Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trusting Technology

When the subject of overpopulation and climate change come up, a popular response in most people's mind is, "Technology will save us!"

Yeah.... no. We can't count on that. If pressed, I will say that technology has gotten us into this mess int he first place. Sure, we have great and awesome things provided by technology, and wonderful progress and longer life spans and blah blah blah, but for all our greatness, we still have asthma, we still die of starvation and water-borne diseases, we still see crushing poverty, and we're not a fuck-of-a-lot happier in life. We work too much or are unemployed. We struggle. How is technology going to save us? It only turns us further away from Nature, which really would save us, except that there are too many of us anyway.

I've been looking at blog posts from past years, and this one from 2014 still holds a lot of truth. Which also proves to me that we are progressing at all. But that's another post.

I came across an article way back then that spoke right about all this. Interspersed are my thoughts. The article can still be found at the link below but is too long to add here, so go to it if you wish, I'm highlighting the most salient parts. The rest is what I wrote 3 years ago, and is still true.

Grow-in-the-dark plants could spark the next Green Revolution

 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/09/06/ozy-grow-in-the-dark-plants/15128899/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories 

Pretty much everything in this article annoys me. Science is awesome and glorious, but this is just one more example in a line of many ways we try to stick wads of gum in the holes of a wall that is gushing water and threatening to explode. Let us begin ...

The new Green Revolution might look a little like this: peach orchards heavy with fruit in the middle of January, dense rows of corn flourishing in sandbox-sized plots, and grocers stocking persimmons in the heat of summer.

Sounds amazing, right? Who wouldn't want that? Solve all the problems, right?

And it might start with the phytochrome – a crucial light-sensing molecule that tells plants when to germinate, grow, make food, flower and age. Scientists have mapped and manipulated the phytochrome's structure, aiming to alter the conditions under which plants grow and develop. Eventually, they want to insert these modified phytochromes into plants to trick them into growing, and bearing seeds and fruit – even when they're not supposed to.

"Manipulating." See, that's where it goes wonky for me. It can only be considered hubris to think we can improve upon Nature. "Trick"? Since when is it a good idea to "trick" Nature?

"We hope to create a toolkit of phytochromes that can eventually be used to control agriculture – how plants grow, when they flower, when they die," said Richard Vierstra, a plant geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

"Control." Yeah, also such a good idea. Trying to control Nature.

Vierstra and his colleagues have only just begun making these mutants and inserting them into the sprightly mustard weed ...

Anyone else have a problem with the word, mutant? Let's see what else they want to do.

Plants "don't like" cramped conditions. "We have to engineer plants so they do like being grown that way…. There really is a need to re-engineer the phytochrome system."

No, no there really isn't. There is no need to do that.

Scientists could even trick phytochromes into ignoring growing seasons. The ratio of active to inactive phytochromes reflects the hours of day and night, indicating the time of year, which, in turn, tells plants when to sprout, flower, fruit or go to seed. But researchers could, for example, insert plants with phytochromes that stay active all year. 

What could possibly go wrong?

... it sounds so crazy it just might work. But when contending with a swelling population and shrinking arable lands, a no-holds barred approach might be exactly what's needed.

No, it just sounds crazy. Here's what else is crazy: realizing and stating that we are facing shrinking arable land, and calling the manipulation of Nature the right thing to do, instead of the obvious answer of not letting the population swell beyond what is sustainable! We are not sustainable now! We will be even less so at 8 billion. A no-holds barred approach? How about not needing to get to that point? How about that whole "arable land" issue? Science for the sake of science much? We live in a society of ignoring the cause of of the disease and instead scrambling to come up with little helps for the symptoms. That is exactly and all this is, and it cannot end well. Remember the commercial from the '70s, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." It's really not. In that case, ironically, they replaced her butter with some crap-chemical margarine made in a lab. She was not amused. She won't be now, either. That I can promise.

I am all for science. I love science. Science is awesome. But this is not progress. This is hurtling with eyes wide open into disaster. And don't insult me by couching it in "green revolution." I'm not falling for it. Technology will not save us. It might prolong this failed experiment called humanity, but it won't ultimately save us. Only Nature can, and we've turned too far away from her. She's done with us, and that might be the best all the way around.

Monday, November 13, 2017

How About Some Logic?

Population certainly is a fascinating topic to research. The camps are very clearly divided, and the yawning chasm between them seems unbridgeable.

One of the things I hear the most from those who pooh-pooh at the thought that we need to slow down the growth is that there's plenty of room. "We can fit the whole world's population in a space the size of Texas!" "There's TONS of room, we haven't come close to running out of space!"

I get what they are saying. There are lots of open spaces around me where I live. I've lived in jammed big cities, and I've lived in rural areas where you can go a day without seeing a person. Their argument does not hold for me. Let's think about it, let's apply some LOGIC to it....

Let's all imagine a group of people in a high school gymnasium. It is furnished and they have open access to the bathrooms, of course, and they have their meals there and watch TV there and get on their computers, etc. It's pretty much their whole world, they don't need to leave very often. Most everything they need is in there. Their water source is in there and it is plentiful for their needs - showering, flushing, washing clothes etc. There are four of them. They have lots of room, and they pick up after themselves, so it stays pretty clean. They live this way for, say, a month. Then, their numbers double. Suddenly, there are 8 of them. No big deal, it's still a pretty big space. But their numbers are going to double every month. 16 of them aren't so bad, and even at 32, people have room. By 64, it's getting a little crowded. The bathrooms are not as neat as they once were, because many more people are using them. Food is going more quickly. Hot water does not last as long, and it's getting harder to get a good shower in. Their allotted amount of water isn't going as far as it used to, and what there is, is getting a little gross. Not everyone can agree on what to watch on TV, either. There's a lot more trash around and less space to put it. By Month 6, it's 128 people. That's becoming quite crowded, uncomfortable, smelly, *inconvenient.* Imagine the numbers in a year.

Yeah, I based that all the way down to the most simplistic of examples. These people were in a finite system. Then again, so are we. Earth is a finite system, just a really really big one. There cannot be infinite growth in a finite system.

So when people say we have plenty of room, they are not taking into account areas that cannot support human life. They aren't taking into account the extremely tiny amount of fresh potable water available (which gets smaller all the time thanks to all the polluting practice more and more people have.). In fact,m there are SO many things that are not taken into account that it is hard for me to find a logical standpoint with which to debate. I can't debate with logic where logic refuses to exist.

Is it me?

No, I am not an expert here. I'm merely an observer. Sittin' here. Observing.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tuck In. Breathe In. Drift Off. Die Early.

I thought this piece from 3 years ago from my other retired blog was appropriate to dust off and post here. It has recently been stated that chemicals in the laundry products are bad for children. Yeah. Again, I wrote this 3 years ago, and it wasn't new news then. Can we stop swaddling our children in this crap? No wonder they are all sick in the body and brain. STOP. We are harming them because we want to smell like fake shit. And we are harming the environment by washing all this back into it.

STOP.

*****

"Soothing lavender scent for air and fabric." Because choking your skin and lungs with chemicals doesn't need to come in just one product, you gotta spread it around. Procter & Gamble has an entire line of products dedicated to an awesome night's sleep for you.

According to what they show in an ad, you start with Tide + Downy Sweet Escapes in Sweet Escapes scent, use Ultra Downy Infusions in Sweet Dreams scent, add Unstopables In-Wash Scent-Booster in Dreams scent, then make sure you toss Bounce dryer sheets in the dryer in Sweet Dreams scent. These are all conveniently packaged in a purple theme so you know they are all scented lavender.


Oh - and also spray Febreze Sleep Serenity Bedroom Mist before you get into bed.

Let's try to forget about the horrendous amount of plastic this group represents. Let's think about all these chemicals in which you are sleeping. Up against your skin. For like 8 hours. Absorbing into your system. Your children's systems. Your children who someday might have kids. Let's stop and think about all the chemicals sitting in everyone's system all the time now, and how many children are affected these days. How many have issues and sicknesses and cancer? Let's make a connection for once.

You know what else smells like lavender? Actual lavender. Made by Nature. Therefore natural. A little tiny glass bottle of actual lavender essential oil would not cost you as much as all this crap and would last longer anyway. When did we start getting suckered into all this stuff? Natural lavender has one thing in it: lavender. Below is a parting gift is one-third of a list of potential ingredients to make the stuff above smell like lavender. Enjoy:

(-)-(R)-.α.-Phellandrene
(-)-.α.-Fenchol
(-)-Guaiol
(+)-Tartaric acid
(+/-)-Pulegone
(1,7,7-Trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]hept-2-yl)cyclohexan-1-ol
(1-Ethoxyethoxy)-cyclododecane
(2-Butoxyethyl)benzene
(2E,6Z)-Nona-2,6-dien-1-ol
(2E,6Z)-Nona-2,6-dienyl acetate
(3a.α.,4.α.,6.α.,7.α.,7a.α.)-3a,4,5,6,7,7a-Hexahydro-3-methyl-5-
methylene-4,7-methano-1H-inden-6-yl acetate
(4-Methylphenoxy)acetaldehyde
(4-tert-Butylphenyl)acetonitrile
(E)-.β.-Ionone
(E)-1-(2,4,4-Trimethyl-2-cyclohexen-1-yl)-2-buten-1-one
(E)-1-Ethoxy-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-diene
(E)-2-Phenylpropenyl acetate
(E)-3,4,5,6,6-Pentamethylhept-3-en-2-one
(E)-3,7-Dimethylocta-2,6-diene-1-thiol
(E)-4-Decenal
(E)-6,10-Dimethylundeca-5,9-dien-2-yl acetate
(E)-Hex-3-enyl acetate
(E)-Non-2-enal
(E)-Oct-2-enal
(E)-Oct-5-en-2-one
(tri-)Acetin
(Z)1-Ethoxy-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-diene
(Z)-2-Penten-1-ol
(Z)-2-Phenylpropenyl acetate
(Z)-3,4,5,6,6-Pentamethylhept-3-en-2-one
(Z)-6,10-Dimethylundeca-5,9-dien-2-yl acetate
(Z)-Hex-3-enyl 2-methylbutyrate
(Z)-Octadec-9-enol
.beta.-Caryophyllene alcohol
.Eta.-1H-Indol-1-yl-.α.,.α.,.ε.-trimethyl-1H-indole-1-heptanol
.α.,.α.,6,6-Tetramethylbicyclo[3.1.1]hept-2-ene-2-
propionaldehyde
.α.-Bisabolol
.α.-Methylcyclohexylmethyl acetate


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Feminine Wisdoms

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I come across a sponsored link for one of those pages... you know the ones, full of love and feminine wisdoms. In fact, the page is called Feminine Wisdoms. I will add here that spellcheck hates the word "wisdoms." It is not an existing word. That tells me more than I need to know right here. Hell, I make up words, too, though, so I can't be to harsh. But I digress.

 I note that some of my friends like and follow this page, and that tens of thousands of people like this page. The post is full of loving words, quotes from a book on Gaia. I read it.

'The Goddess is not just an ancient statue or an energetic archetype, she is present us, in the beauty of nature, in every living creature and leaf of plant. Begin to see her life giving energy, feel it in your own body, she is the joy of movement, and the single falling tear, she is the sacred feminine inhabiting both women and men and she has returned to offer us a gift - a gift to reclaim this planet as heaven on earth through the energetic vibration of love.' - Earth Mother by ORUPSIA:
orupsia.deviantart.com
Sister, trust your vibrant inner knowing,
that lucid vision that speaks
to you. The truth you cannot
deny.
Nourish the fertile gardens of
your wild inner terrains knowing
that time of harvest will come... all things
flower in their time.

Beautiful, right?

Sure. Evoking all those images of Mother Earth, drawings of a woman all flowy and with a full swell of the Earth for her womb, looking all serene and demure, her arms lovingly wrapped around that swell. Surrounded by wildlife, all looking as serene and demure as she is.

I hate it.

This is why we aren't taken seriously by and large. That first part is pretty nice. But then, ya lost me. All this gentle and nurture-y shit? Mother Nature is FIERCE. She gives and gives freely, but when she needs to be cold and hard, she will destroy. She is all about balance, and if something is out of that balance, BOOM down comes the hammer. She is flowers and rolling hills and she is tornadoes and hurricanes. Let's not forget that part. People get all surprised when our neglected mother allows entire communities to be wiped out in an hour. Why surprised? Why shouldn't she? What do we do for her?

I digress. The point here is that the flowy gentle lovey stuff can come after we warriors, the carriers of her wrath, are done. We go first. Then we'll need you and your fertile gardens.

But for now, step aside. There's work to do. We don't have time. Let the front line go through. Join in or move aside.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Don't Shut Up

In a previous post, "On The Turning Away," I referenced a Pink Floyd song. It's a good one. Written in 1987, it is no less spot-on now. Why don't we listen the first time around? This seems common. Here are some of the lyrics:

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?


It's why I say over and over again, don't shut up. Those that spread lies don't shut up. They keep talking until their lies become truth. We're polite, so we back down. We don't want to argue. We don't want to seem loud or inappropriate.

What has this gotten us? Frustration and abundant stupidity. Misinformation. People who don't know and don't care. It's time to change that.

So what if there are some who think we are rude or don't want to listen to us? It's not for them. It's for the people who don't have a voice. It's for that person on the side who hasn't had the courage to speak up and maybe thinks they've been wrong this whole time until they hear you, you - speaking up, saying exactly what they have been wanting to say but were scared. Next time, because of you, they may be able to speak. Or the time after that. We speak because it's the truth and the truth should be spoken. The truth should be shouted from the rooftops.

The stakes are too high, the risks are too great, the losses are too unfathomable. Don't shut up. We can't. It's up to us. There's no one else. So we sound a little crazy. (Crazy people, incidentally, don't shut up either.) We may sound like conspiracy theorists. Again, so what? When the shit goes down, at least we can say we tried.

Let me say that again: At least we can say we tried. Don't shut up.

Here's a link to a version of the song if you want to check it out, with the lyrics listed, I highly recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojf18wT_Xtk Love the album art, too.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

On the Turning Away

It's no secret that we have turned away from Nature. I'm far from alone in thinking that this is the source to most if not all our problems. Sometimes, though, my brain goes a little sideways and I get all X Files on myself. I can't help it - I think a lot. (And I like the X Files.) Step into my brain for a few. It's OK. It's dark, but I'll let you out. Maybe. Mwahahahah...

This is going to apply largely to the US, because in Europe and other places, humans actually eat a lot more sensibly. I am anticipating Spring, and the bounty that will explode in my yard. I will practically graze after this hard Winter. Plantain, dandelions, purslane, chickweed.... an abundance of healthy stuff provided by Nature. For free. Healthier than some of the stuff we pay big bucks for in supplement form. Every one of them is either ignored or cursed by the majority of those with yards or gardens.

I only mention the four most common in my yard. Other "weeds" are maligned in other places, healthy things like burdock and nettle, but I'll focus on these. Especially dandelions. As a child, I was completely delighted by every aspect of these happy bright beauties. They provided hours of entertainment on the playground. We wished upon the seeds. We made chain necklaces out of the stems. We picked giant bouquets of sunny yellow happiness. I can practically still feel the consternation of our neighbor, as our dandies grew freely, and he had his lawn visited by the ChemLawn truck every year. (I shudder to realize that I played on that lawn, too. Ick.)

We spend millions and pour tons of herbicides into the Earth to destroy this little piece of sunshine. And still it grows. And it may be one of the most beneficial plants on the planet. I had received news that my cholesterol is a tad high. As I refuse to take drugs for this, I turned to my herbal remedy books to look up what Nature recommends. First on the list? Dandelions. What do we do to manage our cholesterol? Get prescriptions for something created in a lab. What am I going to do? Turn to Nature.

Purslane is crazy high in Omega-3 fatty acids. And it grows like crazy. The more you try to pull it out, the more it grows. Like crazy. And it's actually delicious. Raw, cooked, sauteed, steamed, tossed in with almost anything. And yet where do we go to get our Omega-3, which are highly recommended? FISH OIL. Because no one is making money if you get your supplements FROM YOUR YARD. Money would be lost all the way down the line, right to Big Oil who is responsible for those plastic bottles. (Thanks, Roger!) And if we knew we could munch on free stuff from our lawn, we might not spend money on herbicides (Monsanto) and we might be more healthy and we would not need Big Pharma. Follow the money.

It gets worse. Grape seeds - insanely healthy on multiple levels. What do we buy in stores? Seedless grapes. I have actually looked for black grapes with seeds still in them. They are very hard to find. Hmmm....

The list goes on and on of things we can easily get in Nature that would keep us much more reasonably healthy, but we ignore them completely, avoid them, or worst of all actively kill them with poison. Poison that harms us too. So we need more Big Pharma. Can you blame me for thinking it's a conspiracy? Do you see it now, or just think I go too far? I'd love to hear. When did it start? This turning away? Have we been turned away on purpose... slowly... slowly... am I going to disappear?

Pink Floyd has an awesome song that comes to mind for this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojf18wT_Xtk 

"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in


The turning away"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Make the Connection

It was over the course of a few days - a flurry of plastic articles and headlines.

From the Guardian:

Phthalates risk damaging children’s IQs in the womb, US researchers suggest

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/10/phthalates-damage-childrens-iqs-womb-plastic-chemicals

While at the same time, in another area: 

The Oceans' Plastic Pollution Problem Is Far Worse Than We Thought, and Here's Why

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/10/worlds-ocean-plastic-pollution-problem-just-got-bigger--lot-bigger?cmpid=ait-fb

And even this:

Fleeced again: How microplastic causes macro problems for the ocean

http://grist.org/living/2011-12-07-how-microplastics-cause-macro-problems-for-the-ocean/

(Photo: Paul Kennedy/Getty Images)
Maybe I was just paying extra-super close attention. Maybe I'm extra tuned in. Maybe people really don't care. Maybe I have more time than parents. Maybe they should make more time. After all, they're the ones that have to deal with the consequences. Theor kids and their kids' kids.

The phthalates story was in the news scroll at the bottom of my morning news viewing, and t was followed immediately by the warning that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean. Surely, surely that was on purpose, and surely, surely people made the connection.


Right? Surely? Yeah.

Too much plastic in our oceans and environment, and too many plastic chemicals messing up our children. There is no magical solution to this whole thing. It won't be cleaned, it won't go away. There is no "away." There is only mitigation at this point. We are not going to find a way to magically scoop up the plastic in the oceans despite the cool articles you see people share. There is no amazing bacteria that is going to lunch on plastic and solve our problem. Frankly, if there is - like the shared articles claim - then I will just wait for the whole new host of problems brought on by overfed insane mutant bacteria. There is no fix, other than to stop adding to the problem. Stop.

It is the one solution: stop using this stuff. It wasn't enough to tell you it was bad for the environment and to cut it out before it was too late. Now it's directly affecting your kids and it is too late and now maybe you'll pay attention.

Surely.

There are too many people here. It is unsustainable, and we are ruining the place. And because we need cheap and convenient for all these way too many people, we use plastic, and it's just plain bad.

I have to wonder what's going to give first. Will we back off in time or will Nature take care of it for us? I know what my bet is on. Go ahead - guess. I'll wait.

I do use plastic. It's very hard to avoid. I wear fleece and other clothing that will give off microfibers. I am certain this would not be so much of an issue were we keeping a closer eye on population. There is nothing that cannot be blamed on there being too many people for this ecosystem. Period. So, here we are. Let's see where we go next.