“For the continued survival of life on Earth it is our mission to improve wildlife conservation and environmental protection through the education of the public and those with political power. We are in a period of man-made mass extinction, with rates already many thousands of times the base-extinction-rate, and greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase despite decades of warnings about climate change. Film-making whether it be for cinema, television or the web is a powerful tool for education and can inspire change. The Wildeye Conservation Film Festival aims to seek ways to utilise this inspirational tool for maximum power in effectively educating and motivating audiences.
The vision for the annual Wildeye Conservation Film Festival is to not only provide an empowering forum for film-makers, web/broadcasters and conservation organisations to discuss better practices for conservation-related productions, but also to celebrate, and bring larger audiences to, those films which make a difference.”
The Festival Directors are Piers Warren, founder of Wildeye and Wildlife-film.com & Jason Peters, editor of this newsletter! We really hope that past students, members and subscribers/followers etc will get behind us and the festival aims. It’s Time To Focus!!
Thunder Bay biologist learns lessons from indigenous people
Close links to the land lead to valuable climate change observations, says Gleb Raygorodetsky
CBC News Posted: Aug 23, 2015 8:00 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 23, 2015 8:00 PM ET
What’s with Ozymandias?
Roman-era historian Diodorus Siculus, who described a statue of Ozymandias, more commonly known as Rameses II (possibly the pharaoh referred to in the Book of Exodus). Diodorus reports the inscription on the statue, which he claims was the largest in Egypt, as follows: “King of Kings Ozymandias am I. If any want to know how great I am and where I lie, let him outdo me in my work.” (The statue and its inscription do not survive, and were not seen by Shelley; his inspiration for [the sonnet] “Ozymandias” was verbal rather than visual.) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/guide/238972 View Shelley’s sonnet here.
This paper is a commentary on the book; Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth
The book is Edited by George Wuerthner, Eileen Crist, and Tom Butler. Published by the Foundation for Deep Ecology in collaboration with Island Press, 2014, Washington D.C.
With Friends Like These, Wilderness and Biodiversity Do Not Need Enemies
“Those orchestrating and profiting from the ever-growing transformation of the natural world into commodities have always had apologists.”
In this essay, David chooses five of what I think are the most outrageous pronouncements by major figures in the HCC crowd. He starts with:
1) Wilderness and biodiversity protection goals must be curtailed and clearly tied to human interests in order to be achievable.
Johns responds with an explanation of how foreign this statement must sound to those who have understood the science findings of how the planet takes care of itself and how much work in cooperation has already been achieved.
I am irritated to see such a blatantly pragmatic and anthropocentric statement. Earth is not all about humans. How much wilderness is left has no bearing on the intrinsic value of habitat undamaged by humans. As for biodiversity, it should not be coupled with wilderness. Biodiversity is our name for the fecundity of the planet. Even if we don’t understand the whys, recognising its existence as a celebration of Earth’s energy is enough to merit working with it rather than wiping it out as a by-product of our colonisation of all life.
2) Humans have always been everywhere, [ridiculous, blatantly false. We are a recent and deadly result of what we call evolution.] have fundamentally changed virtually every place on Earth, so there are no pristine lands (wilderness) to protect. [Again false, humans have not fundamentally changed anything. Fundamentally, all we see around us IS the Earth. We have only diminished Gaia’s health and eliminated much of Gaia’s protection implementations. Yes, we have destroyed but not fundamentally. The non-existence of wilderness is a worn, tired and thoroughly bashed concept whose day has come and gone. Just because the wilderness of history has been abused almost beyond recognition doesn’t mean that we have to cease all effort to reserve adequate habitat for other-than-human beings. Johns devotes several pages refuting this statement.
3) Humans are part of Nature [this is absurdly obvious unless one believes that we are aliens or that we have been genetically modified by aliens] and so our effects on other species, our efforts to dominate, and our attempts to turn the world into a garden are all natural.
I find this attitude almost complete unbelievable. It seems to me that it must have been issued from the ravings of insanity – seriously. This is tantamount to the following belief: Thousands upon thousands of humans kill other humans; humans are part of Nature, so killing each other is natural. I could go on with other examples but they are too absurd to write down. We have sound environmental ethics that are accepted by subject matter experts as sound and in tune with an ecocentric worldview. No other living being kills and destroys out of what we have labelled as greed. Rapacious, especially insatiable killing is not and never has been seen as natural; let’s don’t go there!!!
4) Humans are part of Nature, and reserves of various sorts separate us from the natural world.
This statement seems to me to be rather weak. Violent fathers are separated from their wives and children so they will not be harmed or killed. Humans who kill, rape and steal are separated from the innocent and peace-loving others in a society. I recently saw a photo of what was claimed to be the last remaining West African black rhino. It seems obvious that black rhinos were NOT separated from humans soon enough. I think I’ve made my point.
5) Human wants must take priority over needs of other species, even to the point of extinction.
Well, this takes the cake. Perhaps this is why Michael Soule, as I interpret his statements, does not consider HCC as a conservation group. I fully agree. That’s why I say that they are a human centred conservation group. I suppose I’m meant to come around to the idea that being natural, I should expect to encourage people to have as many children as they like because that is ‘natural.’ Being that we are natural, then it follows that we should grab every available square inch of planetary surface to house and feed our children. Then if one goes further with this hubris and sees oneself at the pinnacle of Evolutionary development and decides that humans are the hope of the planet or that humans are Gaia’s way to become aware of itself. [I’m at a loss for words here as our language is confined to a subject being a person, place or thing and our grammar 3rd person singular as a he, she or it. Where do you fit a living, loving, conscious planet? He, she or it?]
So, being natural does not justify an attitude that it is acceptable or right livelihood for us to crowd out so many other beings. For that matter, we do try to crowd out our gut and stomach microbes that are essential to our health. We swallow medicines that indiscriminately kill both harmful and beneficial microbes instead of looking at the whole system as a balanced, living organ and working with it rather than poisoning it.
Before I continue digging a hole for myself, I must go back to the idea of justifying our behaviour. Morals and ethics are human concepts. When we preserve a human centred perspective, then it is logical that we promote human centred morals and ethics. However, over the last 500 years or so, our scientific evidence points out that we have essential dependencies, unavoidable dependencies. We don’t even know how our heart keeps on beating. We don’t cause it to beat. In fact, we might even start to question whether there is actually a ‘me’ in our body controlling everything. Peter Russell, an evolutionary futurist http://www.peterrussell.com/index2.php] wrote a paper that I once possessed which contained a fascinating thought experiment as follows: Suppose you placed your five senses in one room and the rest of your body in another room. Now where are YOU? Our body is composed of several highly developed organisms made up of highly specialised cells and millons of microscopic beings living both within these cells and swimming around outside them both inside our bodies and outside on our skin. Where is the controller located? Where is the me? I don’t know and even if I did know, we have not developed a language for me to explain it. Why, because we are caught in an inadequate worldview that doesn’t incorporate our 21st century spiritual and scientific experience. When HCCs advocate human priority over other species, do they consider that that priority shift might take the form of eliminating necessary beings that make up the cooperative venture we call ‘my body’? Furthermore, what’s with ‘my body’? What gives us ownership of these millions of beings and complex organisms? Enough said.
David johns closes with a brilliant quote from D.H.Lawrence:
“We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the Earth and the sun and the stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of life, and expected it to keep on blossoming in our civilized vase on the table.”
‘A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, in Phoenix II, ( London: Heinemann, 1968), 504. Johns continues:
“This is the great sacrifice we have made, and it need not be.”
In a couple of weeks, I am attending a conference sponsored in part by a UK Eco-psychology organisation.
I hope to find out more about the factors leading up to the Ecocide caused by what appears to be a human death wish.
I’m reading a fascinating book by Dennis Noble called “The Music of Life.” I’ve learned that the popular view named genetic determination is not all it is cracked up to be. It is one of the many paths followed by those who operate in the reductionist paradigm. Reductionists sometimes remind me of a – paint by the numbers set – where you complete it and viola! you have become a painter. All right, a lot has been discovered and can be learned via the methodology but unfortunately, the method is too often used in a situation that calls for more than reductionism can supply. Reductionism is then overextended and supplies incorrect or at least limited viewpoints. Dennis is taking me through some carefully thought out arguments pointing out deficiencies of genetic determinism. Along the way, I’m able to sometimes review and often discover lots of information about genes and how our human organism works. I can’t wait to get back to the book.
Genes are tied closely with diversity. As organisms we are diverse. No two people look exactly the same. There are thousands, maybe millions of smaller organisms and single cell beings thriving [there are always some dying and some being born] within us. Diversity allows us to adapt to changes in our external [I mean conditions outside our skin] environment.
Thinking about this led me to thoughts of how would I look at diversity if I could think and see like a planet. Or, what does diversity mean to Gaia?
Let me suggest some possibilities. Maybe we and other life-forms act somewhat like planetary genes. We use a word – biodiversity, to mean the variability among living organisms on the earth. Our genetic diversity obviously assists us in adapting to a changing environment. I, and I expect you also, have probably agreed in a past discussion that some life-form will probably survive a nuclear holocaust. I suspect it will be difficult to snuff out roaches. So, surely it is not outrageous to suspect that biodiversity will assist Gaia in the same way.
We expect our genes and proteins to continue to develop antibodies to rid our organs of infection. Unfortunately, in many cases we have not learned to cope very well with cancer, a process wherein a normal cell goes somehow out of control and refuses to just do its function but just multiplies and multiplies and often breaks off and travels to other organs where it does the same thing until we die. The trouble is we don’t seem to be able to develop an antibody because evidently our higher functions just don’t seem to recognize that there is a problem.
At this point, there appears to me to be an analogy, a correspondence or partial similarity, to the relationship of millions of homo sapiens sapiens to its next higher order of organisation, Earth. One, we have been steadily wiping out other species for years and don’t seem to care. So what, like what are they doing here anyway? They are just lower life-forms that did not make it to where we are – the very pinnacle of evolutionary success. This seems to be the prevailing attitude. Our genes and DNA are vital to our future and so is biodiversity to Gaia. Two, cancer cells multiply out of control and so do we. If you don’t think so, please let me in on the evidence of a slowing down. The latest official current world population estimate, for mid-year 2010, is estimated at 6,852,472,823. 6.8 billion. And, the best estimate I’ve found is that 9.4 billion people who will call Earth home in 2050. So, that’s a 38% increase in population in next 40 years.
All other Earthen species that multiply that fast eat out their environment and simply die until a balance of beings and food is achieved. Obviously no other Earthen species has ever before learned to colonize other species to the extent that we have. We deplete seafood and then turn to fish farms. [We can even eat organic fish from farms] A few thousand years ago we decided that it was moral for us to breed farm animals for no other reason than to feed us.
We have and still do chop forests, even huge rainforests ,which are the lungs of the world, to grow food for humans, [or to feed cows for food for humans] kill thousands of buffalo and then plough the prairies for food. We pump up scarce water to nourish food for humans grown in semi-deserts. We even grow stuff hanging from strings into a chemical solution to eat. Soon some of us will be eating meat from large Petri dishes. We could never have come to this without the wanton destruction of diversity in almost all bio-systems.
One last thought. Perhaps Gaia will summon enough of its genetic structure to rid itself of the present danger by in some mysterious way bringing forth either a paradigm change of human behaviour or another species that will study Gaia’s way of being life and work alongside rather than against Nature, or whatever these beings call their Mother.
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Tuesday 21 June, 2011
“The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today. The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.”
I’ve been watching, pondering waiting for inspiration: waiting for something positive to say. However, I have given up. I don’t even have anything useful to say let alone do. Yes, I know, despair is NOT the answer. But the array of forces steadily wounding Gaia is so well entrenched. Multinational business control so much. Where would we start with resisting? I suppose I need help, retraining. Maybe I need to be recruited. It seems as a species we have a challenge never before presented to us – the need to cooperate instead of competing. But we have not learned how to be peaceful. We still spend billions on weapons, millions on aircraft and automobiles and award our multinational business executives obscene salaries and benefits as an award for desecrating the very ground of our being. AHH, yes we know where the problem lies, but will we come together, cooperate to resist effectively? Not so far.
What about you? How do you cope with the knowledge that day after day the death knell rings louder for the greater part of you, the part from which your life sprang into focus, the part that nourishes, sustains and brings you the joy of just being?