Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Whenever I look into the eyes of the many,
I see the faults and greeds within their souls.
The errs that have been instilled into their minds since birth,
by a cruel and misinformed system.
It is tragic, standing there before them, but I fear not.
I must ultimately rise to the occasion.
The faults of the many can be overcome.
Ideals are meant to be attained.
I will make my ideals a reality,
overcoming the doubts of those who say it cannot be done.
I am not giving up, no matter how alienating it seems.
I will not give up.
When you look into my eyes,
what do you see?
Beyond the glazed daze,
can you feel my fire?
The blaze motivates me,
but it's still fire.
It burns from within.
I dream of relinquishing the fire.
Will you help me put out the fire?
It is not an easy task.
I cannot do it alone.
The fire becomes life.
It is a lifestyle of its own,
and must not be ignored.
I dream of taking your hand,
and walking with you through the fire.
Step by step,
we will help each other.
Won't you come with me?
I know it is not to be.
The fire is dangerous,
and I should not expect you venture into it.
But what if you did?
How special would that be?
How strong you would become,
and lonely, I would not be.
Come with me. We shall overcome the fire.
- Teddy Grahams
Where have all those other fish gone? In short, we have eaten them. 'Tens of thousands of bluefin tuna used to be caught in the North Sea every year,' says Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at the University of York. 'Now, there are none. Once, there were millions of skate - huge common skate, white skate, long-nosed skate - being landed from seas around the UK. The common skate is virtually extinct, the angel shark has gone. We have lost our marine megafauna as a consequence of exploitation.'
Such is the human feeding frenzy, there may come a time when there are no fish left to catch. In 2006, a study in the US journal Science warned that every single species we exploit would have collapsed by 2048 if populations continued to decline as they had since the 1950s. By 2003, nearly a third of all species had collapsed, the study found - meaning their numbers were down 90% or more on historic maximum catch levels. Extrapolate that on a graph, and the downward curve reaches 100% just before 2050."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."
- Woodrow Wilson
Saturday, April 25, 2009
It’s not Earth that needs saving. It’s us.
Granted, this shallow, misguided rhetoric extends beyond Earth Day, but the event certainly shouts the message loudest. It has also, I’m afraid, devolved into a PR-driven whirlwind of materialism. Check out the new Saturn hybrid! (Ignore the fact that it gets worse gas mileage than a plain old Honda Civic.) Be amazed by the new line of natural cleaners. (Brought to you by the same company that still won’t pay fines for dumping toxic chemicals into local rivers.) Just try to escape your town’s Earth Day happening without a eco-tote, freshly branded by some grocery store or department store or television station. (Hang it next to the three other branded eco-totes already in your closet from Earth Days past.)
Don’t get me wrong—I appreciate that companies are coming around, and all of these things—hybrids, eco-friendly cleaners, reusable bags—are, on their own, good developments. But Earth Day has become little more than a time to celebrate these “solutions”—organic t-shirts! “Ten Ways to Green Your Life” lists! biodegradable forks!—that fall embarrassingly short of what we truly need to deal with the massive ecological crises before us."
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Get this straight. The violence is not 'spilling over the border' into the U.S. No, every time you say that, whether you mean to or not, you’re conjuring up images of crazed Mexicans crossing the border to burn Columbus, and you have it backwards. It spilled over from the U.S. into Mexico and Latin America long ago. ... [F]or the past 20 years, we’ve been slowly turning the border into a militarized zone, so let’s not say there isn’t violence associated with both sides of the drug trade and the Drug War. We could say that we’re now sharing the violence to a higher degree, an important distinction from the simple-minded terminology of 'spilling over.'"
Saturday, April 18, 2009
- Steve Jobs
Friday, April 17, 2009
In the last ten years, the problem has been reaching epidemic proportions. In one region of India alone 1,300 cotton farmers took their own lives in 2006, but the culprit cannot rest solely on a falling water table.
As the Independent article continues:
Bharatendu Prakash, from the Organic Farming Association of India, told the Press Association: "Farmers' suicides are increasing due to a vicious circle created by money lenders. They lure farmers to take money but when the crops fail, they are left with no option other than death."But there's more to the story than that. Farmer suicides can be attributed to, "something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops," the UK's Daily Mail reports.
Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.And no company has been as notorious in the business as the U.S. agra-giant Monsanto."
Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiraling debts -- and no income.
So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I have been sailing the seas in my boat for many years now. Everywhere I sail I aim to meet new and exciting individuals. At this point I do not know where all the people I meet have come from. but in my opinion this should not matter. I love talking to people no matter where I go. They just appear, and for some reason many of the people I end up meeting take great interest in learning about my boat. They say they have never seen a boat quite like mine. In result, I usually end up taking them for rides on it.
While sailing with others I often develop great friendships. Each friendship sets my life abuzz in ways I cannot even begin to describe. It is unfathomable how great people make me feel! Quickly I end up telling them of my life's aspirations. I have no set plans for my life, but I sure can dream! I want to help others, embrace nature, love the world, be a goofball, and so much more! Usually at this point my new friends are incredibly impressed by my desires in life and end up telling me of their own. They sound so great!
By this time I am so amazed of my new friends that I finally ask if they would like to sail the seas with me on my boat. They tell me that this would not be something they would like to do. In doing so, I realize why they would not. After all, this is my boat and every individual should be given the opportunity to sail on his or her own boat. So after realizing this, I ask if they would like to sail their own boats near to mine. But yet again I am turned down.
At this point I am very surprised and disappointed, but it has now happened so many times that I am getting used to it. You see, many of the friends I have made have come from the same place. In this place, everything the individual could want is given to him or her with no struggle. Fancy dining to fill the hungriest of stomachs, plentiful entertainment to keep minds from worrying about things, and a scheduled itinerary so all people know what they should be doing every second of the day. That's right, my new friends live on the cruise ship and do not want to give up that lifestyle to ride on some stingy boat like mine, even if it is for good reasons.
I am disheartened. I really like my friends. Why must they write me off so quickly? Am I wrong for building my own boat instead of riding the cruise ship of life like everyone else?
Sometimes I want to visit the cruise ship. After all, I bet it is a fun place. If all my friends enjoy it so much it must be. But I do not want to live on the cruise ship--oh no! I would just visit it, to understand what makes it so appealing. If I did, maybe then my friends would not view me so differently from their other friends. Maybe then my friends would see that I am not as socially awkward as I sometimes appear. Maybe then I would somehow connect with them on a whole new level that they never have been able to see in me before. Maybe then my inner turmoil would finally be relinquished. Maybe then, maybe then.
My friends have never invited me to their cruise ship. They probably think I'd take away from their fun or something. I can't blame them. My views and opinions are very intense and can scare people away from wanting to be out in public with me. I understand. But I also know this: it is far more difficult to spread love on an empty boat than a full one. I may never be able to get others to ride with me in life, but I sure as hell hope I leave a positive, lasting influence on others in some form or another.
What will become of all this? Who knows. For now I will continue working on my little boat, sailing the seas of life, and spreading goodness across the planet as best as I can--all while hoping for that one hand that may someday reach out to me.
I am not a sea monster. I am a lover. Let me hug you, for I do not know when I will see you again. The seas are rough but I promise you I will ride them out.
- Teddy Grahams
Monday, April 13, 2009
Increasingly inundated by technology, a lack of human contact is leading to depression. One rider gazes idly into space as he rocks back and forth to the tunes spilling from his iPod. A woman busily pounds out text messages from her sleek clamshell Blackberry, her fingers flying frenetically. Yet another squints his eyes in concern as he surfs the corridors of the internet from his cell phone.
When I attempt to greet a fellow commuter opposite me, he returns my gaze without even a glimmer of shared humanity.
Uneasy and alienated, I turn on my own iPod and surf through the one-hundred plus digital music files, but none sustain my interest. I can’t help but feel that technological gadgets are keeping people apart and breaking down our society.
Malignant Self-Love author Dr. Sam Vaknin echoes my lament. 'Technology had and has a devastating effect on the survival and functioning of our core social units, [rendering it] atomized and anomic.'
Elaborating, he adds, 'Modern technology allows us to reach out, but rarely to truly touch. It substitutes kaleidoscopic, brief, and shallow interactions for long, meaningful and deep relationships.'"
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"If you came and you found a strange man... teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you'd kick him right out of the house, but here you are; you come in and the TV is on, and you don't think twice about it.
What would we do if we caught a schoolteacher trying to feed these concepts to our children?
I know—it’s terrible isn’t it? many silently respond. I can’t believe they show that stuff. Yet so many of us keep watching, convinced we can “handle it” while it gradually, incessantly, inescapably sculpts and shapes the way we think, the way our children think, and how we behave."
- Jerome Singer
Since television is controlled by a small handful of powerful corporations, viewers will never witness informing, truthful news and entertainment. As political and corporate power unite at an ever increasing rate, being informed is more important than ever.
People need to seek out independent and alternative unbiased sources on the internet for their information or we will continue to be manipulated by the corporate controlled media."
"Well, one is distorting the science and denying the health effects of their products. (Recently) a study was done showing that how close people lived to fast food restaurants predicted their likelihood of obesity. The study was really quite well done. So the National Restaurant Association then came out with their own statement that basically trashed the study and more or less called it junk science.
Now, this is a perfect repeat of what tobacco did for many years. They said smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer. There is not definitive evidence. There aren’t good-enough studies. It’s junk science. It’s just the advocates out to get us. And then they denied that second-hand smoke was killing people. They denied that nicotine was addictive. You can go on and on and on. Well, so here comes a (food) study that’s pretty persuasive. It certainly supports other studies showing a link between fast food consumption and obesity, and what did they do? They trashed the science. They deny it’s the case. In all likelihood, they will pay scientists who they know to produce results favorable to them to disprove this finding. It’s all part of the same script."
Friday, April 10, 2009
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better."
- Mary Oliver
Thursday, April 9, 2009
No, really; USA Today reports:
'During an 11-month period of research ending in December, scientists wrapped pigs in body armor and placed them in a Humvee simulator, in open fields and in a closed room and subjected them to varying degrees of explosions at a research laboratory in a location researchers declined to disclose.'
The explosions 'ranged in intensity,' according to military researchers, 'wounding some of the pigs and killing others.'"
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We are not unique
"Strangely enough, even as a population mass operating under unified corporate management machinery, most Americans believe they are unique individuals, significantly different from every other person around them.
More than any other people I have met, Americans fear loss of uniqueness. Yet you and I are not unique in the least. Despite the American yada-yada about individualism, you are not special. Nor am I. Just because we come from the manufacturer equipped with individual consciousness, does not make us the center of any unique world, private or public, material, intellectual or spiritual.
The fact is, you will seldom, if ever, make any significant material or lifestyle choices of your own in your entire life.
- If you don't marry him, someone else will.
- If you don't buy that house, someone else will.
- If you don't become a psychologist, lawyer or a clergyman or a telemarketer, someone else will.
We are all replaceable parts in the machinery of a capitalist economy. "Oh but we have unique feelings and emotions that are important," we say. Psychologists specialize in this notion.
Yet I venture to say that none of us will ever feel an emotion that someone long dead had not felt, or some as-yet-unborn person will not feel. We are swimmers in an ancient rushing river of humanity. You, me, the people in my Central American village, the child in Bangladesh, and the millionaire frat boys who run our financial and governmental institutions with such adolescent carelessness. All of our lives will eventually be absorbed without leaving a trace.
Still though, for Western peoples in particular, there is the restless inner cultural need to differentiate our lives from the other swimmers. Most of us, especially as educated people in the Western world, will never beat that one.
Fortunately, though, we can meaningfully differentiate our lives (at least in the Western sense) in the way we choose to employ our consciousness. Which is to say, to own our consciousness.
If we exercise enough personal courage, we can possess the freedom to discover real meaning and value in our all-too-brief lives. We either wake up to life, or we do not. We are either in charge of our own awareness, or we let someone else manage it by default. That we have a choice is damned good news."
Meat space versus the parallel universe
"So how is it that we Americans came to live in such a parallel universe? How is it that we prefer such things as Facebook (don't get me wrong, I'm on Facebook, too), and riding around the suburbs with an iPod plugged into our brain looking for fried chicken in a Styrofoam box?
Why prefer these expensive, earth-destroying things over love and laughter with real people and making real human music together with other human beings -- lifting our voices together, dancing and enjoying the world that was given to us? Absolutely for free.
And the answer is this: We suffer under a mass national hallucination.
Americans, regardless of income or social position, now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a "theater state."
In our theater state, we know the world through media productions, which are edited and shaped to instruct us on how to look and behave and view the outside world."
Monday, April 6, 2009
Let's say that major food crops were under a real and imminent threat - likely that would evoke the same response.
But it hasn't.
Bee Colony Collapse Disorder killed off about 29 percent of the USA's bee population last year. The bees are dying at unsustainable rates, but this crisis gets little coverage given the major threat it poses.
So why is it a crisis and what's the link between bees and food?
Bees do so much more than supply honey and beeswax.
Bee pollination of crops, something that most farmers heavily rely on, is responsible for as much as 30% of the U.S. food supply. Where bees are not available, they are called in, with apiarists (bee keepers) traveling around the country to provide the services of their hives."
Below is a great documentary made by PBS titled Silence of the Bees. The problem with the vanishing bees in not necessarily the loss of honey but the loss of pollination
Sunday, April 5, 2009
-Plato, The Allegory of the Cave
Friday, April 3, 2009
● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
● 70 million gallons of gas -- enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
● 33 tons of antibiotics.
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.
My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?
Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day -- that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, 'The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we -- the relatively affluent -- have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly.'"
Who runs our lives?
Find the problem,
obtain the courage,
make the change.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
"It's called precycling, the latest green buzzword that is gaining in popularity during a time of economic belt-tightening and heightened environmental awareness.
The idea is to take a step back and reduce waste by making a conscious effort not to buy it in the first place; for example purchasing in bulk to reduce packaging, or choosing products that can be recycled as opposed to those that can't -- like Styrofoam. It's standing in the deli at lunch and electing to have a sandwich wrapped in a tiny bit of brown paper instead of the salad bar take-away in a large plastic or Styrofoam box.
The end result is to reduce waste by avoiding items that create garbage and, in doing so, eliminate a need for them."
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Many times I overhear my dino-friends talking about things. They talk of how they want to have lots of dino-babies for various reasons. Now don't get me wrong, I love dino-babies (and even more so youthasaurs), but I am starting to get worried. It seems obvious to me that there is plenty of room for the dino-babies right now, but what is going to happen to the dino-babies' babies (our generation's dino-grandbabies)? There is not enough water nor enough tree stars to support a drastically higher amount of dinosaurs. I try to bring this up to my dino-friends but they are too caught up in the amazing emotions of having dino-babies. It is certainly a great experience, I'd bet, but I am seriously worrying about running out of tree stars.
There's another thing my dino-friends have been talking about too. They do not stop talking about Hannah Dinosanna. In case you didn't know, Hannah Dinosanna is a popular singer in our oasis. She has a so-so voice, really. I am worried that my dino-friends have been caring too much about her. I used to talk to them a lot, but now whenever I see them they have dIno-pods stuck in their ears and are singing Hannah Dinosanna songs. I really do miss chatting with them...
Oh! I almost forgot something that is so silly. There are actually dinosaurs in this oasis that are buying bottled tree stars. Can you believe it? Why on Earth would any dinosaur want tree stars in a bottle?!? Some of my dino-friends say they like the bottled tree stars because they are safer and have less dino-poo on them. Now, maybe I am missing something here but I know that the bottled tree stars come from the same place as the regular tree stars. What silly dinosaurs!
Recently I've noticed that a lot of dinosaurs that live on the outskirts of our oasis trying to get into our oasis. You would not believe how territorial the oasis dinos get! They have actually built up a wall to keep extra dinosaurs from getting into our oasis. And the stories I hear from outside the oasis are horrible! Some of the dinos don't have any water so they die of deydration. Others have no tree stars to eat so they starve to death. Others fall into the dino-hands of T-rex Incorporated. In case you did not know, T-rex Incorporated is a large group of upscale T-rexes that run a huge business. They travel all over the desert and hire dinosaurs that live on the outskirts of oasises to sew dino-clothes. Once the dino-clothes are made the T-rexes eat the lower-class dinosaurs alive! Dino-fashion is so silly, I don't know why my dino-friends buy dino-fashion from T-rex Incorporated. I keep trying to spread the news of T-rex Incorporated's morbib employment policies but my dino-friends are too busy to listen (probably because of Hannah Dinosanna).
Sometimes when the sun goes down I love laying out under the stars and talking with my dino-friends about the world, its future, and what we can do to make it better. Usually they just talk about their hot dino-crushes (did you see the size of his jaw muscles?!?) and who they want to have dino-babies with. Sometimes they talk about the Double-D (Dinomania Danceclub) or the DFL (Dinosaur Football League). It seems like Hannah Dinosanna gets mentioned in every other sentence! Oh the madness!
Usually when I bring up the Earth's future my dino-friends listen to me, but my words go in one of their ears and out the other. They can tell I am disturbed by all of the bad things going on in the world. They also can tell that some of the things they do disturb me too. Every time this happens they tell me that I am thinking to much. They tell me I cannot save the world. And at least with this aspect I agree with them, I can't save the world. But I think they are missing the point. I am not trying to save the world. I am trying to save the common decency in dinomanity. I don't want the art of mindlessness to terminally infect my dino-friends. They are great dinosaurs and I love them. But then again, maybe I am taking everything too seriously. I only have so much time on Earth and won't be able to make much progress in life anyways. Maybe I should just lay down a little and crank up some of that Hannah Dinosanna.
After all, it's not like dinosaurs are going to become extinct...
Find the problem,
obtain the courage,
make the change.