Culture (a poem)

A vulture eats a being once dead,

but a culture can devour all in its stead

dead or alive, it doesn’t care…

ideas rooted in ancient renditions,

grab hold of the mind and become a volition

until soon, there is only a war of attrition

and thus we have, the human condition

the suni, the shi-ite, the christian, the jew,

their stale ideas with little purview

carnism too, is rooted in a time,

when royalty thought that meat was sublime

and thus in a comedy of darkest proportions,

the masses march on with their perfunctory notions

it doesn’t matter that it’s all supine,

as long as their culture is seen as divine

The California Central & Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains Have Lost Millions of Trees…

The central and southern Sierra Mountains of California have lost about 100 million trees in the last five years; 65 million this past year. Reasons: global warming, drought, and a beetle that sickens them.

Please watch Cowspiracy and other similar documentaries, and please, go vegan. If we had a vegan humanity, we would do-away with 51% of all global warming problems.

Humans are the only animal born without any brain synapses connected at birth; this means that the culture that you are a part of is taught/learned; akin to a computer being programmed. The culture of meat consumption is just that: culture. It is not a necessary part of human existence, and numerous studies have shown that health improves without the consumption of animal-derived products. If the lack of animal-derived foods will make you healthier; if animals (wild and domestic; wild animals are killed to make space for the domestic animal meat/dairy industries) are no longer killed in the billions (for your next traditional meal), and if 51% of global warming problems are eliminated, isn’t this worth a change in your programming/your culture?

Orange County Culture

Emptiness surrounds me.

Nostalgia reminds me.

Oh vacuous culture, how you depress me.

A desert of emptiness.

Kindred spirits are scarce.

Birds, trees, and plants; my constant friends;

and even they, are made to exist, in a very specific way.

Money and cars, money and faces, money and clothes,

…make up the vacuous spaces.

Seattle!  England!  Oh, how I miss you;

your culture, your coffee, your whimsical nature.

Alas, I am stuck in this lonely place;

my best friends are books,

my journal, my bears…

The rustling leaves, the chatter of birds,

the documentaries that take me to places,

… where there are still people concerned with promoting the beauty of life,

instead of a place, which only promotes materialism, and its accompanying strife.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

I recently read Elizabeth Kolbert’s: The Sixth Extinction; it should be another must-read by the masses of humanity (like Alan Weisman’s: Countdown; see my previous blog).

The author first takes us on a history of the human intellect’s understanding of extinctions that have occurred on our planet – over the course of millions of years. It astounded me that renowned scientists such as Darwin (and especially Darwin) did not stress or in anyway highlight what was apparent to him:

“Darwin’s familiarity with human-caused extinction is also clear from On the Origin of Species. In one of his many passages in which he heaps scorn on the catastrophists, he observes that animals inevitably become extinct: ‘we know this has been the progress of events with those animals which have been exterminated, either locally or wholly, through man’s agency.’ It’s a brief allusion and, in its brevity, suggestive. Darwin assumes that his readers are familiar with such ‘events’ and already habituated to them. He himself seems to find nothing remarkable or troubling about this. But human-caused extinction is of course troubling for many reasons, some of which have to do with Darwin’s own theory, and it’s puzzling that a writer as shrewd and self-critical as Darwin shouldn’t have noticed this.” (Elizabeth Kolbert, ed. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History; Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014; Chapter III: The Original Penguin; e-book)

Back in the days of early scientific discoveries (1700–1800), there were two prevailing frames-of-mind regarding the concept of mass extinctions: the catastrophists and the uniformitarians. The names are suggestive of their meaning; catastrophists did believe in mass exctinctions, and uniformitarians did not. These two groups went back-and-forth, until of course, the catastrophists were shown to have had the correct scientific theory. Elizabeth Kolbert does a beautiful job of bringing this history full-circle in her telling of it. In-so-doing, she also illustrates a phenomenon within our species that I find disturbing…

In 1949 two Harvard graduates performed experiments on perception. Their paper was titled “On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm”. A man by the name of Thomas Kuhn found their findings interesting. Thomas Kuhn was:

“the twentieth century’s most influential historian of science, the experiment was indeed paradigmatic: it revealed how people process disruptive information. Their first impulse is to force it into a familiar framework… This pattern was, Kuhn argued in his seminal work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, so basic that it shaped not only individual perceptions but entire fields of inquiry. Data that did not fit the commonly accepted assumptions of a discipline would either be discounted or explained away for as long as possible. The more contradictions accumulated, the more convoluted the rationalizations became. ‘In science, as in the playing cards experiment, novelty emerges only with difficulty,’ Kuhn wrote. But then, finally someone came along who was willing to call a red spade a red spade. Crisis led to insight, and the old framework gave way to a new one. This is how great scientific discoveries or, to use the term Kuhn made so popular ‘paradigm shifts’ took place. The history of science of extinction can be told as a series of paradigm shifts. Until the end of the eighteenth century, the very category of extinction didn’t exist.” (Elizabeth Kolbert, ed. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History; Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014; Chapter V: Welcome to the Anthropocene; e-book)

There are a few examples of ‘paradigm shifts’ that come to mind: plate tectonics (my own personal favorite; I will always find it astonishing that it took around 200 years for scientists to come to terms with this; not until the 1960s!); and the other, described in Elizabeth Kolbert’s book relates to the extinction of the dinosaurs (she gave other historical examples of this phenomenon as well). The section on the Alvarez family and their piecing-together of the dinosaur extinction was inspiring, as well as intriguing: in how long it took the scientific community to come-around to their findings, and to finally agree that they were indeed, correct.

Understanding this phenomenon for me was especially gratifying as I am finally able to pinpoint the many stupidities I see within our species as they relate to this phenomenon; the continued belief in religions and their dogma, the continued belief that it is necessary to consume the flesh of animals to be healthy (when the opposite is true), the continued lack of belief in global warming, the disbelief that our human numbers need to decrease (if our planet is to survive us; and yes, the planet will ‘come back’, but if we get to this point, we won’t); in short, it’s a long list.

The facts are simple: we are too many humans on this planet, and we must change what is traditional. For those of you in more liberal and progressive circles, you may feel that these changes are already beginning to take shape. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they are occurring fast enough. The poison of religion still affects billions of humans; retarding their ability to think beyond the dogma of their individual beliefs. Traditions can be beautiful at times, but they can also be as ugly and dangerous as a festering cancer. Humanity seems to constantly fall on its traditions largely without question. Rationalizations are made by individuals which are solely based on their individual traditions. It saddens me that we have to reach a dangerous point of a possible no-return for people to change their beliefs.

As I write this, the entire western portion of the United States is in a drought. Many cattle and dairy farmers in California have had to sell their stock as they no longer have enough water to maintain them. When I first heard this, I thought that perhaps this would be the eye-opener people need… I was wrong. As a result of things going sour for cattle and dairy ranchers in California, the profits are now growing for this same industry, geographically situated, in the State of Washington. The most environmentally destructive industry in the history of humanity – the consumption of meat/dairy/seafood – has merely been transferred from one region to the other (just one example of what we do over and over). An alien species studying the planetary aftermath of humans would conclude that we – literally – ate the planet and its species to death; with our gluttony, religions; in a word, traditions. Most religions promote high birth rates; now, another belief system that has become a pseudo-religion does the same: capitalism (in the name of never-ending growth to feed the capitalist beast). The history of the heavy consumption of meat is founded on the lifestyle of kings and queens; therein, another tradition was born to the masses; a level, a goal to strive for: to be able to consume as much flesh as royalty, as much flesh as the elite.

People now argue about diets humans more-than-likely had in the past: some adhere to the “Paleo.” diet; some believe people should hunt and forage (would be very interesting to see this in-action with 7 billion people on the planet, and counting); others are okay to do-away with meat, but stubbornly and passionately salivate over dairy products (one of the worst things a human can consume, and equally destructive to the environment); others stubbornly continue to consume seafood (even though most of it is extremely polluted, increasingly rare, and the oceans are collapsing before our eyes). Recently, I heard that people should turn to eating insects, arachnids, and worms; this was suggested by people that are beginning to connect-the-dots regarding what we eat and how this is affecting our planet… this group is obviously keen on the continual consumption of some sort of flesh. And the debating as well as fervently holding to traditions continues. One of the most common rationalizations is that it’s “natural” for humans to consume flesh, kill things continually, and carry-on in the traditions that prevail. What these rationalizers forget, is that we, as a species, do not, live in the natural world; we reside outside of it, and have for some time.

Watch any BBC documentary on nature, and our understanding of the natural world; it’s simply sublime: the natural world, as well as our understanding of it (well, some of us). It is sublime that we have developed an intellect that understands the web-of-life that surrounds us (or what’s left of it); it’s sublime to sit here and to type this on a beautiful MacBook Air, as I rest my bottom on a cushioned sofa, smart phone at my side, lamp lighting the room, and a sturdy roof over my head. Our species is made up of a few that make great discoveries; these discoveries enable the masses within our species to enjoy certain ways of life, but with these powers come great responsibilities. And here lies the problem: the masses mired in their superstitions and continual ignorance are not taking responsibility. It doesn’t matter what we did in the past, or how we ate in the past, or what was accepted in the past. What matters is how we go forward, whilst taking note of the past. There were several species of flightless birds called Moa, on the island of New Zealand, once upon a time… humans arrived and – in effect – barbecued all the birds to extinction. This same sort of scenario has occurred time-and-again since our species, through technological innovation, has conquered every single corner of this planet.

I would argue at this point-in-time that the most progressive and responsible human being in this day-and-age, is a vegan and an atheist. These are the people that are awake, and aware of the precipice we now look upon. We don’t require any animal proteins to survive, in the same way that we don’t require superstitions to live a full and happy life. What I believe we require is a clear and sincere assessment of our existent history thus far, an appreciation of the many wonders we’ve created, yes… but that with these come great responsibility and morality; a morality which can only come-about with compassion. After all, that is what morality is: compassion. Until we’ve attained these, as a species, and thoroughly embraced them, we don’t have a chance; we’ll simply fall over the cliff of over-consumption as we squash and destroy what is left of our planet’s natural world. And why? Because the majority were too stubborn to let go of their traditions founded on gluttony, power, greed, and propelled by the most dangerous state-of-mind: ignorance.

Alan Weisman’s Book: Countdown; Should be Mandatory Reading for the Planet’s 7 Billion+ Humans…

I recently read, probably one of the most important books ever written, in terms of whether or not, 1) humanity will have a future, and 2) humanity will grasp the severity of just how precariously we exist as a species on a planet that we have unravelled ecologically, and that now unravels ever-faster as each day passes. The book is Countdown; written by Alan Weisman. I marveled at the scope of his research, and most of all, at the crystal clear picture he paints in describing our current situation, and the history that brought-about the reality we must now contend with.

I have always thought that the world such as it is, is wholly illogical and irrational. What I’m referring to is a system whereby economists dictate our moves (like pawns in a game of chess) in order to predict how more money will be made… money for whom? 90% of all the money that is paid/owed by the 7 billion people on the planet, is paid to the remaining 10%. We are living by a system of made-up money, (without any inherent value; the monetary system is only valuable to the exploiters, the 10%, that live lavishly exploiting the stupid masses, and the planet; let’s face it, the masses are stupid; otherwise, there would be a revolt, a revolution against these idiotic institutions) and by the whims and dictates of a greedy, power-hungry oligarchy, that strives to keep the masses in debt in order to amass more made-up money, and of course, power. If all the debt on the planet were paid today, there wouldn’t be any money circulating; it simply would not exist. Wars, illness, and all manner of suffering, create more revenues for a system structured to benefit (literally) from the hardship of the masses. Economists want more bodies on the planet because the more people there are, the less money they will command by way of wages, etc., in this sick and demented game we are playing each and everyday; as we go to our more-often-than-not ridiculous jobs, in order to push meaningless pieces of paper about, for the ultimate purpose of making more useless objects for people to consume, thereby generating more debt (an economists picture of perfection, as well as the oligarchs that run this planetary docket).

“‘Since the top 10 percent of the economy is who received interest payments, and the bottom 90 percent pays them, interest payments today essentially redistribute wealth from the bottom 90 percent to the top 10 percent.'” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 13: Shrink and Prosper; e-book)

I noticed early-on in my existence that everywhere I went, there were always more homes being made, more strip malls being erected; quite simply, more and more development. It was impressed upon me that real estate is the foundation of the seemingly all-important economy. I new in that instant that if that was the case, our days were surely numbered, or if not our days, then the days of all that was still natural: animals, forests, whole ecosystems, etc.

When I was 16, I read Dr Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Explosion. I couldn’t believe that humanity didn’t understand that by virtue of the fact that we’d become so many, we were en route to our own demise. Exponential growth is a serious problem, especially in a world with finite resources. At the end of the 1800s, we numbered around 2 billion. In just over a century, we added 5 billion (we are now at 7 billion, and counting). Alan Weisman interviewed Dr Malcolm Potts who noted that if each woman has half a child less, our numbers would decrease back to 6 billion by the end of this century; however, if each woman adds half a child, our numbers could reach 16 billion.

“Concurring with population specialist Dr Malcolm Potts, just half-child-per-woman decrease in the world’s fertility rate, Cohen said, could bring us back to 6 billion by the end of the century – or half a child in the other direction could take us to 16 billion.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Author’s Epilogue; e-book)

Economists have always belittled the findings of scientists/demographers, in their enthusiasm to have more pawns to play with… Dr Ehrlich’s research was ridiculed by economists specifically, as his findings did not come to pass within the timeline that his research had anticipated. The simple reason for this was based upon the advent of what they’ve dubbed the Green Revolution.

For quite sometime now, environmental organizations, scientists, and the like, have had, and are having, discussions concerning the acidification of our oceans, and their impending collapse. These discussion have been linked to global warming, and many of the usual suspects involved in the deterioration of the natural world. What has never been explained clearly is how this acidification actually works, and its history. I personally find it impossible to understand anything, fully, without first understanding the history behind it. Whether the issue is a scientific one, or a social one, history (to me) is of the utmost importance. In this respect, I found Alan Weisman’s book shear and utter genius (and in many other respects too). At last the reasons for the acidification of our oceans were made clear to me. As well as, the reasons for our exponential growth, and the situation that we now find ourselves in.

Alan Weisman noted the advances made by men such as Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur, Carlos Finlay, William Gorgas, and Walter Reed. All of these men were responsible for advances specifically related to vaccines, and cleanliness – specifically in hospitals, which then spread to cleanliness as a common cultural value (in a nutshell). Prior to their findings, human numbers were reduced by illnesses which affected and killed millions. Although the advances made by these men, did increase our numbers, nothing sparked exponential growth as much as the findings of three Germans: Justus von Liebig, Fritz Haber, and Carl Bosch.

Justus von Liebig discovered that nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, working together, make up essential nutrients for plants. Here is an excerpt from Alan Weisman’s book, Countdown, on how Nitrogen works:

“The essential nutrient nitrogen is a gas so relatively inert that, unlike hydrogen, there’s plenty of it floating around in its free state. In fact, over three-fourths of the air we breathe is pure nitrogen. Nothing in our lungs chemically combines with it, so we harmlessly exhale it away. In all nature, only one family of enzymes can fix airborne nitrogen – that is, absorb and chemically convert it into a nongaseous form, such as the plant food ammonium. And just a few plants host bacteria bearing these enzymes, which, in return, get fed by nodules on their roots.

They are mainly legumes, such as lentils, beans, clover, soy, peas, alfalfa, gum acacia, and peanuts. Until synthetic fertilizers, such symbiotic plant-bacteria pairs were the main source of nitrogen in soil, limiting the amount of plant life the planet could produce. Virtually anything green that grew was benefiting from nitrogen that leguminous plants had fixed. For that reason, farmers traditionally would rotate legumes with grains, or grow them together.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

During Justus von Liebig’s time, the fertilizer used came mainly from bat and seabird excrement. Excrement found in large amounts was shipped to where it needed to be used. When this ran out (amazing that it did), the exploitation turned to saltpeter:

“…sodium nitrate crystals that occur in abundance only in very dry environments such as Death Valley, California, and Chile’s Atacama Desert.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown, Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

At this point, even though nitrogen was being shifted from one side of the planet to the other, the natural amount of existing nitrogen on the planet was still the same; therein, there were no ill-effects. Until…

“Then, in 1913, agricultural technology broke through nature’s ceiling. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, who figured out how to grab nitrogen out of the air and feed it to plants in quantities far beyond what von Liebig had ever imagined, were also German.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

This moment in time is key to understanding the current unravelling of the Earth’s ecosystems.

Weisman goes on to recount the history of how Haber and Bosch achieved what they did. Interestingly, he also brings to light that it was their inventions that prolonged both world wars. When the Germans were blocked by the allied forces during WWI, they had by then attained the technology that would enable them to feed themselves without having to leave, or get to, any specific geographical location. This was the beginning of the synthesizing of fertilizer. Weisman also notes that Haber directed the chemical weapons that Germany used in the trenches.

“Haber’s knack for developing agricultural chemistry that could be turned to darker purposes didn’t end there. A pesticide fumigant he created to use in grain storage, cyanide-based Zyklon A, was later refined by Nazi chemists into the more potent Zyklon B gas used in extermination camps.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

The next scientists to build upon the technology of the three Germans was Norman Borlaug, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. The technology that he created brought about the Green Revolution – that would have otherwise prevented billions of people from having enough food to eat. This technology is what prevented the findings of Dr Ehrlich to become a reality: mainly that billions would die because there simply wasn’t enough food.

What is interesting to note about Norman Borlaug is that he acknowledged that the technology he created was simply buying humans more time. He knew that at the root of the problem was one simple fact: too many humans; what I’ve quoted below is from Weisman’s book, where he’s quoted some of Borlaug’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

“‘…we are dealing with two opposing forces, the scientific power of food production and the biological power of human reproduction. Man has made amazing progress recently in his potential mastery of these two contending powers. Science, invention, and technology have given him materials and methods for increasing his food supplies substantially and sometimes spectacularly… Man also has acquired the means to reduce the rate of human reproduction effectively and humanely. He is using his powers of increasing the rate and amount of food production. But he is not yet using adequately his potential for decreasing the rate of human reproduction… There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort.'” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

In the words of Alan Weisman:

“The Green Revolution, Borlaug often said, essentially bought the world another generation or so to resolve the population problem. For the rest of his life, he served on the boards of population organizations, even as he continued to crop research to feed the multiplying millions his work had added to the global census.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

Perhaps to many people, the fact that humans have learned to produce so much food to feed so many, sounds like a wonderful thing, the problem lies in the fact that it is this very thing, that is causing our planet’s ecosystems to unravel. At the moment, human crops are taking enough space to cover an area about the size of South America. Land used by humans for pastureland equals an area about the size of Africa. (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Author’s Epilogue; e-book)

“Humans use sixty times the amount of land that’s paved to feed ourselves.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Author’s Epilogue; e-book)

It should become clear to people that the reason the planet’s ecosystems are failing, has very little to do with the type of light bulb one uses, and everything to do with how many humans there are, the amount of land we are using: for development, crops, pasture, etc., and the fact that the agricultural methods used have added an unnatural amount of nitrogen into the Earth’s ecosystems, and it is this, more than anything, that is causing the acidification and ultimate death of the earth’s oceans. I recently read an article that came out of Australia; it discussed the excessive number of starfish that are currently plaguing the Great Barrier reef. It went on to explain that this is being dealt with by sending people down into the reef, in order to inject as many starfish as they can, with a lethal cocktail of some sort, that will kill the starfish within two days. One Australian went on to say that they are “nasty critters…” The article almost had a feel to it of: once again, humans are dealing with and destroying potential monsters. No where in the article did it explain that the real culprit behind the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef is human agriculture, and the excess nitrogen fertilizers seeping into the ocean and essentially choking the reef to death. The starfish are simply an illustration of an ecological area unraveling.

I have already mentioned that at the end of the 1800s we numbered around 2 billion; therein, prior to the advent of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers we were able to feed about 2 billion people.

“Creating artificial fertilizers requires high temperature and pressure, meaning intense energy inputs (now 1 percent of the world’s total). Because fertilizers also need natural gas for their hydrogen component, they are doubly dependent on fossil fuels. Our supply of artificial nitrogen, therefore, will last only as long as they do. But as long as we have it, artificial nitrogen practically doubles the amount of that plant nutrient that nature can provide, and nearly half of us could not be here without it.

Before artificial nitrogen fertilizers became widely available, the world’s population was around 2 billion. When we no longer have it – or if we ever decide to stop using it – that may be a number to which our own naturally gravitates.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2013; Chapter 3: Body Counts and the Paradox of Food; e-book)

It is sad that as a species, we didn’t have the intellectual prowess to realize that too many humans, is simply not good. It is now 2014, and amazingly, people are still debating this, and many other topics such as evolution (as if this was debatable… it’s a fact people, not something to debate!). Weisman discusses the various cultures around the world and how they dealt with, or are dealing with, or are simply not dealing with (due to ideologies, etc.), family planning issues. I marvel – in a morbid way – at humanity and all its stupidity (I morbidly marvel because such stupidity will send our species to its grave). Most people seem to be intellectually incapable of comprehending that we cannot go on like this; we need to rethink and recreate the institutions we live by; we need to re-imagine what success is, what beauty is (it’s not a 4000 square foot house), and how we should exist on this planet if we, as a species, are to have a future. We are the direct cause of many species going extinct, and we will be the direct cause of many more species going extinct. Why then, are we still living under the rules and regulations of the monetary system?! Why are McMansions, and strip malls still being built? Why are people buying unnecessary rubbish at Wal Mart? Why are people buying more plastic crap for their newborn human virus at Babies R Us? Why, why, why? It is the minutiae of all of this ignorance and stupidity – together – that will send our species to its own extinction. We are a reflection of the prevailing human intellect; our situation on this planet, our standing as a species, is directly linked to the ability of the masses to think, and to think critically. I have a foreboding that the masses won’t work it out, and we’ll have the future that we are currently heading toward: famine, death, and destruction.

Here is an excerpt from the events as they occurred when the asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula; therein, bringing the dinosaur era to an end:

“The bolide arrived from the southeast, traveling at a low angle relative to the earth, so that it came in not so much from above as from the side, like a plane losing altitude. When it slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, it was moving at something like forty-five thousand miles per hour, and, due to it’s trajectory, North America was particularly hard-hit. A vast cloud of searing vapor and debris raced over the continent, expanding as it moved and incinerating anything in its path. ‘Basically, if you were a triceratops in Alberta, you had about two minutes before you got vaporized’ is how one geologist put it to me.” (Elizabeth Kolbert, ed. The SIXTH EXTINCTION Macmillan, 2014; Chapter IV: The Luck of the Ammonites; e-book)

It seems that now, we have become the asteroid:

“During the study Raven presented a paper stating that at the rate species are being killed off worldwide, by 2100 two-thirds may be gone: an extinction equivalent to the event that obliterated the same proportion of the world’s life-forms 65 million years ago, including the dinosaurs. In that case, an asteroid the size of a small town smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula; in this case, the asteroid is the human race.” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Groups, Inc., 2013; Chapter 6: Holy See; e-books)

It should come as no surprise to people that have grasped this information, that a vegan diet will benefit the ecology of our planet immeasurably (not to mention one’s health; as well as put an end to the demonic torture that we impose upon billions of sentient beings each year); the second decision that will benefit our planet is the one whereby individuals decide whether or not they find it necessary to make a copy of themselves… Scientists don’t actually know exactly how much more our planet can take before the famine, death, and destruction truly begins. Weisman notes that in eleven years, we will not have enough water for 3 billion people. Right now, 70% of the planet’s fresh water is used for human agriculture. Based on this knowledge, I find it incomprehensible why anyone would want to add to the madness. We are now 7 billion and counting (in the wrong direction), our numbers were around 2 billion prior to the advent of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers; which are directly responsible for the rapid death of the planet’s oceans. The choice is ours: keep increasing human numbers until there is nothing more to consume but each other; in the reflections of Alan Weisman:

“… I looked for the parking lot where the original Minneapolis Public Library once stood, a nineteenth century brownstone where I’d passed much of my boyhood. I would visit the small museum on its top floor and stare at the stuffed remains of a passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird on Earth. Humans wiped them out by 1914 – yet as I later read, even when there were a million left, they were already functionally extinct, because the pattern that doomed their critical habitat and food supply was already set. Was it possible, I now wondered, that my own species might also already be the living dead?” (Alan Weisman, ed. Countdown Hachette Book Groups, Inc., 2013; Author’s Epilogue; e-books)

It is a shame that instead of world leaders encouraging the human masses to read books such as Alan Weisman’s Countdown, in order to grasp the severity of our situation, they are instead constantly engaged in the economic ponzi scheme that continues to devour what remains of planet Earth.

Personally, I don’t think humans have a chance; in the words of Arthur Schopenhauer, here is why I don’t believe humans have a chance:

“In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

Perhaps if more people came to terms with, and realized, that there is very little hope – if Schopenhauer’s statement continues to plague the present/future, and what will shortly thereafter, become more human history in this blink-of-human-existence – perhaps then, once this is understood, we would have a chance. For this to happen, we need time – something we no longer have in abundance – and that, coupled with the persistent stupidity of the human masses, are what will ultimately, seal our fate.

My New Year’s Wish…

Goethe said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who think that they are free.”
Schopenhauer said, “In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.”

2013 nears completion…

As each year marked by humanity passes,

Nature continues to count its losses

Every 15 minutes an elephant dies,

10 years more of this will see their demise

The rhino has 5 years,

But the Asian market seems to have no fears,

The virility of mankind at the forefront of their minds

Even the Hippo tooth is not immune,

As they too, suffer the virility boon

The Taiji Cove killings continue from September to April,

Whole dolphin families killed,

With a few marked to thrill, via the Sea World bill

The oceans suffocate,

But human cultures and traditions cease to abdicate

The blue fin tuna’s fate,

Seems to lie solely on the sushi plate

Companies such as Mitsubishi profit,

As they fish the blue fin to extinction

Islands of plastic float on the Pacific,

But Dasani bottles are still seen as terrific

Somewhere in Asia, money is amassed,

This time with soup – again, the culture of virility wins,

And sharks are left without their fins

Australian Sheep having suffered their yearly shearings,

Are sent to Muslim communities for ritual animal killings

Those that survive the hellish Australian live-transport,

Will wish they had died, during the shearing portion of their wretched lives

Humans now attempt to pollinate crops in China,

As the bees become more scarce

But even here, money trumps all,

Just do a little research, on the California almond haul.

Americans continue to enjoy their burgers,

60+ billion cattle killed yearly in America alone,

And so goes the meat cyclone.

3% of the water on the planet was consumable and fresh,

But humans have seen fit to reduce this number to .5% less

How much longer will our planet sustain,

A species that will soon have nothing to gain

Religions, cultures, and traditions, forever dictating,

Things that should have long been abating

My news year’s wish is only one,

For our species to realise that this cannot go on


~~Erika Fortuny Whitton ~~

Mail Online link re: “Dolphin Snatchers”…

Above is a link to an article written by the UKs Mail Online.  I sincerely hope time is made to read this article carefully, and to watch the video clip at the end.  Please take special note of the fact that the people killing these dolphins are not just killing them for the profit they make, they are also killing them as they see the dolphins as a nuisance and a menace where “their” fish stocks are concerned.  This is exactly what cattle ranchers (and other domestic farmers of animals) demand insofar as governments “cull” wolves, etc.  There is no difference between these issues, and others like them.  Until humans go vegan world wide, this madness will never stop.  And please, don’t visit aquariums and other similar places; doing so directly supports this cultural perversity (unfortunately one of many within the human species).  Lastly, if the images within the Mail’s article are distressing to you, just imagine the distress of the billions of animals suffering at the hands of the human species each and everyday; you are only seeing the end-result, they are living it.


Dolphin/Whale Slaughter…

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From September to April every year a group of Japanese people living in an area called Taiji Japan kill dolphins and some of the smaller whale species.  This has been occurring since 1675.  This has evolved into a larger money-making scheme with many of the dolphins being taken captive for various Sea World-like institutions throughout the planet.  If you care at all about dolphins and whales, then please, do not visit these “parks”.  Your visit to them is direct support for the images above.
The people of Taiji argue that they must have this meat, and of course making extra money on the side for the water circuses that exist world-wide isn’t too shabby for them either.  For each dolphin taken into captivity, 17 die.
A couple of documentaries have been made to attempt to bring this issue to light: The Cove, and The Dolphin Defender.  Unfortunately, most of the indolent masses don’t actually watch stations such as PBS (or programs by Nature), or perhaps opt to watch something called a “documentary” from time-to-time… so, I believe that perhaps this issue has gone unnoticed by most of the masses (as I keep reiterating ignorance is a form of cruelty; to not edify oneself is to actively allow these sorts of things to happen).
The deeper issue is – once again – the insistence human beings have in consuming/eating animal products.  Most people around the world are horrified to know that these extremely intelligent animals are being brutally massacred and that (dolphin) family members chosen for the “water circuses” are held prisoners while watching the murder of their relatives and friends (image directly above).  Ultimately, if human beings want this sort of thing to stop, they should become vegans (only a world-wide vegan diet will put a stop to these sorts of atrocities).  Again, the other very important action individuals can take against these abhorrent scenes is to never visit a water “park” again (like Sea World, etc.).  (Please remember that all the other billions of animals killed each and everyday – not only from September to April – have the same emotions and intelligent abilities that these dolphins do).
The third thing that can be done is to boycott all items coming out of Japan until they put a stop to this. Unfortunately, we live in a world whereby we are – literally – playing on a Monopoly board with paper money each and everyday.  If aliens stumble upon our planet long after we’ve killed everything and each other; they may find it fascinating that we attained that end by playing a literal game, under the institution of the monetary system.
In summary, humans do not need to consume animal products and evidence has shown that consuming them is actually unhealthy – please see previous blog entry; the planet cannot sustain a human culture that eats animals (wild or domestic) – please see previous blog entry.  There are 7.5 billion humans and counting, most humans are convinced that they must consume/eat animal products; the bottom line is that human beings have no right whatsoever to treat other beings in this manner.  On the whole, whether it’s through stupidity/ignorance, or actual willing cruelty: as in the people of Taiji, and individuals that actively kill animals everyday in domestic meat production facilities the world-over, or those hunting wild animals to make-way for more human development, and to protect the cattle and the money associated with this; e.g., the hunting of wolves, etc.; this cannot go on, and if it does, I sincerely hope that humanity does not go on.

What Is Our Goal As A Species?

Within my e-mail, I have a group named ‘friends’.  I send an assortment of e-mails to these people: funny images, not-so-funny images, issues of the day, controversial issues; in-short, this group must know me very well by now and the things I stand for.  More recently, I added some family members to this group (I am always careful to bcc everyone; so that no one’s information is made public, etc.).

Most of the individuals in this group have received e-mails from me for many years now.  I am certain that most of these friends don’t agree with many of the things I go-on about (veganism, animal cruelty, etc.), and they most-probably curse my name from time-to-time, but on-the-whole, most of these friends keep their curses to themselves, and we still have good dialogues every now and again, laughs, and so-on.  A few years ago one family member from my husband’s side asked to never receive e-mails regarding the darker side of life; later on, a friend had a similar request.  After this I made another group titled ‘the delicates’.  This group of people only receives information from me that is of a sunny nature: cutesy photographs, jokes, and topics relating to the platitudes of life.  Today, I received an e-mail from someone from my side of the family (someone from the family members I recently added to this list).  They were in a terrible rant about receiving information to-do with veganism; in summary, they are not interested in any information to do with veganism, or the issues linked to what human beings eat, and the impact these choices have on our planet, not to mention their own health.
There are several issues relating to food choices; in no particular order, they are the following:
1. Health
2. Cruelty to Animals
3. Environmental impact of food choices
The e-mail that received such bad press from my family member yesterday was specifically about one’s health, and the effects of consuming animal products; this is the link that I sent:
If we take each of the three issues relating to food choices one at a time, it has become very clear to me that consuming animal products is unhealthy; it’s that simple.  Documentaries such as ‘Forks Over Knives’, books such as ‘The China Study’, among many others, go over the minutiae of the ill-effects of consuming animal products. Many professional athletes are now vegan as they know that a vegan diet will enhance their athletic performance and mental focus; if you don’t believe me, you can do a very quick Google search of vegan athletes and you will find a range of them; from body builders and full body contact boxers, to Iron Man competitors.  Many now choose to refine their athletic performance with a vegan lifestyle.  I can also speak from experience when I say that in my entire existence, I have never felt better; I was a long-time vegetarian (always leaning toward a vegan diet), and over one year ago, I became a vegan; truly, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
It always surprises me when I realise how disconnected people are in the knowledge of just how environmentally unsustainable a continued diet of animals is.
  • We are now 7.5 billion people on earth!
  • Only 3% of the water on earth is fresh and less than 3% is now fit for human consumption.
  • There are approximately 17 billion livestock in the world; all requiring water…
  • It takes 2,464 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef in California (only 25 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of wheat)
  • Aquifers around the world are being drained at a rapid rate, and water table levels are dropping.
  • The U.S. Geological survey in 2000 relayed that 40% of the water used was to irrigate crops for livestock.
  • Animal husbandry also depletes fossil fuels and hastens topsoil erosion.
  • The planet’s lungs are also affected by animal husbandry (specifically livestock): every second of everyday one football field of rain-forest is destroyed.
  • 55 square feet of tropical rain-forest are destroyed to make one hamburger.
  • Species are being lost as a result of this rampant destruction (plants, insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, etc.)
  • Methane released by 17 billion livestock is a serious problem: methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  • Animal husbandry is to blame for 18% of total greenhouse gases world-wide (more than all the automobiles on earth).
  • Livestock now use 30% of the entire landmass of the earth.
  • 70% of tropical rain-forests have been turned into land-use for cattle grazing.
  • The intense fertilisers used for this unsustainable agriculture eventually make their way to the oceans where dead zones are formed as the water’s pH levels are altered…
Unfortunately, an entire book could be written on the many points noted above.
This takes us to the issue of compassion.  Because most people choose to be indolent in their existence, there is rampant cruelty.  Let’s begin with speciesism: people in the west have rationalised that it’s okay to kill cows, pigs, chickens and so-on, but that dolphins, cats, dogs etc. shouldn’t be on the menu.  People in the east eat everything, and some cultures in the east take pleasure in torturing animals prior to death; specifically, in the consumption of dogs in areas such as China, South Korea, and the Philippines.  In some of these areas the astounding cultural belief is that the more the dog suffers, the better the meat will taste…  Recently in the west, an article was written stating that perhaps dogs should be given ‘rights’; but in the east, these same creatures are being boiled alive, skinned alive, slowly bled to death, hanged, beaten, and  treated in ways that frankly gives one a reason to think that humans should really be obliterated from the planet.  We, are, an, animal.  Every single emotion that a human feels, is felt by other animals.  Feelings are chemicals within the body, and we all have them.  Whether dog or cow, they both feel pain, fear, happiness, sadness, disparity, and all manner of emotions that one carries as a sentient being.  Why do humans insist that it’s okay to treat BILLIONS of animals in the most horrific ways each and everyday?!  Some rationalise that it’s normal, a part of life, the way things are, the natural order of things… are they?  Isn’t that what slavery was only a few hundred years ago in America?  What is our goal as a species?  Are we really just a virus?  We certainly act like it.  We even go so far as to horrifically torture animals within our military institutions so that we can improve the way we kill each other; if this isn’t a perverse monstrosity, I don’t know what is.  
Only 1 million Americans are vegan in a population of 313 million… that’s 0.3195%; if I were to guess, this is probably a reflection of the global number of vegans on the planet; in other words, there are very few.  I was berated for trying to bring to light information that could prolong one’s health, save the ecosystems of our planet, and allow us to exist in a compassionate manner with other species that are trapped on this blue sphere with us.  Being that I’m an atheist, I found it somewhat humorous when I was further reprimanded and told that I am acting akin to a Jehovah’s witness in periodically sending information relating to this topic.  I have to pose the question: what could be more “religious” in its actions than a human culture seemingly determined to close its eyes to the truth, and to rationalise that 7.5 billion (and counting) humans can continue to exist like this?  So, what is our goal as a species?  I had hoped that the answer would be an obvious one: to live compassionately, and in so-doing, our own health as well as the beauty of our planet, could prosper.


Western Black Rhino Officially Declared Extinct…

When I saw this story today it didn’t surprise me, it was more of a foreboding; knowing that this would happen at some point during my life. I can still remember reading an article about the Black Rhinos in National Geographic when I was in my 20’s (I just turned 40). There was a man that pledged to walk 20,000 miles (or some very large number) in the hope of raising awareness and money.  As I read the story about the dwindling Black Rhino numbers and gazed at the beautiful glossy photographs, I had a feeling deep within me that this individual’s quest to save the Black Rhinos simply would not come to fruition.  I did not doubt his willingness, his optimism, his hope, and his will to walk all those miles… there was only one thing I doubted: the fact that he was trying to save something directly affected by the number of humans that exist.  In other words, I reasoned that as human numbers continue to rise exponentially, and as it is our numbers that directly affect the natural world, and as the survival of the Black Rhinos depended on: time; time to increase their numbers, time to be left in peace, time to take hold once again within their natural habitat; I knew that they were sure to perish, as time was never on their side; time indicated in every way (and I wasn’t wrong) that in the wake of time, would come more humans.

Here are a few more species that are now extinct:

•Pyrenean Ibex
•Passenger Pigeon
•Quagga (a sub species of the common plains zebra and a native of South Africa)
•Caribbean Monk Seal
•Sea Mink
•Tasmanian Tiger
•Tecopa Pupfish
•Javan Tiger
•Great Auk (a flightless coastal bird that bred on rocky islands around the North Atlantic, including Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles & Scandinavia)
•Bubal Hartebeest (a type of antelope)

Here is a summary of what I believe the problems are (if we agree that our species causing other species to go extinct is not acceptable):

1. Politicians are a reflection of the masses; both are equally stupid and short-sighted.

2. Religions the-world-over are nothing but a further reflection of the stupidity of the masses.

3. The Monetary system/Capitalism: it does not work; not if the goal is to continue existing on a planet that can sustain the beings that inhabit it.

4. The continued and ignorant consumption by humans of animals: meat (all), dairy (all), furs, etc.

5. Nationalism is as bad as religions.  Why the big brains if we are so intent on pissing over territory?

The scary thing is that until all the above are eradicated, most people are not even going to begin to think about adopting a child instead of making one from scratch.  Politicians and the masses continue on as-if it’s all about making sure students have access to IPads in schools; religions and those under their spells continue to act in their petty tribal ways: worshipping men in the sky, and promoting many of the beliefs associated with religions, not least of which is: making more humans.  The Monetary system/Capitalism, both draw upon and live off of, all of these: religions, politicians, the stupidity of the masses, nationalism…  It’s pure and simple indolence; human indolence.  Big brains made for what?  Most people today seem to have degrees in business; the goal?  Make more money, make more stuff, buy the house in the suburbs, have 2.5 kids, become a taxi service once they are old enough to participate in sports (where everyone is a winner), pay for university for the 2.5 kids (and encourage them to become indebted in the process; they have to adapt early-on); eat meat, drink dairy, pledge the flag-of-allegiance every morning in school, go shopping at the weekend (now I am on the list of things the children will learn), get dressed for church (only the best attire of course), watch reality TV… Eventually these people I’m describing – which make up the bulk of society in the Western world – will contract Cancer or some such illness; from there, they will go on to partake in the madness that is Western conventional medicine; it’s an industry after all; it’s a closely-linked portion of the Capitalist system.  As Bill Bryson described perfectly in his book I’m a Stranger Here Myself:

“Or as three other leading economists dryly observed in an article in the Atlantic Monthly last year: ‘By the curious standard of the GDP, the nation’s economic hero is a terminal cancer patient who is going through a costly divorce.'”

The exponential growth of humans is directly linked to the ignorance of the masses; it is not until this ignorance is done-away with that perhaps we will have a chance.  Yes, the planet will heal itself after we blow ourselves up in our ultimate piece-de-resistance: our ability to kill one another… but why do we have to let things go to these lengths?  I guess I can answer that: because as a whole, we are simply too bloody stupid.  My only real sorrow is the horrific and daily suffering that we cause other living things as a matter-of-course each and every day.  As for us, in the words of George Carlin: “The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”  It is ironic that as we become more, as our numbers continue to increase, we are that much closer to sealing the fate of our own demise.

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