Don’t Be Seduced by the Good Stuff


A friend said, “but conservation isn’t all bad.” Well, this caveat doesn’t address the larger issue. It has to do with the difference between conservation and environmental justice. Conservatism frequently is deluded. It points to some very good thing we are doing, gets our eyes and minds focused on it so that we miss an extremely threatening larger picture which has to do with extraction. Your government/corporation buys a thousand acres of forest in Africa which gives the fossil fuel industry, carbon credits which it can spend by digging up and burning carbon for power in the field across the tracks where poor people live.

The wood industry also cuts a piece of the carbon pie by buying distant forests. Now it can cut down easily accessible wood everywhere because of the wood they’ve “saved.” Those who know hurl expletives at conservation societies which endorse this practice of an ungodly trade. Conservation rings its hands in pain and comes up with another non-solution. Save a tree or a bunch of trees. A tree sitter saves one redwood tree from cutting by sitting in it for a year while saws sound around her. A community of tree lovers force the politicos who would sell all the trees to create a half-acre park.

All the trees of same species are connected through their roots which travel for miles. Sometimes a forest of trees is actually one mother tree that spreads and raises seemingly new trees from a common root. Ancient forests grow old together. They send nutrients to failing trees as well as warnings of infestation which the younger ones ward off with shared nasty sap. The elders shelter the young and keep them from getting too much light so that their trunks grow dense and strong.

The single trees planted along the road side have a short life. Their roots, often sawed off when endangering water pipes, reach no tree brethren. Cows raised to become burgers in the deforested and grass planted Amazon watch the top soil washed away in the rainy season. City dwellers get their Amazon hamburger and lose the oxygen they need to live.

Naomi Klein speaks of disaster capitalism. A company or a nations’ so-called helping agency swoops down on a flooded country and/or allows the disaster to expand so that after most of the local citizens are dead or moved away they buy it for a song. Right now, Puerto Rico’s public schools are being nixed for charters. Public tax money sucked into the maw of those into education for profit. Creating electric lines that work is ceded by the bought-out PR governor to a US company which does not have tools to do the work, all the while ignoring locals who can do it. And on and on. The foreign agency currently circling to eat its prey, creates a local governing body that will allow it. They put up hotels for the rich along recovered beaches. They scoop up natural resources. They plunder and call it conservation.

Conservation is a flag behind which extractors hide. The little the conservationist saves at the cost of all that is connected tears the web of life. Those who own the fracking companies want to sell fracked oil by telling you that it is harmless as your property explodes in earth quakes and your sink provides water you can light with a match. Coal dealers sell cheap while breathable air vanishes in China (which is way ahead of us now in the solar industry which Trump has severely limited with his 30 percent import tax). The air grey with car exhaust in New Delhi destroys the lungs of the young, frail, and elderly but car dealers say look at the cars available now that more people can afford. It’s like being on a highway to extinction. But we can’t even see the view.

We need to recognize that we are part of the “all.” The living world is our life. Its survival is connected to our own. Enjoy the beauty of a living world. How rich that makes us. Become informed. Don’t be seduced. Don’t succumb to a monster that sings a pretty song.



At Last a Good Thing Happens, But Then….

So, the Clintons sent jobs away to other lands where people will work for crumbs, a form of slavery, especially with child labor. More and more citizens are falling into that pit. Those chosen to fail are from a certain country, race, religion. They are the people automation discards. They are native people who are in the way of removing their trees and fish and chemicals.

But wait! A new and wonderful possibility has arrived. People in 5 southern US states have discovered a form of income—selling and installing solar power. With solar power sales, people can earn enough to pay all personal expenses. By taxing solar sales, states can build schools and roads and bridges. There is a spirit of celebration.

Remember Trump’s promise, to return employment to this country? His new plan is misleading. It has no feet on the earth. He puts an import tax of 30 percent on foreign solar parts. He says, this tax keeps out “the bad guys,” while locals develop a factory to make parts. But the common folk don’t have the money to take that step. They need the imported parts. Hundreds of thousands work with what they have delivered. Trump’s 30 percent tax will totally crush the US business and he knows it. In addition, we have profit made from loss. The Feds are researching into those areas that will need more oil and “clean coal” to meet their energy needs. Filthy profit-making carbon products vs. harnessing the sun. Your loss = their gain.

Will China be tossed into bankruptcy by losing US business? No. They only sell us ten percent of their solar production. No money is offered to US workers by a Congress funded by oil and gas companies and oil-supported banks.    

US solar production will be wiped out by Trump’s 30% import tax. It is no accident. We common folk will remain dependent on the oil and gas for which we will endlessly pay, with our money and our environment.

Trump continues to stroll through his tunnel of emoluments. He makes money from oil. Remember how he stood for attacking the native population gathered to protest in a prayerful manner, digging the Dakota Access pipe line across the Missouri River to carry constantly exploding oil? He lacks sympathy for losers and undoubtedly profits (if we ever see his tax returns) from the sale of oil and gas which overheats the planet and is leading to the demise of most living things.

What is our way out? Do we need to drag this prohibitive tax problem before the disinterested Congress or must we wait until we have thrown them out? So much time would be lost. Irreparable damage will likely happen.

Look at the States that dare to raise marijuana for medicine and recreation despite Federal edict. States use enormous pot sale profit to build schools and make other life improvements. The only difference between the solar issue and that of marijuana is that pot sellers do not need (although many do so by all kinds of illegal means) to import their product. How can the southern States get free of the Federal tax and receive minimally taxed shipment? Perhaps they can hide solar parts in trucks equipped to bring bananas with a big bunch of bananas painted on their sides.

But another more powerful solution is for all the States, now and in the future, that are likely to get into the solar trade to threaten secession unless this 30 percent taxation is eliminated. How long would it be maintained?

Like with marijuana, solar production can create good for 99% of the population, not for the 1 % which never seems to be able to horde enough of anything, an anti-social enclave of money and power addicts. That is why the Constitution gives the right to throw over members of a congress that are drunk on power.  


No better cage

For the snowball effect

than pride left unchecked

like a runaway train

Momentum only grows

and the destination

is long gone

and destruction is inevitable

just a matter of time

before the whole thing derails

for what was a force

of strength

is all but lost to chaos

all that’s left

is the crash

Joseph Chang

We are carried away by the hubris of the politicians mad with power and lying to suppress our fear. Know that you are afraid that the destruction our country pours around the world has now come home to us. It is us who have to put on the brakes. We cannot do it individually but only as a mighty “we,” an “us,” “noi” in Italian, as Pope Francis just said it on HuffPost. See the speech. It’s wonderful. 

His Holiness Pope Francis – Huff Post


What Is Your True Self

We choose a president who chose a cabinet which is robbing us every single day of things which offer popular support – to give tax breaks to the obscenely rich or great profit to equally powerful corporations. Did we not know this when we voted?

I would say yes and no. We saw a scheming television personalty who promised not to take away Medicare, Medicaid, health care and on and on…. All of these now are on the chopping block. The TV stations went crazy for him because his appearance sold a lot of on-air products. They pretty much ignored everyone else, especially Bernie Sanders.

His reputation for not paying almost everyone who worked for him was not mentioned by mainstream media but seeped into the news elsewhere. Why did we choose to fall into the trip of deceit? Probably because we already were there. People most easily scammed were raised by parents who both terrified and took away their right to think for themselves. These child-minded adults saw the candidate as a powerful figure who could harm them. They chose to accept his words of self-glory as well as promises of help, jobs, etc. that he would not keep. The child within is too frightened of severe parental mistreatment to do otherwise.

But how are we who had a terrifying childhood and, as a consequence, a terrified inner child to move away from our submissive persona and become a free and  and powerful self? That is what this column is about.

I set myself to thinking about people I’ve seen who live in the adult self. I remember going to a NY library to research documentary films because I was about to film one myself on the mothering practices in the Venezuelan Amazon. To my surprise there were few of them. I guess corporations that fund television do so to sell their toothpaste, bombs and bullets through adult educational programming. They are certainly not interested in a tiny bunch of people living off the land. I saw a pygmy family, beautiful small people sitting in an igloo of leaves and branches. It was the rainy season and it sure was raining. There seemed to be some complaining and pointing to the roof until Dad went out and got a few more leaves to cover the holes. Then he sat down next to Mom, next to their older boy child, a boy and a younger child leaning against them, and began to sing to to sing. Momma sang. Daddy sang. The older boy and the baby sang, mouth wide open, not yet quite using words. The melody was beautiful. The harmony even more so- not just the music, but the family itself. Everyone unselfconsciously joined together, entranced.

I then looked at another film of a small group of people, several families on an Indonesian Island. I heard from them that the children never fight. something we in the west call normal. These people gather food from nature around them including mussels in the stream. They leave no imprint on the world.

They too sang. They sometimes sang together, sometimes alone. Even a child would sometimes sing alone. They sang on camera and the tune was beautiful. They sang to celebrate life. They asked the embarrassed and cornered anthropologist to sing. He croaked out “Old McDonald…” They smiled and made happy noises as they were a kind bunch of people.

So this is the image I use for an adult self-singing together, all included. Any “leader” who shuts out certain singers as unworthy, evil, like the Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, are Jews, women, are not singing the song of self. The true self is inclusive. Martin Luther King Jr., made that point. To love all is not to like their aggressive and destructive deeds. A true self feels unity with the living planet which that person will not and cannot despoil.

So find a group in which you can sing your song. Your music needn’t be one of sound. It can be selling solar power, teaching creating. It can be inventing, writing poetry, preserving species, leading hikes. It can be anything in which your spirit sings, so long as you sing with everyone – a beautiful harmony of the human family; more than that, the family of life.




Return to the Garden

Mother Earth is beginning to shake us off like a dog does to mud and water and fleas.

What we do is causing Earth’s shaking. We call these self-created incidents unintended accidents although we are deluged with facts which say differently.  We refuse to connect this with that. We ask the engineer to correct our designated “mishaps” rather than change the basic notions of how to live.

We are not horrified at being labeled “consumers.” Our ability to adapt to the impossible has consequences. It was eating the forbidden apple that caused God to throw us out of the Garden. What was in that apple? I imagine the ability to detach ourselves from life so that we can consume it. It is the hungry consumer’s “mouth” which banishes us still.

The Gaia vision shows that all things are interconnected. We nix that. We treat Earth’s living parts as “things.” Destroying the part unravels the whole. All life is connected.  One energy. As a result of our incursions, life is held together by fraying strings.

Let us look at a few of our attacks on the web of life. We bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to impress the Russians. Now Fukushima, victim of a tsunami is spewing radioactivity into air and ocean but we refuse to discuss it. We fear our knowing “fear” itself as well as a reprisal for speaking the truth by the nuclear industry. Our silent mouth destroys us. We napalmed the Vietnamese which poisoned their land for generations. We poisoned the soldiers who dropped our napalm and then refused them medical care. People who do our catastrophic bidding are treated as “things.” War is a tremendous money maker. Those who sell war stuff create catastrophes to alarm the citizen who is minding his own business to go out and fight.

Consider what we eat. Our national food is burger and fries. We kill cows raised in the suffering of a factory. They do not wander the fields and eat grass. We unthinkingly devour them. In our mind, the beef on our plate never lived. Trees in the Amazon are cut down to plant grass for McDonald’s. A couple of rainy seasons and is all is dragged away by the seasonal flood. McDonald’s should have the logo of a desert flying over her inviting doors.

We frack for gas which poisons the water and causes landslides. What we inject in the earth is unknown. It is a corporate secret. We accept a gas pipe being laid alongside the spent fuel pools at Indian Point. In a school where performance counts, someone with this idea would be left back. Instead, we gamble away our safety and secretly accept the death of millions to save a few bucks. Eyes on the prize, we are harbingers of death.

The methane pouring out of the heating up of tundra in Russia which holds onto heat adds to the heating done by gas. All is setting the world on fire. Mother Earth is growing angry at the shredding of Gaia by folk who do not use the enormous energy of the tides and the lesser energy of sun and wind.

Mother Earth is shaking us off with landslides and tornadoes and droughts and floods, with new diseases brought on by its being too warm, too wet by starvation because it’s too dry. Animals and plants die in the heat. Roots rot in the flood. Food is disappearing. Life is clinging but losing its grip. But still we kill our animals to gorge on life; still, we buy clothing made by slaves in China. We grossly overpay our CEO’s and conversely underpay our teachers. We wait for a better tomorrow rather than change our ways today.

Earth will shake us off as a failed experiment. Gaia will recover over millennia. Time means nothing to her.









We Need A Commons

The Indian nations at the Sioux Standing Rock anti – DPL encampment, state they are there to peacefully protect the water. They call water the basis of life which it is. Astronomers scan the universe for signs of water. Unstated and possibly not admitted, we all seek the source of life from which we come and the planets are our nearest destination.

The Missouri River which flows into the Mississippi is the water that the DPL wants its pipe to cross. Currently,  the number of planned crossings is 5. This company which claims safety has had at least 200 recent pipe breaks. These breaks leak oil in huge quantities. Underwater leaking is hard at first to see and harder to fix. Newspapers claim that the Sioux are concerned about drinking water for their reservation. This representation is dismissive. It eliminates the 18 million mostly non-Indians who live downstream.

There is an American Indian saying that one should look into consequences of one’s action up to the 7th generation. The 7th generation is not to be taken literally. It means for the good of all who follow. This expresses the meaning of the Commons, land owned by none and there for all.

To dig up what can be sold and which seriously pollutes  is a short-sighted and extremely destructive philosophy. The  natural gas liked by Hillary stimulates earthquakes. The frequently stated, even by Obama, “clean coal” is never is clean. People who breathe dust-polluted air develop asthma and other diseases. Miners develop pneumoconiosis from coal dust which destroys their lungs. People living downhill from the mines drink from sludge-polluted streams, their homes beset by landslides. To the corporate mind, these consequences are unintended so do not count. What counts is, “how much are you making?”

Companies fear they will be tossed aside if we switch to biodegradable sources of power: to sun and wind and geothermal and waves, so are fighting to keep control. They know that a switch to biodegradable renders their not yet extracted produce worthless. They get congress to endorse wars to get more of it. They pay for propaganda to keep people’s allegiance to their produce: e.g. wind and sun can’t do it and other manufactured lies.

The idea of an individual or even worse, a company owning land is anti-life. Chief Leonard Crow Dog at the DPL, responded to soldier’s representative Wesley Clark, Jr’s. request for forgiveness for all the damage done to the Indians, first said, “World peace,”  then said, “We don’t own the land. The land owns us.”

This is the meaning of the Commons: all life cared for,  the young and the old,   pure water, plants to eat, for herbal medicine for beauty, for their own sake, shading trees which create oxygen; no harm done.

We do not think this way in a society based on the profit  of extraction. As long as we live in terror of our stock losing value, our lives are increasingly at risk. The 6th great extinction is happening. For the first time, the young are living shorter lives than did their parents even though they have more “stuff.” Stuff does not create life. Stuff devours it. Being hypnotized into feeling we lack something leads us.

Instead of buying or planning to buy, especially on credit, we need to make music, to tell stories, to farm together, to share the cooking and eating as a festive event. Our current religion seems to be going to the mall. Instead, we need to care for the Commons, to make that our church.

The Commons is about living and sharing. You can have that now.

I Identify With the Underdog and I Am Glad

I hear about a terrible childhood, a child abandoned, mistreated, raped, starved, tossed out into the street, to a life of begging and prostitution; or the opposite: I hear of a child endlessly pushed to be better than everyone else at something or at everything, the child’s inner person disregarded, the child pushed out of a sense of self, and I am sad for both of them.

Sometimes I am angry at the ignorance which keeps us digging a ditch in which to throw ourselves. The philosophy of that ditch is ignorance of the manufactured necessity of things the corporations want to sell us. I see the philosophy of ignorance as based on fear.

Like yesterday in the elevator. An elderly woman spoke against the winter rain and coming snow. I said  I hoped for rain and snow. “Oh no,” she exclaimed, especially against the cold of snow. I said we need the water. New York State is in a state of drought, hot on the heels of California which is returning to desert. Another woman spoke to me with an air of disapproval, “You think that?”

Having just written a short essay on needing to return to the Commons, nothing owned, all life taken care of, I had a fierce reaction. I loudly exclaimed: “Drought is not something I think. It is a scientific fact. ” The woman dropped her eyes and scurried away after the elevator door opened. I hurried to her side and said, “I hope you aren’t offended by what I said.” “I’m not,” she said meaning “I am” and walked away faster still.

But of course, she was offended not only by my tone but by my words. She did not want to know that my speaking of local drought had reality behind it. I criticized myself for being speaking with anger, since the way I spoke helped her closed the door of learning. Defensively, I said to myself, but what about my anger over those who disregard emergency? I said, does your anger help? I felt that what I did was wrong but my angry child held on to fighting. We all of us have to deal with the ambivalence of feeling versus knowing.

The part of me that identifies with the underdog was outraged. I was angry that she did not allow herself to see the painful death that is fast approaching. It is said that by mid-century, 50% of all wild creatures will be dead. Rather than having centuries to study our criminal neglect, we humans go with them. I was angry at her for needing not to know. I was angry at her for the weakness that we share.

Anger has to do with feeling helpless and ignored. It has to do with feeling the pain of life bumping against the ignorance of those without knowing, attack Mother Earth to have more of something trivial. Anger is a defense against feeling overwhelming pain.

I tell myself I need to learn to curb my temper in order to have a good effect. I tell myself that I have to learn how to gracefully fail.

Please buy my book Unloved Again,”  Paperback ($16 including shipping,