Monday, June 23, 2014

Climate Emergency Countdown (?)

[Up, Down]
It's done & dusted.     Let's remember, review & reflect.   (Or not.)
Click for details at EcoSanity: Climate Emergency Countdown, June 22, Toronto.
Postscript:   Some nasty crazy old fuck comes along and shits upon the effort. You can see it that way if you want to. And I know, since most of you don't 'read' anymore, especially such dreck as appears on the Internet and arrives via e-mail, that nuances can easily be missed. After a week of thinking more about it I wonder if this will get through:

There is only one question worth asking.
Fat old guy among the moon & stars (from Laerte: D. Ruth e o Novo Mundo #8 14-04-02).What actions can conceivably stop CO2 emissions in the very few years left to accomplish that absolutely essential step?

The answer is not: "There are no such actions." Even a crazed & cracked pot knows that much (along with other, more credible witnesses such as Jim Hansen). The best I have seen comes from Naomi Klein: "Not until we have a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken selves and our broken communities do we have a hope."

Healing begins (as Stephen describes in his story of the fall of the Berlin wall) when we talk honestly with one another. How else?

So ... even if she's wrong ...
... she's right.
Lucy & Charlie Brown, Annual Innings.
See also: Eco Sanity, GreenHeart Education, Compassionate Climate Action, & Bill McKibben.

She says, "New York to Lima to Paris, or bust!"
        Special UN Climate Summit in New York City, September 23rd 2014;
        UNFCCC COP20 - in Lima, Peru, December 1-12 2014;
        UNFCCC COP21 - in Paris (Le Bourget), 30 November - 11 December 2015.

Actually ... the Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 4-15 2014 - ends a week ago with:
        vanishingly little to report (except, one presumes, 10,000 air flights & expense accounts).

Birds on a wire:
Bonn Climate Change Conference closing plenary June 15 2014.

The reason I take this on:   A few years ago I find a website that, according to the name of it, offers promise - Compassionate Climate Action - so I begin to contribute (via the comments). After a while I discover that it is a refined and soi distant kind of compassion she is serving up which involves no real conversation - and I withdraw, retire from the scene. But I guess she keeps my email on file somewhere because three weeks aqo comes a personal notification of the Climate Emergency Countdown with a request to "pass it on". And despite serious misgivings about the efficacy of global negotiations ... I do.

It is about the first time in five (long) years that anyone has asked me directly to do anything (beyond make an on-line donation or sign a petition or write my MP &c.) and there is just enough left in here for me to say ... OK. (Which is, for the record, what I do whenever I am asked for something in my power to perform, including the '&c.' already mentioned ... and street beggars.)

Also, two questions have been nagging me and I think I might be able to take them along on a Sunday afternoon outing and possibly shed some light there.


1) What about Cuba?

An often repeated notion is that we humans are conducting an experiment of uncertain outcome, very possibly involving collective life-or-death, with the only planet we happen to inhabit. What about the SUCCESSFUL experiment which actually took place in Cuba? For a few years during the Special Period there was no oil - yet there were no mass deaths, and resilience sprang up like Topsy. Why is this not talked about? Everywhere?

The closest I can get (as to why it is so studiously ignored) is that Americans (still) fear & detest Cuba. Like Bob says in 'Talking WW III Blues', "He screamed a bit an' away he flew - must'a thought I was a Comm-u-nist."

Or another way of putting it:

The answer is simple - stop emitting CO2. A-and we still have two, maybe three years, five at the outside to do it and keep ourselves more-or-less comfortably at +1.5°C or less. See:
        'Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction
                of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature'
                by James Hansen et al., December 2013 at PlosOne;
        '2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2°C'
                by Joeri Rogelj et al., December 2012 in 'Nature Climate Change'; and,
        'Why Global Warming Will Cross a Dangerous Threshold in 2036'
                by Michael Mann in the March 2014 Scientific American.

Or: Why are so many talking about adapting when there is still enough time to stop?
Or: Why are we focussed on global UN negotiations (or 'un-negotiations' which have repeatedly failed over twenty years and more) when effective actions to stop are necessarily at smaller more local scales?

Or (more generally): Why are we dithering instead of acting? Why is 'the movement' not moving?

2) Why use a 69¢ word like 'mitigate' to mean 'stop emissions'?

If you look it up in the OED you will find 'mitigate' linked with 'appeasement' & 'palliative' - not confidence-inspiring associations. Why was it chosen? Which (fat & overpaid) bureaucrat chose it? Maybe historian Naomi Oreskes will write a paper on it sometime.

Eddie (my boss at Halliburton) used 'mitigate' when the chips were down and the straws were all getting short; and he always (it was the Barracuda FPSO and they were losing a cool billion dollars so the chips were often down) smiled seraphically when he said it - knowing that it sailed straight over the heads of most of his audience who either didn't know what it means or had just enough of a glimmering to be mystified. The OED associations served his purpose - to confuse rivals. They don't serve us.

[69¢ words are quite different from 75¢ words as the consultants among you will know already. 'Eisegesis' is an example of the latter, as distinct from 'exegesis' of the former.]

Maybe it's simply because 'STOP' is a four letter word. Is that it?

Glenn MacIntosh.Stephen Leahy.Peter Carter.Julie Johnston.If I see something advertised as a 'speaking event' again I'll give it a miss unless the speaker is, say, Jim Hansen or someone of that calibre (of whom there are few, so I don't expect to be going out again anytime soon).

It is less and less of a surprise to me that when he did come to Toronto a few years ago they turned the lights out on him before he was finished.

Thirty people show up. The speaking takes up the entire 5+ hours so there is very little time left over to talk to anyone. No grace period has been provided in the room booking.

The high point is hearing Stephen Leahy's story of how the Berlin wall came down - "people began to talk with one another," he says (a lesson that might have been useful closer to home).

Peter Carter talks a bit about the RCP2.6 scenario from IPCC's AR5. (Please stop for a moment and consider the amount of inscrutable code in that sentence.) I will find a diagram or two and post them here (maybe). In the meantime all 1,500+ pages of AR5 are available for download here.

The Marshall Plan is presented as an exemplar ... but something tainted whispers in my memory around the Marshall Plan - I'll follow that up too (maybe).

Otherwise the speaking is superficial and uninformed, even thoughtless. Dilettantes. No one has read Naomi Oreskes, or if they have are keeping mum.

Frank is there, and being an ex-senior bureaucrat he knows how to say that it is more-or-less a waste of time in a diplomatic manner which generates no immediate offence. [Oh my. I am truly sorry to be so ... negative ... and ... I am right upon the divine fulcrum of saying no more.]

I manage to ask the question about Cuba but (as is more and more usual) the destroyed interior landscape asserts itself dominantly and my voice rises into incoherence till I stop in embarrassment (having forgotten the punch line whatever it was).

There are other low points: Jim Hansen is disparaged for no longer occupying his pulpit at NASA (by someone who obviously has not been following what he is doing); the purpose of the exercise is explained as an excuse to get videos of their excellent presentations (including I guess the half-baked Powerpoint prepared by a tyro the night before); 18 months is revealed as the maximum length of time (any) one can reasonably commit to the initiative.

Ahhh but it's nothing; just sour grapes gentle reader; or perhaps Briar Rose's birthday party ("Now there were thirteen Magi in the kingdom; but the King and Queen had only twelve golden dishes for them to eat out of ..."). The Toronto cognoscenti rescue Glenn when he runs off the rails and they don't notice me. It could be that easy to understand. As it happens I offer him praise, encouragement, and support on several occasions at the time he's crashing but it must be too late or possibly in a language he doesn't understand because ... he doesn't respond.

We could say there is a law of conservation of compassion at work, a Boyle's Law of the heart. ... Or is it a zero sum game I'm thinking of? I can't remember.

As I look around the room, recognizing many of the few who are there - knowing something of some of their stories after five years among 'em - I wonder how many more are at the end of their strings? And beyond ... because each time there are fewer. (And still, Naomi Klein's prescription goes begging.)

I am in another half-empty room the last time I go out: a month or so ago to hear Elizabeth May; to be the first to stand up and applaud when she appears on stage. (But cringeing when she praises the turnout, calling the room 'full'.)

I have no idea what the Christians mean by "the truth shall set you free". The reverse (I imagine) of Blake's little poem 'The Poison Tree' - also known as 'Christian Forbearance'. There are more dimensions of denial here "Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (See also Naomi Oreskes' ESLD 'erring on the side of least drama'.)

"Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), 1791.

Unfortunately for humanity we still have more than a fortnight to go.

Caetano Veloso, Terra

[There are several versions on YouTube; none is very well edited (that I have seen) so I recommend getting the album 'Muito' on which it appears. The translation which follows is mine - not very good. I may have the wrong tense on 'forget'. It was the first thing I translated when I was learning. I will look at it and make a few changes (maybe, soon).]

quando eu me encontrava preso
na cela de uma cadeia
foi que eu vi pela primeira vez
as tais fotografias
em que apareces inteira
porém lá não estavas nua
e sim coberta de nuvens
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria

ninguém supõe a morena
dentro da estrela azulada
na vertigem do cinema
manda um abraço pra te, pequenina
como se eu fosse o saudoso poeta
e fosses a Paraíba
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria

eu estou apaixonado por uma menina
Terra, signo de elemento terra
do mar se diz
terra à vista
Terra, para o pé firmeza,
Terra, para a mão carícia
outros astros lhe são guia
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria

eu sou um leão de fogo
sem ti me consumiria
a mim mesmo eternamente
e de nada valeria
acontecer de eu ser gente
e gente é outra alegria
diferente das estrelas
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria

de onde nem tempo nem espaço
que a força mande coragem
pra gente te dar carinho
durante toda a viagem
que realizas no nada
através do qual carregas
o nome da tua carne
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria

nas sacadas dos sobrados
da velha São Salvador
há lembranças de donzelas
do tempo do Imperador
tudo, tudo na Bahia
faz a gente querer bem,
a Bahia tem um jeito
Terra, terra
por mais distante
o errante navegante
quem jamais te esqueceria
when I found myself locked up
in the cell of a prison
it happened that I saw for the first time
those photographs
in which you appear complete
however, where you are not naked
but wearing clouds
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you

who would expect a dark girl
inside a blue star
above the abyss of the cinema
I send an embrace to you, little one
as if I was a lonely poet
and you were (the province of) Paraiba
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you

I am mad for a girl
Terra, sign of the elemental earth
on the sea one says
'land in sight'
Terra, firm to my foot
Terra, a caress to my hand
other stars are guiding you
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you

I am a fiery lion
without you I would burn up
myself even forever
and it would be worth nothing
I happen to be a person
and a person is another happiness
different from the stars
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you

from beyond time and space
(pray) that strength brings the courage
for us to give you caresses
during the whole journey
that you make through the void
across which you carry
the name of (all) your flesh
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you

from the second floor verandahs
of old San Salvador
there are memories of virgin girls
from the time of the Emperor
everything in Bahia
makes us wish for the best
in Bahia we have a way
Terra, terra
no matter how far
the wanderer may stray
who could ever forget you
It's the day after the day after the longest day of the year; they are getting shorter (again). Already the birds begin their morning songs a few minutes later. I come home on the 501 streetcar feeling low and mean and sit all night taking comfort from Caetano, trying to make sense of it ... allowing myself to weep ...

Fat old guy among the moon & stars (from Laerte: D. Ruth e o Novo Mundo #8 14-04-02.Caetano is clever as well as handsome - he puts a naked woman in the first stanza to get your attention - in a figure so far from anything pornographic that you really do listen to the end.

[That is something like what I mean with 'boobage' gentle reader. Caetano's figure works and my conceit doesn't. It's all good.]

As I finish off in the dawn light the sound track switches unexpectedly to Jane Sibbery 'Calling All Angels' confused & somehow mingled with the chorus of 'Lukey's Boat': "catch a-hold this one catch a-hold that one, diddle dum this one diddle dum dee".

Very odd, no telling.

[After a week of feeling badly about being such an asshole curmudgeon, I compose a Postscript, and put it, naturally, at the top.]
[Up, Down]

No comments:

Post a Comment