earth. All we need is to give up the insanity of thinking we need the blast.