Texas Snakes

I cannot tell you how beautiful this snake was, but it was not a bull-nose snake. Much prettier. I would have a picture, except I was also trying to get some hay in for the whole year, which is perhaps the most critical task for the horses, depending on whether or not it rains again.

It had all the usual snakish blotches on its back, but when I rolled back he pole, it flattened its head to the ground and spread out wings on the side of its head/neck so that it looked like a cobra (flat cobra, not raised up). The wings each had a large, vivid black spot with some white around it, and shot with red-orange around the edges.

According to books, we have only four types of poisonous snakes in Texas (but of course who knows how many pet venomous snakes have been released). Anyway, this was not one of them. While I was talking to the hay-guy the snake snuck off. and I didn’t get a picture. But it had built a nice little nest, almost like a mouse nest. Or maybe it just co-opted a real mouse nest.

Very beautiful; headed for the pond. Let me know if you do, what it is. Before I became a biologist (process oriented) I used to be a naturalist, which would be more oriented toward learning the little bits than to understanding how the whole beautiful structure stays alive. It turns out there are several billion species of nature on earth and, after all, none of them stands alone outside the beauty of the process; not even us; so I gave up trying to learn them all. Still — I never saw anything like it and it would be fun to know.


People who believe that nobody in Texas is concerned about fracking. I have the three maps of the Eagle Ford Shale (and the aquifers) available on my blog. Yesterday those maps were the top hit on my blog, and ever since I put them up, they have nearly always been second only to Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration, which is always a winner during finals. y’all remind me of a former candidate for Governor, whose statement about women lost him the election to Ann Richards.

No more bees, no more fruits, no more happy dreams of the future.

Bare Bones Biology 105 – Economics of Happiness II

Many of you watched the movie The Economics of Happiness that we showed in several venues locally. If you have not seen it, talk with Donna, she has a copy, or go to The Economics of Happiness web site (you should do that anyhow) and buy a copy for yourself that you can share with friends. Last week Bare Bones Biology aired the first part of an interview by Helena Norberg-Hodge, who produced that movie, and now you are about to hear the concluding part of her little interview, in which she gives us the Bare Bones version of a solution. I hope this energizes you, as it did me, to take advantage of her wisdom and experience, and fact check her suggestions and then participate in an effort to nonviolently dethrone the corposystem. Here is Helena:

“If we could just get the message out: wait a minute, we don’t need to continue deregulating. In order to produce food and feed people and to produce the building materials, and to produce all the needs that people have, we do not need to embark on continuing to deregulate, or globalize, economic activity. If we can get that message out, so that the call is from the occupy movement, the call is halt that deregulation. This is more strategic than focusing on finance reform or on personhood, because the action, where these companies have gained so much power, has been in these international trade agreements. That’s where they’ve been able to pressure governments to give them more power. They say: If you don’t give me lower labor prices, if you don’t give me lower regulations, I’ll go elsewhere. That mechanism has ended up ratcheting down everything we care about.

“That mechanism is how it is that governments are in debt to banks. And credit agencies are telling whole banks: Sorry, you can’t afford to look after your people, you must instead pay us a whole bunch of money. It’s a mad situation, and I really believe if we can understand the structural difference between globalizing and localizing, we will be creating an interlinked, global movement linking environmentalists with all those people concerned with unemployment and poverty, and then we’ll have a real powerful movement for change.”

I wish I could name for you the impressive list of people who spoke at The Economics of Happiness conference, that included for example Joanna Macey, Manish Jain, Carol Black, and so many others of equal caliber. In the cross disciplinary group were speakers on the subjects of: breaking down the old economy, from global to local, small scale to large scale, envisioning an economics of happiness, and local futures. And there were workshops around each subject. You know what I found the most exciting – nothing was finished and settled. There’s room for new ideas and new approaches to strengthen the mix, and I left just itching to tweak the educational ideas that were presented.

Mandana Shiva and Bill McKibben were present by video and one of those internet communication processes. The entertainment was – have you ever heard Scoop Lisker describe the evolution of life on earth? And a stunning final improvisational performance by Nina Wise. All in all, one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.

Next week, I will bring you the keynote speaker, Richard Heinberg, from my other favorite web site, the Post-Carbon Institute, who gave an interview just for us.

That’s the end of the transcript. If any of you want a podcast of the complete interview without my commentary, I can make one for you.

Listening again to Helena Norberg-Hodge reminded me of the words of Arundhati Roy:
“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.”

And then there is my view that arises out of my professional understanding of how the ecosystem functions to stay alive. The corporate revolution will collapse ANYWAY, because the corposystem is trying to harvest more food energy from the earth than the earth has to give (this is not sustainable), and in the process is killing off millions of different species whose function in living is to maintain the health of the living ecosystem (thus reducing resilience of the system). So, the corposystem is killing itself.

Our job is to reduce the suffering this causes – and more importantly, our job is to remove the root cause of the suffering, which is growth beyond the capacity of the ecosystem to support One cause of growth is described by Helena Norberg-Hodge above. That is deregulation. (I call it decriminalizion of the corposystem crimes against the ecosystem). And to find a way to infuse our technologies with wisdom so we can do this with compassion. The other major growth problem is in our human populations (that is all of us, not only some other place). I strongly suggest that you watch the movie Mother the Film, that describes this difficult reality in a kind and compassionate context.

There is a time when all opinions cause pain, and that is the time to stop drawing our lines in the sand and get together to find a way to reduce the overall pain – individual suffering, populational suffering, and suffering of the living ecosystem. As HH The Dalai Lama said: “Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.”
(per Upaya newsletter)

Unnecessary suffering is foolish, and usually causes more harm than good.

Bare Bones Biology 105 – Economics of Happiness II
KEOS 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
An audio copy of the “transcript” portion of this
blog can be obtained at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Trackback and recommended references:

For the first part of Helena Norberg-Hodge’s interview see Bare Bones Biology 104:



Arundhati Roy. I strongly recommend her (March 22) interview on Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/22/arundhati_roy_on_obamas_wars_india

Collapse by Jared Diamond
Or you can get Collapse as an audio book

Upaya, http://www.upaya.org/

Human Kind – Family Reunion, 2007

Do you see anyone you know?

Haven’t changed a bit, have they.

Pleasant Dreams?

I met the morning with a short, vivid dream. In the dream, I opened the back door of the Peach Clubhouse and squeezed through the door to stand on the little porch overlooking the line of trees that grow along the creek beside the cemetary. As I stood on the little porch, a beautiful grey dove flew down to land at my feet. But — just about to land — she braked hard, reversed in a fluff of feathers, and flew away.

Lake Bryan

HH The Dalai Lama

Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.
— Dalai Lama XIV

reposted from http://www.upaya.org

Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell

Probably the best Television ever produced. A series of six not to be missed programs that are evidently about to be re-run. If you local station is too chicken to run it, you can buy it, or come to the Peach Clubhouse and watch it. I can’t tell you how much I have gotten from Bill Moyers’ interviews of Joseph Campbell (and other people who think). I’ve rerun it many, many times. This is only the trailer, and the program is not about Star Wars. It’s about living life for now and for a better future.