Monthly Archives: November 2018

God’s Wife

The following came from a long time email friend of mine. She lives in Oklahoma and I, in Western Canada and we’ve never met, but over the years she has sent much wisdom my way. This is one of those, and thank you, Ellie.  [Sha’Tara]

  Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.  Apart from the winner, there were 4 others that were special:
  
1.  A four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. When seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old Gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.    When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’
 
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 2.  Teacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.    

A little girl said, ‘I know all about adoption, I was adopted.’
 
 ‘What does it mean to be adopted?’, asked another child.
 
 ‘It means’, said the girl, ‘that you grew in your mommy’s heart instead of her tummy!’
 
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 3.      On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home.  I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line and inquired from one of the boys what the score was.    

‘We’re behind 14 to nothing,’ he answered with a smile.
 
  ‘Really,’ I said. ‘I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.’
 
  ‘Discouraged?’, the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face… ‘Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.’
 
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4. Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott.
 
Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play.   His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen..
 
On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement..  ‘Guess what, Mom,’ he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me….’I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.’
 
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5.   An eye witness account from New York City: on a cold day in December, some years ago,a young boy about 10-years-old was standing before a shoe store on the sidewalk, peering intently through the window. He was barefoot and shivering from the cold.
 
A lady approached the young boy and said,  ‘My, but you’re in such deep thought staring in that window!’
 
‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’ was the boy’s reply.
 
The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He brought them to her.
 
She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his feet, and dried them. By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks. She placed a pair upon the boy’s feet, then bought him a pair of shoes..
 
 
She gave him the remaining pairs of socks, patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.’
 
As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her.   ‘Are you God’s wife?’
 
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SEND TO ALL WHO LOVE AND CARE FOR CHILDREN.

Only You can do this

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~    ]

What are you thinking about, he asked, perhaps not totally sarcastically.

Off the cuff, I replied: “Peut-être que ça ne dit rien a personne d’autre mais pour moi, ç’a dit tout car je suis mon propre petit univers.”

He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and was rattling a mindless reply in pig Latin. Of course, my fault, I’d never told him I could speak French. I hadn’t wanted him to hold that against me along with all my other faults he liked to enumerate time and again. I’d gotten used to it but lately I had begun to feel an itch when he started up. The itch was and is, growing. I took off my ring the other day and left it off all day. I felt something like freedom; an exhilaration and a further sense of daring. Could I live without it – him? Since then I’ve re-watched two movies, two stories that are favourites of mine: “Shirley Valentine” and “The Book of Eve.” Why not me?

Well, that’s a strange introduction for what I have to say but it does set the tone. You see, “he” is not an actual man, and I am not actually married – not now, though I have been three times the loser in that game – so just call it a parable. “He” is the world, i.e., the System, the Establishment. The slave owner, slave driver, boss, whorehouse owner, pimp, prison warden, judge and executioner. I am property, sometimes lucrative, sometimes entertaining, seductive, rebellious, victim, always slave. Though “his” methods for securing my presence, conformity and subjugation have varied, the intent has remained the same throughout the millennia. The point is that in “his” world I have no voice unless and until “he” chooses to acknowledge something I said. That only happens when it is to “his” advantage as when it bolsters “his” flagging ego. Or, as some of “us” have often stated, I could “grow balls” and act like a man, think tough, talk tough, act tough. I did try that on occasion and it didn’t go too well. Too much like cross-dressing for a man: only the few can actually pass the test, and what is left of the real ‘me’ afterwards? Where am I when I can no longer pass?

I’ve been feeling alienated lately and that feeling is intensifying. In my mind I hear a constant truism: I do not belong here. Don’t I know it. Just about everything about this world, the natural and the man-made causes discomfort, aggravates, irritates, grinds, disappoints, saddens and sorrows me. I am, as a self aware person, moving away from all the things that make earth the place that it is. So please don’t get me wrong, it’s not just what man does, it’s what this world is. It is primarily a harsh, cruel, unforgiving place. No matter how many examples of kindness among people; of supportive bonding and pairing between different animal species, sometimes even crossing the line between natural predator and prey, it remains that these cause us to wonder and reflect, not because such expressions of acceptance are the modus operandi of this world but because they are rare exceptions. I can “admire” exceptions like those as much as anyone else but there is no forgetting, ever, that exceptions prove the rule, and the rule is always the opposite of the exception. Exceptions do not lead to freedom!

Leaving the animal ‘kingdom’ alone (it is what it is and until a new nature is woven over this dying one there is nothing I can do about it) I focus mostly on Earthians. They are, primarily, a short-sighted, jealous, cruel and vindictive species. They possess little or no empathy and their pride causes them to whitewash, or boast of, their gross indecencies in interrelationships. In this respect I put war near the top of the collective pleasure felt by committing mass murder – for make no mistake: all wars are the grossest of crimes, after misogyny. There are no “just” wars. There is no justification for war – ever – period. Try to understand how utterly depraved one has to be; how mentally deranged and sick, just to entertain the thought of war, never mind to plan for it; to use it as entertainment in books, movies, games; to participate in it.

Back to that French sentence above. What I said was, ‘Maybe it means nothing to anyone else but to me it’s everything because I am my own little universe.’ Honestly, if I hadn’t discovered the ability to both, shrink and expand myself into my own universe I would have become lost long ago. I don’t have to imagine what it’s like living a life that isn’t mine, trying to make one reality co-exist with another completely opposite reality because that has been my life. There is what “they” wanted me to be and what “they” wanted of me, and there is the me that exists only for me, within me, surrounded by my self-made protective wall behind which the alien me retreats and hides.

I realize I have often, particularly in my early years, been guilty of projecting the false, blue pill Matrix slave me. I so wanted to fit in and it was actually quite easy until it began to eat away at my mind and destroy the real me. I had to make a break from that particular “dark side of the Force” reality and reconnect to my self, the compassionate being who had had no chance at guiding or teaching until I acknowledged myself as different than, and separated myself from, Earth’s natural and social reality.

How quickly then did the blue pill supports come tumbling down and how soon there was hardly anything left of those times with their jealous thoughts, their hate, their aggressiveness and insufferable pride.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Indeed, and how rapidly I grew beautiful feet because I brought good news, even if the System and those attached to it could not accept what I had to share with Earth as good news.

Let’s do a reminder of that good news. I call it living the compassionate life. That does not require any elaboration because compassion is self-explanatory to anyone who decides to live by it. There is no law, no method, no system, no religion or philosophy that can contain and explain compassion, it requires none of that. So is it any wonder that idea is not good news to any system that insists it must be in control of all ideas or concepts proposed to become the modus operandi of a world? The compassionate being already knows right from wrong from the get-go; s/he does not need intermediaries to explain how to proceed on this path. Any wonder any system would reject it outright? Why, it would make even governments obsolete, never mind God, and the plethora of religions and “charitable” organizations. No more law makers; no more lawyers, for where would there be contention?

I can go further: no more violence because, obviously, the compassionate being cannot do violence to another, choosing rather to suffer the loss in herself. Yes, choosing, from self empowerment, from certainty. No whining, no running to the police or the courts for redress, finding such within herself until the world is completely changed and there is no more violence. Yes, she could be killed but she’ll only come back and continue.

That is the under-girding vision that sustains the compassionate person. It is not pie-in-the-sky as some would think because she has already reached that place within herself, within her own little universe. Now all she does is water the surrounding areas with her compassion and watch as some of it actually succeeds in extinguishing the fires of violence.

Tell me you possess something better. Tell me there are other ways now being used that have never failed before and therefore remain legitimate. You won’t find any, but you will tell me that compassion as already failed because it was preached by the Buddha and others and went nowhere. I will reply, yes, it was preached, and yes, some went there, some died as a result, others were frightened or power-hungry and chose to create institutions in attempts to corner their concept of compassion. It became a religion… but it was no longer compassion. Compassion cannot be so easily entrapped. It was a fake claim. Collectives cannot be compassionate, only individuals can. Join two compassionate individuals together in a collective purporting to do compassion and they are no longer compassionate beings. That needs to be understood before the idea is rejected.

“Only you can prevent forest fires” says Smokey Bear. In the same vein, “Only you, as an individual, can be compassionate.”

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

I never knew Him

a short story, by Sha’Tara

I wanted to know him, but I never did.  He worked for my parents at the house on the Estate.  That’s where I spent my time when I wasn’t in school, or college.  Year after year.  I grew up, he got older. 

I was raised by wolves, you know what that means.  So he was my life.  And now, they’re all gone.  The wolves finally ate each other and their prey died, possibly of boredom. 

He cared for them, though he cared for me the more.  But he was so careful around me, careful to always have somebody else with us, near us, a witness, so that should something untoward happen the wolves wouldn’t blame him, and eat him.  I never blamed him for being careful; for protecting himself.  And so, I never got to know him.  He was just there.  And then like that, and suddenly, he wasn’t. 

I won’t try to explain in words what it means for a twenty-two year old pretend woman to be left adrift and alone after swimming her entire life with sharks and being forced to hunt with wolves.  I didn’t like either roles but I did not pretend hard enough, meaningfully enough, that I was an exception, an actual human being.  Perhaps being alone now, completely out of the limelight, rich, and with only one uncle as would-be guardian – he’s barely aware of my existence – I can finally become what I was born to be.  Hello? Can anyone tell me what that is? Listen to my harsh, sarcastic laughter!

In the back of my mind, there is an image, or perhaps it’s a mirage. 

A blue-green sea casts its waves upon a dun shade sandy shore.  Palm trees move in the afternoon breeze blowing all along that shore.  Sometimes I see a colourfully dressed woman with a young boy walking on the sand.  The boy bends over frequently to pick up things.  Once I watched him from the house’s balcony.  He was picking up starfish and flinging them back into the waves.  The woman, probably his mother, or guardian, walked on ahead slowly, oblivious of the stranded starfish.  It reminded me then of a story you’ve all heard; a story that haunts me today. 

It’s about a little girl frantically running up and down a beach after a storm, picking up starfish and flinging them out to sea.  A man, watching her, came to her and said, “There are so many stranded, you can only save a few.  What difference can it possibly make?”  To which the wise girl replied, as she flung another into the waves, “It makes a difference to that one.”

It’s easy to forget that lesson.  I’m twenty-two and what do I know of life?  I know how to use money to get what I want.  But do I know what I want?  That’s the problem: I don’t, not really.  Sometimes, I think bitterly, if I were a Barbie doll, I could buy myself friends, maybe even a boy friend.  But I’m much, much less than a popular doll.  I’m a rich no-one with fangs; one who knows how to snarl and chase prey in the shallows.

It is summer now and even in summer, there are storms.  Sometimes the waves are cavernously deep and as they approach the shallows, rise in high combers, their wild palomino-maned surf crashing and thundering all along the shoreline.  On such occasions I like to run down there and stand just out of reach of the surf as it crashes, runs up the beach, then slithers back for another attack. 

Then with heart beating, I walk down, barefoot and bare-legged into the pushing and pulling roiling waters.  Of course I’m looking for answers.  And in those brief moments I get to put my loneliness on pause.  When I see a starfish on the shore I pick it up and throw it back in the waters, hoping it will not be washed up again.  Yes, hoping.  Then I think about my life, beyond its hellish peacefulness and dulling emptiness.  And how it keeps getting washed up on the shore and is as helpless as the starfish to do anything about it. Who would pick me up out of sympathy perhaps, and cast me in my element?

I asked him once about loneliness.  He’d noticed it in me and I know it made him sad that a young girl could be so alone in the world.  I asked how he could live there, in that… that house, alone year after year.  He’d explain that he didn’t just stay there.  He had family and friends among the fishermen in the village.  I wanted to go with him to meet his friends, or to make my own friends in the village but the wolves forbade it.  They’re not our kind of people, said my mother, baring her fangs.  You could be kidnapped for ransom, said my father, turning and blocking the exit.  The house is safe, and there’s enough space on the estate for you to wander through without danger.  We’ll get you a horse, and a trainer.  I didn’t want a horse and the trainer would be another short-lived diversion.

Do you have any idea how lonely it is to be property? To be an estate slave with no purpose whatsoever but to fill a void in someone else’s life? A convenience, a trophy, even if never first prize, being of wrong gender? Let me give you a piece of advice before you throw yourself off a cliff, or the fake battlements.

If you ever feel truly alone you want to go down to the sea shore when the wind tears up the clouds as they whip over the half moon, say around midnight, and you want to sit on a wet rock to just listen to the waves crashing in, one after another, and between each one, listen to the water hissing back down into the roiling darkness.  That is the sound, and the feeling, of the heartbeat of the lonely; the truly lonely.  That is the heartbreaking echo of utter loneliness. Only then will you know, for an inescapable fact that your fate is sealed; alive or dead, it’s all the same and it will not change.

If only I could give my life a purpose.  Join the throngs of others going on about their business of struggle, survival and periodic pleasures.  Using my own wits instead of my cursed inheritance of family money.  Using my own hands to create, or just make, something.  Maybe sit down beside a homeless woman and try to feel what she feels. What if my hands could actually hold someone without crushing them? My lips kiss another and my fangs remaining retracted?

These are my thoughts today.  You see, it was his funeral yesterday and I’m just now beginning to realize how truly lost-lonely I am.  I would like to do something outrageous right now, but my mother said, they’re not our kind, and my father, it’s too dangerous.  And the only person I ever trusted, ever loved, was buried yesterday.  I couldn’t even attend his funeral, I was afraid.

A Very Long Walk

[a short story by Sha’Tara]

It was another cool, crisp and clear late Autumn afternoon, the kind Krista loved to go walking in. She followed the riding trail down to the edge of the Maskua river as it meandered through the low lying lands of this agricultural community. As she walked she noticed the oaks and maples had less leaves on them and the colours were reluctantly fading. Denuded tops allowed lopsided windows into a pale, clear, blue sky.

Many thoughts flowed through her mind. She knew she had it good as her home-based business only required a few hours a day to keep going and she enjoyed it. The two children, Toby, now thirteen, was in Middle school and Trina was finishing her high school. Both children were quiet as a rule and caused her little problems. Both were somewhat introverted and had few close friends, something she did not mind at all.

Her thoughts turned to her husband Dan on his last year of duty in Afghanistan. One short moment of trepidation, then she reasserted herself. He would be coming back, of that she was certain. She had vowed to herself never to dwell on the possibility that he could become a casualty of war. ‘Not in my reality’ she said often with total conviction. ‘Do you still love him?’ a small, nasty little inner voice taunted. ‘With all my heart and soul’ she replied truthfully. Krista, though still very attractive and not without admirers and opportunities, was the completely faithful partner. She would never stray.

She carefully skirted the muddy pools that remained in the trail all winter in the shadier spots and kept walking. She heard crows cawing but not using the excited voices when discovering a sleepy great horned owl or a red-tailed hawk. She heard ducks and geese on the river but could not sight the stream yet. There was much brush where she passed and one more little rise before she could see the meandering river reflecting the blue sky from shore to shore.

She saw a page from a note book crumpled and stuck in some blackberry brambles. She thought of reaching for it but decided against it. ‘Whatever is written on there, none of my business,’ she said to herself and kept walking. You could say she was observant but not overly curious.

She saw something else in another tangle, a grey and blue baseball cap. ‘That’s a team cap from Trina’s high school! Must have flown off a rider’s head or been brushed off by a low-lying branch and the owner chose not to come back for it. Oh well… her or his loss. Maybe they’ll come back for it later.’

She had topped the rise then and saw the river. She stopped to admire it – her favourite place in the entire walk. She had had many a good mother to daughter talk with Trina on this spot. The current was sluggish now and reflections of dark spruce and bare poplars cast mesmerizing shadows in the waters of the far bank. She moved her head slowly to the movements of the inverted tree dance trying to find a tune in her head to go with it.

Something unusual brought her to look closer to her side of the river. There was a piece of cloth floating down there, of blue and white coloration. It looked like it was caught on a branch. This time her curiosity was aroused and she worked her way to the edge of the water for a better look.

That’s when she realized she wasn’t looking at a piece of cloth but at the body of a drowned person. She saw long hair floating off from the submerged head and a white hand bobbing in and out from the surface. She gave a gasp, but instead of screaming as she wanted to do, she plunged into the stream and waded in the freezing water that came to her breasts by the time she reached the body of a young woman.

She tugged and pulled and finally untangled the body and dragged it to the shore, turning it over to look into its face…

“Oh God, Trina! What have you done? I told you he wasn’t worth it! You promised me it was over.”

Re-Blog from George Monbiot: An Electrifying Idea

Taking the liberty to post a copy and paste of a most excellent article by George Monbiot. There are a lot of complaints about the way things are, and are going, and I’m certainly as guilty of that as anyone else and it is to me happiness and relief to be able to post about a revolutionary technological idea that could change our world.  Remember how we were taught in high school that agriculture changed everything for man; how we began a new civilization from that idea?  Well, here’s an idea that goes beyond agriculture and could make agriculture and fishing obsolete. 

Whichever side of the ideological fence we are on, religion or technocracy, we are all basically hoping and waiting for some “miracle” to move us off an unsustainable path as a species and civilization.  Could this be it? Could we do this and avoid the inexorable “die back” to result from our obsession with the maintenance of our old and obsolete ways?  Have a read, it’s quite short.

An Electrifying Idea

Posted: 06 Nov 2018 06:16 AM PST

What if we abandoned photosynthesis as the means of producing food, and released most of the world’s surface from agriculture?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 31st October 2018

It’s not about “them”, it’s about us. The horrific rate of biological annihilation reported this week – 60% of the Earth’s vertebrate wildlife gone since 1970 – is driven primarily by the food industry. Farming and fishing are the major causes of the collapse of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Meat – consumed in greater quantities by the rich than by the poor – is the strongest cause of all. We might shake our heads in horror at the clearance of forests, the drainage of wetlands, the slaughter of predators and the massacre of sharks and turtles by fishing fleets, but it is done at our behest.

As the Guardian’s recent report from Argentina reveals, the huge forests of the Gran Chaco are heading towards extermination, as they are replaced by deserts of soya beans, almost all of which are used to produce animal feed, particularly for Europe. With Jair Bolsonaro in power in Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon is likely to accelerate, much of it driven by the beef lobby that helped bring him to power. The great forests of Indonesia and West Papua are being felled and burnt for oil palm at devastating speed.

The most important environmental action we can take is to reduce the area of land and sea used by farming and fishing. This means, above all, switching to a plant-based diet: research published in the journal Science shows that cutting out animal products would reduce the global requirement for farmland by 76%. It would also give us a fair chance of feeding the world. Grazing is no answer to the ecocide caused by grain-fed livestock: it is an astonishingly wasteful use of vast tracts of land that would otherwise support wildlife and wild ecosystems.

The same action is essential to prevent climate breakdown. Because governments, bowing to the demands of capital, have left it so late, it is almost impossible to see how we can stop more than 1.5° of global warming without drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The only way of doing it that has been demonstrated at scale is to allow trees to return to deforested land.

But could we go beyond even a plant-based diet? Could we go beyond agriculture itself? What if, instead of producing food from soil, we were to produce it from air? What if, instead of basing our nutrition on photosynthesis, we were to use electricity, to fuel a process whose conversion of sunlight into food is ten times more efficient?

This sounds like science fiction, but it is already approaching commercialisation. For the past year, a group of Finnish researchers has been producing food without either animals or plants. Their only ingredients are hydrogen-oxidising bacteria, electricity from solar panels, a small amount of water, carbon dioxide drawn from the air, nitrogen and trace quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and zinc. The food they have produced is 50 to 60% protein, the rest is carbohydrate and fat. They have started a company (Solar Foods), which seeks to open its first factory in 2021. This week it was selected as an incubation project by the European Space Agency.

They use electricity from solar panels to electrolyse water, producing hydrogen, that feeds bacteria (which turn it back into water). Unlike other forms of microbial protein (such as Quorn), it requires no carbohydrate feedstock – in other words, no plants.

Perhaps you are horrified by this prospect. Certainly, there’s nothing beautiful about it. It would be hard to write a pastoral poem about bacteria grazing on hydrogen. But this is part of the problem. We have allowed a mythical aesthetic to blind us to the ugly realities of industrial agriculture. Instilled with an image of farming that begins in infancy, as about half the books for very small children involve a rosy-cheeked farmer with one cow, one horse, one pig and one chicken, living in bucolic harmony, we fail to see the amazing cruelty of large-scale animal farming, the blood and gore, filth and pollution. We fail to apprehend the mass clearance of land required to feed us, the Insectageddon caused by pesticides, the drying up of rivers, the loss of soil, the reduction of the magnificent diversity of life on Earth to a homogeneous grey waste.

The compound the Finnish researchers have produced from air, water and electricity is most likely to be used as a bulk ingredient in processed food. But (though this goes well beyond the company’s current plans) is there any reason why, with modifications of the process, it could not start to deliver the proteins required to make cultured meat, or the oils that could render palm plantations redundant? Is there any reason why it should not eventually replace much of what we eat?

According to the researchers’ estimates, 20,000 times less land is required for their factories than to produce the same amount of food by growing soya. Cultivating all the protein the world now eats with their technique would require an area smaller than Ohio. The best places to do it are deserts, where solar energy is most abundant. When electricity can be generated at €15 per megawatt hour (a few years hence), their process becomes cost-competitive with the cheapest source of soya.

Could a similar technique also be used to produce cellulose and lignin, eventually replacing the need for commercial forestry? Is there any inherent reason why the hydrogen pathway could not create as many products as photosynthesis does today? Could it help to change our entire relationship with the natural world, reducing our footprint to a fraction of its current size?

There are plenty of questions to be answered, plenty of possible hurdles and constraints. But think of the possibilities. Agricultural commodities, currently using almost all the Earth’s fertile land area, could be shrunk into a few small pockets of infertile land. The potential for ecological restoration is astonishing. The potential for feeding the world, a question that has literally been keeping me awake at night, is just as electrifying.

None of this means we can afford to relax and wait for an infant technology to save us. In the meantime, as urgent intermediate steps, we should switch to a plant-based diet and mobilise against the destruction of the living planet. You could start by joining the Extinction Rebellion that launches today [Wednesday].

But if this works, it could help, alongside political mobilisation, to change almost everything. Places which have become agricultural deserts, trashed by giant corporations, could be reforested, drawing carbon dioxide from the air on a vast scale. The ecosystems of land and sea could recover, not just in pockets but across great tracts of the planet. A new age of global hunger becomes less likely.

Crude and destructive technologies got us into this mess. Refined technologies can help get us out of it. The struggle to save every possible species and ecosystem from the current wave of destruction is worthwhile. One day, perhaps within our lifetimes, they could repopulate a thriving world.

http://www.monbiot.com

Subject: Co-Evolution

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

Begin with a simple vision of a past long lost to your DNA, unthinkable to your history.  A past when certain intelligences moved away from their worlds, scattering in the infinity of space and time.  Some cross a great barrier and find themselves in this universe, a very young and strange place full of chaos and rage.  The wandering space travelers are now the ancients on the scene.  They attract precocious, hungry, predatory life-forms.  These young energies infest the ancients’ minds and a symbiotic relationship ensues.  In exchange for their wisdom, the young ones give the ancients new energy.

A new being develops in this co-evolution.  And the great galaxies; Magellanic Clouds and nebulae continue to be born and in turn to give birth to lesser systems, some swarming with incoherent, chaotic, life.  Truly, some parts of this universe are nothing if not one great big Saturday night party that is so much fun no one wants to go home…

The new being observes the cooling of worlds and the settling of new life forms.  It discovers and uses mitosis to become many. It follows its instincts and chooses a variety of new worlds to inhabit.  There is another Diaspora and most lose track of others.

Uncountable years later…

In the Sol system a small world is birthed from the death of another, a water world that soon teems with life.  The new being comes hither and observes.  “I will leave my seed on this world,”  it states.  And it does so.

The seed becomes known as human, though it is but pseudo-human.  The new seed being having yet to give meaning to its existence sees its world as a place to control, subdue, conquer.  It chooses to be a predator and to fight for its right to exist on its chosen world.  Over time it discovers it has no serious challenger among the many predators of its new world except for its own species, disease and death.  It beats out the odds against these through the use of its female counterpart as a birth mother.  She gives birth without restraint and population increases exponentially.  All is well.

Not really.  The pseudo-human can’t seem to adapt to his new world.  Whereas nature tells him of balance he chooses to set himself up as ruler above nature.  He chooses an artificial lifestyle to sustain himself.  Except for small vulnerable groups who made the effort to adapt themselves to their environment, “man” as he has come to think of himself, refuses to do so.  Those who adapted are enslaved, poisoned, killed and their way of life destroyed.

It’s history, at least the last part unavoidably so.

However much I tried (I remember quite a few “tries” I call past lives) I’ve never been able to fit in “your” world.  Your thoughts are not mine; neither are your ways.  I despise your values (or lack thereof) and equally despise how easily you are mind-enslaved by individuals less intelligent than yourself.

Your rulers; your leaders; your bosses; your healers; your teachers: all of them, almost without exception, are exploiters.  All of them lie to you.  Teachers do not teach: at best, they instruct; at worse they indoctrinate. Those who would teach are not allowed.  Your religious gurus are in it for the money and the glory.  Your politicians, ditto.  Your legal interpreters, well, is there another lawyer joke out there waiting to be constructed?  Your money launderers you call bankers: what role do they play but to enslave you further to their artificially created and maintained global debt load?  What about your great corporate businesses?  Surely, based on their commercials they have your best interest at heart? (Sarcasm!).

Conclusion: you are not of this world.  You never adapted to its ways and are moving further and further from such an adaptation.  Sadly, you have no other world to go to either.  Heaven and Hell (as options) are just mirror images of Earth — as below, so above (and so further below!).  What else is there?  If you are but body, you end up in the flames of the crematorium or rot in an underground box.   Death is the one predator you cannot conquer, not ever. May as well have never existed that those billions you destroyed in your egotistical greedy madness to conquer absolutely nothing could have had the life you denied them.

Co-evolution ensured your survival but it did not prepare you to adapt to any particular world.  How others like yourselves have fared on other worlds, in other galaxies and other universes, I won’t say because it would be meaningless without your own willing participation in such explorations and your acceptance of what your “visions” and “dreams” would tell you.  Knowledge comes from information and experience.  I can give you information.  I cannot give you experience. Information without experience is poison.

If you would know who you are (as a species and sub-species) I suggest you look at yourself using a mental scalpel.  Open yourself under your own microscope as you interact with others like you and with your environment in general.  Watch how you think about “others”.  Watch what you say.  What you do.  What you buy.  What you use.  What you eat.  What you wear and why.  What you use as shelter.  Watch carefully who it is that speaks through your mind: is it you, or is it someone, something, you trust/fear more than yourself?  Are you the product of someone else’s thoughts and ideas?  Watch carefully.  Decide then if what you observe is what you really choose to be — and you would not be anyone or anything else no matter what — or if you wish to become something else.  If so, what else?

You are the product of co-evolution.  Your past is so deep and distant; so full of weirdness that you would be scared to death to see what you used to be.  To arrive here you have mutated, changed and changed.  Now you can easily see you were never prepared to live on this small world.  You don’t have a clue how it functions in relation to the real you.  You don’t really know what to do with yourself when confronted with Earth.  But you know how to exploit. You know how to forcefully take and you revel in destruction and killing. You express yourself for the most part in mindless rage.

Imagine you wake up one morning alone and naked in some Earthian wilderness.  You realize it’s your city’s exact location before there was any human being there.  You’ve lived here, as an alien, all of your life surrounded by all the artifacts that make your puny, meaningless consumer life possible.  Now there’s just the naked physical you and the real world: nature.  What about you will determine whether you live or die?  The alien part, that which has never tried to adapt, will be helpless here. What natural part of you can you awaken that may save you in this scenario?

Debate all you want about evolution versus creation.  But the only thing that matters is, can you adapt to this world before you push it beyond its ability to support you, even should you choose to meet it at its natural level?

If you are annoyed by my use of the pronoun “you” in speaking of Earthians, I want you to know that I am not one of you.  I can interact with you quasi-normally (according to YOUR rules, not mine) though you have certainly pushed me to my limits and beyond many times, but I cannot join with you through any of your recognized, legalized, accepted relationships, beliefs and performances.  I won’t play possum with my mind and allow it to atrophy as a trophy to some Power, whatever you wish to call such.

I come from cosmic infinity and to the Cosmos I return.  The stars of your galaxy, of northern and southern hemispheres are but dandelion and buttercup flowers in my current life’s front and back yards.