Regarding the ‘Social Mediapocalypse’…

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TL:DR and trigger warning. This post is for my own sanity and for people who are trying to pay attention to the collapsing everything. It asks more questions than it answers.

Since the recent spate of bannings on social media, I feel I should write a little more on the subject. Digital censorship is something I’ve written about at some length in the past and most of my conclusions about the issue remain the same as they were last time round. I don’t want to dwell on it too much now but ICYMI, the digital hammer is coming down again, repeatedly. All over the place. Like cyber whack-a-mole.

Simultaneously, the right wing, billionaire owned corporate media and their chums in parliament have inadvertently revealed the most problematic elephant in the room.

The Palestine anti-semitism debate flame war has been fueled by the anti-Corbyn, pro-Israel lobby to epic proportions now. As absurd as it is, this #WreathGate mullarkey seems to have been a significant watershed moment. Corbyn’s graceful, powerful riposte to Netanyahu on twitter seems to have galvanised pro-Corbyn and pro-palestinian supporters, who have been speaking up louder than ever. The way people are thinking and talking about the world is finally, dramatically changing, on Israel/Palestine and an overwhelming number of other significant things that really matter, materially and ‘spiritually’ for want of a better word.

In this context, the social media crackdown looks like an inevitable overreaction by the status quo against the internet’s rising consciousness, which is once again threatening to disrupt business as usual. Whether it’s ‘top down’ collusion and censorship, co-ordinated campaigns by third parties to get certain channels suspended, or both is largely irrelevant at this point. (It looks like a bit of both to me).

Between all this and the chaos of Trump and Brexshit, most people’s attention has been diverted away from grappling with the painful reality of the actual apocalypse, the 6th Mass Extinction event which is escalating, rapidly. Here too, an awful lot more people are engaging with it than ever before though.

The ‘digital commons’ still represents one of our best hopes for developing, discovering, sharing and implementing positive global solutions to the greatest challenge in history: Survival.

Ironically, the carbon footprint of this digital activity now needs to be factored into our calculations too. We need to be more efficient than ever.

Continue reading Regarding the ‘Social Mediapocalypse’…

Trump and Brexit are Distractions. What Are They Distracting us From?

During the 2016 US presidential election, the provocative philosopher, Slavoj Žižek made a leftist’s case for electing Trump, (please bear with me). Slavoj’s insensitivity to the plight of LGBTQ comrades, his positions and commentary on climate change and immigration are deeply problematic for me but his perspective on Trump and the state of ‘the left’ was right on.

(Very) basically, his analysis rhymed with that of Julian Assange; that the 2016 US election was like a choice between cholera and gonorrhea. To them and doubtless many American citizens, the Clinton mafia represented an inertia perhaps best exemplified by their unforgivable treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

Slavoj argued that Trump, while horrific, represented a shake up of the blatantly corrupt establishment. My interpretation of his point during the election was that ‘the Left’ needed a good kick up the arse. Or as he put it, “the awakening of an authentic left”.

After the election, he was absolutely roasted, most notably by Mehdi Hassan on Al Jazeera, where he offered this defence of and exposition on his thinking.

‘The Left’ certainly seems to have started getting it’s shit together in the Trump era. We’ve had a few big wins. #BlackLivesMatter has changed the conversation on institutional racism and white privilege. #MeToo has changed the conversation on patriarchy and toxic masculinity.

Sadly, ‘the Right’ are relentless in their destructive tendencies and tribalism is easily exploited. Fake NGOs and other useful idiots are still appealing to maintain ‘the Left’s’ static status quo, which has in my lifetime been concerned only with cosmetic change. Talking shops. Anything but directing actual change through action.

“If you can’t face Hiroshima in the theatre,

you’ll eventually end up in Hiroshima itself” 

–  Edward Bond

Noam Chomsky has made the case that Trump, being a master showman, is simultaneously a massive distraction and a wrecking ball, paving the way for the worst horrors of neo-liberal disaster capitalism in the US and around it’s worldwide empire.

Here in the United Kingdom of America, there are similarities and differences. Our equivalent of Bernie Sanders is Jeremy Corbyn, who has apparently succeeded in piercing the archaic, anti-democratic parliamentary structures. This is a win. Corbyn appears to be a genuine, lifelong ally.

The similarities are more striking though.  Treason Mayhem and her chums have been creating a terrifyingly absurd spectacle for over two years now. Brexit has not only succeeded in dividing all we who might otherwise be natural allies. It has also robbed people of their hopes, dreams and nightmares for the future. It is robbing them of their power, because the neverendumb referendum created such a convincing illusion of power.

UK Gov Plc announced last week that they intend to start distributing ‘packages’, ‘warning‘ (terrorising) UK citizens ‘on a weekly basis’ about the perils of a ‘no deal Brexit’.  Could this be because many people are now starting to realise that Brexit was a con? A black and white choice on a rainbow of options over which we have no actual say.

People tend to feel more powerful in a tribe and the longer they affiliate with that tribe, the harder the die casts. Nobody wants to give up their power, so if you associate your power with a tribe you will most likely defend your tribe against all logic.

So, having successfully divided and distracted most of us, what have Trump, the Tories and their chums been up to? What have they been distracting us from?

(The following list is not in order of importance. All these struggles are interconnected).

The Planet is Literally Burning

The exponentially accelerating effects of extreme pollution, climate change, ‘hyrdological extremes’ (drought, flood)  and the resultant 6th Mass Extinction. Wildfires raging in the arctic circle. 

I’ll just repeat that: Wildfires raging. In the arctic circle.

In the ARCTIC circle.

“This appears to be a trend as more and bigger blazes are reported in other far northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, Siberia and Canada.” – and in the North of England.

Class War

The effects of austerity on the vulnerable. The thousands of people who have committed suicide or died from preventable conditions after being found fit for work; The increasing numbers of uncounted homeless deaths on our streets, and in squats, and bedsits, and B&Bs, hostels, and other unsafe, temporary means of hiding the problem while lining the pockets of landlords and poverty property developers. The vast majority of the population reliant on the state and foodbanks for survival.

Fracking

The ecocidal fracking industry spreading across the country, poisoning our water, land and air for a short term injection of capital into the dying fossil fuel industry. UK Gov plc deploying the UK’s public police force to act as private security to ‘protect’ the fracking industry. From the knitting nanas of Lancashire. By throwing them around, arresting them and dragging them through the courts…

Proxy Warmongering and Fascism

Refugees and immigrants from poor countries fleeing the effects of climate change wrought on them by richer countries. Refugees and immigrants fleeing the secret proxy wars of a dying empire which is closing it’s borders, abandoning them to die and worse. These human beings are almost exclusively referred to in terms of the problems they present at the borders. The hostile environment. Those fucking ‘Go Home’ vans. The horror of Yarl’s Wood detention centre and Guantanamo. Trump locking children in cages. Trial runs for fascism in full flow.

The Rise of the Neo-McCarthyist Corporate Police State

Lush managed to pierce the established media networks with their excellent but much maligned #SpyCops campaign, shedding precious light on the undercover policing scandal, which otherwise nobody would know anything about. Undercover police formed intimate, long term relationships with activists, fathering children with them before abandoning the families they had co-created. Spycops apparently compiled blacklists of environmental, peace and human rights activists, members of Parliament and trade unionists, undermining union disputes. High profile victims of this scandal include the incumbent Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn.

The impetus for writing this little rant/blog/article is this week’s revelation, courtesy of Baroness Jenny Jones: UK Gov Plc are now deploying children as #SpyCops to do dangerous police work. If this isn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back I dread to think what will be.

This list is by no means comprehensive. I think it’s sufficient to make my point though.

We need to make earth great again. Whatever you’re doing to make this happen, keep it up. Do more if you can. Don’t forget to practice self-care, be kind to yourself and others.

Keep it lit.

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The Extinction Symbol represents extinction. It is quite important to raise awareness of the 6th Mass Extinction, particularly as corporate power invests so much pretending that it isn’t really happening…

Chancer’s Fudge it Budget is a Stinking Pile [Post Satire]

Erudite #Budget2017 analysis from Ann Narkeh:

Tax cuts for the rich, f*ck all for the poor.
Austerity is a choice. #SackTheTories

Post Satire isn’t funny…

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Santa’s Warning To Humanity: #ShopLessLiveMore [Subvert]

#ShopLessLiveMore

Over consumption is destroying the planet. Our home. But it’s not all ho ho hopeless.

This year, spend time not money.

Shop less. Live more.

Buy nothing.

Terms and conditions do not apply.

Participate by not participating.

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World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice [Short Film]

Signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries around the world, the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, A Second Notice” was published on November 13th, 2017.

This short film was produced by Ann Narkeh for all you internet zombies. Some parts have been paraphrased for legibility. The original text with acknowledgements, references and supplementary materials can be found here.

Keep it lit.

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Buy Nothing Xmas [Subvert]

#ShopLessLiveMore

Consumerism is DESTROYING our planet and there’s NOTHING you can do about it.

Buy NOTHING.

You don’t have to spend money to show that you love your friends and family.

Shop Less, Live More.

Buy nothing this Xmas.

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World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice [Reblog]

Yesterday, over 17,000 scientists from all over the planet warned us for a second time that because of human activity,  we face ‘vast human misery’ in the near future.

I knew things were bad, but the datasets they present are absolutely terrifying.

The message needs to be heard and understood by everybody if life on this planet is to stand a chance of survival. The scientists’ warning should have been on the front page of every newspaper, should have been the top headline for every news network – but so far has only been picked up by 23 news outlets and 5 (now 6) blogs.

It’s incredible that this critical information is competing for attention with the likes of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ and the ‘MTV EMAs’…This is why Extra-Terrestrials won’t reveal themselves to us.

Pay attention. Don’t get sad, or mad, get active.

Stay strong. Keep it lit. Be excellent to each other.

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[OP follows]

Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” (see supplemental file S1). These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

The authors of the 1992 declaration feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life. They described how we are fast approaching many of the limits of what the ­biosphere can tolerate ­without ­substantial and irreversible harm. The scientists pleaded that we stabilize the human population, describing how our large numbers—swelled by another 2 billion people since 1992, a 35 percent increase—exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realize a sustainable future (Crist et al. 2017). They implored that we cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation, and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse (figure 1file S1). Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Figure 1.

Trends over time for environmental issues identified in the 1992 scientists’ warning to humanity. The years before and after the 1992 scientists’ warning are shown as gray and black lines, respectively. Panel (a) shows emissions of halogen source gases, which deplete stratospheric ozone, assuming a constant natural emission rate of 0.11 Mt CFC-11-equivalent per year. In panel (c), marine catch has been going down since the mid-1990s, but at the same time, fishing effort has been going up (supplemental file S1). The vertebrate abundance index in panel (f) has been adjusted for taxonomic and geographic bias but incorporates relatively little data from developing countries, where there are the fewest studies; between 1970 and 2012, vertebrates declined by 58 percent, with freshwater, marine, and terrestrial populations declining by 81, 36, and 35 percent, respectively (file S1). Five-year means are shown in panel (h). In panel (i), ruminant livestock consist of domestic cattle, sheep, goats, and buffaloes. Note that y-axes do not start at zero, and it is important to inspect the data range when interpreting each graph. Percentage change, since 1992, for the variables in each panel are as follows: (a) –68.1%; (b) –26.1%; (c) –6.4%; (d) +75.3%; (e) –2.8%; (f) –28.9%; (g) +62.1%; (h) +167.6%; and (i) humans: +35.5%, ruminant livestock: +20.5%. Additional descriptions of the variables and trends, as well as sources for figure 1, are included in file S1.

Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends (figure 1). We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017). By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.

As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life. With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome and political leaders compelled to do the right thing. It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita ­consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.

The rapid global decline in ozone-depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger (www.worldbank.org). Other notable progress (which does not yet show up in the global data sets in figure 1) include the rapid decline in fertility rates in many regions attributable to investments in girls’ and women’s education (www.un.org/esa/population), the promising decline in the rate of deforestation in some regions, and the rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector. We have learned much since 1992, but the advancement of urgently needed changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities is still far from sufficient.

Sustainability transitions come about in diverse ways, and all require civil-society pressure and evidence-based advocacy, political leadership, and a solid understanding of policy instruments, markets, and other drivers. Examples of diverse and effective steps humanity can take to transition to sustainability include the following (not in order of importance or urgency): (a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats; (b) maintaining nature’s ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats; (c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes; (d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics; (e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species; (f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure; (g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods; (h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking; (i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature; (j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change; (k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels; (l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and (m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

Epilogue

We have been overwhelmed with the support for our article and thank the more than 15,000 signatories from all ends of the Earth (see supplemental file S2 for list of signatories). As far as we know, this is the most scientists to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article. In this paper, we have captured the environmental trends over the last 25 years, showed realistic concern, and suggested a few examples of possible remedies. Now, as an Alliance of World Scientists (­scientists.forestry.oregonstate.edu) and with the public at large, it is important to continue this work to ­document challenges, as well as improved ­situations, and to develop clear, trackable, and practical solutions while communicating trends and needs to world leaders. Working together while respecting the diversity of people and opinions and the need for social justice around the world, we can make great progress for the sake of humanity and the planet on which we depend.

Spanish, Portuguese, and French versions of this article can be found in file S1.

Acknowledgments

Peter Frumhoff and Doug Boucher of the Union of Concerned Scientists, as well as the following individuals, provided thoughtful discussions, comments, or data for this paper: Stuart Pimm, David Johns, David Pengelley, Guillaume Chapron, Steve Montzka, Robert Diaz, Drik Zeller, Gary Gibson, Leslie Green, Nick Houtman, Peter Stoel, Karen Josephson, Robin Comforto, Terralyn Vandetta, Luke Painter, Rodolfo Dirzo, Guy Peer, Peter Haswell, and Robert Johnson.

Supplemental material

Supplementary data are available at BIOSCI online including supplemental file 1 and supplemental file 2 (full list of all 15,364 signatories).

References are cited in the original post.

Supplementary data

Truth, Justice, Freedom and Lulz

As we bear witness to the apocalypse, it’s important to make time for lulz. So, I made my unicorn do a rainbow fart.

That is all.

Music: ‘Focus’ by Angry Band.

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Thoughts and Prayers [Post Satire]

Who needs gun control when you’ve got thoughts and prayers?
Murica’s addiction to guns isn’t funny, it’s Post Satire.

More Post Satire here.giphy (8)

 

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Consume Crap [Subvert]

Consume Crap

#AdvertisingShitsInYourHead

Consume Crap. Work. Buy. Sleep. Obey. Keep consuming shit you don’t need from corporations who don’t give a fuck about you. Consume crap and die.

Video and robot voice by Ann Narkeh.
annnarkehmedia.com

Music: ‘From The Heart’ by Angry Band.
soundcloud.com/angryband

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