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America Is Pavlov’s Dog

June 7, 2012

America is Pavlov’s Dog, Conditioned To Behave As Programmed, with predictable reflexes.  Modern culture has been subjected to “Conditioned Stimulus”,  just like Pavlov’s Dog!  Instead of ringing the bell to get a conditioned reflex, they create media commercials for television, internet, radio, smart phones and mass mailings. Who is programming us?  Product Marketing.  What we are programmed to do?  Buy a product and don’t ask questions like;  is it good for me, how was it made and did you pollute anything?  How do they expect to succeed?
They have you addicted.  How many times does a television commercial (the bell) exaggerate some medical conditions, then tell you to ask your doctor (conditioned reflex) to prescribe their product?

First, here is a very small list of today’s social and political programmers:

  • Koch Brothers = addiction to oil products
  • Big Pharma = addiction to drugs
  • Military Industrial Complex = addicted to war and the fantasy of glory
  • Oil and Gas Industries = addiction to petroleum products
  • Banks = addicted to common currency and what it can buy
  • And, of course, the marketing firms and spin doctors these industries employ. =

Today is forever.  Cultures, on this planet, have drifted away from the teamwork required to sustain itself.  As a species, Modern Humans have been programmed to ignore the freight train barreling toward our lazy butts.  Evidence is slapping us in the face daily, our candy store is going dry. Just a reminder, there are plenty of voices trying to get the attention of our leaders.  But, once again, their voices are drowned out by BIG MONEY!   The world’s leaders cannot see the facts because they are too busy playing butler to big corporations, who refuse to draw attention to their complicity in environmental misconduct.

The Resource Shortage Is Real

By Dambisa Moyo, Time Magazine:  It’s the rule of supply and demand: we simply don’t have enough. Put simply, the world’s dwindling supplies of arable land, fresh water, energy and minerals — essential for the production of food and “white goods” such as mobile phones, cars, televisions and washing machines — cannot meet rising global demand.

June 7, 2012, BBC seems to stay on top of this crisis.  It’s voice can be heard only by those who actually read their articles.  Please read this entire article.

Green decline ‘may bring irreversible change’

By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News:  With forests and fish stocks declining, water demand rising and lack of action on climate change, humanity’s path is anything but sustainable, the UN warns. 

The Global Environmental Outlook says significant progress is seen on only four out of 90 environmental goals.

Meanwhile, a team of scientists warns that life on Earth may be on the way to an irreversible “tipping point”.

“GEO-5 reminds world leaders and nations meeting at Rio+20 why a decisive and defining transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, job-generating ‘green economy’ is urgently needed,” said Achim Steiner, Unep’s executive director.

“If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.”

Pollution costs

This is the fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook, Unep’s blue-chip five-yearly assessment of the natural world.

The last, published in 2007, warned that factors such as rising demand for freshwater were affecting human wellbeing.  For the current edition, researchers assessed progress in 90 important environmental issues.  They concluded that meaningful progress had been made on just four – making petrol lead-free, tackling ozone layer depletion, increasing access to clean water and boosting research on marine pollution.

A further 40 showed some progress, including the establishment of protected habitat for plants and animals on land and slowing the rate of deforestation.  Little or no progress was noted for 24, including tackling climate change, while clear deterioration was found in eight, including the parlous state of coral reefs around the world.

For the remainder, there was too little data to draw firm conclusions.

This is despite more than 700 international agreements designed to tackle specific aspects of environmental decline, and agreements on alleviating poverty and malnutrition such as the Millennium Development Goals.

Among the report’s “low-lights” are:

  • air pollution indoors and outdoors is probably causing more than six million premature deaths each year
  • greenhouse gas emissions are on track to warm the world by at least 3C on average by 2100
  • most river basins contain places where drinking water standards are below World Health Organization standards
  • only 1.6% of the world’s oceans are protected.

The journal Nature published a review of evidence on environmental change concluding that the biosphere – the part of the planet that supports life – could be heading for rapid, possibly irreversible change.

–  combined information on major transformations in the Earth’s past (such as mass extinctions) with models incorporating the present and the immediate future.

More than 40% of the Earth’s land is used for human needs, including cities and farms; and with the population set to grow by a further two billion by 2050, that figure could soon exceed 50%.

Rising demand for resource-expensive foods such as beef could mean it happens by 2025, Prof Barnofsky’s modelling suggests.

“It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” he said.

“I think that if we want to avoid the most unpleasant surprises, we want to stay away from the 50% mark.”

Rio calling 

At the core of the Rio+20 agenda is the idea of changing many of the factors driving this pattern of environmental decline while also raising living standards for the world’s poor.

Unep adds its voice to many others urging world leaders to seize this baton when they assemble in Rio on 20 June.

Population growth, unsustainable consumption in western and fast-industrialising nations, and environmentally destructive subsidies all need urgent action, it says.

A few years ago the World Bank concluded that destructive fishing practices, fuelled largely by subsidies, had depleted stocks so much that society was missing out on $50bn per year worth of fish it could otherwise have eaten.

The G20 has previously agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – calculated at over $400bn per year – without setting firm targets or a timetable. Unep says leaders should make specific moves on this in Rio.

The summit – which marks 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit and 40 years since the very first UN environmental gathering in Stockholm – is likely to agree to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs), a concept that Unep endorses.

It points out that factors such as air pollution and climate change are also imposing costs on the global economy – in the US, for example, air pollution is calculated to cut crop yields by $14-26bn each year.

“The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision, acknowledge the facts and face up to the common humanity that unites all peoples,” said Mr Steiner.

“Rio+20 is a moment to turn sustainable development from aspiration and patchy implementation into a genuine path to progress and prosperity for this and the next generations to come.”

The NY Times has a whole section devoted to Environmental Issues.  They try to keep readers informed about specific issues and their broad implications for all of us.  How many readers actually read these articles?

Are We Nearing a Planetary Boundary?

By JUSTIN GILLIS  June 6, 2012, 2:39 pm
Josh Haner/The New York Times – Reddish and brownish trees in this forest in Montana have been killed by the mountain pine beetle. The beetle population has soared in part because temperatures no longer plunge as low in the winter, so fewer get killed off.

The earth could be nearing a point at which sweeping environmental changes, possibly including mass extinctions, would undermine human welfare, 22 prominent biologists and ecologists warned on Wednesday.

Acknowledging in a new paper that both the likelihood and timing of such a planetary “state shift” were uncertain, the scientists nonetheless described warning signs that it could arrive within a few human generations, if not sooner.

The problems are familiar by now: they include a planetary warming that, while slow on the scale of a human lifetime, is extremely rapid on a geologic time scale, the scientists said. And human population growth and economic expansion continue to demand new resources like energy and food, to claim new land and to cut natural landscapes into disconnected patchworks.

Humans have already converted about 43 percent of the ice-free land surface of the planet to uses like raising crops and livestock and building cities, the scientists said. Studies on a smaller scale have suggested that when more than 50 percent of a natural landscape is lost, the ecological web can collapse. The new paper essentially asks, what are the chances that will prove true for the planet as a whole?

In interviews, scientists involved in writing the paper acknowledged that the 50 percent threshold was simply a best guess, based on extrapolating the earlier research. But they said they were deeply concerned about many of the trends on the planet and the seeming inability of the world’s political leadership to grapple with them.

The situation “scares the hell out of me,” said one author of the paper, James H. Brown, who is a macroecologist at the University of New Mexico and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “We’ve created this enormous bubble of population and economy. If you try to get the good data and do the arithmetic, it’s just unsustainable. It’s either got to be deflated gently, or it’s going to burst.”

The new paper is one of a package of articles on the global ecological situation released on Wednesday by the journal Nature as part of the lead-up to Rio+20, a global sustainability summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. At the so-called Earth Summit in Rio 20 years ago, the nations of the world ostensibly committed themselves to broad actions to improve the environmental situation as well as reduce risks to human society. That included a promise by President George H.W. Bush that the United States would take a leading role in reducing the emissions that were causing climate change.

In the same issue of Nature, the journalists Jeff Tollefson and Natasha Gilbert come to the conclusion that the treaties that emerged from the original Rio summit “failed to achieve even a fraction of the promises that world leaders trumpeted two decades ago.”

The United States has taken only minimal steps on climate change, for instance, and global emissions have soared, not fallen, in the 20 years since the Earth Summit. Expectations for the Rio+20 conference, meant as a follow-up to the original, are low, but many environmental groups are pushing for action.

The Nature special issue was under wraps until Wednesday afternoon, and most scientists have not seen it yet. Based on history, there is little doubt that the authors of the new paper about a planetary “state shift” will be accused of alarmism.

Their work can be seen as the latest installment of an old debate between people who perceive hard ecological limits to human population and economic growth, as these authors do, and people who think innovation will ultimately save the day, as it has done so often in the past. Many economists, in particular, fall into the latter camp. We have explored the parameters of this debate in the context of the food supply.

Yet the authors marshal clear examples of ecological disasters that have already had serious effects on human society: the collapse of cod fisheries in the North Atlantic, for instance, and the outbreaks of mountain pine beetles that are devastating forests in the West. As humans continue to push planetary limits, are we due for a lot more of this sort of thing, and on a broader scale?

Crawford S. Holling, also known as Buzz, one of the world’s leading thinkers in the discipline known as ecological economics, who was not involved in the new paper, said he found it “surprisingly good,” although he wished the authors had called more attention to the drastic changes under way in the Arctic as a result of climate change — a transformation that he sees as a harbinger of things to come.

The lead author of the new paper, Anthony D. Barnosky of the University of California, Berkeley, offered one hopeful note in an interview. He pointed out that while many species are threatened directly and indirectly by human activity, the number actually driven extinct in the last 200 years is estimated to be only 1 to 2 percent of all species on earth.

“We still have almost all the species that we regard as valuable out there to be saved,” Dr. Barnosky said. “We as people have it in our power to do that.”

Harsh Political Reality Slows Climate Studies Despite Extreme Year

Facing political hostility and lacking adequate financing, scientists are struggling to report on the causes of a concentrated span of extreme weather in the United States.

Resource Depletion and Economic Development

Inhofe and Upton: Just Say No to the E.P.A.

Latest Congressional Attacks on Clean Air Will Endanger Our Health and Our Economy

Ignoring America’s Doctors, Upton Calls Carbon Health Threat A ‘Myth’

WWF says over-consumption threatens planet

WIKI:  Over-consumption

Definition – Over-consumption is a situation where resource-use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem. A prolonged pattern of over consumption leads to inevitable environmental degradation and the eventual loss of resource bases. Generally the discussion of overconsumption parallels that of overpopulation; that is the more people, the more consumption of raw materials to sustain their lives. Currently, the developed nations of the world consume at a rate of 32, while the rest of the developing worlds’ 5.5 billion people consume at a rate closer to 1.”[1]

Quote by the Whole Systems Foundation: The play of evolution has graced man with the brainpower necessary to control many aspects of his environment. This has led to the illusion that he is separate from the biological web, and no longer dependent on it.

Judging from this 70-year timeline, the history of environmental awareness and action in the United States is one of lonely voices and local crises growing into potent national concerns.

Big Corporations are free to create an invisible tax on all of us, who will pay the consequences of their pollution of air, water and soil.  They refuse to be accountable for this destruction of life sustaining resources.  As Pavlov’s Dogs, we will pay higher medical and food and energy bills, when climate changes cause failures of heat intolerant or flood-intolerant crops.  We will start to panic when the only water left for us to drink has medical and industrial waste, and filled with everything flushed down our modern toilets. Because these rich and powerful, icons of industry, have bought America’s leaders.  They have bought the freedom from being taxed back to compensate for the irreparable damage to the survival of the human species.  Like in science fiction, we will mutate to adapt to the new chemical composition of our environment.  We may even become a new species, as a result.

“The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision, acknowledge the facts and face up to the common humanity that unites all peoples,” said Achim Steiner, Unep’s executive director.

Ignoring the environment is planet abuse.

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