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As the World Burns, a derrick jensen novel  RSS feed

 
Kelda Miller
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I guess this goes under the topic of 'alternative energy', as it has to do with stuff, capitalism, the 'green tech' revolution, etc.

I encourage folks to read the new graphic novel by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan. It's called 'As the World Burns: 50 Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial'.

I'm sure it was at least partially inspired by those books '50 things you can do to save the planet' as it points out how crap that is (corporations get rich off those flourescent lightbulbs after all, plus consumers feel like they've made the helping-the-earth action that might not Really help much in the long run).

I might say it's an 'advanced' reader for folks already entrenched in environmental work. My excitement, and for friends close to me, is to howl with painful laughter, jump up and down with glee, devour the book in an hour, and talk about it much afterward. I hear up on Orcas Island they're making puppets of some of the main characters.

As an experiment I lent it to my mom too (she's definitely a 'lightbulb-buying-but-it-ends-there kind of environmentalist). The danger was, if she finds out it's all crap, will she stop even her small steps? Ended up, she didn't quite 'get it' and got bored after a few pages.

Read it folks! I'm excited to talk about it with more people. I may end up posting some passages here before I send it back to the library.
 
paul wheaton
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Susan Monroe
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I've got about a thousand pages of reading to do on the books I've got right now:  rainwater harvesting, food growing, gasahol.

Note to self:  Add this one to my ever-growing list.

This stupid job cuts into my life too much...

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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don't post passages and spoil it for us!!! I'm going to get it too, I need a good book. my last two have been novels which are fine but don't scratch that brain itch.
 
Noel Deering
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Wanted to post to the thread entitled "Derrick Jensen personal change vs. political change" so I typed up my rambling post and then I found out that I have insufficient apples to post, damn it. So maybe here is an appropriate enough place to put what I wanted to say:

Excellent discussion.

Jensen's stuff here does make one think, but not in a particularly inspiring way in my opinion. I especially agree with some things that Paul, Julia Winter, and Jennifer Richardson said, paraphasing and putting together the points I'd like to emphasize: We have to own our shit, it takes hard work, individual efforts can make big differences (e.g. sequestering large amounts of carbon without owning a huge forest, simply opting out can make a huge difference, etc.).

The main thing that appeals to me about this site is Paul's emphasis on doing rather than just being mad and rather than trying to tell the government to make people do what you want them to do. Jensen doesn't want to acknowledge that he is a consumer or that there is power in that. I forget the name of the lady and her organization...she was in the Search for Sustainability series, in one episode she lists some of their successes and wants people to realize how powerful signing a petition can be. That's just one way how individuals can effect more than our individual-collective 22%. Recognizing our undeniable, if indirect, role in the industrial and agricultural sectors is crucial.

Hypocrites will never be able to persuade anyone, that's why it's imperative (not pointless, as Jensen implies) to take care of one's own backyard, to recognize the part we individually play in what industry does, and to recognize the power of the market and the profit motive!

"The market" gets a bad rap because rich people have talked about it so much in the context of rationalizing their tax cuts. There is no logical rationale in that, and I'm not advocating that. But the imaginary, "Invisible Hand" does work the way Adam Smith described. Have you seen the commercials with (I think??) Frank Perdue trying to make his chickens seem as wholesome as Salatin's? Clearly it's just greenwashing, but it's equally clear that the message from Salatin et al is getting through to enough people that Perdue has to respond. As Salatin's message continues to reach more people, Perdue will do more than greenwash or his business will fail.

"...if everyone simply opted out, they would probably cease to exist." Spot on, Jennifer! When enough people realize how dangerous is the over-use of antibiotics and everything else that goes with Perdue's methods, they will have to change or that business model won't survive.

When enough people realize_______, then ________. This is something that Paul understands and, seems to me, is the best strategy. Preaching to the choir (i.e. hippies on the coasts and in Missoula) is not going to accomplish much, and that seems to be Jensen's tack...that, and being involved in government. I'm all for being politically active too, but I've become very cynical. Until we create a Constitutional amendment to counter the Citizens United decision, political activism seems nearly pointless. Focusing on the profit motive is the only thing that will work. Paul, like many of us, grew up around a lot of farmers who did things in bad ways (they're "the bad guys") but they're obviously not bad people and they don't necessarily want to do bad things. Often they just don't know any better, or they're being manipulated by billionaires- the fear that "you'll fail and lose the farm if you don't do things this way, the way that our experts have said is the only way that works." Due to Us vs. Them thinking that's simply part of human nature, it's difficult to get through to them and get them to realize how they're shooting themselves in the foot. As soon as you tell them, the way that you fertilize kills your earthworms... "Aaaaah, shit, the worms, yeah blah blah blah." It's hard to get them to realize that I'm not concerned for the soul of the earthworms or their feelings or their right to exist or anything; I'm talking about you being less profitable than you ought to be here on the best soil in the world, you idiot. They don't listen to that type of thing. but deprive them of income? Yeah they'll listen!

People in New Jersey tried to get Chris Christie to pass a law outlawing a certain method of raising hogs. Christie did not want to piss off Iowan farmers because for better or worse, we Iowans have more political sway than you. Deal with it. Here's how: Don't effect that change by depriving yourself of bacon. Effect that change by depriving the predominantly Iowan hog producers of your bacon money! Instead buy bacon from someone in your area who is sequestering carbon AND who has water leaving their property that is cleaner than it was when it flowed onto their property AND who keeps all that money in your local community AND who will pay taxes on that money which will fund your school, roads,etc. That one small change solves a lot of problems...at least in a small way, and Paul getting more people to realize how that works will solve those problems in an increasingly big way. Don't deprive yourself of coffee, just buy shade-grown (i.e. permaculturally-grown), and eventually the transportation of the coffee can be carbon-neutral as people insist on it more and more. (Alternatively, there's a plant that grows in the South that has caffeine...don't remember what...it was on NPR).

Speaking of shooting feet, I think environmentalists shoot themselves in the foot when they say things like "save the planet" or "the planet will be destroyed" or anything to that effect. It's hyperbolic nonsense to talk like that. Climate Change will not hurt the planet one bit, it will hurt Civilization and it will hurt humanity. Nothing short of a moon-sized asteroid making solid contact with Earth will destroy the planet. We don't need to save the planet, we need to save ourselves. Even if you want people to do things in a different way out of respect for other organisms rather than out of their own self-interest, go with the self-interest approach anyway because that's how you'll get your desired outcome. "Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment." - R. Buckminster Fuller

Here's a screen shot of something I saw on The Onion right before logging on here this morning. Regarding human behavior:

Spot-On-Socialism-theonion.png
[Thumbnail for Spot-On-Socialism-theonion.png]
 
John Master
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"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" -Upton Sinclair

One of my favorite quotes, and very applicable here. you can't expect any of the "bad guys" as Paul calls them to just give up their pay and go out of business because what they are doing is wrong (need not go into examples here, think biotech, pharm, big food). You have to be educated, read labels research your choices and then choose with your dollar. These people cant pay their employees salaries without that flow of money.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Most of us won't quit our jobs because what we do for a living is causing damage to the planet. Most of us are "the bad guy" in this sense. We can't pay the bills without our jobs. It's very easy to blame some other guy, but we are equally to blame in my opinion. Which is why I agree with Paul that there isn't much use in getting mad at the bad guys, it's better to do our own little personal parts, instead of pointing over there some where and saying "It's HIS fault" when we're perpetuating the current system also.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Noel Deering wrote: (Alternatively, there's a plant that grows in the South that has caffeine...don't remember what...


Yaupon holly Ilex vomitoria
 
John Master
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Another example of what I am referring to is the landscaper who pulls weeds and the landscaper who sprays them. Each guy has a job, is getting paid to do his job and is earning his money, one person is informed and cares about not buying poison from bad guys and spreading it willy nilly all around our great green earth, the other one is part of the problem and has the "well how could this ever be harmful, it's for sale at the home depot" mentality. I made the mistake of buying property next to a mostly vacation home lake and I have to deal with this brand of ignorance every day until I can afford to move away from it. Hoping that is sooner than later.
 
John Master
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kombucha made from black tea also has caffeine but not as harsh as coffee, it is an amazing beverage, I think ive had over 100 gallons so far, excellent daily detox beverage.
 
Noel Deering
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I certainly don't expect anyone to give up their pay and go out of business. That would be hopelessly naive. I'm saying deprive them of their pay. Jensen seems to be making the case that our choices don't matter. I disagree.

Like Paul said in his "bricks" talk, the guy who complains about the fracking in his area but heats his home with gas. Hey, guy, you're the problem.

 
John Master
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Exactly, heat with wood (or some other form of fuel) or else the person is basically a hypocrite in that argument. depriving the correct people out of pay and making their profession obsolete is the idea. Statin drugs come to mind. They are unnecessary at best, harmful to health more accurately, sold as necessary to the tune of I think trillions per year based only on western medical junk cholesterol science. If the whole world stopped taking them they would cease to exist but you cannot convince the ones making profits from them that they are doing anyone any harm.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Noel Deering wrote:I certainly don't expect anyone to give up their pay and go out of business. That would be hopelessly naive. I'm saying deprive them of their pay.


I guess I wonder what folks do for a living which is harmless. And what I should do once someone deprives me of my pay. I'm really curious. This is not a rhetorical question. And I don't mean "some folks somewhere" I mean people on this messageboard.

 
John Master
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selling food based supplements instead of chem pharm
selling organic food instead of sprayed or processed food
pulling weeds instead of spraying them
spreading compost instead of chem fertilizer
using regular seeds instead of neonic coated seeds that leach poison into our waterways and leaves a dust of bee-toxic poison on everything
applying acupuncture chiro and phys therapy instead of performing surgery
selling kombucha instead of selling coke sprite pepsi
the people who pasteurize/homogenize dairy products (fathom the amount of energy wasted in the last 100 years only to produce a product that is less healthy to consume) instead of just selling them raw.
pastured beef/pig/chicken farmer vs gmo grain fed confinement beef/pig/chicken farmer

If everyone in the world identified actual problems going on right now and focused their decision making and choices away from the problems, the problems would have to go away...big food lost 25 billion in profits over the last 6 years from people buying locally grown and growing their own buying and eating natural foods. it works, whether or not the change can be quantified easily.
 
Tyler Ludens
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John Master wrote:big food lost 25 billion in profits over the last 6 years from people buying locally grown and growing their own buying and eating natural foods.


Excellent example of individual choices making a measurable difference.
 
Noel Deering
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Tyler Ludens-

Successful business people know that "the customer is always right." In contrast farmers get pissed, raise their hackles, and pass laws like Right To Farm (what Salatin appropriately refers to as a Right to Stink Up the Neighborhood) and the one that makes it illegal for anyone to see what happens in CAFO's. They get defensive instead of getting responsive, which is unwise to say the least. It's surprising that these types of laws ever become laws until one realizes there are several multi-billion-dollar companies on the side of those pissed off farmers. Voters don't necessarily have the attention of those who write and pass laws, but Money does have their attention (via lobbying/bribery, campaign support, etc). And obviously Money has the attention of Business; not buying from them is heard loudly and clearly.

case in point: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/plucky-jim-perdue-returns-tv-crying-foul-over-competitors-claims-about-antibiotics-165771 (they're fighting over who has changed for the better, more)

For decades, most consumers (myself included) only seemed to care about Cheap Cheap Cheap- just make food that's cheap and I'll stuff it in my face... but a change in preferences is underway which has lead to a change in production methods. If voters stop wasting their time petitioning unresponsive politicians, and instead buy pork from those who share their values and don't have anything to hide then the part of the pork industry that lost money will soon respond too. Their response may very well continue to be crossing their arms and saying "you customers are stupid," in which case their business will probably ultimately fail...or they might be smart instead. That's a good result either way.

It seems like retail businesses are not overly concerned about a slight drop in sales, but a slight drop in market share is what really gets to them. Not everyone has to change their buying habits to effect change because they're sensitive to a mere 5-10% drop in market share. (To contradict what I said earlier about fracking though, simply changing the way you heat your home is probably just going to result in someone else paying slightly less for their gas... i.e. certain things will only change due to government regulation. Still, it's important not to be a hypocrite.)

What I'm trying to emphasize is that Industry and Agriculture are not completely separate. They're serving our needs/desires/preferences and are generally responsive to what consumers want. Consumers' choices (our dollar-votes) matter very much, even if our votes don't always matter so much!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Anyway, I am still curious about what people do for a living.

 
That feels good. Thanks. Here's a tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
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