The IPBES report points to still more evidence of encroaching disaster. Today’s posts reviews this report and puts it in local, state and national context. Quite by chance, I found a Truthout report by Dahr Jamail. The post closes with 2 citations and a link to Jamail’s full article—powerful. Also, a reminder Thursday night, Retake is holding an Input and Strategy Session,details follow.
ABQ City Council Votes 6-3 to Approve $250K in Asylum Seeker Funding. Thanks for making those calls. Click here to read the Journal’s report.
Thursday, May 9, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Retake Our Democracy, Input & Strategy Session at the Center for Progress Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, in Santa Fe. The meeting has three purposes: 1) reinforce the formation of a Retake community of activists committed to social justice; 2) to seek input from those involved in 2019 Roundhouse advocacy so we can improve our work and increase our impact; and 3) to discuss other strategies we could employ over the coming months to engage and educate our community and to strengthen and grow our base. Whether you were involved in advocacy at the Roundhouse this past session or not, we are interested in your input into what could be the most effective use of Retake resources and capacities over the next 10 months as we prepare for another Roundhouse session and the 2020 June primary. Light snacks and very important conversation. Everyone present will have an opportunity to speak and to provide written input. Please RSVP by writing to Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org. Thank you.
For other events and actions for the next 7-10 days, please click here. Of particular note is an exclusive screening of 1948: Creation and Catastrophe screening at CCA next week.
Just a Million Species in Danger of Extinction–That Word, “Extinction,” When Does it Wake Us Up?
Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded. Mother Nature is doing her best to send signals, but are our receptors grasping the urgency of the crisis. Unfortunately, both Democratic and Republican leadership seem impervious to the series of increasingly alarming reports and dismissive of the one US policy framework, the Green New Deal, that is of a scale appropriate to that crisis.
Last week’s Thursday through Saturday focused upon how we simply can’t rely upon most politicians to solve this challenge and how it is up to us elevate climate change in public discourse and in direct action. The posts also projected a time when some new report or some climate disaster causes enough of us to take dramatic action, action that then perhaps inspires a movement in the manner that Greta Thunberg has launched an international student movement. On the heels of the publication of this new report on species extinction, the Midwest and plains are anticipating yet another barrage of severe weather with unheard of numbers of tornadoes, devastating levels of rain and punishing hail. At what point does the evidence of human doom become so clear that another Greta stands up and says: Enough and backs that “enough” with a dramatic, galvanizing action that stuns us into action? As frightening as this new report is, I am thinking it will not be a report that triggers action, but some devastating weather event that is unmistakably due to climate change. It will be interesting to see if this report followed by more severe weather generates even a blip.
In any case, the 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week in Paris. The full report is due out very soon.
The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
The summary also noted that the scale of change required should expect opposition from those with interests vested in the status quo, but also that such opposition can be overcome for the broader public good. From the NY Times report: “Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades.
- Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
- Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss and 100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.
- In 2015, 33% of marine fish stocks were being harvested at unsustainable levels; 60% were maximally sustainably fished, with just 7% harvested at levels lower than what can be sustainably fished.
- Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean ‘dead zones’, totalling more than 245,000 km2 (591-595) – a combined area greater than that of the United Kingdom.
- Negative trends in nature will continue to 2050 and beyond in all of the policy scenarios explored in the Report, except those that include transformative change – due to the projected impacts of increasing land-use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change, although with significant differences between regions.”
It is hard to fathom how we can continue to ignore Mother Nature, however, the report, in citing how the “status quo” will resist the changes necessary to avert catastrophe, references many of those kinds of changes and the biggest obstacle to implementing those strategies. “The Report also presents a wide range of illustrative actions for sustainability with a key element of more sustainable future policies being the evolution of global financial and economic systems to build a global sustainable economy, steering away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth,” i.e. time to find an alternative to capitalism. Retake Our Democracy has published well over a dozen posts pointing to the critical need to turn away from capitalism and its thirst for growth and profit. The IPBES Report clearly sees the same need.
Click here to review the full summary.
After reading the IPBES quite by chance I found a Truthout article from Dahr Jamail. Given the discussions in recent blogs and above about what those who understand the implications of climate change are to do. Before addressing this, he began his essay with a statement that I think many of us have considered many times.
You, dear reader, who are paying such close attention to the unraveling of all that we know, must share in many of these feelings. When you see another of these grotesque, pasty-white iterations of humanity stuffed into a glossy suit, acting as nothing more than a fossil-fueled ventriloquist’s puppet, do you, like me, burn inside with rage, a rage that threatens to incinerate you? Do you fantasize of their demise? Of somehow bringing them, at least, a taste of the pain their soulless and heartless actions are bringing to the fish searching for food atop the bleached-out coral reefs? To show them the starving polar bears swimming for hundreds of miles to find no ice to rest upon? At these times, I wonder if any of these so-called humans can feel a goddamn thing anymore.” Dahr Jamail
I read Jamail’s words while waiting for the Supreme Court hearing pitting New Energy Economy against PNM. As I sat there soaking in Jamail’s words, I couldn’t help but look at the “grotesque, pasty-white iterations of humanity stuffed into glossy suits,” PNM’s attorneys, laughing among themselves while awaiting the hearing. I wondered to myself: how do they live with themselves? What will they tell their grandchildren?
So these PNM attorneys have chosen a different side than you and I. But as Dahr Jamail
Each day I wake and begin to process the daily news of the climate catastrophe and the global political tilt into overt fascism. The associated trauma, grief, rage and despair that come from all of this draws me back to the work of Stan Rushworth, Cherokee elder, activist and scholar, who has guided much of my own thinking about how to move forward. Rushworth has reminded me that while Western colonialist culture believes in “rights,” many Indigenous cultures teach of “obligations” that we are born into: obligations to those who came before, to those who will come after, and to the Earth itself. Hence, when the grief and rage threaten to consume me, I now orient myself around the question, “What are my obligations?” In other words, “From this moment on, knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do I devote my life?“
Jamail closes by citing Roger Hallam, founder of Extinction Rebellion: “To those who feel there is no point in rebelling or taking other actions for the betterment of the planet, who feel that all is lost, Hallam had this to say: ‘We are in this life to do good, not to bargain with outcomes that are out of our control, anyhow.’ ”
To read the full essay by Dahr Jamail, click here.
And so, we continue, informed by our need to acquit our obligations to our children, our planet, and our future while seething inside that there are those individuals who somehow have no sense of obligation to anything but profit and their own self-aggrandizement. Battle lines are being drawn.
Paul & Roxanne