Nature as a Financial Asset

Nature as a financial asset

This is how a recent report on biodiversity from the UK government refers to nature. This continues the disconnect between the human species and life support systems. Furthermore, any report or study that does not recognize our obsession with economic growth as a driver of ecological harm is blindsighted and perpetuates human supremacy. Economism is literally killing us, rendering us frozen in a state of inaction. This is an epistemological problem, one which needs to be addressed through a variety of actions around conscious awareness and (re)education.

Final Report of the Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta.

Why is the “…world is failing to grasp the extent of threats posed by biodiversity loss and the climate crisis?” This is no simple question and the answer is complicated. One part of the answer for me comes from a book I read years ago entitled Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. If you haven’t yet read this book, you might want to consider it.

Excerpts from this newly published report: “Environmental deterioration is infinitely more threatening to civilisation than Trumpism or Covid-19…” and “Dealing with the enormity of the problem requires far-reaching changes to global capitalism, education and equality…”

Free Steven Donziger!

Steven Donziger stands in front of an oil pump in Ecuador in this undated photo.

December 18th marks Attorney Steven Donziger’s 500th day confined to his apartment while wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet. I am hoping that you will join the letter writing campaign to help release Mr. Donziger from this unjust house arrest ordered by Judge Loretta Preska.

In 2011, Steven Donziger won a multi-billion dollar judgment in Ecuador against Chevron for polluting native Amazonian lands. Chevron responded by refusing to pay the judgment and launching a retaliatory federal complaint against Donziger in New York alleging that he obtained the judgment fraudulently. In 2014, based on subsequently discredited testimony, and without reviewing any evidence of contamination in Ecuador, Judge Lewis Kaplan held the Ecuador verdict unenforceable in the U.S. The judgment against Chevron, however, remains enforceable in other countries and Donziger has sought court orders to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada, as well as other nations, in order to satisfy the damages.

Judge Kaplan next referred a complaint alleging criminal contempt against Donziger to the US Attorney’s Office. When the Justice Department refused to prosecute, Kaplan took the extraordinary step of appointing a private law firm, with ties to Chevron, to charge Donziger and hand-picked Judge Preska to oversee the prosecution.

In July 2020, the European Parliament sent a letter to the members of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties urging an inquiry into the legality of Donziger’s house arrest. In addition, over fifty Nobel prize winners are calling for an end to the judicial harassment of Steven Donziger.

It is clear that Steven Donziger is being persecuted because he stood up for victims of a $200-billion dollar corporation and won.

In September 2020, Steven Donziger, a constituent of Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, sent Mr. Nadler a letter asking him to investigate the misuse of the federal judiciary in the lawsuits against him and to take action. The letter was accompanied by signatures from over 24,000 supporters. There has been no response from Representative Nadler.

Chairman Nadler has the obligation and the authority to take action.  Let’s stand up for Steven Donziger and ask Chairman Nadler to do just that!

In Solidarity,
Scientists for a People’s Party

Surveillance program that gathered Americans’ phone data was illegal, court finds

Surveillance program that gathered Americans’ phone data was illegal, court finds was an article headline in the Washington Post of two days ago. This is wonderful news. Governments should have nothing to hide. That is, of course, if they’re not run by kleptomaniacs and sociopaths and that, my dear, is a whole other problem…

System Error

Infinite economic growth flies in the face of real limits that exist in the Earth’s biosphere. Excessive loading of carbon into the atmosphere has disrupted the earth’s natural carbon cycle and has changed our weather patterns that were stable before the industrial revolution. Our monoculture and corresponding destruction of diversity has led to a global pandemic that is threatening to bring down civilization as we know it. These phenomena are integrally linked to humanity’s obsession with growth. Time for de-growth!

Becoming a Spokesperson on Deep Adaptation

Christian Stalberg, human habitat relocalization and biomimicry evangelist in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. Professional backgrounds in: energy efficient buildings; disaster readiness; villagification; farming; appropriate technology; telecomputing; construction; cooperatives; intentional communities and ecovillages. “Because of climate chaos, we are all vulnerable to lifeline (e.g. food, water, energy) failures, and should be prepared.”

– from Source a Spokesperson on Deep Adaptation by Jem Bendell

Bolivia

I have a special relationship with Bolivia having been there five times over the years, courtesy of the Partners of the Americas and Fulbright programs. The situation in Bolivia today is a complicated one and it has been instructive for me to witness the mis- and disinformation generated from recent events there in recent weeks following the national election. In today’s saturating infosphere, separating fact from fiction, and truths from untruths, is no small job. This is especially difficult given the manipulative and coercive power of weaponized information, combined with the increasing  absence of critical thinking in our culture. One must remain vigilant and open minded, always seeking truth and facts so as to not find oneself inadvertently having adopted hard-line positions on either the Left or the Right. Typically, upon closer examination, you will find elements of the truth to be found on both sides and the truth, my dear, will set you free (from deception and ignorance).

Given the capitalist’s and imperialist’s dominance of mass media in the world today, I feel it is important to lift up powerful voices that are being silenced and ignored  (and in this case, also demonized) by the powers that be. It is in this spirit that I want to share this recent interview with the (now deposed) president of Bolivia Evo Morales. Listen closely with an open mind, you might learn something.