Tag Archives: Pollution


Exceptionalism is not just an American sickness, it’s a collective madness rising as a world destroying tsunami. More and more groups vying with others to make their voices and concerns heard and the louder they get, the more chaos ensues. Hyperbole? Observation says no. It is a fact of “tidal waves” of people sensing the serious unease of the times and honestly having no idea on how to deal with it except by regurgitating old concepts, the favorite remaining war and it doesn’t matter much against whom, or what just as long as there is fighting going on.

Earth has a major problem and it’s called mankind, the pseudo-intellectual species that chose, as a collective, to re-make Earth and its environment into its own image. It’s that simple and that devastating because the only way it could have worked is in the exact opposite direction: man should have known, when a much younger species, to adapt itself to its world. Its intellectual hubris drove it to chose exploitation and oppression over cooperation. The big “Wrong Way: Do Not Enter” sign was torn down and used to make crosses and scaffolds for those who insisted on teaching a better way.

Man chose wrong. A long time ago. The choice, once made, could never be countered because the creature’s body over time kept adapting to non-natural ways of engaging nature, i.e., life. The choice was irrevocable and would begin a string of horrible consequences a few are just beginning to recognize and admit to. The final consequence: the destruction of the planet insofar as the life-sustaining aspects of it goes.

As an environmentalist, as an activist, as an elder, as an observer and as a self empowered individual without any agenda, not even of personal survival because I don’t need that kind of pretend comfort, I’m going to state this as clearly as I can.

I know there is no survival, that all are born to die and that the only thing that matters, if anything does, is what one does in between that beginning and that end. To that I can add with certainty that “man” will continue to run from the stick and after the carrot: there is no longer any choice; there never was any choice once the wrong turn was chosen. Those who thought they could return to nature and choose a different path have been all but eliminated as genocidal fuel for civilization.

As a species man is done for. There is no possibility of turning back the tide of exploitation and oppression because that is the very thing that fuels his civilization. That is what must be understood and admitted to: that oppression, in particular, is the fuel that feeds civilization. Therefore, as should have been obvious since inception, this civilization (as were all preceding civilizations) is an unsustainable concept.

Therefore it should be obvious that any proposed solution based on tried and failed concepts are the re-running of old black and white movies: when you walk out of the theater, nothing has changed: your world did not change into a black and white Pleasantville.

As an intelligent and quite able to reason species, man should have never gotten upon this road but the temptation was just too great to resist. Man adapted itself to pillaging, raping, destroying and killing, all the while thinking it was building ever-after empires.

Man built his cities, his monuments to pride, exploitation, control and the resultant smog (literally, morally and spiritually) spreads over the planet like the fumes that poured out of Mount Doom… but there are no mighty men, no dwarves, no elves, no Hobbits, no wizards and no Ents to extinguish this volcano.


(Vancouver, May 12, 2019 – from 2000 feet – photo by Sha’Tara)

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

The Day After


[a poem by   ~burning woman~]

It was a day long after
what happened didn’t happen:
denial was in full force then,
it made everything work,
and work was the order of the day.

There were warnings,
there always are warnings.
The planet was upset
sending signs of distress
in skies and seas and lands.

Birds, bees and butterflies
were less to be seen.
Fish left rotting carcasses
strewn across sandy beaches;
floating among the flotsam.

Violent storms, deadly droughts
succeeded chemtrails
and incessant burning of trees.
Smoke filled the valleys;
children choked in gun-smoke.

It would come, of course:
everybody knew it, everybody.
But promises and hope ruled the day
Larger bandaids were handed out
with flu shots and plastic smiles.

The day came, it was inevitable:
everybody had known the truth of it,
the inescapability of it.
Oh, it would have been a day
to be remembered.

Had there been anyone
to remember.



I’m Puzzled about Mankind

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Hi, this is me, and yes, I’m talking to myself again.  Who else would be here to talk to at 10:30 in the evening?

So, what’s so important, I had to close down my evening reading for?

As per usual, I’m wondering about the fate of mankind.  OK, forget that.  I’m puzzled about mankind, is that better?

In some sort of normal scheme of things, if a group of intelligent beings were made aware that what they are doing, as a collective, is endangering the majority of their group, perhaps all of it by also endangering the one and only world they can survive on, one would think they would stop just long enough to consider this possibility, check out the best possible information, correlate the data and if in fact it looked like it was indeed the case, decide on a course change?

Of course I’m speaking of normal reaction to a serious situation.  Is it a fact then that one cannot expect a normal reaction from the collective that likes to think of itself as human, and calls itself mankind?  The collective that certainly considers itself “the smartest guys in the room”?  When was the last time people chose to give planetary leadership to, say, the whales, the elephants, the chimps, the gorillas, the lions, the cheetahs, the cottontail rabbits or the mountain bluebirds?  Even less drastic, when was the last time people chose a tribe of aborigines to rule the planet, using only their tribal rules of interaction with each other and the environment?

This is the problem, you see?  Modern, Techno Man has held the reins of power for far too long, never willing to concede defeat regardless of how many of his own civilizations he destroyed and caused to collapse.  Hubris, pure and simple.  A belief in some theory that man, only man, can rule this world.  No one else gets a chance, it’s a closed rule.  So even if mankind is on the verge of collapsing another civilization, and with it, billions of his own, not to mention the shock-wave effect upon the planet when the collapse inevitably turns to blood and gore, even “limited” nuclear war.

It’s one thing to be intelligent, and certainly mankind is an intelligent species; it’s an entirely different thing to be what I’d call a holistic being.  Intelligence serves evil just as handily as it does those who would do only good.  Intelligence is a tool, nothing more.  It is not a mark of character.  Intelligence doesn’t automatically confer the right to rule, and it follows, to despoil, upon anyone.  In fact if intelligence was used properly, it would lead in the opposite direction so right there we know intelligence, or “IQ” is not how we measure worth, no more than using a monetary factor.

Organized religion, the modern world’s once unchallenged ruler, has taken a bit of a pounding since the last century and deservedly so.  However, having been replaced by science as the new god of the age, things have not gotten any better.  That is because, like religion, science is but a tool of capitalism, i.e. greed, and when you have mostly tools operating a tool, you are going to have a lot of inhuman happenings in the shop and around the yard.  That’s what we’ve been seeing, a whole lot of inhuman happenings.  Highest on the pedestal of scientific achievements: weapons of mass destruction and weapons of all sorts have proliferated.  Those are great for killing people, but surely science can provide other great sources of profit.  Indeed, it proved itself once more in a cornucopia of devilish chemicals to kill bugs and weeds.  DDT,  Malathion, Glyphosate, 2,4-D, Roundup (for those GMO crops!) and… remember Napalm? Killing bugs, weeds, trees and people, in one fell swoop in fiery infernos.  Makes one want to get on the knees and worship in ecstasy, doesn’t it? 

Undoubtedly some will jump to the defense of science and claim it has ushered in many great accomplishments.  Perhaps, but I’ll say this: all, bar none, of those accomplishments were done for profit, and continue to be done for profit, including any and all new drives in “clean” energy, and all monetary profit is always, without fail, to the detriment of the planet and the people.  Science is thus a bit more than a tool, it is a brash and proud whore of capitalism.

I could list a whole lot more of science’s infernal inventions unleashed upon insects, plants, animals and people world-wide.  The thing is, most people reading about such things just shut down.  “Does not compute” — “Change the channel, please!”  Most people can’t even face the things they know themselves to be in collusion with.  It all has to do with intelligence.  Consumers know how they get their mosquito-free pond setting environment; their bug-free flowers and their relatively cheap goods, no denying that, despite all the happy people in the commercials, they know about the poisons, the exploitation of labour, the oppression of dispossessed minorities and refugees, the endless extortion of life from the poor globally.  They know.  But with a great deal of help from their programming, they choose to ignore the warnings that such things have never ended well before.

Near the end of this internal monologue I realize once again that such things as I’m seeing here today have never boded well for any other civilization.  When you see rising corruption in places of power, you see more wars of extortion.  You see a general breakdown of many good things some societies had managed to set up for themselves.  You see more repression at home, on the streets.  More police armed for war and looking for mass confrontation.  More “security” everywhere.  You see personal freedoms taken away one by one, then two by two, then all gone.  You see razor wire fences going up and more prisons.  You experience racism and segregation when you thought you’d done away with such evils. 

You did not, and you never will, simply because your programming tells you it’s fixable.  You can patch it.  So your system plays you.

One example, for Americans.  Recently there was some concern that a known pedophile running as a Republican would be elected to the senate.  Oh, the uproar!  Then “miraculously” the “good guy” predictably a Democrat, won.  Jubilation in the ranks.  And the wheel turns, the game goes on and none are the wiser.  So the Democrats, if there’s still a country left standing after the current fiasco regime, will return to power, and to all their sleazy games which are just put on hold while the Republicans do the dirty work of validating a glorious return for their opposition.  There’s intelligence here, surely or at least method to madness.

So, what are you actually puzzled about then?

If I were offered a way out of a predicament that spelled so much doom, wouldn’t I take it?  Would I just shrug it off, or argue against it when all of my arguments have already proved to be false?  Surely there is some room for intelligent intelligence here, on this world?

Good luck with that one girl, you’re on the wrong planet, but don’t give up, you’re almost done!

Yeah, I wondered about that, and thanks for reminding me.

         A short “report” upon returning from another MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service) volunteer stint, this time near Lone Butte (100 Mile House) in the Caribou country of British Columbia, Canada.
This was MDS’ first “contract” in the area.  The reason we were so late starting was due to the roads having been closed because of the fires and it took a while to get the “all clear.”

Thanks to precautions by the owner, such as spreading fire retardant around the buildings and having a sprinkler system going fed by the solar panel array as the power grid was down, some of the buildings and animals survived the fires.  The dogs and horses did not survive.  Though many buildings throughout the fire area were saved that way, the ranchers lost over 30,000 heads of cattle, many of whom had to be put down having their hoofs and legs burned from running through the wildfires trying to escape.
Wildlife, especially the smaller rodent populations that provide food for the larger carnivores, was decimated.  Hungry cougars and other large predators are now roaming ever closer to remaining winter feed lots and even homes.   Children have to be driven inside vehicles to school bus pick-up points though you can see some daring lonely souls, who probably do not have the luxury of a parent at home able to drive them, walking along the roads.  One does not have to wonder long what would happen if they were attacked.
The goal of our 5-man crew was to get as much of the replacement house covered, laying up of trusses, sheathing and if possible, installation of the metal roofing.  We got as far as the tar paper and strapping, which will ensure the building stays relatively free of snow and rain on the inside, barring whatever blows in through doors and windows as yet not installed.  With the onset of winter up there, about 300 miles north of the border, or from Chilliwack which is where I live (practically on the 49th parallel) we probably will not be returning until after spring breakup.  By then there should be several more projects identified and contracted for by our project managers.

Following are some pictures I took the time to snap as the work progressed.  Couldn’t waste much time off the job as the days are short up there – it reminded me of the Peace River country in northern Alberta where I was raised, if a bit warmer and wetter and the mud not quite as sticky as our great plains gumbo.  If the pictures appear fuzzy, it’s because they are greatly reduced from their original format.

Images and captions:  This is the house we worked on.  It may seem large but it has to accommodate a large family.  IMG_0169

House againIMG_0170

… house…IMG_0154

Solar panels and power house.  Behind is the log cabin the family is now using as temporary abode. IMG_0166

…angle consultation.  The man in the black cap is the owner. IMG_0184

This is part of the area the family calls “Elizabeth’s Pond” IMG_0175

A bit more of “the pond” and the “floating fence” which sits on several feet of soft peat and is often under water. IMG_0180

Close up of “floating fence” and edge of pond.  I was told that if someone ventured here they’d sink over their head in peat and mud. IMG_0164

Children’s play area (one of several!) IMG_0153

Log playhouse. IMG_0152

Burned area near the homestead/ranch, and a small lake.IMG_0194

More of burned area – close up.IMG_0189

… and more… IMG_0200

My faithful companion van and mobile tool box,  properly “decorated” with high country mud.  Individual patiently looking out and waiting for me to take my pictures along the forest road is my friend, Vic Janzen, one of MDS’ project managers and project leaders.  We rode up together on this particular project.


A month ago, this is what our sun looked like at high noon here, 300 miles south of the raging wild fires. IMG_0006

I must say that, as much as I enjoy giving away time and resources to help others it never ceases to amaze me that as a nation people willingly let their pathocratic leaders blow off tax dollars on destroying people and the planet and fail to find it offensive that there is “no money” to help the very people who pay the taxes used to build the military hardware; the military machine and to pay the inflated “salaries” of rich, elitist rulers.  How can a supposed intelligent species be this dumb?  This uncaring?  This unfeeling?  This crass?  This ignorant?  This stupid?  How many of “us” is there for every one of “them”?  Yet we claim to be democratic societies.  Is this what we really want?  If not then why is it that those who propose change are always spurned, scorned, distrusted or even “elimitated” so the sharks can continue to have free range over the planet?  Surpasses my understanding.

As a final note, I saw the full glory of the Milky Way for the first time since leaving the Peace River country in 1964!  Prevailing winds must have “miraculously” blown the smoke away from the area where we bunked.  We seldom realize how much city environments create horribly polluted conditions until we find ourselves far enough up in the mountains, or far enough north that city smogs can’t reach there… yet.

Limits and Inevitability, Environmentally Speaking

                  [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

We understand “inevitability” don’t we?  We understand “limitations” don’t we?  A parking area designed for a compact car will not accommodate a motor home.  We know this.  So, what else could we know, if we wanted to?

Let’s look at our “global parking space.” 

As populations increase, so must, and will, poverty.  As poverty becomes endemic, so will famine follow suit.  With famine will come diseases.  With disease will come the draining of drug supplies and medical expertise.  There are many “planners” and would-be scientists who deny this, of course.  Science, this great god full of magical powers can always fix whatever doesn’t work, can’t it?  Evidence?  Who needs that when we can substitute faith.

Yes, faith.  Science can grow more crops, hence more food.  Science can make potable water from salty seas and oceans.  Scientific engineering can make more accommodations within expanding cities by building higher.  So what if science and technology caused anthropomorphic climate change?  We can now apply them to fixing it, better than new.  So, goes the thinking, science is what we need more of to solve our problems of overpopulation, famine and disease.  More highrises; more GMO crops; more vaccines, and consequently more “security” and militarism to control dissidents.

Let’s ignore the giant question marks raised by the previous claims and look at what our science cannot do.

Science cannot make the earth bigger than it is; cannot create more space on it; cannot produce more arable lands: agreed?  Since we’re still adding to the exponential population growth, and exponentially taking out of the earth more natural, or raw resources, and since earth is a planet, not a cornucopia, with a limited amount of such resources available without resorting to catastrophic scientific methods to extract these resources (heard of fracking anyone?) then obviously two things are in the process of happening despite all hopes, wishes and promises to the contrary: the damage being done to earth’s inner surface infrastructure and it’s surrounding ecosphere, or biosphere if  you prefer, is irreversible, and anything on it dependent upon potable water for growth and survival has already reached crisis point.

Yes, there are places where they are growing forests at the edge of the desert.  I’m not asking where the water to keep those trees alive comes from.  I’m wondering out loud if such efforts should be considered to be realistic in solving man’s food and famine problems and after wondering out loud, the answer is, pretty silly when superimposed upon the overall picture.  Basically, though a feel-good effort that can be touted as a great improvement, isn’t it a lot of fiddling while Rome is burning?

Should we, as an “intelligent” (say what?) species be looking at the massive deforestation currently taking place in temperate and equatorial zones rather than counting successfully planted shrubs on the north edge of the Sahara?  Have we all become “Marie Antoinnette’s” vis-a-vis earth, patting it on the head and sincerely saying, “Just eat cake.”  Hasn’t earth heard of Ronald Reagan’s trickle down theory?  While we gouge moon craters to extract crude from tar sands; while we burn thousands of acres of trees to grow cash crops in the Amazon basin and other places, surely those potato peels and lettuce leaves from our composting will easily take up the slack.

While I seem to have broached the problem of potable water and considered the processes of desalinization of sea water, is it politically correct to wonder, again out loud, just exactly what is being done with the salt being extracted?  If it’s dumped back in the ocean, will that not increase the salt content, endangering sea life in the area of the dumping before currents spread the salt more or less evenly again?  With enough extraction, will that not cause a global rise in salinization?  We could rationalize that it will be a “long time” before a deadly level of salinity accumulates, but are we going there?  The Dead Sea, also known in Arabic as the Salt Sea, has a level of salinity 9 times the norm.  Great for swimming on, but it’s essentially dead, devoid of plants and fish.  While it is rapidly drying up, is it trying to tell us something?

If the salt is being spread upon the ground, there is an old belief about salting the earth, and quote from Wikipedia: “Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on their re-inhabitation.[1][2] It originated as a symbolic practice in the ancient Near East and became a well-established folkloric motif in the Middle Ages.[3] Although concentrated salt is toxic to most crops, there is no evidence that sufficient salt has been applied to render large tracts of land unusable.”

An interesting closing observation, to which it is more than tempting to add… “yet.”  Food for thought?  We exist, live, survive perhaps, on a finite planet, within a finite environment.  We can throw as much “science” at this ball of polluted and disappearing potable water, thinning sub-soil, sand, rock and molten iron and whatever else it may contain as we desire, or can muster, but “science” and “technology” aren’t bottomless sources of magic.  Every scientific/technological discovery or improvement has a material cost paid for by the world we live on, a cost that “greed-capitalism” has never allowed to be factored in its cost analyses.

More than interestingly, as a global civilization made up of a bunch of nation states, we are all indebted to some kind of black hole we can only sink deeper into.  For the USA, the stats are, $20 trillions for its governing apparatus, combined with $62 trillions of corporate and personal debt.  Grand total: $82 trillions.  That’s a loud “ouch” for anyone who can partially comprehend such numbers.  The “richest and most powerful” country in the world has by far the most per-capita debt.  What interests me in this is, how much “in debt” to the supporting environment is man’s earth in its current state of pillaging, raping and despoiling of its natural resources?

Make no mistake about this: there is a massive natural debt accumulated since the European-based empires set out a-conquering and pillaging the earth.  The momentum has only increased exponentially over the years and has reached an untenable, unsustainable, rate of “borrowing.”  Much of that borrowing became environmental pollution (smoke and smog, spills, garbage dumps, paving, cementing, and holding it all together, wars, wars, and more wars.)  This in turn has become man-made climate change.

Have we reached the point of no return?  Oh yes, as a civilization, we definitely have.  That is why the general thinking has become one of dumb acceptance.  If we can’t turn it around, why worry?  Be happy!

Instead of closing on this “happy” note, let’s introduce a question: logically speaking,  what kind of “tour de force” would it take to stop the pillaging and repay the debt we owe the earth, a collective debt that is about to all but destroy us?  Could we envisage such a global sacrifice in order to set in motion a livable future for those who come after us?  How would we go about this assuming we cannot use any previous method known to have NOT worked?