Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

20 November 2007

I hate billboards

"Suburbia is also a spiritual wasteland, a place where the wonder of nature is desecrated ubiquitously with corporate logos and all the artifacts of late technological society." ~ Stan Goff

14 November 2007

Beautiful quotes heard this morning

"Poverty is the mother of all revolutions" - Motsoko Pheko

"All books are damaged trees" - Willem Boshoff

"Think ten times, then act once" - Willem Boshoff

29 October 2007

Africa staffs the West

Less than 10% of doctors trained in Zambia since its independence in 1964 are still in the country: the other 90% have migrated, mainly to Europe and the United States. No less staggeringly, there are more Sierra Leonean-trained doctors in Chicago alone than in the country itself and cash-strapped Benin provides more medical professionals to France than there are in the whole of its own health system.

Brilliant but tragic article in the M&G ...

05 October 2007

101 reasons why I hate fences

This includes physical fences and psychological fences. The fence shown in the image
resulted in a long and painful death endured by the most exquisite python.

Why?

Why did she have to die like this?

I guess because we humans decided that we have to fence off properties we believe "belong" to us. We've decided animals should be "restricted" to certain areas we call "conservation" areas. Fuckit. It all stinks as far as I am concerned.

And then there are the barriers of the mind. Of my god and are we human animals good at creating those! We've become so good at building walls in our minds that we live our lives in total isolation from nature, reality the real world. We constantly close windows and switch on air conditioners. That way we don't even have to deal with temperature variations any more.

Global warming anyone?

"Oh don't worry about THAT, my home is air-conditioned, so I don't have to worry about global warming."

Okay, okay, it's becoming patently obvious that I am sick and tired of sitting in a windowless, airless office 8 hours a day, five days a week.

Like the python in the pic, I've gotta get out of this place. I just hope I can make it over the electric fence without getting zapped!

May this python's spirit embolden each and every human and nonhuman animal in this world to believe in freedom and fight for it.

25 September 2007

Guerilla gardening

I've been thinking about guerilla gardening and I love the concept. It refers to growing food on urban land, with or without the consent of the "landowner".

The urban poor, along with the indigenous people of the world, have to be the most maligned people on the planet. And they go hungry ... so some of these hungry people are making a plan. The South Central Gardeners in LA are a classic example. They have events like "Bringing Food to the Hood- Organic produce".

There have been running battles with the attack dogs of landowners ie the police who want to seize their gardens and sell the land off for development, but the local community has fought them off.

There are gardens on open land just outside Pretoria, but here in the city centre where I work, open plots are either used as parking lots or dumping grounds. How deranged is that?

21 September 2007

Gorillas disappear into the mist

One in three amphibians, one in four mammals, one in eight birds and 70% of plants so far assessed are believed to be at risk of extinction, with human alteration of their habitat the single biggest cause. Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for 2007

23 August 2007

GM Watch website back after censorship attempt

The GM Watch website is back after being shut down for nearly a week.

A Canadian Government bureaucrat succeeded in censoring the UK website which serves a global audience on the GM issue. But some say his goal went still further than that ...

The concern was over an expose of how a group of researchers deliberately skewed research to favour GM corn.

Here's the article they didn't want you to read:

THE GM PROPAGANDA LAB (PART 1)

[Go to the web page to see the photo of the "Would you eat wormy sweet corn?" sign]

The British Food Journal's Award for Excellence for Most Outstanding Paper in 2004 went to research that should never have been published. What the reviewers mistook for an impressive piece of scientific enquiry was a carefully crafted propaganda exercise that could only have one outcome. Both the award and the paper now need to be retracted.
***
Since this article was published a leading researcher into scientific ethics has called for the paper to be retracted.

New Scientist's report: www.newscientist.com

***
It was late September 1999. The scene was a news conference outside a Loblaws grocery store in downtown Toronto. Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians were launching a public awareness campaign urging customers to ask the chain to remove all genetically modified foods from their shelves.

"The food is safe," shouted someone on the edge of the crowd. Jeff Wilson, who farms about 250 hectares northwest of Toronto, was part of a small group of hecklers. He had come to the store with Jim Fischer, the head of a lobby group called AgCare which supports GM foods. Doug Powell, an assistant professor at the University of Guelph, was also there.

And they had come prepared. Holding aloft a bug-ravaged cabbage, Wilson demanded, "Would you buy that?" Wilson claimed the cabbage could have been saved by genetic engineering.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, Doug Powell ended up in a shouting match with a shopper - 71-year old Evan John Evans, who told him, "I resent you putting stuff in my food I don't want."

A year later and Powell and Wilson's street theatrics had given way to a much more carefully choreographed exercise in persuading people that GM foods were what they wanted.

The scene this time was not Loblaws but Jeff Wilson's farm store, just outside the village of Hillsburgh. Here Powell and Wilson were running an experiment that had been conceived following the Loblaws encounter.

During summer 2000 Wilson grew both GM and conventional sweet corn on his farm. And following the first harvest in late August, both types of corn were put on sale amidst much publicity. The aim was to see which type would appeal most to Wilson's customers.

According to an award winning paper published in the British Food Journal, a sizeable majority opted to buy the GM corn. In the paper, authored by Wilson and Powell, and Powell's two research assistants - Katija Blaine and Shane Morris, the choice appears simple - the bins were "fully labeled" - either "genetically engineered Bt sweet corn" or "Regular sweet-corn". The only
other written information mentioned in the paper that might have influenced the preference of customers was lists of the chemicals used on each type of corn, and pamphlets "with background information on the project."

What Powell and his co-authors failed to report was that the information on the chemicals came with a variation on the bug-eaten cabbage stunt Wilson pulled outside Loblaws. There Wilson had demanded of shoppers "Would you buy that?" In Wilson's store the sign above the non-GM corn bin asked, "Would You Eat Wormy Sweet Corn?" Above the the Bt-corn bin, by contrast, the equivalent sign was headed: "Here's What Went into Producing Quality Sweet Corn".

Toronto Star reporter Stuart Laidlaw, who visited Wilson's farm several times during the research, says, "It is the only time I have seen a store label its own corn 'wormy'". In his book Secret Ingredients , Laidlaw includes a photograph of the "wormy" corn sign, and drily notes, "when one bin was marked 'wormy corn' and another 'quality sweet corn,' it was hardly
surprising which sold more."

Laidlaw also notes that any mention of the corn being labelled as "wormy" or "quality" was omitted in presentations and writings about the experiment. This is certainly the case with the paper in the British Food Journal. Yet the paper describes in some detail the care that the researchers took to avoid biasing consumer choice - by having, for example, both corn-bins kept
filled to the same level throughout the day; and by selling the two different types of corn for exactly the same amount. We are even told the precise purchase price: Cnd$3.99/dozen.

The emotively worded signs are not the only instance of glaring experimenter bias that went unmentioned in the award winning paper. During his visits to the store, Laidlaw noted that an information table contained, as well as press releases and pamphlets on the experiments, a number of pro-GM fact sheets - some authored by industry lobby groups, but no balancing
information from critics of genetic engineering.

And the bias didn't stop there. The lead researcher, Doug Powell, actually demonstrated to the journalist his ability to influence customer responses to questions about Bt corn and their future purchasing preferences. Laidlaw describes how when a customer who'd bought non-Bt corn was walking to his truck, "Powell talked to him about Bt corn - describing how it did not need insecticides because it produced its own and that it had been approved as safe by the federal government. Powell then told me I should talk to the man again. I did, and he said he would buy GM corn the next time he was at the store. Powell stood nearby with his arms crossed and a smile on his face."


Outside Loblaws the previous Fall, Powell had ended up in an unsuccessful slanging match. Now Powell and his associates had engineered a setting in which customer responses could be influenced far more successfully. Seeing Powell in action convinced Laidlaw that the only conclusion which could safely be drawn from these "experiments" was that, "fed a lot of pro-biotech sales pitches, shoppers could be convinced to buy GM products."

But none of the "pro-biotech sales pitches" made their way into the paper for which Powell and his associates were commended. Instead, research that was little more than pro-GM propaganda was presented as providing a meticulous scientific evaluation of consumer purchasing preferences.

READ ON AT
http://www.gmwatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=72&page=1

22 August 2007

The words of the day

empire lies | dissent, the fall, revolution | oil, protests, civilisation | activism, organic | authority, alternative, community | freedom, nature, nurture, chaos, freedom | power, justice, collective, protests, music, relationships, relationship, revolutionary | torture, tyranny

regime, slaves

strike

resistance, fertile, life, wilderness


21 August 2007

You eat veal, you are a torturer of babes

The American Veal Association Pledges to End Cruel Confinement
The AVA announced a historic decision to phase out the practice of chaining calves by their necks inside solitary crates by 2017. Read more at PETA about the significance of this decision and what it means for calves and consumers.

Oh how enlightened (sic) of the AVA. They are giving themselves another 10 years to torture calves.

Calves are chained and kept virtually immobile in crates in order to ensure their flash remains tender.

The veal industry would not exist without the dairy industry's need to dispose of unwanted calves—by consuming dairy products, you're supporting veal factory farms.

31 July 2007

Nike does the right thing for a change

Michael Vick is a big man. He's a hero to many. He is such a big, strong man that he gets off on dogfighting. Then, as recent allegations claim, he leaves the battered animals to die.

You love to glorify these bullies don't you?

The indictment against him claims that the dogfighting ring allegedly financed by Vick "executed underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging, shooting, electrocution and other brutal means".

Michael Vick is the American-fucking-dream. He is an Atlanta Falcons quarterback. A TRUE HERO. An empire-style, modern day gladiator in the arena of the National Football League.

It was with elation and much surprise that I learned this morning that Nike has actually done the right thing and suspended Michael Vick's contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time.

This is surely a victory for animal rights. Once again the outcry was led by PETA who with its supporters put immense pressure on Nike to stop supporting the bully pending the outcome of this case.

So, get your thumb out of your butts and support PETA, support IFAW, support Sea Shepherd, support Uncaged. Stop watching TV and start doing something about the sorry state of this planet!

25 July 2007

"Husky Chainsaw killer" walks free

Phillip Matthysen, 31, who beheaded his Husky puppy with a chainsaw, has had his sentence suspended in full.

According to Beeld newspaper, Matthysen, a marketing consultant from Sundra admitted in a packed court that he had committed the gruesome "murder" and said through his lawyer that he had sawn the dog's head off with the petrol-driven chainsaw in a fit of anger. Matthysen committed the crime in February after his four-month-old pup chewed through a cable running to his security fencing, and killed an exotic parrot.

But this man calmly walked to his chainsaw, filled it with petrol and asked his accomplice to hold down the puppy. This seems quite a premeditated procedure to me?

Nevertheless, although Matthyusen was sentenced to 12 months in prison or a fine of R10 000, the full sentence was conditionally suspended for five years.

If you, like me, are outraged at this, visit one of the following amazing South African websites and get involved in animal justice today:


12 July 2007

Peppa in Paradise

Every time we travelled around the countryside with Peppa, we would record an image of her in a particular place. We have pics of Peppa in Kaapsehoop, Mpumalanga (see image to the right), Peppa in Paternoster and Peppa in Lambert's Bay on the Weskus. We have Peppa in Port Edward, Peppa in Bizana, Peppa in Canarvon. My favourite pics is Peppa in Strandfontein, with a big wave crashing behind her. It epitomises the mountain lion inside Peppa. Unfortunately I don't have a digital version of that image.

Now Peppa is in Paradise.

Rest in peace my little teacher.

Thank you for teaching me to shed ego, thank you for teaching me that Chichuahua's are powerful and know how to wield power. That's power as wielded by animals mind you, not power as wielded by so-called "civilised humans".

So it's time to say goodbye to Peppa and thank you. I know that TinTin and the others are there with you my little friend and may you soar.

24 June 2007

Tinned elephant meat

We were talking about the recent CITES decision to allow four countries to trade in stocked ivory once again. Moongirl mentioned that she'd never thought about how they processed culled animals before. I mentioned the old Skukuza abattoir, tinned elephant meat and stories I'd heard when writing for the veterinary industry some years ago.

So I went surfing to see if I could find a pic of tinned elephant meat and ... yes I did (see image on the top right of this entry). I also found and astounding piece from the 1969-1970 Kruger National Park annual report where they boast about the over 500 000 kg of elephant meat "processed" in that year! This is too good to be true, let me quote verbatim:

"At the Skukuza Abattoir and By-products Plant in the Kruger National Park game carcases are processed. Fresh meat is supplied to the Park restaurants, sold to Park employees or used as rations for Bantu labourers. Biltong and dried sausage is produced for sale. Material not fit for human consumption is converted into bone or carcase meal."

Ugh, repulsive. But have things really changed? We're still trading in ivory, and in addition, now we are capturing wild elephant calves, beating them into submission, so that we can make money from tourists who are willing to ride on their backs. Elephant-back safaris are crass. How can they turn such a proud and magnificent animal into a beast of burden?

NEWSFLASH: ONLY CRETINS AND PRICKS RIDE ON ELEPHANTS!

07 June 2007

Beautiful, bountiful Bhutan under attack

I don't do long distance travel. Flying at bullet-like speeds freaks me out. I don't believe we were ever meant to physically travel at those speeds and at those heights. I feel like the cows and bulls must do when loaded into cattle trucks, ie squashed and claustraphobic, except my destination is not an abattoir!

So needless to say, I've never been to Bhutan.

But I have watched Michael Palin's epic series Himalaya. In the last episode he travels through beautiful, mountainous, environmentally-aware Bhutan. And I thought to myself, thank god there is one place on earth which is safe for now.

And yesterday my fantasy was shattered. Here's the reuters release that shook me:

Mines Destroy Bhutan's Mountains, Affect India
BHUTAN: June 6, 2007

GOMTU, Bhutan - As an explosion booms across the mountains, Yeshey Drukpa, 60, clenches his fist in anger standing in the foothills.

"The abode of the gods is being destroyed," he says, pointing towards billowing smoke above.

Mineral mining in Bhutan, a country that prides itself on its environmentally friendly policies, is not only angering some locals. It is also damaging agriculture and killing wildlife in neighbouring India, Indian officials said.

The Pugli hills around Gomtu, an industrial town in southwest Bhutan, are being blasted to extract dolomite, a mineral used both in steel manufacturing and in horticulture.

Just across the Indian border are the famed tea plantations of West Bengal state, the home of Darjeeling tea. Landslides and erosion caused by mining have left at least 14 estates prone to flooding, the Indian Tea Association says.

Read the full press release here ...

More about Bhutan

Former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck made protection of Bhutan's rich environment a cornerstone of the country's philosophy of Gross National Happiness. A quarter of Bhutan is set aside as national parks or wildlife sanctuaries. Nearly three-quarters is still forested.

In the final episode of Himalaya Palin demonstrates how Bhutan and Bangladesh are some 40 km apart, yet they could scarcely be more different. One is entirely composed of mountains, the other flat as a pancake. One is among the least crowded countries in the world, the other the most densely packed.

Bhutan's seclusion and stability is due largely to the physical inaccessibility of the Himalayan mountains.

I will spend a special moment today holding space for Bhutan before I do so for the elephants.

06 June 2007

The large sea mammals will be the first to go


It's a guess, but I'm thinking the large marine mammals will be the first to go.

That's ironic since Douglas Adams saw the dolphins remaining here until the very end.

"So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984, ISBN 0-345-39183-7) is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspatial express route, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." - wikipedia

Anyway, I think things might pan out differently because it seems the dolphins will be wiped out before the endgame. This is sad.

The U.S. and Japanese governments are planning to destroy the best remaining habitat of a unique and critically endangered marine mammal — the Okinawa dugong. This dugong, a relative of the manatee, is a rare marine mammal that feeds in the seagrass beds and coral reefs of Okinawa's Henoko Bay. Fewer than 50 individual dugongs remain in an area described by the United Nations Environment Programme as "the most important known dugong habitat in Japan." If the U.S. military proceeds with its Camp Scwab construction plan this exceptional, rare animal will lose the best habitat it has left and begin its last slide toward extinction.

Camp Schwab is located adjacent to and in Henoko Bay, and for years nonviolent citizens' groups, led primarily by community elders, have peacefully blocked U.S. military expansion efforts there. But now, the likelihood of Camp Schwab's expansion looms ever larger. On May 18, 2007, Henoko community members took to their kayaks and canoes to protest against private, pre-construction drilling surveys in Henoko Bay. In response to this peaceful demonstration, the Japanese Coast Guard was called in to deter citizen demonstrators. Unfortunately, the approaching completion of some drilling surveys brings expansion of Camp Schwab ever nearer.

Several organisations and Okinawan individuals have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Defense base expansion plan. Environmental law firm Earthjustice represents the plaintiffs. The case will go to trial in September 2007.

29 May 2007

mortgage debt - the new road to serfdom?


I work in order to pay for a roof over my head, food, transport and so-called security eg medical aid, insurance, all that crap.

But I've been wondering what it would be like to not have a job.

Please note, I said not have a job. I didn't say not work, which is something entirely different.

I want to work, but not for a boss and not for money. I want to work to grow food, make things, create things, give back to the land and just for fun, but working to pay a home loan is just plain sad.

An acquaintance pointed me to an article titled "mortgage debt - the new road to serfdom" subtitled: an illustrated guide to the coming real estate collapse. It was published in harpers magazine last year and refers specifically to the US where house prices are soaring, more people are signing up for mortgages in order to secure "wealth" later on in life, but indications are that the property bubble will burst ... eventually.

I can't help but think similar trends are occuring here in SA. Only time will tell, but it seems a huge waste of time to sit in an office for 20 years in order to pay off a home loan.

Now how do I get out of this mess, hmmm?

Anyway, here's a brilliant quote from the article:

"More people owe more money to banks than at any other time in history. And that's not just in terms of dollars—$11.8 trillion in outstanding mortgages—but also as a proportion of the national economy. This debt is now on track to surpass the size of America's entire gross domestic product by the end of the decade."

it goes on to warn that:
"Even that huge debt might not seem so bad, what with those huge capital gains beckoning from out there in the future. But the boom, alas, cannot last forever. And when the growth ceases, the market will collapse."

and finally:
"when a business cycle turns down, debtors cannot pay, and so their debts are wiped out in a wave of bankruptcy along with all the savings invested in these bad loans."

Have a beautiful day, all you beautiful people ... oh and don't forget your monthly repayments!

21 May 2007

Rape-Antarctica

"Nothing describes the needs and motives of the present industrial empire so well as the final rape-Antarctica. This beautiful and mysterious land is literally the end of the world. It is the south end of the planet and it is the last piece of the planet that has not been plundered by the culture of empire."

Antarctica: Empire at the End of the World by William Kötke

Like the rest of the planet, Antarctica is dying. Reuters last week reported that the Southern Ocean around Antarctica is so loaded with carbon dioxide that it can barely absorb any more, so increasing amounts of the gas will stay in the atmosphere to warm up the planet. Researchers confirm that human activity is the main culprit.

The relatively small Southern Ocean accounts for a whopping 20% of marine photosynthesis and plays a pivotal role in deep-ocean water circulation. Antarctic deep-ocean water carries nutrients which feed billions of creatures across the planet. For example:
  • The phytoplankton feed millions of tons of krill.
  • The krill feed the baleen whales (those not hunted en route to the Southern Ocean), squid and small fish (such as anchovies which sustain the planet's exploding human population), crabeater seals, adelie penguin, and sea birds.
  • The krill also feed the large fish, weddell and ross seals, killer whales, leopard seal, gull and emperor penguin.
And now the hunt is on across the landmass of Antarctica for scarce resources ie oil and gas! Increasing overwintering human populations and hordes of camera carrying summertime tourists, are a threat to the Antarctic environment. A number of countries have had oil exploration teams and programs in Antarctica. If oil production begins, Antarctica will be finished.

As Kötke says, "That the industrial predators are preparing to dismember the Antarctic is plain.

"The most serious threats at the present are krill fishing, whaling, sealing, oil drilling and mining.

"Krill fishing has been commenced by Japan and the former USSR. Other countries are testing products made with the krill to try to find ways to make money from it. The life habits of krill are quite complex and little is known about them and little is known about the whole complex of krill and krill eaters. Nonetheless, the industrialists have charged ahead. Harvesting the krill could have serious effects. The nearly extinct whale species need it to revive their numbers and other krill feeders depend on it.

"There are pirate whalers who have connections with the Japanese fishing fleets in the area who are still killing the nearly extinct large whales. The large scale whalers of recent years, the Russians and the Japanese, are taking minke whale in the area but have not killed the endangered fin, blue, humpback or southern right whales as far as is known. Because of the expense of operating in Antarctica, exploiting the area is to a great extent dependent upon how desperate countries become for protein, minerals and oil. As ecological catastrophes and exhaustion of resources progress outside Antarctica, the likelihood of industrial exploitation of Antarctic increases.

"The approach of the industrial countries to Antarctica demonstrates that the essential dynamics of empire culture have not changed since the time of the Sumerians. The motive of immediate gain continues to take precedence over all other values.

11 May 2007

fck kfc


Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com

Back from leave and ready to once again take on the monsters. Today I think kfc deserves a little stick!

According to PETA, the bastards have been known to scald live chickens, break their bones while they are still alive and I have personally seen a video on Carte Blanche, of kfc staff stamping on live chickens.

The best thing you can do is STOP eating kfc. It's unhealthy anyway. Why not find a local supply of free range organic chicken and eat that instead?

18 April 2007

Diminishing water

We're at the end of the driest summer in years and water, or the lack thereof, is worrying me.

Biophile Magazine recently published an article of mine on a related issue, the proposed De Hoop Dam on the border of Mpumalanga/Limpopo.

Just today, while scanning the news online I came across 3 articles about water:

Kruger Park hit by low river levels
"Alarmingly low" levels of rivers in the Kruger National Park will from Monday result in drastic cuts in water usage, the park's management said. - M&G online

Water crisis spurs sit-in at mayor's office
Police intervened in a tense stand-off between Kungwini municipal councillors in Bronkhorstspruit and residents of luxury estates who have been without running water for more than two weeks. - IOL

Donker droogtewolke pak oor Afrika saam
Oor net 13 jaar sal tot 250 miljoen mense in Afrika – ingesluit Suid-Afrika – weens klimaatsverandering ’n ernstige watertekort ervaar. Suid-Afrikaners sal nou reeds aanpassings moet maak om met minder water oor die weg te kom. - Beeld

Translation: 250 million people in Africa with insufficient water within 13 years!

Climate change anyone? I see tough times ahead. Could this be the beginning of our water wars? Hey maybe the mining and extraction industries should stop using so much water. Maybe we are expanding too fast? Maybe our thirst (!!!!) for economic growth and development is killing our future!

26 March 2007

The body count rises

Yesterday was a little depressing. We took a walk in the veld, where Mbeki's R90-million security wall is being erected.

The holes for the posts have been dug. They are huge: about 1.5m deep and spaced a metre apart (see accompanying pic). The Dept of Public Works dug the holes 3 weeks ago and since then, nothing further has happened. (Maybe they are awaiting delivery of the imported fence?)

Needless to say, these holes are deathtraps to each and every dung beetle, snake, frog, tortoise and chameleon who happens to sidle past this part of the veld.

I have counted at the bottom of these holes: one dead snake, five dead frogs, 32 dead dung beetles and thousands of dead ants and other non-flying insects. Yesterday I managed to save 3 dung beetles and one wily old frog who managed to hang in there.

These poor animals fell into these holes and suffered a long and agonising death in the heat wave we've been experiencing (global warming anyone?).

How I hate this death culture in which I live. The sooner civilisation crumbles the better. Roll on endgame, roll on peak oil.

15 March 2007

Thank you Justice Moseneke


Speaking at the opening of the Out in Africa film festival this month, Justice Dikgang Moseneke make an astounding speech in which he thanked the lesbian, gay, transexual, bisexual and generally queer community for advancing jurisprudence in south africa.

He added, "It's important to acknowledge the long history in this country, and in many other countries, of the marginalisation and persecution of gays and lesbians, to reassert their right to live just as well as everybody else. And it was an important assertion in an environment that was not exactly always friendly.

"All those struggles around the rights of gay and lesbian people have in many ways allowed the court and allowed our Constitution and many other people to be able to express themselves on issues of equality. We actually owe a great debt to gays and lesbians in this country, certainly around equality issues.

"I was at pains to suggest that if you sought to exclude people from making choices that they find appropriate in their own lives, you are probably much further away from your convictions, from compassion and from the understanding that each one of us has a right to be different. Each one of us has a right to live a full life without a need to apologise."

Anyway, I think it's really cool to hear such open-minded comments, from a man who operates within the patriarchy of African governance. I just wish more men in this country could think things through like this. Moseneke also commented on the second class citizen status of women in south africa. You go brother!

Oh the full article is available on M&G's website ...

12 March 2007

Where is South Africa headed?

Quote from an article about Cote d'Ivoire:

"What went wrong? A question with a thousand answers, spanning neo-colonialism, inaction about the status of millions of immigrants, land rights, a corrupt elite above a me-me middle-class, and lip-service to good governance." - Nick Kotch

sounds familiar ...

27 February 2007

Trying to plug a man-made volcano is like trying to stop the sun rising

Some genius (sic) engineers and scientists in Indonesia have decided to drop 1500, 400kg concrete balls into the mouth of the erupting mud-volcano in the town Sidoarjo, Java to try and stem the flow of mud.

Locals, supported by environmental groups, are suing a company - which has been drilling for oil and gas in the area - to pay compensation for causing the eruption of the volcano.

Some "experts" - ie scientists in the employ of the company of course - claim a complex set of "natural factors" caused the eruption. But PT Lapindo Brantas and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are in the firing line.

Let's hope the people nail them both and suck the company dry, like it is sucking the Earth dry.

I can't believe that they think they can drill for oil/gas near a volcano and not expect the Earth to fight back.

GO PLANET!

If people are not willing to defend the Earth, she is going to do it herself, whatever it takes.

22 February 2007

Tortoise flattened by truck 2

Here are some pics of the tortoise that was unnecessarily flattened by trucks/bulldozers erecting a R90million, imported, security wall around the presidency.

My posts of 1 Feb 2007 and 12 Feb 2007 refer.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy (in this case the president of a country) is more valuable than the lives of those below (in this case the trees and animals destroyed by the bulldozers). It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below (animals and trees in this case). This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

The quote above is from the book Endgame by Derrick Jensen.

Animals and plants, indigenous people, the poor, women, children, rivers and mountains have no rights. The only individuals who seem to have rights these days are the rich and powerful civilised people who rule this planet, also known as homo-destructus.

20 February 2007

Damn dams again

Two prominent leaders - opposing the US$1.8 billion hydropower dam being built on the Nile in Sudan - escaped assasination attempts last week.

Some 50 000 people, mainly small farmers living along the Nile will be displaced by the damn dam. An area rich in antiquities dating back 5000 years will be drowned.

The Merowe Damn is funded by the China Ex-Im Bank. Read about the assasination attempt in the Sudan Tribune. Read more about the damn at the IRN web.

19 February 2007

Botswana's Bushmen continue to be harassed


Survival International reports that six Bushmen have been arrested, starved and held for six days after police and wildlife guards accused them of hunting in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (their ancestral land) in Botswana. They were then released without charge. Read more ...

Why do "civilised" people continue to abuse hunter gatherers? Because civilised people's lives are based on abuse. They know no other way. If only they would take some lessons from these incredible people who perfected the art - many thousands of years ago - of living without abuse, of living in tune with nature, of living free.

There are 100 000 Bushmen left in the world.

12 February 2007

Tortoise flattened by truck

My weekend was somewhat marred by visiting the "proposed" development site of south africa's new department of foreign affairs HQ. (A development I have been opposing.)

The highlights of my walk included a flattened young tortoise, most likely killed by a truck (currently on site to conduct geotechnical surveys). Or the guilty party could be one of the dept of public works vehicles (which are currently up and down the veld installing an extended security fence around the presidency). See my earlier post on 1 Feb about this development (sic).

The tortoise died trying to cross a dirt track in the veld. S/he would have been clearly visible to the driver who just didn't bother to go around the poor animal. No, he had to drive right over her/him!

Just two months ago, this site was a relatively-intact wildlife refuge in the middle of a bustling city. Today it is starting to resemble a death camp.

There are bodies littered around the veld. Aloes, trees (some 20 and 50 years old), grasses and tortoise corpses lie scattered across the altar of development. Development - the god which is worshipped by all of civilisation, along with the holy ghost - science, and the son of man - economics; as usual joined forces to destroy nature.

What to do? What to do? What are you doing to save the planet? When your great, great granchildren ask you why you destroyed nature, what will be your answer?

05 February 2007

Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

Scientists and economists have been offered $10 000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published on Friday. Read more ...

Tankers May Ship Water to Parched Cities of Future

Fleets of supertankers could one day ply the world's oceans laden not with oil but fresh water.

Sound far-fetched?

In Paris on Friday the world's top climate scientists issued the strongest warning yet that human activity was heating the planet. They forecast temperatures would rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees Celsius this century.

By 2100, water scarcity could impact between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people, says a leaked, related UN climate study due to be published in April.

China and Australia, as well as parts of Europe and the United States would face critical water shortages, it says.

Maritime experts say shipping water by tanker is one of the least eccentric ideas raised of late to counter acute shortages. Read more ...

01 February 2007

Presidential respect for the environment

Mbeki's erecting a new security fence around Bryntirion, South Africa's presidential house and golf course, here in Tshwane.

So he gets the "troops" from the Dept of Public (sic) Works to come and mow down everything in sight: from succulents, to trees, to tortoises, so that he can feel more secure.

Why can't developers (government or otherwise) develop in harmony with the environment, instead of running roughshod over it? Hmmmmm?

Look at this poor kiaat that they cut down. That tree is, was, several decades old. They just f---ing smashed it over. The branches are lying some metres away.

Elsewhere along the koppie there is complete devastation as well. Now as far as I know, many of Pretoria's koppies are supposedly protected, including this one. You may not destroy plants on these koppies and if you do have to remove a plant or animal, it is supposed to be properly located.

But I guess if you're the president of the country or the government or whatever, then these rules don't apply.

I think author Derrick Jensen is spot on in his latest book Endgame when he outlines premises upon which civilization is based. I quote one of those below, with my comments inserted in colour:

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy (in this case the president of a country) is more valuable than the lives of those below (in this case the trees and animals destroyed by the bulldozers). It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below (animals and trees in this case). This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

I hate this society, and all I can do is appeal to the respective departments, post the images to others who care about the environment and write letters to the editor. What more can be done? What more? There must be something more I can do to protect the earth!

30 January 2007

Have to love the onion

Bush Commits One Additional Troop To Afghanistan

The Onion

Bush Commits One Additional Troop To Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC— The American ground forces in Afghanistan will be aided by the immediate deployment of Marine Pfc. Tim Ekenberg of Camp Lejeune, NC.

24 January 2007

Tuna salad anyone?

A WWF meeting in Japan is trying to save the tuna from extinction.
  • Bluefin tuna is critically depleted
  • Atlantic bluefin, used for high-end sushi and sashimi, is massively overfished
  • The spawning stock of Southern bluefin in the Indian Ocean is down about 90 percent
Reuters reports that Japan was rocked in November 2006 by news that global quotas for Atlantic bluefin tuna will be cut by nearly 8 percent next year. Japan's quota for southern bluefin was halved the month before for the next five years as punishment for years of overfishing.

Experts say substantial catch reductions are needed for big-eyed and yellowfin tuna, both relatively inexpensive species that regularly appear on Japanese supermarket shelves, and whose price would rise considerably were catch limits imposed.

For me, the greatest tragedy regarding the tuna, is the conviction among human animals, that we can continue to "manage tuna stocks". We have driven this species to the brink and yet we still feel we have the right to "manage" their future.

Quotas, punishment for overfishing and stamping out illegal fishing are not going to save the tuna. The only way we can save tuna, salmon, dugongs, blue whales and polar bears is to live in harmony with nature. NOT at the expense of nature. We need to get out of our cars and walk. We need to eat less, waste less, buy less, share more, consume less, reuse more.

We need to purge ourselves from the misconception that we have to "grow the economy". We don't! And we cannot continue to grow the economy forever, because we live on a planet of limited resources. This means the economy too has a limited lifespan. The sooner the planetary economy crashes, the better it will be for the tuna, salmon, dugongs, blue whales and polar bears.

And believe it or not. The better it will be for us too. Human and non-human people will all benefit from the end of the economy, the end of development, the end of "progress".

Enjoy your tuna salad and sushi while you can, because it's not going to be available for much longer. Our greed is wiping out yet another incredible non-human animal. When will we stop?

18 January 2007

POWERDOWN!

It's happened, South Africa's power supply shortage hit today ... big time. I just ran out at lunchtime to buy some tofu and encountered non-functional traffic lights, long queues, and a supermarket with darkened aisles, defrosting freezers and tills running off a diesel generator.

My favourite comment of the day, as I left the supermarket, was from a west african diplomat who was complaining that she couldn't slice the loaf of bread she had just bought.

What have we come to, that we no longer remember how to slice bread with a breadknife?

Anyway, the next week is going to be fun, as our power monolith eskom warns of regular blackouts while the tripped turbine at koeberg power station is fixed. How I wish the whole place had tripped permanently.

15 January 2007

Doomsday clock about to be moved


The keepers of the famous doomsday clock are about to move its hands again ... and all indications are that it is heading closer to midnight. In other words we are once again edging towards global catastrophe.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, say the hands will be moved on Wednesday this week, to reflect "worsening nuclear and climate threats to the world".

The symbolic clock, maintained since 1947, is currently set at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight marking global catastrophe. The clock is kept at the University of Chicago. Watch this space ...

08 January 2007

Bullfighting bleeds to death

AT LAST! According to a news report on the Mail and Guardian website, Spanish bullfighting is slowly bleeding to death. "Most people cannot imagine Spain without bullfights, but there are growing signs that the country's centuries-old fiesta nacional (national celebration) is on the decline. Not only are young people losing interest in the glittering and bloody spectacle, but even some of the authorities are beginning to feel embarrassed about this 'art'."

BRAVO!

Barberton daisies and baby hoppers


My pic of the day, taken early this morning on the front stoep when Barberton daisies and baby grasshoppers welcomed me to a beautiful new day. I saw a bunch of little green things on the flower and took a closer look, expecting to see aphids or something and then I realised they were minute baby hoppers, surely newborn.

I wonder who has taken those little bites out of the petals?

And just look at the naughtly look in the eye of the little one sitting right in the middle of the bloom! [Click on the pic for a higher resolution version of the image, where you can see the glint in her eye.]

04 January 2007

Back to the coal face



The holiday season has been a time of reflection, staying at home, taking long walks in the veld, ignoring computers and trying to stay away from the media [not always possible]. I enjoyed the summer solstice, which ended with a beautiful midsummer sunset. I spent a lot of time immersed in nature and managed to get my hands and feet covered in earth a couple of times, while working in the garden.

The image above was taken by me, just before the December break, but thought it matched the theme of today's post rather well.

I also had a close encounter with a deadly succulent. [Don't ever break off a branch of Euphorbia Ingens, the plant is toxic! I spent about 15 hours in agony, after its milky latex squirted into my right eye, burning the inside of my eyelid and temporarily blinding me. It was a scary moment. Don't mess with plants!!!]

But now I am rested and ready to face the challenges of our crumbling civilization, as it hopefully enters the death throes of its destructive existence.

I have started a journey to seek like-minded people in my immediate surroundings. After spending much time in cyberspace, with some amazing, inspirational eco-anarchists who are based all around the world, I have learned much. But I have realised it's important to connect with local people too. If one is to take any effective action in changing the world, one has to start locally. And one needs to do so in a team, as part of a community. This is my focus for the next period in my life.

Speaking of seeking community, I have stumbled across a group of people who are mainly based in the nearby city of Jozi. They are centred around a vegan restaurant which holds regular movie nights, showing alternative films and documentaries. Through this group I have seen the launch of a web forum which may just be a good place to seek community: www.vegansociety.co.za. Let's see what comes of this. Go and check it out, and join in the discussions!