Saturday Links for the Week: July 19, 2008

birdstar dot org photo tree sparrow
Photo from, one of the amazing shots from the Bond brothers of SW Ontario.

Disparity, Poverty and Environmental Health: I’m reading HervÈ Kempf’s How the Rich are Destroying the Earth (review next week). His message, from France, is essentially the same as Ian Welsh’s in his new article There Was a Class War. The Rich Won. The message, and the messages that naturally flow from it, are:

  1. For the last 30 years, everywhere in the world, income and net wealth for the poorest 95% of the population has been, in real terms declining, even as income and net wealth for the richest 5% has doubled and redoubled. Disparity of income and wealth has never been higher. The top 1% in the US alone now receive almost 25% of its total national income.
  2. This economic improvement for 1-5% has come at an astronomical environmental cost, a massive increase in pollution and waste, the desolation of much of the Earth, surpassing the climate change tipping point, increasing global indebtedness to staggering proportions, pushing us over the edge to the End of Oil and Water, ruining ecosystems in much of the world and accelerating ten-fold the biodiversity loss that heralds the sixth Great Extinction in the planet’s recorded history.
  3. There are no economic ‘market’ or technology fixes for either the economic disparity or the environmental devastation that continue to accelerate every day. What is left is belief in violent political revolution, belief in a collective new social consciousness that will drive a spontaneous plunge in global consumption and a massive redistribution of wealth, belief in the Rapture, or belief that our civilization is inevitably in its last century.

You know which I believe. Thanks to Jon Husband for the link.

A Plague of Economic Locusts: Andrew Leonard at HTWW adds up the factors that have caused me recently to liquidate most of my investments. Favourite quote: “Faith-based economics seems like an unsound management philosophy, for those of us without the power to part the Red Sea and make a getaway from a falling dollar, rising oil prices, and insolvent banks”.

Gaia Lee WellesA Symbol for Gaia: When I write about a better way to live, or about wilderness, or the need to connect with all-life-on-Earth, I’ve been using a photo of a temperate rainforest in the US Pacific Northwest Olympic range to “illustrate” the article. This is because there doesn’t seem to be a symbol or logo for Gaia, for living in balance with nature. When I did a search I found the old 1960s environmental symbol (a take on the Greek letter omega). I also found the symbol at right, developed by member (and author of the Gaia Girls book series published by Chelsea Green) Lee Welles. I really like the logo, since it taps into the aboriginal importance of quartets (four elements, four seasons, four directions etc.) and is based on a circle. During the search, Barbara Dieu pointed me to flickrcc, which shows you a collage of photos on any subject you key in. Birds in flight, forests and waterfalls prevail for photos tagged ‘Gaia’. To me this is a fascinating way to capture “the wisdom of crowds” about a subject visually.

Booking Time for Real-Time Chat: Google now allows you to put a badge, like the one below, on your blog to indicate if you’re available for an IM/VoIP chat via GMail/GTalk. You don’t even have to have a GMail account to ping me. Problem is, I’m not available for such chats very often. So before I put the badge on my sidebar, I need to add to it a Google Calendar showing my ‘conversation office hours’, the times when I will be available. Ideally, it would be interactive, allowing readers to say what they want to chat about, so I can invite others to join in. May take awhile for me to set up.

Imagine, blogs as a medium for real-time conversations! Thanks to Theresa Purcell for the link.

Manipulative Language, and the Abuse of Power in Conversation: Andrew Campbell retrieves and elaborates on a fascinating model by Vincent Kenny on Dead Language vs Live Language and how power politics in conversation ‘deadens’ the language and dialogue and saps its power, creativity and usefulness. I’m learning how to listen more attentively to conversations, their nuances, what is said and implied and unspoken, unconsciously conveyed. Now I’m discovering I must also learn to observe the way in which language in conversation is sometimes wielded as a weapon, to stop thought and creativity and sharing and connection and everything else it is valuable for.

amy stein
The Wrenching Photography of Amy Stein: The photo above is an example of Amy Stein’s disturbing and ominous photographs. Her full collection entitled ‘domesticated’ is here, and if you’re not faint of heart it’s worth a look. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Thanks to Emily & Daisy at Our Descent for the link.

Why Is It Called a “Retreat”?: Evelyn Rodriguez writes about the need to turn off the noise from external sources, and to withdraw to our true selves, to rediscover them, to find our true bearings, our centre, before reconnecting with others, in order not to become too much Everybody-Else.
geoff brown civ bubble
Geoff Brown Sketches the Civilization Bubble: A fascinating Nancy White style drawing by Geoff (above) shows us within Gaia, as a bubble, and the ways in which nature is pushing back against our unsustainable ‘inflation’ are depicted as pins, each threatening to burst the bubble if it expands any further. Brilliant.

Games for Change: If we’re going to spend time playing video games, why not make them informative and get that energy directed at ways that can make the world a better place? Thanks to Graham Clark (who also supplied the quote in the thought for the week below) for the link.

This is the World Now: Another delightful miniature in words and images by Pohangina Pete. The world now does not make sense.

Thought for the Week: variously ascribed to Al Rogers or Eric Hoffer:

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
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2 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week: July 19, 2008

  1. Lee Welles says:

    What a surprise to find Gaia Girls mentioned in your blog! I’m pleased to say, the second book, Gaia Girls Way of Water, recently won the Nautilus Book Award for juvenile fiction. It is given to books that can inspire change in the world. What more could a writer aspire to? I love your blog and will be back often!

  2. Jarrett says:

    I always give environmentalists more credit if they understand poetry, so your link to Pohangapete is an important one for me!

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