“Yet another wake-up call”: Carbon pollution in Northern Hemisphere reaches record high

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/05/27/yet_another_wake_up_call_carbon_pollution_in_northern_hemisphere_reaches_record_high/

A new low (as in, high) for atmospheric CO2

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Carbon dioxide levels in the Northern Hemisphere reached a new milestone this April, the World Meteorological Organization announced Monday, with monthly atmospheric concentrations topping 400 parts per million for the first time in what’s believed to be millions of years.

The news itself will surprise few — without the significant mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, we all understand this to be the path we’re heading down — but symbolically, it packs a punch. “This should serve as yet another wakeup call about the constantly rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change. If we are to preserve our planet for future generations, we need urgent action to curb new emissions of these heat trapping gases,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. “Time is running out.”

The WMO reiterated that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and in the ocean for even longer. From 2002 to 2012, the agency said, it was responsible for a full 85 percent of the increase in “radiative forcing” — the warming effect on the climate.

CO2 levels tend to spike in April, before spring vegetation arrives to absorb some of it. Monitoring stations in the Arctic have been recording monthly averages this high since 2012, but as recently as April of last year, CO2 levels exceed 400 ppm on only several days; this year marked the first time that the monthly average for the Northern Hemisphere, where the majority of man-made emissions occur, was firmly set above that threshold. And things look like they’ll continue to head in that direction: The global annual average, the WMO warned, will likely surpass 400 ppm by 2015 or 2016.

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The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/28-0

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1).

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems(2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained(3). But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and the pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, as the most accessible reserves have been exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable(4), the Ecuadorean government decided that oil drilling would go ahead in the heart of the Yasuni national park(5). It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as blackmail or you could see it as fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich: why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills(6), will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America(7).

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/28-0

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Justin Vivian Bond: A Missive to My Community:

From Fight Mag:  http://thefightmag.com/2014/05/performance-artist-justin-bond-fires-back-after-trannyshack-name-change/

I’m writing this because I want to be very clear on where I come down on the recent controversies around the language issues with regards to our trans-narratives. I’ve been an advocate for finding new, inclusive, thoughtful and evolved language for those of us in the trans and gender non-conforming communities for some time now. Therefore I feel personally compelled to weigh in on these latest dramas that are really annoying the shit out of me.

In my opinion there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with Heklina changing the name of Trannyshack in an effort to “rebrand” her legendarily inclusive, irreverent celebration of Queer fabulousness. But keep in mind that the reason she has “evolved” is because she’s been forced to due to harassment from a group of people who have decided that instead of learning from our queer history of re-appropriating, owning, and disempowering words that ACCURATELY DESCRIBE WHO AND WHAT WE ARE -instead of taking those words that are sometimes used to hurt us by those who WILL HATE US NO MATTER WHAT and making them a part of what makes us wonderful, a small group of vocal “queers” has decided it’s better pursue a shame-based agenda. Therefore, it seems, Heklina has decided it’s easier to “rebrand” her party to avoid any more grief. That’s her decision and I applaud her for doing what she feels she needs to do. It still makes me sad.

I also think there was nothing wrong with the whimsical “Female or Shemale” game played on RuPaul’s Drag Race -especially because the contestants couldn’t even tell the difference. Hello! That’s revolutionary!!! Not to mention the amazing talent displayed later in the episode by the transgender artists on the show which has now been pulled from the air.

So. In lieu of standing up to the haters who seek to diminish us and our accomplishments and standing UNITED IN PRIDE IN OUR DIVERSITY these thoughtless “word police” instead go on the attack and achieve easy victories by harassing, silencing and shaming members of their own community and the allies who are thoughtful and sensitive enough to the reasons and feelings behind their anger that they are willing to listen and -as usual, blame themselves and make the changes because it’s just EASIER to “evolve” back into silent, bullied shame. What they fail to recognize is that by banishing the use of the word TRANNY they will not be getting rid of the transphobia of those who use it in a negative way. What it does do is steal a joyous and hard-won identity from those of us who are and have been perfectly comfortable, if not delighted to BE TRANNIES, but the fact is WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY. In case you didn’t know it WE’RE TOUGH! A reality check, if people think you are a tranny it’s because you are perceived as one. OWN IT! If they think that’s a bad thing then THEY ARE STUPID! If you don’t wish to own that word or any other word used to describe you other than “male” or “female” then I hope you are privileged enough to have been born with an appearance that will allow you to disappear into the passing world or that you or your generous, supportive family are able to afford the procedures which will make it possible for you to pass within the gender binary system you are catering your demands to. If you’re capable of doing that then GO ON AND DISAPPEAR INTO THE PASSING WORLD! Otherwise quit using your big, privileged -yet ignorant- mouths to make the words used to describe who we are a shameful thing. It is not shameful to be a tranny, a she-male, or any other word used to desctibe a gender variant individual. It’s shameful to harass people for being comfortable with who they are and the words they choose to use to describe themselves when you aren’t.

That is my opinion on this ridicuous subject. As you can tell I’m angered by this trifling bullshit. We should be working on unifying our community and getting ourselves basic protections under the law. If everyone who is expending so much time and energy harassing their sisters about this word would harass their elected officials with the same amount of verve and fervor we’d be on the way to a much more trans-inclusive society.

These words were written in love and anger.
Mx Bond

It’s not easy being green – especially if you’re a Republican and that’s your job

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/28/republican-climate-change-deniers-bob-inglis

Bob Inglis wants climate change deniers to be more realistic. But can his ‘free-market’ environmentalism win GOP converts?

theguardian.com, Wednesday 28 May 2014

Ask Americans about “global warming”, and a new study suggests that 13% more of them will think it’s a bad thing compared to “climate change”. That, it turns out, was Republicans’ point: way back in 2002, a Republican pollster warned candidates and then-President George W Bush to avoid using the term “global warming” because people found it “frightening”.

Since then, the debate about “climate change” has become a cultural battle and, out in the field, Republican midterm candidates are engaged in a contest to become its most strident deniers. Even on Twitter, Pat Sajak thinks you’re an “unpatriotic racist” if you think climate change is a real problem.

But one Republican is trying to hold back the tide of his colleagues who continue to fall at the feet of the (largely) oil and coal industry-sponsored climate denial movement. Former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, a Republican, is the movement’s best advertisement – a real live conservative convert. His story has the arc of a religious experience, in part because it includes one.

Inglis says he was first asked to consider the possibility that climate change is real because of his son and the rest of his family – “and they’re the ones who could change the locks,” he told me last week – so he decided to listen. Then, as a member of the House Science committee, he went to Antarctica and saw the ice-core samples that tell the story of human’s impact on the environment.

Lastly, he had a conversation with a Australian climatologist at the Great Barrier Reef, and it became clear to Inglis that there was a spiritual component to environmentalism that aligned with his conservative Christian faith and not the fuzzy “earth mother” New Age environmental stereotype. “I could see he worshipped the God of creation, and not the creation itself,” he told me here, where we’re both fellows at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics – and where I’ve seen him coast in wearing khakis and a helmet, looking for all the world like tofu-eating Obama voter.

Whether you think it’s the Creator or the creation that matters, mere mortals are not doing a great job with protecting the environment – which translates not just into sad pictures of displaced animals, but into whole populations of humans displaced and dying. Unforunately, to Americans, that suffering seems distant and abstractly related to climate change, and the only aspect of Inglis’s own conversion he could possibly replicate for another non-believer is to show them those ice-core samples. And even that’s the same kind of physical evidence that keeps failing to convince people.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/28/republican-climate-change-deniers-bob-inglis

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Laverne Cox: “There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience”

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/05/29/laverne_cox_there%E2%80%99s_not_just_one_trans_story_there%E2%80%99s_not_just_one_trans_experience/

The activist and “Orange is the New Black” star tells Time magazine about shifting norms and setting the agenda

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Laverne Cox is on the cover of Time magazine, which is a very huge thing. My mother and aunts read Time magazine. Maybe yours do, too. People waiting to have their teeth checked at the dentist read Time magazine. Time magazine is kind of everywhere. Now all of these new people get to know (if they don’t already) Laverne Cox, a fierce trans woman of color who is working tirelessly (seriously, check out her schedule of public and media appearances) to bring deadly violence against trans people, the inhumanity of our criminal justice system and the legal and cultural shifts we need to put into place to protect the lives and rights of trans and all LGBTQ people into focus. Cox is centering these conversations in an unprecedented way, and it’s absolutely electric.

A few excerpts from the powerful interview:

On understanding and embracing what it means to be trans. 

There’s not just one trans story. There’s not just one trans experience. And I think what they need to understand is that not everybody who is born feels that their gender identity is in alignment with what they’re assigned at birth, based on their genitalia. If someone needs to express their gender in a way that is different, that is okay, and they should not be denied healthcare. They should not be bullied. They don’t deserve to be victims of violence. … That’s what people need to understand, that it’s okay and that if you are uncomfortable with it, then you need to look at yourself.

On what may be at the root of our culture’s transphobia. 

We live in an uncertain world and we want to believe that what a man is and what a woman is–I know that. And people don’t want to critically interrogate the world around them. Whenever I’m afraid of something or I’m threatened by something, it’s because it brings up some sort of insecurity in me. I think the reality is that most of us are insecure about our gender. They think, ‘Okay, if there’s this trans person over here, then what does that make me?’ We want to just coast along in a belief system that makes us feel secure, because we are a culture, as Brene Brown would say, that is intolerant to vulnerability. And if we are in a position where we have to begin to question this very basic idea of ‘A man has a penis and a woman has a vagina,’ then that’s a lot of vulnerability.

On the shifts that are occurring right now around trans rights and trans justice. 

We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ‘This is who I am.’ And more trans people are willing to tell their stories. More of us are living visibly and pursuing our dreams visibly, so people can say, ‘Oh yeah, I know someone who is trans.’ When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference. Social media has been a huge part of it and the Internet has been a huge part of it, where we’re able to have a voice in a way that we haven’t been able to before. We’re being able to write our stories and we’re being able to talk back to the media … We are the reason. And we are setting the agenda in a different way.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/05/29/laverne_cox_there%E2%80%99s_not_just_one_trans_story_there%E2%80%99s_not_just_one_trans_experience/

From The Guardian UK: Laverne Cox heralds ‘transgender tipping point’ on cover of Time

Time Magazine: Laverne Cox Talks to TIME About the Transgender Movement

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