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Environmental Madness (XIV)

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2. Radical Bias in Debates on the new Forest Code and Obsession with Agrarian Reform

Murders will occur if President Dilma fails to take strong action to enhance rural settlements, prevent and vigorously punish deforestation, collect fines, federalize crimes against human rights and above all, veto the Forest Code approved by Congress and promote agrarian reform.” Frei Beto, in his article “Matar e desmatar: mortes ocorrerão com novo Código Florestal” [“Kill and Deforest: Deaths Will Occur with the New Forest Code”].

“The ecological issue is crucial in the debate on Land Reform. Global warming ends up by creating a fantastic opportunity. The peasantry and indigenous peoples now acquire a central role in the debate about the future of humanity. All the evils we are living derive from capitalism.” – Brazilian geographer Carlos Walter Porto-Gonçalves.

“Faced with the deadly offensive of agribusiness, big farms, holdings and multinationals we proclaim our determination to defend our rights with our own lives. We will not accept for Mother Earth to be once again torn from our hands or irrationally destroyed as it was by European settlers 511 years ago. We repudiate the offensive to change the Forest Code, which will cause irreparable damage to our lands.”— statement by the 2011 Free Earth Camping on behalf of Mother Earth [Acampamento Terra Livre 2011 pela Mãe Terra], rejecting changes to the Forest Code.

“For us, the struggle for climate justice and social justice is the same thing. It is a fight for territory, land, forests and water, agrarian and urban reform, food and energy sovereignty, women and worker rights. It is the struggle for equality and justice for indigenous peoples, for the peoples of the global South, for redistribution of wealth and recognition of the historical ecological debt owed by the North.” – Climate Justice Now (Assembly for Climate Justice).

Via Campesina International“The current global forms of production, consumption and market have caused a massive destruction of the environment, including global warming. The animal and plant species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. We urgently demand: 1. The complete dismantling of agro-fuel companies; 2. The replacement of industrialized agriculture with sustainable agriculture supported by genuine agrarian reform programs” – Radical left-wing Via Campesina International.

“The problems are so great that society has to make a decision: either it changes or it dies. Scientists warn that if global warming increases it will bring an imbalance in the life of the planet that can even lead to a human catastrophe. A major problem is the lack of access to drinking water by most humans. Seventy percent of the planet’s fresh water is used to irrigate agribusiness and only 30% is allocated to animals and people.” – MST [Landless Workers Movement] leader João Pedro Stédile.

João Pedro Stédile

3. Stone Age Indigenism Presented as Progress

Stewart Brand

“We have wished… for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us back into the stone age…”– Stewart Brand, in The Whole Earth Catalog.

 “I am working to save my air, my water, my trees and my wildlife, and I’m trying to do away with society. Why don’t you tell them that the polar caps are melting because you’re creating so much heat with this machine…. Maybe I should have killed four or five hundred people then I would have felt better, I Charles Mansonwould have felt like I’d really offered society something…..the truth is the planet Earth is dying” – Charles Manson, well-known founder and leader of the group that assassinated actress Sharon Tate in 1987 (Today Show, MSNBC).

“We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along” – David Graber, scientist, U.S. National Park Services.

Director James Cameron, of Avatar in a conversation with Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Silicon Valley, Oct. 2010 on how questioning warming science is “criminal” – Schmidt: “There are people who in my view criminally doubt some of the science.” James Cameron added: “I agree, criminally, I agree with that. People, we need to evolve mentally and philosophically to something that has never existed before. We need to become techno-indigenous people of an entire Earth, not of a nation, not of a state, but of a planet…If that continues … we will have extinguished 70% of the species on the planet by the end of the century.”

4. Universal and Selective Miserabilism

“Our [western] lifestyles are unsustainable…I don’t see why you couldn’t have a meter in the room to register your energy consumption from air-conditioning or heating and you should be charged for that. By bringing about changes of this kind, you could really ensure that people start becoming accountable for their actions…” He said car use should be “curbed”: “I think we can certainly use pricing to regulate the use of private vehicles…. Now what I’d like to say is there is a need for change in consumption patterns. Reduction in the size of the livestock industry through reduced consumption is the most effective way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions…. A change in consumption patterns will be required to achieve a low carbon and sustainable society”— IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri in The Observer, Nov. 29, 2009.

“We have to save this planet, so that we’ll be able to stay, first. Because if all the ice  melts, if all the poles melt , and then if the sea is warm, then the gas might be released from the ocean, and we might all be poisoned…. We have to change the way we live, otherwise it’s too late…. Meat eating and all that contributes to a lot of damage to our Earth planet, you know…. The vegetarian diet is the fastest and also reduces the bad karma of killing, and thus, is the most important” – “Supreme Master” Ching Hai, from Himalaya.

“The consumption pattern in the world will have to change. We have to make one car carry more people, create pockets of bicycles and bicycling paths, among other things. Global warming must be contained as quickly as possible. We will have to return to a diet of cereals. Unless we change the way we eat, we will be condemned to hunger”— Paul Singer, professor at the University of Sao Paulo, apologist for a “solidarity economy.”

“We need to replace private transportation with vehicles that consume much gasoline and alcohol with public transportation. The perverse consequences of the planet’s warming, of climate change can serve to pressure governments into carrying out such changes” – Carlos Vicente, of International Action for Biogenetic Resources (Biodiversidad, June 4, 2007).

“The wheel of global warming can no longer be stopped. The Earth as a set of ecosystems has become untenable because human consumption, especially by the squandering rich who have outspent their replacement capacity by 40%. This situation can lead to an ecological-humanitarian tragedy of unimaginable proportions and even to the disappearance of the human species by the end of the century” – Leonardo Boff, former friar and liberation theologian in “Uma Silva sucessora de um Silva?”[A Mrs. Silva Succeeding a Mr. Silva?], Agência Adital).
“The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are” – Michael Oppenheimer and Albert G. Milbank, Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University.

Paul Ralph Ehrlich

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy … would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun” – Paul Ralph Ehrlich, professor at Stanford University.

“Each person on earth should only be able to produce about 110 tons of CO2 between 2010 and 2050 … Germany, the US and other industrialized nations have either already used up their permissible quota …The industrialized nations are facing CO2 insolvency…. each Hans Joachim Schellnhuberperson should have to pay €100 per year … The sums may sound gigantic … but Germany’s emissions quotas will be exhausted in 10 years if they don’t change their habits.  The next government must adopt a new and drastic climate package immediately.” – Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chief climate adviser to the German government (Der Spiegel, April 9, 2009).
Thomas E. Lovejoy“The planet is about to break out with fever, indeed it may already have, and we [human beings] are the disease. We should be at war with ourselves and our lifestyles” – Thomas E. Lovejoy, adviser to the president of the World Bank.
 José Luis Zapatero, Spain’s former socialist prime minister, with his country in a deep recession, with unemployment over 20%, assured that the effects of global warming “will be much more devastating for generations to come” and “the way out of the crisis must be through sustainable development.” (El País, Madrid, Sept. 25, 2009).

José Luis Zapatero
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