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RSF condemns 'unnecessarily cruel' decision to keep Julian Assange detained - 06 Jan 2021 filed by the editor - General, Human Rights, Journalism, International, United States, United Kingdom
Julian Assange’s extradition hearing marred by barriers to open justice - 10 Oct 2020 filed by the editor - Human Rights, Journalism, International, United States, United Kingdom

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Be Kind to Those Offended By It       printable version
16 Jul 2020: posted by the editor - Health, Opinion, International

By David Swanson
"Good Morning! Would you mind staying a safe distance away?"

"Hi! Nice mask! Could you please wear it on your face instead of your chin?"

Helping people reduce the risk of spreading a deadly disease requires being willing to offend them.

And as they long for a return to normalcy, you should be preparing to be a lot more offensive.

"That sounds delicious. Does it have any dead animals in it?"

"How's it going? Could you please not carry a gun around here?"

These are comments of the same sort as "put your mask on" in that they are aimed at helping the people you're confronting survive, whether they like it or not. The methane and other destruction and pollution of livestock will kill them, not just you. The guns increase the risk of gun death for everyone, especially gun owners.

But if you want to get really out-of-step, if you want to offend in the way actually needed, if you want to truly serve everyone's interests whether they will stand for it or not, then you have to disrupt, protest, and change public policy.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor, all of these people will gladly get off your lawn and plant it with wild flowers when you support divestment from oil producers and weapons dealers."

"Nice offices, Congress Members. You can enter them as soon as you agree to end fossil fuel subsidies and shift $400 billion a year from wars to a Green New Deal."

"No, sir, I do understand that you're just trying to get to your job manufacturing nuclear weapons, but we're just trying to give your children a chance to live."

These, too, are acts of kindness toward those disrupted and inconvenienced and pressured to change their ways. And they'll hate you for it. But that doesn't mean you need to forget that you are being kind to them. That doesn't mean you need to become hateful or start wishing them harm or making jokes about "natural selection" taking care of the non-mask-wearers - a comment easily as cruel and ignorant as not wearing a mask.

The essence of nonviolent activism is helping people who do not want to be helped. Far from hating them, it requires actually listening to them. Sometimes some of them will know something that you don't know. Acting on the best information, whether popular or not, requires constantly searching for better information. But it does not require inaction or politeness that permits injustice and destruction to continue.

"That looks like a really nice Bible you're thumping, but outgrowing childish ancient myths would give us a better chance at survival in the times ahead."

"I'm aware there's an even worse political party than yours, but we need changes neither of those parties will stand for unless you help us challenge both of them."

These are fighting words. These are courting hatred, violence, ostracism, and mockery. But they are not doing so intentionally. They are doing so out of independent reliance on facts, and out of caring for the interests of others as you best understand them.

For better or worse, we're all in the same boat. Making fun of the jackasses drilling holes in their end of the boat isn't a recipe for survival. Asking boat-patch-haters to start patching up the holes is. One approach is easier and less confrontational. The other is actually kinder.

Perhaps someday someone may recognize that you were being kind to them, but I wouldn't count on it. It certainly isn't the point. Nor is getting such recognition from their great-grandchildren the point. The existence of their great-grandchildren is the point.

Join David Swanson's  list here.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org.

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Towards global energy sustainability — special report from Science Magazine

GLOBAL 2000 —
the report that was but wasn’t

    first published February 13, 2004 - Newsmedianews

 

“Measurements of greenhouse gases at Mace Head in Ireland have shown that baseline concentrations of many of the gases reached the highest background concentrations ever recorded in 2000, the latest year for fully validated data.” - from DEFRA study

Check it out ...It is interesting that on an average visit to the family GP you will be asked with something approaching a frown if you are a smoker. Chances are too that if you say yes you will again be the focus of a frown. And yet interestingly enough that same GP will probably leave his surgery, get into a car and quite uncaringly spew contaminants over every person on every street down which he or she drives.

And should they go on holiday, once again the chances are that they will fly, becoming part of an airborne culture that is inexorably killing off our planet. And this is not a doomsday gripe from some pot smoking target of the ignorant—it is the reality that will unavoidably affect your own life and the lives of our children.

This is the selfish, blinkered vision world we are developing. Regardless of all of our conscientious streams of blather, they remain just blather, disinfected and wiped by the conglomerates who are poisoning our planet for their own profits.

In the mid-70s, initiated by the US administration of the time under President Carter, what was to become the most comprehensive international scientific examination into global environment change ever conducted began. Under the auspices of the UN, almost every country of the world participated in what was to become the largest scientific gathering and analysis of environmental data in history.

The results of the investigation were duly published and contained a bleak forewarning of doom. This was not the ramblings of some hash-brained hippies writhing in grief over visions of the end of civilisation. It was the dedicated work of eminent and highly skilled and knowledgeable scientists, backed by the latest and most reliable techniques and equipment available.

In short, they knew what they were talking about. Within an astonishingly short space of time, the report had been buried. Tackling the issues raised was contrary to all industrial and national economies and profit ideologies. The short term greed driven vision took precedence over any sensible long term view of reality. And we are now reaping the results of that short-sighted greed.

 

The below graphs illustrates the dramatic rise in annual temperatures for the UK between 1700 and 2000. Note how the mean average, shown by the red line, soars from the late 80s on. (reprinted from DEFRA)

     
The graph on the right shows the annual global picture.
  

RIO
By the time of the UN Conference on the Environment held in Rio in 1992 and which led to the drafting of the Convention on Climate Change, the Global 2000 Report had been all but forgotten. The actions advocated at Rio, and later at the second Convention on Climate Change held in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, were equivalent to pissing against the wind.

The true impact of the realities and globally catastrophic dangers posed by the acceleration of global warming through fossil fuel use, industry and motorisation failed to be grasped, despite their widespread knowledge. It is an astonishing view of a global civilisation willing to ignore its very survival in favour of personal wants.

A comprehensive search of the Internet fails to produce easy to find references to the Global 2000 report. Among the predictions it contained was the stark warning of instant catastrophe waiting in the wings as the southern and northern ice packs change in density. The current one degree ‘wobble’ of the earth about its axis is partly due to and is affected by the offset mass of the Antarctica ice pack. Should that fragile balance change, the wobble will not simply get worse or less—it will throw the whole kilter of the earth’s axial rotation off.

Chaos will result as the planet adopts and adjusts to the new axis of rotation. But before then, global flooding, instant ice ages and global weather mayhem will transform the surface of our world far beyond anything that even the most far fetched environmental horror movie has ever even tried to conceptualise. It will be the old age of global civilisation as we know it and the effects may well all but eradi